5th annual Fantasy College Football Tour taking reservations

By: Mike Ray, Gold Country News Service
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Three years ago, in the summer of 2005, as we geared up for the third annual infamous Fantasy College Football Tour for that upcoming season, this writer wrote: “We’re praying for gasoline not to go over $3 a gallon to make our anticipated long road trips easier to tolerate.” Gee, if we’d only known then what we know now. Anyway, with the start of the 2008 college football season now less than 50 days away, we’re taking reservations for the upcoming tour with as much energy and excitement we’ve had in years. We may have to make some of our trips on bicycles built for two adorned with face masks to handle the smoky air over Northern California, but what the heck, it’s football season and you do what you have to do. So, without much further adieu here we go: Saturday, Aug 30: What a way to open the season … take your pick: UC Davis at San Jose State (5 p.m.) — The Spartans have some rebuilding to do, especially in the quarterback spot where offensive coordinator Marcus Arroyo (Colfax ’98) groomed Adam Trafalis, who has since graduated. Meanwhile, UC Davis is starting Greg Denham (Placer ’06) under center. Grambling at Nevada (6:05 p.m.) — Forget former Colfax High standout Mike McCoy (Colfax ’05) starting the season as the Wolf Pack’s top returning receiver, this one is all about the talented Grambling Marching Band, a show in itself. Humboldt State at Sacramento State (6:05 p.m.) — With a trip to Colorado State looming on the schedule in Week 2, it will be advisable for the Hornets to try and wrap this one up early. Former Del Oro standouts Ben Chandler, Bill Sherman and Brian Heath are all in the playing mix for the Green and Gold. Monday, Sept. 1: Having a relaxing Labor Day and pull up a chair … Fresno State at Rutgers (1 p.m.) — This is an ESPN-derived contest that came about when Kansas State of the Big 12 opted out of a home game. Yes, a home game in Manhat-tan, Kan., against Fresno, who handed the Wildcats a 45-29 drubbing on Thanksgiving weekend a year ago. If Fresno plans to make a run at BCS honors, it starts here against a solid Rutgers team. Saturday, Sept. 6: If you have an extra four hours of time on your hands … Texas Tech at Nevada (6:05 p.m.) — If there’s one thing for sure about this intriguing match up, it’s that the Red Raiders from Lubbock are going to put the ball in the air. Tech quarterback Graham Harrell returns for his third season after be-coming just the sixth player in NCAA history to throw for more than 5,000 yards in a season as a junior in 2007. In two seasons, Harrell has thrown 86 touchdown passes. On the re-ceiving end of Harrell’s tosses will be consensus All-American Michael Crabtree, who amassed the best receiving statistics of any freshman in NCAA history. All Crabtree did in ’07 was catch 134 of Harrell’s passes for 1,962 yards and 22 touchdowns. Best Road Trip: San Jose State at Nebraska. Saturday, Sept. 13: Do they get any bigger than this … Wisconsin at Fresno State (7:30 p.m.) — The Badgers become the first Big Ten team to venture into Bulldog Sta-dium and they’re doing it grudgingly. Firsthand information has it that the Cheese-heads wanted to pay mucho dollars to the Bulldogs and move the game to cheesy Lambeau Field in Green Bay. “Thanks … but no thanks,” said Fresno coach Pat Hill. Best Road Trip: Colfax High vs. Minico, Idaho in Pocatello. Saturday, Sept. 20: Hawaiian Punch Bowl II… CCSF at Sierra College (1 p.m.) — In their first-ever appearance in Rocklin, the defending state community college champion City Col-lege of San Francisco Rams will test Sierra College in a rematch of the NorCal championship game won by CCSF. A bevy of former Colfax High standouts including Chris Briasco (’05), Ronnie Davidson, (’05), Justain Chas-tain (’07) and Alex Rump (’07) will be in the mix for the Wolverines who went 9-2 a year ago. Best Road Trip: San Jose State at Stanford. Saturday, Sept. 27: Big Sky Challengers … Portland State at Sacra-mento State (2:05 p.m.) — Former Colfax High linebacker Colton Russi (’08) and the Vikings invade Hornets Stadium for a Big Sky showdown. Both schools need a win here to try to make a run at contending for conference honors with the likes of Montana and Eastern Washington. Best Road Game: Fresno State at UCLA. Saturday, Oct. 4: ’Cats In Berkeley Arizona State at Cal — It didn’t take long for vagabond coach Dennis Erickson (49ers, Idaho, Oregon State, Miami, Seahawks) to resurrect Ari-zona State from the ashes. This early season Pac-10 confrontation could tell whether the Golden Bears are contenders or pretenders in ’08. Best Home Game: Hawaii at Fresno State. Saturday, Oct. 11: Fall jaunt to Reno New Mexico State at Nevada (1:05 p.m.) — Another team that likes to throw the football comes to Reno as “Air Mumme,” the nickname for coach Hal Mumme’s NMS Wildcats offense. On the Nevada side of the ledger, McCoy, the ex-Colfax Falcon, enters the season for the Wolfpack with 60 career catches for 1,174 yards and 15 touchdowns. Best Road Game: UCLA at Oregon. Saturday, Oct. 18: Opening Defense … San Joaquin Delta at Sierra (1 p.m.) — The Wolverines open defense of their Valley Conference championship with the always-tough Mustangs from Stockton. Best Road Game: Utah State at Nevada. Friday, Oct. 24: Boise State Takedown? … Boise State at San Jose State (5 p.m.) ESPN — The last two trips to San Jose have seen the Broncos taken to the wire by the Spartans as SJS pushed Boise to two overtimes (56-49) in 2004 and 23-20 in 2006. Saturday, Oct. 25: Battle of the Bears UCLA at Cal (TBA) — Rick Neuheisel is back at UCLA with offensive guru Norm Chow calling the plays. This game could go along way in making the Bruins or the Bears bowl eligible down the road. Best Bet Closer To Home: North Dakota at UC Davis (6 p.m.) … Best Road Trip: Nevada at Hawaii. Saturday, Nov. 1: VC Battle In Rocklin Fresno City College at Sierra, 1 p.m. — It is starting to appear early on that the championship of the Valley Conference either goes through Fresno or Rocklin. The winner of this game can probably start making bowl preparations … Best Home Road Game: Oregon at California Also, mark these down: Friday, Nov. 7 Nevada at Fresno State Saturday, Nov. 8 Sacramento State at UC Davis (55th Causeway Classic) 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 15 San Jose at Reno, USC at Stanford; College of Sequioas at Sierra Saturday, Nov. 22 Boise State at Nevada – Last year’s game was 69-67 Boise in 4 OT. Have fun!!!!