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Draft King Analysis
September 8, 2012
Lou Pickney,

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The second Saturday of the college football season has arrived, and later today many of the best teams and players will be in action. Some of the matchups will resemble squash matches from 1980s WWF syndicated programming, e.g. Savannah State at Florida State. It's tough to get a true feel for the talent level of a given team or player when they face second-rate competition, but given the economic realities of college football, fans just have to deal with it. And, of course, there are always surprises, whether it's Youngstown State over Pitt in week one of this year or Appalachian State beating Michigan in Ann Arbor in 2007, a game so historic that it earned its own Wikipedia page listing.

But there will be plenty of entertaining matchups to watch today, albeit no games between ranked teams. We should have had West Virginia at Florida State to enjoy, but with WVU jumping to the Big 12 a year early *and* that conference going with a nine-game schedule, WVU opted out of playing the Seminoles in Tallahassee and instead we have the first 70+ point spread in the history of college football. Such is life. Though, as Utah State proved last night against Utah, anything can happen in college football.

The SEC debuts of both Missouri and Texas A&M happen today, with Mizzou hosting Georgia and Texas A&M hosting Florida. The Gators never play non-conference road games, so this scenario is the only way short of a crazy Jerry Jones style cash infusion that the Gators would end up playing in College Station. I liked the SEC at 12 teams and seeing it swell to 14 teams disappointed me, if for nothing else because of the geographical strain it will put on the league. Of course, expanded geography means a larger coverage area for the conference (St. Louis, Kansas City, and interest all across the state of Texas). The conference jumbling is destroying traditional matchups, which saddens me, but they didn't ask me for my opinion before the wheels went into motion.

At work the topic of the long-overdue I-A/FBS playoff system came up during the week, and one of my anchors said he thought the Mini Vader size playoffs started in 2013. I had to be the bearer of bad news through his IFB (earpiece): nope, we have to wait until 2014 for them.

The upside: once the huge power players see how much cash that a four-team playoff with generate, we'll see it expand to eight and then hopefully 16. But a four team system is a good start, and if nothing else it should ensure that an unbeaten major conference team won't be left out of the chance for a national title, like Auburn was in 2004. It will take some time, but the Mini Vader Playoffs are a good start.

The real fun starts tomorrow for pro football fans, with 13 games to enjoy (and two more on Monday night). To say that I'm giddy about having the NFL Red Zone channel for the first time is a colossal understatement. Besides seeing it at my buddy Mike's place when I lived in Nashville, I've been deprived. And, while I miss Nashville in many ways, I won't miss the silly blackout rules on Sundays when the Titans had a home game on a network that didn't have a double-header. One early game, one late game, and that's it for the day games unless you have the NFL Sunday Ticket package. I can't say that I'm excited for a heaping helping of Bengals and Steelers and Browns games, but at least three local OTA games will be in play every week... and there's something to be said for that.


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