As the college football season kicks off the seamier side gets another day in the sun…as Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel’s signature saga wraps up as only a college football scandal can. The reigning Heisman Trophy winner feels the heavy hammer of the NCAA as the school benches him in Saturday’s season opener. For the first half. They’re playing RICE. Odds are he was only going to play one half anyway…again, this is RICE. Did they decide on one half because he only signed his first name? And does he use a bubble to dot the I?

Conference Calamity– the American Athletic Conference (of America) opened their existence with UConn losing to Towson 33-18. Ouch. So glad Syracuse left for the ACC.

Alma Mater Update– the Orange meet Penn State at Met Life Stadium as the Scott Shafer era begins. Will Schafer take the program to the next level or is this a five year period of realizing the school made the wrong hire? Some schools can reload after a hiring misfire…private schools in the northeast don’t have as much wiggle room. Today won’t mean everything in that eventual evaluation…but it’d be nice to kick off a new coaching regime by beating a former Eastern Independent foe. Wings at Sign of the Whale will have to wait as I’ll be in College Park for the Terps season opener…

Maryland entertains FIU– for whatever reason the Terps make things interesting Labor Day weekend– winning the last three season openers by a combined 12 points. CJ Brown is back after a year off…how soon can he shake the rust off? And can a team with a young nucleus (2 redshirt freshmen and 8 sophomores getting starts) respond to opening day jitters? Terps triumph 16-12.

Virginia hosts BYU– redshirt freshman David Watkins replaces last year’s two-headed monster at quarterback…but the Cavaliers try to catch up with an Cougars offense that put 40+ points on the board 5 times last year. A long afternoon for Kippy and Buffy in Charlottesville (as it’s only Labor Day Weekend, my Cavalier tailgating buddies won’t begin their wine and cheese run until next Saturday). Cavs come up short, 34-16.

Virginia Tech tangles with #1 Alabama– somebody had to do it. Someone had to begin the season by facing the two-time defending National Champ and preseason #1. The Hokies are coming off their first six loss season in 20 years… and have two true freshman in pressure positions: cornerback Kendall Fuller and left tackle Jonathan McLaughlin. That’s not ideal when facing the Crimson Tide…Hokies fall 37-14.

Georgetown tops Wagner, Howard loses at Eastern Michigan, James Madison gets by Central Connecticut State, William & Mary loses to West Virginia.

Last Season: 68-32. That’s better than LBJ v. Goldwater numbers…