College Football Arriving Soon!
by Amy Lignor
Ask any college football fan and they will tell you that it seems like an eternity waiting for the season to begin. But, have no fear, the kick-off to the college season is almost here, with Colorado State and Oregon State hitting the field on Saturday, August 26th at 2:30 p.m. ET. On the same day, fans of Oregon State and Colorado State will see an active match-up, and Portland State vs. BYU will also be a huge viewer draw. Add in the 6:00 p.m. game of Hawaii at UMass and the 7:30 p.m. game of South Florida vs. San Jose State – and you are most definitely looking at a full, much-needed, long-awaited day of the colleges you love getting back to gridiron business.
So…already have all the answers? Will there be a repeat? Will teams like Penn State come out still riding high on what was most definitely their late-season momentum that fans loved? Many already have answers to these (or, at least, they have their hopes and dreams where these answers are concerned). But it remains that it is far too early to say “this will happen.” It is not too early, however, to take a look at the teams that many experts say are the top contenders this season.
Let us start with the Crimson Tide. Alabama has many positive things going for them. With a phenomenal young QB, a RB that is truly a “hit” on the field, and an elite defense, Alabama is in more than just “good” shape this time out.
When it comes to Oklahoma, the latest news is that Chris Robison (QB) has been dismissed from the team following a violation of team rules. A four-star member of Oklahoma’s 2017 recruiting class, Robison was arrested in April for public intoxication the night after Oklahoma’s spring game. Will it matter? Not at all, actually. Sooners’ fans were already rejoicing that QB Baker Mayfield chose to return to Norman for this, his senior year. Mayfield just needs a new target to throw to, seeing as Biletnikoff Award winner Dede Westbrook said so long to Norman on graduation day. Running backs Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon are also gone this time around. But even with those departures, Oklahoma was on a proverbial hot streak down the stretch last season, with ten straight wins. Anything can happen.
When it comes to Florida State, all eyes are on that freshman QB star Deondre Francois. Ending with a win over Michigan in the Orange Bowl, the Florida State Seminoles’ QB is surrounded by a talented offensive line. Even though losing all-time leading rusher Dalvin Cook will be hard to overcome, they will. And it also helps that the majority of starters on defense will be back.
Penn State is truly back to “Happy Valley” status after a remarkable 2016 season that almost ended in a Rose Bowl title. A second-straight Big Ten title is most definitely on their radar, especially with the incredible duo of McSorley and Barkley within a now experienced offense.
Yes, the defense will have to step it up, and the offense has to put a halt to those slow starts that cause them trouble.
You can’t write a college football article without mentioning the name Harbaugh in it – fans have proved that to be a fact, so we must mention Michigan. QB Wilton Speight was “good enough” under center for Michigan, before getting hurt, of course, late in the season. But just for fans to wear smiles on their faces once again, which hadn’t happened in a long time until Coach Jim Harbaugh arrived two years ago, is a great thing to see. But Harbaugh will not have an easy time of it. He has some hurdles to jump, seeing as that 10 out of 11 starters on Michigan’s defense are on the departure list, including their weapon, Jabrill Peppers. But it’s not out of the ballpark to say that Michigan could literally do their roster overhaul extremely well and make it to the CFP semifinals. Speight will be back under center, and if they can just best those Buckeyes and get over that rivalry hurdle, Michigan will have a shot at its first conference title in more than a decade.
When it comes to a repeat, Clemson is definitely a bet people are already making. Ferrell returns, even though the loss of Deshaun Watson is a big hit. Clemson’s offense shouldn’t fall too far behind, but it is really the gleam of that uber-experienced defense that makes Clemson a prime contender.
But whatever happens, all that’s frustrating fans right now is how far away August 26th feels.
Source: Baret News