It’s late April, basketball is flopping through the playoffs, the NHL is drawing tens and tens of viewers for the Stanley Cup post-season, the NFL just swung its big offseason hammer with the draft, MLS is still allowing ties, and baseball is eating its own tail. We may as well get an early look at few of the Roundup’s out of conference matchups that intrigue us this coming college football season.
North Texas vs. SMU
September 7, Ford Stadium, Dallas
Last season the Mean Green drummed SMU in Denton, dismantling the Ponies from the jump. This season the Hippogriff Trophy game returns to Dallas where SMU will be breaking out a new quarterback - Shane Buechele - who’ll be throwing to two of the better receivers in the AAC (James Proche and Reggie Roberson Jr.). North Texas returns their usual complement of great skill talent, including its deepest backfield in recent memory and enough receiver skill to make this game go extra pointsy.
North Texas’ new starters at linebacker and corner will get a stiff test on the road as Sonny Dykes tries to avenge last year’s blowout.
Texas A&M vs. Clemson
September 7, Memorial Stadium, Clemson, SC
The Aggies head east for a tall task in the defending National Champion Tigers. Last year the Aggies avoided Trevor Lawrence at Kyle Field, this season Jimbo’s second squad runs headlong into the pro-ready sophomore. Clemson must replace several vital defensive contributors, including its entire front, but the way Dabo recruits, he’ll have a passel of 5-star talent ready to step up.
The game will be a massive test for second-year Aggie starter Kellen Mond at quarterback. After an up and down 2018, the Aggie signal caller will enter the game without Trayveon Williams and Jace Sternberger, two of his most trusted security blankets.
LSU vs. Texas
September 7, DKR, Austin
After ten wins and a Sugar Bowl upset of Georgia, Tom Herman’s third year in Texas sets up pretty well. After a visit from Louisiana Tech, the Horns get a Cajun upgrade when Coach O and the Tigers come to Austin. Sam Ehlinger gets a look at a stout LSU defense while the Longhorn’s must deal with second-year Tiger quarterback Joe Burrow.
Before the Twitter-verse beats the meme into the ground, again, Texas is in fact back, and a win over a good LSU team in Austin could propel the Horns into the national conversation.
Washington State vs. Houston
September 13, NRG Stadium, Houston
Mike Leach returns to Texas to take on his protege Dana Holgorsen in a Friday the 13th tilt at NRG. For the third straight year, Leach will break in a new starter at quarterback to trigger his high octane offense. He may turn to Eastern Washington transfer Gage Gubrud or two redshirt seniors, Trey Tinsley, and Anthony Gordon. The quarterback usually doesn’t matter to Leach; his offense will put up numbers as it has for the past two decades.
At Houston, D’Eriq King gets to catch some eyeballs with a National TV game and his own offensive guru calling the shots. Defense is optional.
TCU vs. Purdue
September 21, Ross-Ade, West Lafayette, IN
Well isn’t this an intriguing intersectional matchup? Gary Patterson loves playing the Big 10 in the pre-conference slate, and a trip to Ross-Ade should be a tough test. Jeff Brohm chose to springboard off of his Western Kentucky success to take over a Purdue program that hasn’t been relevant since Joe Tiller and Drew Brees. The results have been mediocre in his first two seasons with a 13-13 overall record, .500 in conference.
The Frogs break in a new quarterback. Who that quarterback is, is the million dollar question. Kansas State transfer Alex Delton looks like the front runner, but Michael Collins is also back as is intriguing second-year player Justin Rogers. Rogers was Patterson’s highest rated QB recruit ever when he signed last January, but a catastrophic knee injury limited him for the better part of the previous 18 months. Can TCU pull and offense together in time for their trip north? We can’t wait to find out.