Kind of like preseason awards for the upcoming weekend of football, and just as binding. For additional preview content heading into Week 4, including actual discussion of actual upcoming football games, actually, please see Andy Staples’ Walkthrough.
• Best opportunity for a drink refill and perhaps a nice nap inside a stadium. We have heard tell of this campaign to make Notre Dame fans watch football games more like living people and less like tastefully attired statues, but the combination of legions of Fighting Irish Down-In-Fronters and this banner does not inspire confidence in the possibility of a rollicking Saturday night in South Bend. More’s the pity, with both teams ranked and the possibility of an Actual Football Game looming large in prime time. Denard Robinson! Manti Te’o! Notre Dame’s defensive front! Denard Robinson again! Rejoice.
We have but one request, attendees of tonight’s festivities: Prove us wrong. Let your joy and anguish ring from sea to shining sea. We want it to be possible to relate to you, to like you, just in case your football team actually is planning on going the distance this year. Bridge the gap. Stand up and holler. Do the right thing.
*This makes Alabama very, very tall, yes. The football team, we mean. Not … well, you know.
• Best undercard matchup. San Jose State-San Diego State, also out front for intrastate rivalry game of the week. Although, um, there’s a compelling case to be made for Aggies-Lobos.
• Best potential to get in some bitter laughs at a team flailing in the face of high expectations. Clemson at Florida State. Which team are we talking about here? Whoever loses, sillypants! Ah, the rare one-size-fits-all hater narrative.
• Most morbid curiosity-inspiring matchup. Maryland at West Virginia, for all the right and wrong reasons.
• Best fisticuffs-based reunion! Are we going to Athens this weekend just to see if Todd Grantham and James Franklin fight? Not entirely. Only mostly.
• Grisliest collateral damage. Washington State has been having a bit of a time getting used to the Mike Leach Way, which is only to be expected. What the Cougars are about to do to poor Colorado by way of venting their pent-up frustration is just cruel.
• Burniest firenado of sadness. Wyoming and Idaho reluctantly present Week 4′s only contest between two winless teams. Each has lost to a mid-major, a ranked and vastly superior team from a power conference and an FCS squad. Hug your nearest Cowboy- or Vandal-affiliated loved one and tell them it’s going to be all right. For this week, at least, only half of you will be telling a gentle lie.
• Best chance all year for UTEP to really threaten the natural order of the universe. If ever there were a time for a bizarro Wisconsin upset … no, another bizarro Wisconsin upset …
• Best nightcap. Arizona-Oregon, also claiming the coveted title of “Pointiest Potential Pointsplosion” of Week 4. You don’t have to rely upon Hawaii for your sleepytime football this Saturday (though if you are so inclined, the Warriors kick off against the Wolf Pack at 10:30 p.m. ET as well). For an added sense of urgency, as if one were needed: The Wildcats and Ducks are both 3-0 heading into Autzen.