have broken down the Bearcats Football schedule and introduced everyone to the magic of the Ron Swanson scale. But as any devotee of a College Football team can tell you following your own team is the easy part. Being a well informed devotee requires a bit more work and preparation. Also required is a wholesale disregard for your wife/fiance/girlfriend (or husband/fiance/boyfriend (i'm not sexist)) on Football Saturdays, even those where your team is not playing.* Now you should always root for the teams that are in your conference, it is just polite, but if you just can't make an exception for Pitt I get it.
*optional extra, encouraged but not required
Now in an effort to give you, the reader, an early handle on the season I am going to go through the Big East master schedule and highlight a couple of games that you should be genuinely excited for. Not "I get to marry Jessica Alba" excited or anything but, you know, excited. There are 96 games being played by Big East members this year, and not all of them are worthy of your attention, but there are quite a few that are. To make things easier I will break this into two posts, Non Conference and Conference, this particular post is the former, which you know, because its in the title. All of these games are evaluated by me at a "Meat Tornado" or "1 wrapped around 3" level. If you don't know what those are you should just google the Ron Swanson Scale, or open the link at the top, you will end up there anyway.
Saturday, September 3rd: South Florida at Notre Dame: Notre Dame Stadium
The story lines about this game abound. For Notre Dame it will be year two of the Brian Kelly experience, UC fans certainly have no trouble what so ever recalling the spoils of Kelly's second season in Clifton. On the opposite sideline you have the return of the son of the favored son. Holtz is a Notre Dame alum and he spent four years on his fathers staff before taking the job of UConn in 1994. Beyond all the subplots this will probably be a good game. USF returns a ton of talent from this years team and the Irish have potential for a BCS run if they can find some good QB play.
Saturday, September 10th: Cincinnati at Tennessee: Neyland Stadium
This is probably a bit of a homer pick but so what. I think I am entitled to at least one of those for this post and it came down to this or the NC State game. Given that the opportunity presented by potentially going into Neyland Stadium and winning surpasses defending Nippert against the Wolfepack this is the pick. OH yeah and then there is the whole Kenbrell Thompkins thing, which is a pretty interesting tangent if you don't particularly value your time.
Rutgers at North Carolina: Kenan Stadium
Primarily because I had to include a Rutgers game and the North Carolina Central, Ohio, Army and Navy games don't really do anything for me.
Friday, September 16th: Iowa State at Connecticut: Rentschler Field
I am trying to highlight at least one non conference game for each member school but it was tough to come up with one for UConn. They don't have a single team on the non conference docket that went to a bowl game and the best record of the bunch was 6-6 by Western Michigan, and I am not about to include a directional Michigan on any list that includes the phrase "I'm excited about..." in it. So Iowa State it is, primarily because I just wanted an excuse to imbed this.
Saturday September 17th: Louisville at Kentucky: Commonwealth Stadium
This is usually a good game, or more accurately this is usually an interesting game. One that I kind of look forward to each and every year. But the real reason this game is here is that I am intrigued by the Charlie Strong led Cardinals. I know that he is a hell of a coach and he took a team that was loaded with upperclassmen and taught them how to win. It will be interesting to see what he can do with what promises to be a very young team in 2011.
Pittsburgh at Iowa: Kinnick Stadium
Somehow the only game against the Big 10 for the conference. Iowa is a team that had a ton of bad breaks in 2010 and they are going to be losing a ton of players to graduation and other ailments. This will be an interesting because it will be the first time the new look, spread and shred Panthers will face a real life defense. Buffalo and Rhode Island don't appear to be strong candidates on that front. Just an FYI this is the return trip from the 2008 game won by Pitt.
Syracuse at USC: Los Angeles Colosseum
A real chance for Doug Marone and the Orange to grab a big statement win on the road. I know, i know USC is down on depth, and though they still might have a ton of talent on the front lines, they are still coached by a moron. Don't care. It's still USC.
Saturday, September 24th: LSU at West Virginia: Mountaineer Field
A similar thought process to the Pitt game, but amplified. LSU might be a sloppy chaotic mess, and they seem to be just that by all appearances, but they win. They are likely to start the year in the top 25, basically because they are LSU, and they don't often travel this far north in the non conference. But the real reason this game should be treasured is the irresistible coaching match up between Bill "Face" Stewart and Les "The Hat" Miles which is an all timer. Tangentially can we petition to change Les Miles nickname from the Hat to "Grass Eater". We as a society almost have to do that. Regardless this is a coaching match up that will be every bit as substantive and enthralling as the debate between Magnitude and Leonard Rodriguez.