Friday, August 31, 2007

Five games to watch Saturday

The long month of preseason anticipation is over for college football fans as North Carolina’s Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly Division I-A) teams all debut Saturday.

If you’re not fortunate enough to have tickets and plan on quarterbacking with the clicker from your armchair, get your snacks and beverages ready.

Here are five games to plan your day around:

1. East Carolina at Virginia Tech, noon, ESPN: This is a chance for Virginia Tech and the nation to come together in honor of the victims of Seung Hui Cho’s April shooting rampage. The game itself is impossible to predict because of the emotion involved. But the event will put football in proper perspective as the season begins.

2. Georgia Tech at Notre Dame, 3:30 p.m., NBC: Who is Notre Dame’s starting quarterback? Can Georgia Tech score without Calvin Johnson? Is Taylor Bennett really better than Reggie Ball? These questions will be answered in South Bend.

3. Oklahoma State at Georgia, 6:45 p.m., ESPN2: Former North Carolina wideout Adarius Bowman is an All-America candidate for Oklahoma State. Former Charlotte Independence High wideout Mohamed Massaquoi is working out of the slot for Georgia. That’s reason enough to watch the first half.

4. Tennessee at California, 8 p.m., ABC: Click over from Oklahoma State-Georgia to see the best game of the day. Phil Fulmer hasn’t won an SEC title since 1998 but has a hot quarterback in Erik Ainge. California is the second-best team in the Pac-10.

5. Idaho at Southern California, 10:15 p.m., Fox Sports Net: Opening Saturday wouldn’t be complete without checking out the nation’s No. 1 team. Watch Tennessee-Cal until the end, but get at least a glimpse of quarterback John David Booty and the Trojans’ offense. You won’t have to watch long. USC will make this a blowout in time to get you to bed at a decent hour. – Ken Tysiac