The college football extended universe is something a fiction writer could only dream of creating. Star Wars never had a side plot as worthwhile as the BYU-Utah Holy War. The Buffyverse was never capable of something as unexpectedly rich as the Grand Valley State-Ferris State rivalry. (And I say that as someone who married a distinctive Anya type.) J.K. Rowling only wishes she could create something as lasting as the feeling of telling people what it was like to watch Auburn's Bo Jackson, UNLV's Randall Cunningham or Missouri's Brad Smith in person.
Some people are content with focusing on their team and their tailgates. Others expand their reach primarily to a single conference. If that's what satisfies you, so be it. But I'm here to tell you that eating the whole cow is the way to go. College football is a rabbit hole with no bottom. The further you fall, the richer the experience and the more you find to love and enjoy. As I did last year, allow me to walk you through how to get the most out of this coming season, nose to tail.
The big ones
We're going to go a lot deeper than the national title and Heisman Trophy races, but those still matter. So let's start the journey with the big-ticket items. Based on preseason projections, here are the two biggest games of each week when it comes to combined SP+ ratings. These are the games with the most combined quality and, if you check the current betting odds, feature most of this year's initial Heisman favorites.