|Phil Sears / Associated Press|
|Idaho returns to the state of Florida, where it was on the wrong end of an 80-14 beatdown against Florida State in 2013.|
When you sit down for a Saturday of college football this fall, you probably have a handful of must-watch games and you already know the time, date and location of each contest. This list is not about any of those games. No, these are 10 games that only the most diehard fans will be watching when the time comes because they're an embarrassment to be on the schedule of some schools and a potentially huge humiliation to those same programs if they take a loss in them.
10. Portland State at Oregon State
When: Aug. 30
Why: Last season the Beavers opened with an FCS foe from the Pacific Northwest and embarrassingly lost to Eastern Washington. While Portland State isn't quite to their level, it nearly beat Cal in 2013 and figures to evoke plenty of memories of that opener from last year. The Oregon State non-conference slate is soft, and starting the season with another FCS team while figuring things out on both sides of the ball might not make for great television.
9. Western Carolina at Alabama
When: Nov. 22
Why: Outside of the opener against West Virginia, Alabama's non-conference schedule is once again a pick'em of lowly opponents. In what seems to be a time-honored (but maybe not Selection Committee honored?) tradition, Western Carolina is the FCS opponent that heads to Bryant-Denny right before the Iron Bowl. While that alone would be a mismatch considering the NFL talent on the Tide's roster, the fact that the Catamounts are coming off a 2-10 season makes this game even more embarrassing for a power conference team to have on its schedule. If you stick around into the fourth quarter of this one, you are a true Alabama fan.
8. Idaho at Florida
When: Aug. 30
Why: The last time Idaho went to the Sunshine State, they were bludgeoned to death by Florida State by the score of 80-14. While the Gators' offense can only dream of putting up that many points, it should be able to at least move the ball against the Vandals. Considering the Gators lost to an FCS team that didn't complete a pass last year, anything is possible. But Idaho is coming off a 1-10 season and making a cross-country trip. It's bad that they're even on the schedule in the Swamp, but it will be even worse for Will Muschamp if this one isn't a blowout given what happened last year.
7. Duke at Troy
When: Sept. 6
Why: It's not often you see a team coming off an ACC Championship Game appearance play a game at a Sun Belt school the next season. But such is the case with the Trojans and the Blue Devils, who played a close game in Durham last year. Both teams lost a few pieces from a season ago, and a random non-conference trip to the deep South could end up as a potential upset alert in early September.
Alternate uniforms of 2013Check out the alternate college football uniforms worn by teams during the 2013 season.
6. Arizona State at New Mexico
When: Sept. 6
Why: Another puzzling part of the schedule sees Pac-12 title-game representative Arizona State travel all the way to Albuquerque to take on New Mexico. While the Sun Devils had a breakout season in 2013, the Lobos went 3-9 and struggled (to put it mildly) on defense. This game fits on the embarrassing list not just because a power conference team is traveling to New Mexico, but because ASU is replacing a ton of pieces on defense and has to face the triple option. ASU head coach Todd Graham has way more talent and QB Taylor Kelly should have a field day against the Lobos' defense, but it's still interesting to see this road trip on the schedule.
5. Appalachian State at Southern Miss
When: Sept. 20
Why: Southern Miss had a historically bad season in 2013 and its non-conference slate (which includes trips to Alabama and Mississippi State) does the school no favors in 2014. Appalachian State has great name recognition thanks to its upset of Michigan in 2007, but this is a team making the transition to the FBS and the Sun Belt. If the Mountaineers get the win, it would result in a big celebration from NFL Media analyst and Appalachian State alum Daniel Jeremiah, and another long, long season for the Golden Eagles.
4. Marshall vs. Rhode Island
When: Sep. 6
Why: Nothing will get you excited for a Thundering Herd game quite like ... Rhode Island? Marshall has a terrible non-conference slate as is, but the most embarrassing game on the slate pits them against the FCS team that went 3-9 a season ago. While it will be a bloodbath given Marshall's offensive production, the school should have never scheduled such a game.
3. N.C. State vs. Presbyterian
When: Sept. 20
Why: The Wolfpack might have the most embarrassing non-conference slate of any power-conference team. If Georgia Southern, Old Dominion and USF don't do it for you, tiny FCS school Presbyterian sure won't. It's a good bet N.C. State improves significantly on its record from last year (3-9), but a deeper look into the reason why has to do with the laughable opponents on the schedule more than on-field progress.
2. Baylor at Buffalo
When: Sept. 12
Why: Baylor athletic director Ian McCaw is a sharp guy, but who knows why he agreed to a home-and-home with Buffalo given the Bears' resources. Seriously, the Big 12 champion is heading to Buffalo for a game in September. That's somewhat unheard of. The Bulls also lost Khalil Mack to the NFL, so Baylor's terrific offense should put this one out of reach early.
1. Colorado at UMass
When: Sept. 6
Why: Why is a power conference team like Colorado travelling nearly 2,000 miles across the country to take on one of the worst teams in the FBS? Seriously, anybody know? This is just a puzzling game to have on the schedule and is certainly an embarrassment for the Buffs -- the game won't even be televised. On the flip side, a bunch of kids do get to play at Gillette Stadium (home of the New England Patriots), but that might be the only saving grace of this matchup.
Follow Bryan Fischer on Twitter @BryanDFischer.