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Random Thoughts From Around the Country: College Football is Back!

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Alabama looks to defend their title.

CFP National Championship presented by AT&T - Alabama v Georgia Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Now, that wasn’t so bad, was it? Normally, the offseason feels like an eternity. However this past one did not seem so bad. Perhaps it was the way the Crimson Tide sent their fans off with a mind-blowing unexpected winning touchdown on 2nd and 26. It totally caught everyone off guard: announcers, fans, even the players. If you look at Tua after his pass, there is just a subtle hand gesture at first. It looked like it didn’t immediately sink in what he had just done. Were you like me, watching in a moment of disbelief turned wild exhilaration?

The page has turned and we start anew. Prepare yourselves for the next roller coaster season that is college football. The REAL season kicks off on Saturday, September 1st. 129 teams start a journey of hopeful glory. 64 of those 129 are P5. Of those 64, realistically it comes down to around two dozen or so legitimate contenders for the Big Beer Tap Trophy.

NCAA Football: CFP National Championship-Alabama Celebration Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

A FEW BURNING QUESTIONS

A Tale of Two Kellys

On the west coast, we have Chip Kelly begrudgingly slinking back to the college ranks after a disastrous venture into the NFL (28-35, 0-1 in the post-season). The new UCLA coach REALLY wanted to be Pete Carroll and not have to return to college. He took the Bruins job after sitting on his arse for a year until he realized no pro team wanted anything to do with him anymore.

Does he still have a passion for coaching the college game and all the job entails?

Kelly left Oregon soon after his 49th birthday with some vim and vigor. Now at age 54, he has start all over again at a school that SHOULD win big but never seems to.

In the rust belt, we have Brian Kelly unbelievably beginning his ninth year in South Bend. So many high hopes have been dashed by so much disappointment.

How many wins in 2018 saves his job?

The rosy-faced Notre Dame coach has survived an embarrassing loss to Alabama in the 2012 National Championship game, a 4-8 campaign in 2016, forfeiture of wins from 2011 and 2012 due to academic violations, the Lizzy Seeberg scandal, a student filming practice falling to his death from a hydraulic lift, and other unfortunate incidents in South Bend. If the Irish put up another 8 or 9-win season, is that enough? Their toughest games are Michigan, Stanford, @VaTech, FSU and @So Cal. Kelly’s contract runs through the 2021 season.

UGA Hangover

Speaking of disappointment, Georgia was spoon-fed a heaping helping of disappointment in January.

Can they put last season’s last play failure behind them and stay among the elite?

The one thing that may be harder than getting to the championship game is getting back to the championship game. Teams like Texas, LSU, and Notre Dame found themselves back with the also-rans shortly after losing in the title game. Even though their recruiting continued to be strong, there was a gradual decline. Clemson and Alabama have defied those odds.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim v Oakland Athletics Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

ONE & DONE

Oklahoma has put all their eggs in the Kyler Murray basket. The Sooners quarterback has already secured his future in pro baseball as a first round selection of the Oakland A’s. He signed a contract with the Athletics which includes a $4.66 million signing bonus. Murray will play one more season of football but forgo his senior season and instead report to spring training in 2019. This is a big gamble for Okie. You have to wonder about his attitude and I’m not so sure I would blame him.

After one hard hit, what’s stopping Murray from shutting it down in midseason?

We already see selfish lame-wads sitting out bowl games. Don’t be surprised if Murray decides to hang up the football spikes before the season concludes.

TCU v West Virginia Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

I have long-contended that West Virginia made a mistake joining the Big XII due to the long distances of their opponents. It was a good move to leave the sinking ship Big East for a P5 conference but they should have angled for one that didn’t have all the other teams three to five states away.

This year the Mountaineers could be a dangerous team in the Big XII. QB Will Grier is getting some love as well as the highly-touted wide receiver duo of Gary Jennings (97 rec 1096 yds, 1 TD) and David Sills (60-980, 18 TDs).

Is this the year the Mountaineers win the Big XII?

Texas still isn’t back. Oklahoma will be vulnerable. Okie State lost a ton of starters. TCU will be tough but it could be wide open in the B12.

DEATH TO THE MULLET

Mike Gundy has put together some strong teams at Oklahoma State but has never been able to get over that hump. Last year was supposed to be one of his most competitive but again, the Cowpokes managed to screw it up. Billionaire a-hole T. Boone Pickens is 90 frickin years old and probably will never see a championship for all the money he has slushed into the program.

Has Gundy gotten stale in Stillwater?

For a couple of years, Gundy has been sporting a stupid mullet. It was funny for a second and I guess he thought it was a good way to draw attention to his program. But he kept the “party-in-back” cut a little too long (both in length and time). Although, he has recently trimmed it a little, one has to wonder if their is a loss of respect for the clownish behavior. Recently, he brought his dog to a press conference. How did that bring-your-pet-to-work thing work for Bo Pellini?

While it would be hard to fire a guy who has three straight 10-3 seasons, he is clearly never going to bring a championship back to Stillwater. We’ve seen similar successes of Les Miles and Steve Spurrier suddenly drop off a cliff. After a while, you start to see the signs of desperation and a coach who has run out of tricks.

THE GREAT DICTATOR

For some unknown reason, K-State allows their 78-year old head coach Bill Snyder to dictate when he leaves and continue the mediocrity. They will never be as good as Kansas in basketball, and if they are not careful the Jayhawks could catch up to them in football.

Why does K-State keep Bill Snyder around?

Yes, he wins enough games to go to a bowl game every year and apparently runs a clean program, but is that all there is? Don’t they want more? The longer they let him stick around, the harder it is going to be to get rid of him. Imagine if something dire were to happen to him during a game and he collapsed on the sidelines. An in-game ending would do far more damage than firing everybody’s granddaddy.

NCAA Football: Hawaii at Colorado State Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

WEEK 0

Week 0 got a jumpstart on the college football season last Saturday. I don’t know about you but if it isn’t P5, I have a hard time getting excited about these games. I think Nick Saban has not only spoiled me rotten and elevated my expectations through the roof for Alabama football, he has done so for football in general. I have now come to expect a certain level of play. I am the worst, right?

UMass 63 Duquesne 15 - I didn’t even know these schools HAD football teams.

Rice-A-Roni 31 Pure Prairie View League 28 - The Owls entered the 4th quarter down 28-19.

Hawaii 43 Colorado State 34 - This outcome was a surprise. The 17-point underdog Rainbow Warriors jumped out to a 37-7 lead and held on for the road win. Former Washington Huskies back-up QB K.J. Carta-Samuels passed 34/50 for 537 yards, 5 TD and an INT for the Rams. Hawaii’s Cole McDonald was 26/37 418-3-0. He also ran for 96 yards and scored a pair on the ground. It doesn’t get any easier for CSU. The next three games are Colorado, Arkansas, and Florida. Mike Bobo better get his ish together.

Wyoming 29 New Mexico State 7 - With Josh Allen on his way to beating out AJ McCarron in Buffalo, the Cowboys leaned on their running game, pounding out 312 yards and 3 TDs to take down the Aggies. Below was about the most exciting thing to happen for NMSU.

THE WACKY WORLD OF DESMOND HOWARD

He’s baaaack. Guess who Desi predicted to win it all this year. I will give you a hint: it rhymes with Shmichigan. You may recall last season his selections to win the P5 conferences were Stanford, Georgia, Wisconsin, Miami, and Okie State. He was 1 for 5.

College GameDay conference and playoff picks for this year:

  • DESI - Alabama, Clemson, Michigan, West Virginia, Washington. Mich over WVU; Bama over UW; Mich over Bama.
  • CORSO - Georgia, Clemson, Wisconsin, Texas, Washington. Clemson over UW; Wisky over UGA; Wisky over Clemson.
  • HERBIE - Alabama, Clemson, Penn State, Oklahoma, Washington. Bama over UW; Clemson over PSU; Bama over Clemson.

MY PICKS

  • Alabama, Clemson, Penn State, Oklahoma, Washington. Bama over Okie; Clemson over PSU; Bama over Clemson.
    Give us your picks in comments. Winner gets a New Mexico State kicking tee (one owner)!

BAMA STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE

Let’s be honest. This is one of the lamest OOC for the Crimson Tide schedule in years. However, it is a non-P5 that might pose the biggest challenge.

  • Louisville - The Cardinals are picked to be fourth in the ACC Atlantic division.
  • Arkansas State - Quarterback Justice Hansen will be a big test for the Tide secondary. The Oklahoma transfer is not shy about putting the ball up in the air. He totaled 3,967 yards passing for the Red Wolves in 2017. The senior had the fourth most TDs in the nation with 37 and the third most interceptions at 16. This gunslinger has thrown at least one touchdown pass in 17 consecutive games.
  • La-Laf - The Ragin’ Cajuns are ranked #106 by CBS. Everybody plays in this one.
  • Citadel - bleh.

ADOPT-A-TEAM

Let us hear who you want to adopt this year. It might take a few games to get a good handle on it. I’m keeping an eye on Hawaii.

Last year, we did pretty well with San Diego State (10-3) and Memphis (10-3). We also jumped on the Elon (8-4) bandwagon a little late in the season due to their head coach Curt Cignetti who coached Alabama WRs from 2007-2010.

COUSINS

  • I was a bit surprised that Troy (11-2) coach Neal Brown (21-5 the last two seasons) was not a candidate for some of the P5 coaching openings. But good for the Trojans. They enter the season as the favorites to win their division. Troy hosts Boise on Saturday.
  • Head coach Joey Jones stepped down at South Alabama following a 4-8 season. Former Central Arkansas coach Steve Campbell takes over. It might be a long season for the Jags.

THAT ANNOYING STEP-BROTHER

UAB (8-5) - Both of the Blazers fans were thrilled with the 8-4 regular season. The 41-6 throttling at the hands of Ohio in the Bahamas Bowl was another story.

RS-Patriot

SALUTE TO OUR TROOPS

  • Navy (7-6) The Midshipmen had a bad case of the injury bug last season.
  • Army (10-3) - The Black Knights were incredible in 2017.
  • Air Force (5-7) - The Falcons hope to bounce back from a disappointing season.
boxers

ELIMINATED

All non-Power 5 teams.
Ole Miss

THE CONTENDERS

Everybody is 0-0. They all have the same chance. Right? LoL. No, not really.

A way WAY WAY too early look at the College Football Playoff (CFP) picture:

It is quite a feat that in the four years of the College Football Playoff, no two-loss team has made it into the playoff. This year might continue that trend.

  • ACC - Clemson is the clear favorite here. Miami has a shot. Va Tech always seems to miss out. FSU is rebuilding.
  • Big Ten - It is wide open in Scandalville. Penn State, Ohio State, Wisky, Michigan, Michigan State will all vie for the conference championship.
  • Big 12 - Okie will again be strong. WVU will be good but probably not good enough. TCU always seems to be the bridesmaid. Texas isn’t back just yet. Don’t forget the Longhorns lost a home game to Maryland by 10 just 12 months ago.
  • PAC-12 - It’s Washington, Southern Cal and nothing. Oregon is still rebuilding. Stanford is still Second-Place Stanford.
  • SEC - Alabama and UGA are the stalwarts for the league. Some team like Florida, South Carolina, MSU or Aubie could surprise.
  • Indies - Notre Dame will probably have to run the table for a chance to be curbstomped by Alabama again.

RANK ‘EM IF YOU GOT ‘EM

Here is my half-ass as-of-now ranking:

  1. Alabama
  2. Clemson
  3. Georgia
  4. Penn State
  5. Ohio State

LET’S GO BOWLING

The SEC has ten bowl tie-ins. Expect them to fill this order with Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, LSU, Mississippi State, Missouri, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas A&M. Kentucky also has an outside shot. Arkansas and Vanderbilt will probably not make it, Ole Miss is on a bowl ban.

The NCAA has not learned their lesson . There will be a superfluous 40 bowl games in addition to the National Championship. That is 80 teams (62% of all FBS teams) making the post-season. There are talks of adding three new bowl games in 2020 including one at Wrigley Field; Because who doesn’t want to feel those cool December breezes blowing off Lake Michigan while watching Eastern Michigan play Akron?

STAT OF THE DAY

Hawaii and Colorado State combined for 1270 yards and 107 points.

Krazy Kristi’s “SHUT UP!” of the Week goes to anyone and everyone associate with thatOSU. Disgusting.

Gump 4 Heisman

HEISMAN HYPE

With the exception of TWO YEARS, the Heisman Trophy voting is basically a hype award. Often times voters fall in love with someone way too early. That being the case, we’ll bring you “Who Will Win” and “Who Should Win”.

Who Will Win Candidates -

  • Bryce Love (RB Stanford) remarkably came back for his senior season. If he can keep away from the injury bug and put up big numbers, he will be the favorite.
  • Jonathan Taylor (RB Wisconsin) - Seems like every year Wisky has a hyped RB who turns into an NFL bust.
  • Will Grier (QB West Virginia) - Should get some talk but he plays for WVU...
  • Khalil Tate (QB Arizona) - An exciting player but he may have hurt himself by shooting his mouth (Twitter) off.
  • Ed Oliver (DT Houston) will not win but he could be a finalists because the Hypesman voters think they are so clever.
  • Tua Tagovailoa (QB Alabama) - Have you heard of this guy?

Who Should Win -
If Tua blows it up and the Tide goes undefeated, I could see his name called.

NCAA Football: Alabama Spring Game-A-Day Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

THE SICK REPORT

  • For Alabama OL Matt Womack (foot), LB Terrell Lewis (ACL), and LB Christopher Allen (knee) are out. RB Najee Harris (leg) and DB Daniel Wright (shoulder) are questionable Saturday vs Louisville.
  • Top returning Louisville WR Jaylen Smith underwent emergency surgery for an appendectomy on August 3. Coach Bobby “Easy Rider” Petrino believes he will play on Saturday. he caught 60 passes for 980 yards and seven touchdowns in 2017.
  • True freshman 5-star RB Zamir White is out for season for UGA with an ACL tear. It was hoped that he would start or be #2 to D’Andre Swift.
  • Ole Miss WR A.J. Brown has a nagging hamstring but is probable Saturday vs Texas Tech. Running back D’Vaughn Pennamon is still working his way back from last season’s knee injury and will not play.
  • Miami tight end Michael Irvin II will be out up to four months with a knee injury.

FROM THE BLOTTER

  • Wisconsin will be down a pair of top returning WRs. Danny Davis is serving a 2-game suspension. His roommate Quintez Cephus was charged with felony sexual assault following an incident last April involving two women at his apartment. Thanks to the sleazefest going on Columbus, Wisky has been able to keep this on the down-low. What next from the B1G? Child sex slave trafficking? Cephus is the Badgers top returning receiver (30-501, 6 TDs). Davis was 26-418, 5 TDs.
  • Mizzou has a TE named Messiah Swinson. He is out for the season with an ACL tear. (Your blasphemous joke here.)
  • Head coach Joe Moorhead will sit Nick Fitzgerald for Mississippi State’s opener against Stephen F. Austin. Fitzgerald committed the sin of the dreaded “violation of team rules” back in March. At least he didn’t aid and abed a wife-beater. Starting defensive tackle Cory Thomas and backup offensive guard Michael Story are also out for the opening game with suspensions.
  • LSU DB Kristian Fulton had the second year of his suspension lifted after filing a waiver. Seriously, has the NCAA ever denied a waiver??? Asking for a friend who is QB at WVU, and another who is now a WR at UGA, and another QB who is on his third school.
  • Six UCLA football players have been suspended for opener against Cincinnati for unspecified “violations of Athletic Department policies.”

STARTING QBs

  • Kelly Bryant has been named the starter for Clemson’s opener vs Furman over Wonderboy Trevor Lawrence.
  • Poor Dan Mullen is stuck with starting Feleipe Franks at Florida.
  • It should be no surprise that Ohio State transfer Joe Burrow got the call at a LSU.
  • In Pigville, it’s Cole Kelley who saw extensive play last season.
  • Deondre Francois has been named the starter at FSU. I didn’t realize that needed to be clarified.
  • In a bit of a surprise, Jimbo Fisher named Kellen Mond the starter at Texas A&M over Nick Starkel.
  • 5-star true freshman JT Daniels will start for Southern Cal.
  • Some scumbag at thatOSU named Dwayne Haskins the starter over Tate Martell.

Black and White TV

Don’t you find it interesteing the Saturday Prime Time ABC game is a one that might be over at halftime in Bama vs ‘Ville? You would think #6 UW vs #9 Aubie would be the big game, but Disney knows who brings the eyeballs.

(Below is an abbreviated list of games of interest)

Thursday, August 30:
UCF at UConn 6pm/7pm ESPNU - I wonder if UCF will print up t-shirts after this game.
Northwestern at Purdue 7pm/8pm ESPN - The Boilmakers improved last year. Will they continue their ascent?
Northwestern State at Texas A&M 7:30/8:30 SECN - How many points will Jimbo run up?

Friday, August 31:
Utah State at Michigan State 6pm/7pm BTN - Does anyone have the B1G Network???
Army at Duke 6pm/7pm ESPNU - The Mike Krzyzewski Classic.
Western Kentucky at Wisconsin 8pm/9pm ESPN - Preview Wisky RB Jonathan Taylor.
San Diego State at Stanford 8pm/9pm FS1 - The Aztecs have had double-digit wins each of the last three seasons.
Colorado vs Colorado State (Denver, CO) 8:30/9:30 CBSSN - Rivalry game.

Saturday, Sept 1:

SEC:

Ole Miss vs. Texas Tech in Houston 11am/noon ESPN - This is OM’s bowl game.
Coastal Carolina at South Carolina 11am/noon SECN - pass.
Washington vs. Auburn in Atlanta 2:30/3:30 ABC - ** Maybe the game of the day. **
Tennessee vs West Virginia (Charlotte) 2:30/3:30 CBS - ** Get the second TV out. **
Austin Peay at Georgia 2:30/3:30 ESPN - Beth Mowins WARNING!
Central Michigan at Kentucky 2:30/3:30 ESPNU - nope.
Eastern Illinois at Arkansas 3pm/4pm SECN - zzzz...
UT-Martin at Missouri 3pm/4pm SECN Alt - uh-uh.
SF Austin at Mississippi State 6:30/7:30 ESPNU - ugh.
Charleston Southern at Florida 6:30/7:30 SECN - bleh.
Middle Tennessee at Vanderbilt 6:30/7:30 SECN Alt - meh.

NATIONAL

Oregon State at Ohio State 11am/noon ABC
FAU! at Oklahoma 11am/noon FOX - Lane Kiffin versus Lincoln Riley.
Texas at Maryland 11am/noon FS1 - Remember this?
James Madison at NC State 11am/noon ESPNU - This could be an interesting one with FCS power JMU against highly-regarded Wolfpack quarterback Ryan Finley.
North Carolina at Cal 3pm/4pm FOX - Poor Fox. This is all they could get.
Boise at Troy 5pm/6pm ESPNews - How did Troy talk the Smurfs into a home game?
Cincinnati at UCLA 6pm/7pm ESPN - The Chipster’s debut in LaLaLand.
Michigan at Notre Dame 6:30/7:30 NBC - Loser will be behind the 8-ball the rest of the season.
Bowling Green at Oregon 7pm/8pm PAC12 - Former Tide assistant Mario Cristobal makes his non-interim debut in Eugene.
Akron at Nebraska 7pm/8pm FOX - The Scott Frost era begins in Lincoln.

INSOMNIACS

UTSA at Arizona State 9:30/10:30 FS1 - Will head coach Herm Edwards be a revelation or a train wreck?
BYU at Arizona 9:45/10:45 ESPN - Khalil Tate and Kevin Sumlin.
Navy at Hawaii 10pm/11pm CBSSN - I’m guessing there will be a few Pearl Harbor references.

Sunday, Sept 2:
Miami vs. LSU in Arlington 6:30/7:30 ABC - Meltdown in Red Stick in 3, 2, 1...

Monday, Sept 3:
Virginia Tech at Florida State 7pm/8pm ESPN - Willie Taggart steps into the spotlight.

CFP National Championship presented by AT&T - Alabama v Georgia
Who wants some of this?
Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

#ALABAMA

GAME 1 - Saturday, September 1, 2018, 7pm/8pm

Louisville vs. Alabama

Orlando, FL
ABC - Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit, Maria Taylor.

#RollTide!

Poll

Tenn vs WVU and Aub vs Wash winners?

This poll is closed

  • 7%
    Tenn and Aub
    (39 votes)
  • 42%
    WVU and UW
    (220 votes)
  • 4%
    Tenn and Wash
    (24 votes)
  • 44%
    WVU and Aub
    (229 votes)
512 votes total Vote Now