Fall weddings. They are a scourge for college football fans. But with their ambient, cooperative weather and leaf turning, they are quite pleasant for all others concerned. Getting stuck going to one during the season, especially for those in their late-20s or early-30s, is inevitable. Missing an important college football game can put quite the damper on an otherwise pleasant event.
Here are the five worst weekends to miss for someone else’s nuptials. Hopefully, no wedding you’ll attend will fall on these dates. Maybe you can get away with just sending a gift?
Week 13 (Nov. 25)
Only a sadist would schedule their wedding this weekend. First, it’s claiming Thanksgiving, indisputably a family holiday, for your own. That’s presumptuous enough. It’s forcing everyone you love to travel on the most hectic travel weekend of the year. It’s forcing everyone to get into dresses and formal wear 48 hours after Thanksgiving.
That’s all before you get to it being rivalry week for college football. If you aren’t bothered by missing the Iron Bowl or Michigan vs. Ohio State, are you even a college football fan? There’s the Civil War, the Apple Cup, etc. etc. Kevin Sumlin may be coaching for his job at LSU. Almost always, this ends up being the finest college football weekend of the season. A wedding may be a “reevaluate your ties with this person” situation.
Week 2 (Sept. 9)
In years past, the second week was a write off. Not so much in 2017. The day games won’t rouse anyone. You can get through the ceremony and cocktails without much of an issue unless you are invested in Penn State vs. Pitt. But the nighttime, during the reception, will be a killer. Ohio State vs. Oklahoma and Stanford vs. USC are the headliners. There’s also Auburn vs. Clemson, Georgia vs. Notre Dame, the Holy War, and a solid nightcap of Boise State vs. Washington State.
This won’t be a “sneak video on your phone, and you’ll be all right” scenario. You need to pray for a wireless connection and perhaps a hotel bar showing at least one of the games. Then you would still need a phone, laptop, and a tablet. Then you have to figure out how you are also going to follow Twitter. The logistics may get so overwhelming that you break down, take the loss, enjoy an evening with friends and loved ones, and try for better luck the next week.
Week 1 (Sept. 2)
The wait is over. It’s the legitimate opening weekend. Stanford vs. Rice the week before doesn’t count. You are so starved for college football that Ohio State vs. Indiana on Thursday night feels like a marquee event. This is not the weekend you want to spend away from the TV. Nor, since it should be the hottest point of the season, is it the one you want to spend sweating it out in an outdoor setting or a poorly air conditioned religious complex.
Michigan vs. Florida is the appetizer course before Florida State vs. Alabama on Saturday night. The bright spot is that it’s Labor Day weekend. There’s a reasonable chance the wedding is on a Sunday. Schedule your traveling in the morning.
Week 11 (Nov. 11)
The good news? You should make it back from the rehearsal dinner for most of Washington vs. Stanford at 10:30 p.m. ET on Friday night. Leave it to the Pac-12 to find a prime timeslot for what may be a Top 10 matchup.
The bad news? FSU vs. Clemson, a potential playoff eliminator, is that Saturday. So is Catholics vs. Convicts redux with Notre Dame and Miami. Georgia vs. Auburn and LSU vs. Arkansas could be significant. Michigan State vs. Ohio State has upset potential. There’s TCU vs. Oklahoma. There’s Iowa vs. Wisconsin for the true Big Ten fetishist. And, of course, we’d be remiss if we left out the Civil Conflict between UCF and UConn.
Week 3 (Sept. 16)
Football schedulers finally figured out fans want to watch real football games in September. There are four big, not to miss games this weekend. Clemson vs. Louisville and Tennessee vs. Florida are both 3:30. Miami vs. FSU and Texas vs. USC are happening concurrently at night.
It’s not clear yet which of those teams will be relevant for the playoff picture. But these are the games which will help determine that. One could argue the game lists on Oct. 21 or Nov. 4 look worse. However, some of those will be rendered less relevant by the time you get there.
BEST WEDDING WEEKENDS
Sept. 23: Some solid non-conference matchups, but nothing marquee. Best matchup, maybe Texas A&M vs. Arkansas? Notre Dame vs. MSU may be the headliner. Those teams won seven games last year combined.
Sept. 30: Weak collection of games. It doesn’t look like Ole Miss will be equipped for another run at Bama. Georgia vs. Tennessee and Clemson vs. Virginia Tech are the two “big” games if that doesn’t materialize.
Oct. 28: You’re playing with fire here. But there’s a chance you may come out A-OK. There are two big potential games. There’s a reasonable chance neither Georgia nor Florida matters by this point. There’s also a decent shot Penn State loses to Michigan and then gets crushed by a vengeful Ohio State at home coming off a bye.