What's the only thing better than the opening weekend of college football? An opening weekend chock full of friendly wagering on college football, of course! And as much fun as playing the spread is, the real artistry is found in divining the outcome of the over/under point total. Even that cannot be enough for the hardcore (friendly wagering) degenerate, however, so I have selflessly gone to great pains to establish a few more totals for willing participants to play. So slip on your short-sleeved dress shirt, sharpen your pencil, grab a pack of smokes, and start handicapping for Saturday.
The benefit of playing a creampuff on opening weekend is pretty obvious. An easy victory to chalk up as the home team is permitted to work out any kinks without showing all of its cards to future opponents, and without the outcome of the contest ever coming into doubt. Occasionally this approach backfires, forcing the favorite to pull out all of its hidden aces. In extreme circumstances, the plan goes completely to hell and the creampuff can jump up and shock the favorite. Jacksonville State accomplished this against Ole Miss to open the 2010 season, and you can be sure that this will be mentioned early and often by the pay-per-view commentating team that is calling the game. For that reason, I am setting the total for the number of instances Jimmy Dykes mentions that Jacksonville State defeated Ole Miss in 2010 at a lofty 8.
Coincidentally, the number of instances Houston Nutt mentions this while working as an analyst for CBS Sports Network is set at 0.
Being the first game of the season, many in attendance, especially among students, will want to look their best. For that reason, the number of sorority girls wearing high heels despite the fact that the remnants of a frickin' hurricane just blew through and what the hell, don't they listen to Dan Skoff? is set at 318. The number of wives who'll roll their eyes at these individuals and their footwear decisions will be 7,114. The number of men who will be able to answer with confidence after the game what kind of shoes their wife or any other woman in the stadium was wearing is set at 3.
Continuing with the fashion theme, The Razorbacks are set to debut their newest Nike duds this Saturday. The Hogs will have a completely different look this season, with white lids and "anthracite" jerseys joining the usual suspects. Further, all components seem to have been designed to be interchangeable, so there is no telling what the Hogs will trot out Saturday night. Change can be a dirty word in northwest Arkansas, however, so I am setting the number for complaints about the new Razorback uniforms at 28,945. Amazingly, that is same exact number set for game attendees enrolled or eligible for membership in AARP. Over/under on game attendance of all ages is 71,004.
Several new features and policies will be tested and utilized for the first time Saturday night. Razorback Stadium officially debuts its shiny new advertising/video board during Saturday's game after a trial run during a scrimmage two weeks ago. The number of Bubba Hog cameos is placed at 4. The clock malfunction count is set at 2, and the Tony Chachere's Total is presently expected to number 57. For my money, no matter how impressive it is, nothing tops the dot-matrix clapping hands of War Memorial Stadium circa 1989. Additionally, a new bag policy and the debut of scanable tickets threaten to gum up the works at entrance gates. This could affect the future placement of the confiscated flask total, currently running at 22. Also, at present it is anticipated that no fewer than 6 individuals will demand that their ticket be torn instead of scanned for fear that they are being asked to receive the Mark of the Beast.
For those that prefer to keep their bets limited to on-field action, I've got you covered as well. With the expectation that he will be eased into service instead of thrown into the deep end, I am setting the Knile Davis rushing yardage total at 97 yards. Similarly, Tyler Wilson should be lightly-to-not-at-all used in the second half against JSU, thus resulting in a subdued passing total expectation of 261 yards, but with 3 touchdowns. Added time on the field on the defensive side of the ball will only drive up the number of Kiero Small crushed facemasks, currently projected at 2 for the JSU game alone.
Allow me to close you out with some figures that have more to do with... pregame, for lack of a better word. The over/under on the number of SUV's requiring a tow following the game is set at 9. The number of men who wait in the concession line for 20 minutes only to walk away disgusted because they refuse to mix whiskey with Pepsi shall be 121. The number of men who shake their head in disgust that anyone would even consider mixing whiskey with cola in the first place is listed at all the rest. Finally, the weight in pounds of pulled pork forecast to be consumed from sunrise to tent-down is 3000.
Happy (friendly) wagering!
Trent Wooldridge (BVC) will be that guy with enough bourbon. He loves the S-E-C chant and honks because he hates Texas. He puts honey on his pizza, demands aisle seats, and sees quitting golf as more of a hobby than actually playing golf. Follow @twooldridge and track his quest to transform his two-year-old into a southpaw ace in the bigs.