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The Weekly Primer previews Mizzou vs Delaware State and Week 4, and also tweaks Jim Harbaugh

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Here is your Weekly Primer on the college football week ahead, with a particular focus on Mizzou, SEC, and the games that must command the eyeballs of discerning fans of our dumb sport.

Hawaii v Michigan Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Mizzou Talking Points Walkthrough

The Tigers’ newly-explosive offense, revamped offensive line, and (potentially) revitalized defense have breathed life back into our expectations for 2016 after a challenging offseason and a difficult first week. In order for these expectations to be met, fans should be watching Mizzou’s easiest game of the decade for some Show-Me evidence of growth from a few specific units.

On offense, a running game has to emerge. The up-tempo, gunslinger offense is remarkable, a beautiful marriage of modern Air Raid and Chase Daniel nostalgia. But a complementary ground attack is a necessity, and the consistency and confidence of the key players needs to be found this week. What upside can be tapped from Alex Ross, Damarea Crockett, and Naterace Strong? Controlling the clock is important, but so is controlling the ball: Mizzou’s young skill players need to shake some of their fumble-prone ways.

Defensively the Tigers should build on last week’s improvements. D-Line Zou could become a thing again, and the tackling must be as sound as it was in the SEC opener. Missouri’s roster lacks the personnel to shut down short-middle pass games and slot receivers; they will have to overcome this with creative personnel usage and schemes. Having all-world cornerback Aarion Maxey-Penton defend slot receivers and playing athletic young safety Cam Hilton could be a step in the right direction. The astute student will observe the Mizzou secondary in passing situations (in between gulps of Budweiser, natch).

The final score here does not matter too much. It will be: a lot to a little. But we can still learn some things, and hopefully the Tigers can patch a few problem areas. Then we will see y’all in Baton Rouge.

Keegs Poll: Top 5 Games Of The Week

  1. TBD - I’m ceremonially leaving the top spot unfilled because I am unable to decide which of the four games featuring ranked teams pitted against one another is the best one. All four are kinda vaguely dumb and not that great, despite being good on paper. One of these next four games is going to get weird and dumb and sexy and great, I just can’t decide which.
  2. 17 Arkansas vs 10 Texas A&M (in Dallas), 9 PM ET, ESPN. God, I love it when the SEC gets all Southwestern-y. Certainly the most likely game to get sexy, because of BERT. Also the most likely game to get weird, because of MORE BERT. Arkansas’s agile beef matches up against A&M’s ferocious pass rush. There’s a Sprinkle and a Speedy. Watch this game.
  3. 11 Wisconsin at 8 Michigan State, 12 PM, BTN. Time to find the Big Ten Network at 12:05 PM. Why the hell is this a noon BTN game? Isn’t that traditionally where you find like, Northwestern vs Purdue? I see one of two things happening here: Michigan State kicking the crap out of a secretly not-good Wisconsin team, or an extremely boring nail-biter between two top-15 squads. If you watch this game, make sure to change the channel before the game ends or you might wander into the snuff film that is Penn State at Michigan, immediately following.
  4. 12 Georgia at 23 Ole Miss, 12 PM, ESPN. Hugh Freeze’s annual kamikaze mission to take down Nick Saban ended poorly last week. A loss at home to the Dawgs and Chad Kelly’s senior season will be over before he even got his first paycheck.
  5. 19 Florida at 14 Tennessee, 3:30 PM, CBS. This is a football game. It features football players making football plays taught to them by football coaches. There will be cheerleaders, and there will be students riding various waves of emotion under various types of influence, and there will be alumni looking on disapprovingly. Two men wearing suits will narrate the action to you, the viewer, who will be fending off a nap in the middle of the third quarter. Rest up, kids: the Pac-12 gets weird tonight.

A Few Words Of Affection, Carefully Chosen

I’m a week late on this one — sorry about the lack of a Primer last week y’all, but real life got rudely in the way — but major, major props to Colorado SID Dave Plati and his fake depth chart released before his Buffs traveled to Michigan. His tongue-in-cheek offering was filled with movie references, bad puns, and historical names, and was meant to tweak the Extremely Serious Jim Harbaugh, a man of such rigidity that he is famous for his terrible pants.

Harbaugh refuses to release a depth chart, and says shit like, and I kid you not on this one: "Yeah, we know who our starting quarterback is, yes. I'll say who our starting quarterback is before Saturday ... I didn't say I was going to say it to you before Saturday."

Harbaugh was predictably crabby about Plati’s hi-jinks.

The extreme seriousness of college football is a scourge. Coaches protect scrimmages, depth charts, and position battles as closely as our national secrets. Such endeavors should elicit vigorous eye rolls. The more humorless shit happens, the more our dumb sport becomes like the dreaded Corporate-Sponsored Mandated Patriotism & Performative Masculinity With Football-Like Activities (hm, I might need to work on that acronym).

Thank you, Dave Plati, for keeping college football weird.

FULL WEEKEND SCHEDULE

Thursday, Sept. 22, 2016
Matchup Time (ET) TV / Streaming
(5) Clemson at Georgia Tech 7:30 pm ESPN / WatchESPN
Friday, Sept. 23, 2016
Matchup Time (ET) TV / Streaming
Wyoming at Eastern Michigan 7:30 pm CBSSN / CBSSports.com
TCU at SMU 8:00 pm ESPN / WatchESPN
USC at (24) Utah 9:00 pm FS1 / ESPN3
Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016
Matchup Time (ET) TV / Streaming
(11) Wisconsin at (8) Michigan State Noon BTN / BTN2Go
(12) Georgia at (23) Ole Miss Noon ESPN / WatchESPN
Kent State at (1) Alabama Noon SECN / WatchESPN
(13) Florida State at USF Noon ABC / WatchESPN
Iowa at Rutgers Noon ESPN2 / WatchESPN
Colorado State at Minnesota Noon ESPNU / WatchESPN
San Jose State at Iowa State Noon FSN / ESPN3
Nevada at Purdue Noon ESPNEWS / WatchESPN
Charlotte at Temple Noon ASN / ESPN3
East Carolina at Virginia Tech 12:30 pm ACCN / WatchESPN
Central Michigan at Virginia 12:30 pm RSN / WatchESPN
Syracuse at UConn 1:00 pm CBSSN / CBSSports.com
Wagner at Boston College 1:00 pm WatchESPN
Gardner-Webb at Ohio 2:00 pm ESPN3
(19) Florida at (14) Tennessee 3:30 pm CBS / CBSSports.com
Penn State at (4) Michigan 3:30 pm ABC / WatchESPN
Pittsburgh at North Carolina 3:30 pm ESPNU / WatchESPN
BYU vs. West Virginia (Landover, MD) 3:30 pm ESPN2 / WatchESPN
Duke at Notre Dame 3:30 pm NBC / NBCSports.com
Boise State at Oregon State 3:30 pm FS1 / ESPN3
Wake Forest at Indiana 3:30 pm BTN / BTN2Go
Appalachian State at Akron 3:30 pm ASN / ESPN3
Miami (OH) at Cincinnati 3:30 pm ESPNEWS / WatchESPN
Mississippi State at UMass 3:30 pm ASN / ESPN3
UTSA at Old Dominion 3:30 pm KMYS-CW 35 / CUSA.TV
Western Illinois at NIU 3:30 pm ESPN3
Delaware State at Missouri 4:00 pm SECN / WatchESPN
Vanderbilt at Western Kentucky 4:30 pm CBSSN / CBSSports.com
Tulsa at Fresno State 4:30 pm MWN
Colorado at Oregon 5:30 pm Pac-12N / Pac-12.com
(18) LSU at Auburn 6:00 pm ESPN / WatchESPN
North Texas at Rice 6:00 pm CUSA.TV
Ball State at Florida Atlantic 6:00 pm CUSA.TV
(6) Houston at Texas State 7:00 pm ESPNU / WatchESPN
Missouri State at Kansas State 7:00 pm K-StateHD.tv
Georgia Southern at Western Michigan 7:00 pm ESPN3
Army at Buffalo 7:00 pm ESPN3
Louisiana Tech at Middle Tennessee 7:00 pm ASN / ASN.com
New Mexico State at Troy 7:00 pm ESPN3
Nicholls State at South Alabama 7:00 pm ESPN3
Central Arkansas at Arkansas State 7:00 pm ESPN3
UCF at FIU 7:00 pm beIN Sports / beIN Sports Connect
Oklahoma State at (16) Baylor 7:30 pm FOX / ESPN3
(20) Nebraska at Northwestern 7:30 pm BTN / BTN2Go
South Carolina at Kentucky 7:30 pm SECN / WatchESPN
(3) Louisville at Marshall 8:00 pm CBSSN / CBSSports.com
(7) Stanford at UCLA 8:00 pm ABC / WatchESPN
Bowling Green at Memphis 8:00 pm ESPNEWS / WatchESPN
Southern Miss at UTEP 8:00 pm Campus Insiders
UL Lafayette at Tulane 8:00 pm ESPN3
(17) Arkansas vs. (10) Texas A&M (Arlington, TX) 9:00 pm ESPN / WatchESPN
Idaho at UNLV 9:00 pm MWN
California at Arizona State 10:00 pm ESPN2 / WatchESPN
Air Force at Utah State 10:15 pm ESPNU / WatchESPN
(9) Washington at Arizona 10:30 pm Pac-12N / Pac-12.com