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College Football Week 2 live discussion, open thread: Running at the mouth

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Colorado v TCU Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images

I genuinely do not know what the line is between being a hater and being a reasonable skeptic is anymore. We’ve hit this insane period defined by “the fandom-ification of everything.” We didn’t used to care about whether one film studio was doing better than another, but now if you pop on to social media there’s a good chance you will quickly run partisans taking up the banner of the Marvel Cinematic Universe lashing out at perceived disrespect to “Ant Man” and discussing how the box office numbers are lying to you, or the holdouts of DC Expanded Universe who still believe there’s more Snyder cuts on the way. This is partly because some are also comic book fans, but it’s also an outgrowing of the game console wars, where people who should have no thought about business picked a side between Microsoft and Sony. It doesn’t just have to be comic book movies though; people are genuinely invested with what happens to Warner Brothers. You even got people who are “fans” of stock prices like Bed Bath & Beyond and AMC Theatres. I don’t get it!

The point is, you can no longer just go, “that was cool, I can’t wait to see what happens next.” You have to be full-throated, screaming for respect, and anyone who flinches could be a villain in the eyes of the faithful. That’s what Colorado coach Deion Sanders got up to this past week, and it’s a sad display.

Now, fights between college coaches and the media are some of the oldest feuds out there; I have a copy of a Cincinnati Bengals playsheet from 1991 where Sam Wyche wrote a play insulting a local sports talk radio host. College coach blowups are legendary; it’s half the reason you know the name Mike Gundy. Nick Saban absolutely hates these press conferences and he can barely contain it.

But I don’t think I’ve ever seen a coach demand “belief” from a journalist, and certainly not by singling out one for his writing, and certainly not one who is (so I’ve been told) as nice and gentle as a man like Ed Werder.

I also think it’s important to point out what exactly Werder wrote that was considered a lack of belief in the Colorado Buffaloes, what Sanders called “bull junk.” To put it simply: Werder didn’t actually say anything that could be construed as attacking Sanders:

I really don’t know. I haven’t been a writer in 30 years... I asked him as you heard multiple times, ‘what did I write?’ and he couldn’t ever provide an example, and the reason is no such example exists... Some people have pointed to a Twitter post I had in March in which I said this exactly: ‘Colorado celebrity football coach has made CU Buffs football the most interesting program in the country. It’s no. 2 in merchandise sales, Folsom Field suites are sold out, and season tickets renewal rates are standing at 97 percent. Deion Sanders has created attention before his first win.’ How does that somehow make me a doubter?

(Dan Patrick in that clip theorizes that Sanders was simply taking it out on ESPN, or was perhaps just performing outrage regardless of who asked the question. Both would be even worse than calling out Werder himself because it’s just nonsense at that point. Human beings aren’t props for feuds with large faceless entities.)

I don’t know. Maybe this is just a Dallas thing? Yee-Haw Omerta or something?

So here we are. Battle lines are drawn. You have to believe in Deion—what the hell does that even anyway?—or you may just be an apostate.

It’s a damn unfortunate situation the Sanders brought on here that has eclipsed his son and CU quarterback Shedeur Sanders, eclipsed cornerback/wide receiver Travis Hunter and eclipsed what was a thrilling game. TCU was wildly overranked and favored by far too many points but that’s not the fault of anyone in particular. The Horned Frogs may have made the final last year, but they only returned seven starters for 2023. It’s an entirely different team and they felt like one. More importantly, Colorado only won by 3 points and gave up 42 on defense. They didn’t crush TCU. This game could have easily gone the other way.

The more unfortunate element is now Sanders has to keep this up when he really didn’t need to. I’m sure he’s fine with that; after all, this kind of hard sell has been his hallmark ever since he strode into Jackson State. But as great as that win was, what’s the ceiling? What’s the realistic expectation of Colorado in a single year removed from 1-11, and now what’s the expectation with the lines in the sand drawn? Colorado is now already one of the most bet teams in the country in gambling; with people placing more of their emotion into their money in sports now, what happens if he can’t deliver?

Does he have to run roughshod on the Pac-12 schedule? Someone this week wagered me that he’d hit double digit wins for the year: that would mean he has to beat at least two teams in a slate of USC, UCLA, Utah and Oregon State. That’s a tall order no matter how much talent he brought in.

They also have to beat Nebraska, and speaking of disrespect the whole of the world has already decided that Matt Rhule has failed the rebuild there. I don’t know how much that’s true, and I don’t know how I can envision this game as a gimme for the Buffaloes. Once more, FOX has a game that a lot of people will watch. But it just feels unfortunate that we have to do this extreme heel/face crap and draw battle lines.

Elsewhere, the schedule is hit and miss. Baylor and Utah sounds tempting, while Notre Dame and the amazing Sam Hartman face their first real test with NC State. Those games, along with Colorado, round out a busy noon slate which cools precipitously as the afternoon wears on. I don’t know if a ranked matchup between Tulane and Ole Miss gets the cackles going. We do get an early season rivalry with CyHawk though—or as the folks at Shutdown Fullcast call it, El Assico!

Then, it’s Alabama and Texas. The big question for Alabama remains at quarterback, a question that infuriates Nick Saban more than anything. Tough luck. He’s going to have to figure it out whether he likes it or not. Texas had a good shot last year before injury took Quinn Ewers out of the game, so they’re looking for a second shot; as for the much-hyped Arch Manning, there will be none of that.

But we also take our first taste this year of Pac-12 late night. Finally free of the Pac-12 Network, USC will play its long time northern rival Stanford for what is the final time of the foreseeable future, while UCLA takes on a San Diego State squad that had a very impressive opening game. Arizona State against Oklahoma State has anarchy written all over it.

Enjoy yourselves, chavales.

Noon ET

No. 22 Colorado vs. Nebraska — FOX

No. 1 Georgia vs. Ball State — SEC Network

No. 5 Ohio State vs. Youngstown State — Big Ten Network

No. 7 Penn State vs. Delaware — Peacock

Baylor vs. No. 12 Utah — ESPN

NC State vs. No. 10 Notre Dame — ABC

No. 15 Kansas State vs. Troy — FS1

3:30 p.m. ET

Iowa State vs. Iowa — FOX

Miami (Fla.) vs. No. 23 Texas A&M — ABC

No. 2 Michigan vs. UNLV — CBS

Michigan State vs. Richmond — Big Ten Network

No. 24 Tulane vs. No. 20 Ole Miss — ESPN2

7:30 p.m. ET

No. 3 Alabama vs. No. 11 Texas (7 p.m.) — ESPN

Boise State vs. UCF (7 p.m.) — FS1

Maryland vs. Charlotte — NBC

Washington State vs. No. 19 Wisconsin — ABC

San Diego State vs. UCLA — CBS

Pac-12 After Dark

No. 16 Oregon State vs. UC Davis (9 p.m.) — Pac-12 Network

No. 6 USC vs. Stanford (10:30 p.m.) — FOX

Cal vs. Auburn (10:30 p.m.) — ESPN

Arizona State vs. Oklahoma State (10:30 p.m.) — FS1

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