Monday, August 26, 2013

CFB Week 1: Your Weekend Lehigh Fan Viewing Guide

More and more, college football is becoming more of a lifestyle than a diversion.

The experiences are more immersive; college football days don't just take place on one day a week, it's a three, or sometimes four, day weekend.  It involves tailgates.  Parties.  Maybe a night out.

Most importantly, there are games on TV - or, now, the internet - all the time.  There are literally hundreds of matchups available to watch, or stream, every day of the Experience Weekend.  Whether you watch it a home, your butt firmly on the couch, or out with friends, it's becoming an all-encompassing affair.

Who will cut through all the channels showing Godspell, or Robinson Crusoe, and point you to where the Week 1 Experience Weekend games are being broadcast?

More to the point, where's a Lehigh football fan - old or new - to start?

The answer is - of course - you come here.  You've come to the right place.

Starting on Thursday, there are plenty of football games available to enjoy that involve scouting future Lehigh opponents, interesting Top 25 matchups, or simply good weekend football games.  And below the flip, you'll be able to get all the information you need.  Bookmark this post, and you won't need to go anywhere else.


Thursday, August 29th:

6:00 PM EST, Liberty At Kent State
Video Streaming at: ESPN3.com (free)
LFN Watch LevelYellow (Elevated)

The Flames, victims to Lehigh last season, get all of college football started on the right foot with a trip to Kent State.  You've been waiting all season to watch football that counts - you have to start with this one, right?

7:00 PM EST, Illinois State At Ball State
Video Streaming at: ESPN3.com (free)
LFN Watch LevelBlue (Keep an Eye On)

For Lehigh fans, this game serves a dual purpose: to see how good former Lehigh head football coach Pete Lembo is doing as the head man of Ball State, and to see Illinois State lose, one of the teams that edged out Lehigh for the final playoff spot last season.

7:00 PM EST, Rhode Island At Fordham
Video Streaming at: Patriot League Network (free)
LFN Watch LevelOrange (Strong Scouting Potential)

The first game of the season to involve a future Lehigh opponent, Joe Moorhead's Fordham Rams will be suiting up against one of the weaker sisters of the CAA, Rhode Island.  It will be our first look as to how much of a factor Fordham will be in the Patriot League this season.

7:30 PM EST, Towson At UConn
Video Streaming at: ESPN3.com (free)
LFN Watch Level: Yellow (Elevated)

Towson, whom Lehigh beat two years ago in the FCS playoffs, travels to Storrs to see if they can knock off their first-ever FBS opponent in the Huskies.  Some think Towson might pull off the upset; I'm less convinced.

9:00 PM EST, Monmouth At Montana State
Video Streaming at: America One Sports (free)
LFN Watch Level: Burnt Orange (Very Strong Scouting Potential)

This one is the biggest "scouting potential" for several reasons.  One, it involves Monmouth, Lehigh's Week 2 opponent.  Two, it involves Montana State, a member of the Big Sky who's in the FCS Top 25.  Three, it basically has the evening to itself after 9PM Eastern, especially if there's no FBS upset potential and Fordham is handling Rhode Island.

Friday, August 30th:

7:00 PM EST, Morgan State At Army
On TV at: CBS Sports Network
Video Streaming: None
Audio Stream ($$$) | Live Stats
LFN Watch LevelYellow (Elevated)

If you are fortunate enough to get CBS Sports Network, you can get a taste of "Patriot League at the FBS level" football when Morgan State takes on Army.

8:30 PM EST, North Dakota State At Kansas State
On TV at: Fox Sports 1
Video Streaming: None
Audio Stream ($$$) | Live Stats
LFN Watch LevelYellow (Elevated)

If you had the Speed Network somewhere on your cable box, then you have Fox Sports 1 and can have this on your flat-screen wherever you are this weekend.  Not only does it involve the two-time FCS National Champions in a timeslot to itself Friday Night, it's actually a fair shot at an "upset" against the rebuilding Big XII champs.

Saturday, August 31st:

Noon EST, Villanova At Boston College
On TV at: ESPNEWS
Video Streaming: ESPN3 (where available)
LFN Watch LevelYellow (Elevated)

The Wildcats, the preseason favorite in the CAA and a member of the Top 25, takes on Boston College in a true FBS "upset watch".  You probably have ESPNEWS on your cable system, too.

1:00 PM EST, Georgetown At Wagner
Video Streaming at: NEC Front Row (free)
LFN Watch LevelBurnt Orange (Very Strong Scouting Potential)

Not only do you get last year's NEC champion Wagner Seahawks - who knocked off Colgate in the first round of last year's playoffs - you also get to see Patriot League opponent Georgetown, who will give Wagner a much, much tougher time than people think.  It's worth signing up for the free account and streaming it on your laptop or mobile device.

3:00 PM EST, Colgate At Air Force
On TV at: ROOT sports (Pittsburgh availability, DirecTV availability)
Video Streaming: Patriot League Network
Audio Stream (Free) | Live Stats
LFN Watch Level: Red (Must-See)

The good news: If you get ROOT sports, it's a fantastic chance to see one of Lehigh's biggest opponents on the 2013 schedule, Colgate, face off against the best FBS opponent on any Patriot League schedule.  The bad news: unless you know a sports bar that carries DirecTV or ROOT Sports, you're out of luck in regards to watching the game.  You can follow it for free on the radio, but it won't be the same.

EDIT: Some great news from the folks at the Patriot League:

Talk about news that made me me insanely happy!  This makes this game Threat Level: Midnight in my mind.

3:00 PM EST, Holy Cross At Bryant
Video Streaming at: NEC Front Row (free)
LFN Watch LevelRed-Orange (Strong Scouting Potential)

I'll be streaming the video of this game, with the Colgate game on with the audio.  If Colgate can't keep it close, I'll be checking to see how Deep Purple does against a middle-of-the-pack team in the NEC last season.

6:00 PM EST, Central Connecticut State At James Madison
Video Streaming at: MadiZONE/Neulion (free)
LFN Watch LevelRed (Must-See)

It's a rare thing to be able to get a full scouting report on your first opponent of the 2013 season - playing one of the elite teams of the CAA, James Madison, no less.  I was worried this game might not be free but noticed that once you register, it's free, so my Saturday evening plans are all set now.

7:00 PM EST, McNeese State At South Florida
Video Streaming at: ESPN3.com (free)
LFN Watch LevelYellow (Elevated)

You might want to keep ESPN3 up in the background, just in case the Cowboys knock off another FBS opponent for the second straight year.  I happen to feel this is going to be a McNeese State victory.  Just a hunch.

9:00 PM EST, Appalachian State At Montana
Video Streaming at: ESPN3.com (free)
LFN Watch LevelYellow (Elevated)

This ends up being a game to enjoy for two reasons.  One, every chance you have to catch a broadcast of a Montana game is worth the effort, one of the best gameday atmospheres in FCS.  But Reason Two might be more important, as this is Appalachian State's final season in FCS.  That gives this game the "end of an era" feel to it that will probably make it a compelling matchup.

No comments :