The Hypocrisy of College Football

Eric Gay/ AP

Eric Gay/ AP

College football is my favorite sport and there is probably nothing that can change it, but the hypocrisy of college football is getting out of hand. I fully understand coaches breaking those hundreds of promises they make to players every year, like Ed Oliver, and leave “small” schools and go to “big” schools. They are chasing money and accomplishments. Nothing wrong with that. Everyone person in America has their right to pursue prosperity, except college football players.

It seems silly to me when coaches can go and get a future job, when he already has a preexisting job at school.

*cough Lane Kiffin cough*

He still has a possibility to coach two more games. But when Leonard Fournette and Christian McCaffery decide not to play in a meaningless bowl game, everyone wants to “protect the intergrity of the game.” That’s a bunch of bologna.

Courtesy of USATSI

Courtesy of USATSI

Think about last year’s Fiesta Bowl game, when Ohio State played Norte Dame. Former standout linebacker Jaylon Smith completely obliterated his knee playing in a big time bowl. Now look at him.

Was he drafted? Yes. Did Notre Dame do right by Smith? Yes, Notre Dame did properly compensate the former linebacker.

But, that $900,000 will never compare to the money a healthy Smith would have made in the NFL. He has even said himself that if he could go back to January 1, 2016, he would play again. Even though Smith feels that way about his and his former teammates, he still forwent his senior year and entered the draft.

But of course, he would play the game again. It was the Fiesta Bowl against Ezekiel Elliott, Michael Thomas, Braxton Miller, and other prime offensive players from The Ohio State University in a New Year’s Six Bowl. It was a huge stage to play on. That game was a barometer test for him. NFL scouts wanted to see if he could tackle and cover a great running back like Elliott. He needed that game.

Fournette and McCaffrey do not need to play in their bowl games to show their worth. Fournette has been a top five pick since last year. And after McCaffrey’s last year Rose Bowl 368 all-purpose yard performance, he needs to show nothing else.

If NFL GMs don’t want to pick them just because they skipped one game, that’s their prerogative. But I would ask them this question: What if they both played their bowl game and entered the draft, as juniors, wouldn’t they still be “quitting” on their team?

Bill Feig/ Advocate.com

Bill Feig/ Advocate.com

Cary Edmondson/ USA TODAY Sports

Cary Edmondson/ USA TODAY Sports

I love College Football but I am not blind to the hypocrisy of college football. They let coaches leave schools under contract and coach the next year, but if Ed Oliver wanted to leave Houston he would have to wait a year to play college football again. That’s not fair. And neither is frowning upon players who want to not harm their NFL draft stock. If these players want to finally pursue a purse, what’s so wrong with that?

College Football Teams as Thanksgiving Food

The top four in College Football are the Alabama Crimson Tide, the Ohio State Buckeyes, the Michigan Wolverines, and the Clemson Tigers. Some of the most famous Thanksgiving foods are turkey, macaroni and cheese, dressing, and stuffing. So which team is which food? It’s team to dig in. FYI: There is a difference in dressing and stuffing.

Alabama Crimson Tide- Turkey

Courtesy of Odyssey Online

Courtesy of Odyssey Online

Alabama is obviously the turkey. The Crimson Tide is the main course of the College Football season.

As college football fans, hate it or love it, we are waiting to watch the Tide every season. Every season, turkey is the marquee food everyone is waiting to eat. You might love your dressing, stuffing, or macaroni and cheese, but to make your Thanksgiving good, you need turkey. Alabama has been the “main dish” at the College Football table for about 10 years.

Ohio State Buckeyes- Stuffing

Rick Barnes/ US Presswire

Rick Barnes/ US Presswire

Ohio State is the stuffing, not the dressing.

According to Fitday.com, the difference is that stuffing is stuffed into the turkey and takes in some of the juices from the turkey. For many years, Urban Meyer coached against Nick Saban in the SEC and they had a pretty good rivalry in the 2000’s. In those years, both coaches learned a little something from each other. So when you bite into either the turkey or the stuffing, you will taste some of the same flavors because both Thanksgiving items spent so much time together.

When you watch Ohio State and Alabama, there are some similarities. One of the main similarities is that both teams’ dominance in their respective conferences. Both teams are tops in the nation when it comes to wins and recruiting. They attract people to the table.

Michigan Wolverines- Dressing

Patrick Semansky/ AP

Patrick Semansky/ AP

Michigan is the dressing because they make their own unique taste.

Fitday’s description of dressing is when you place it in a greased pan and bake it. Dressing is by itself and makes its unique taste. Jim Harbaugh is definitely unique and makes his own style. But even though there is a difference on how it is prepared it is very similar to stuffing. Just like how Michigan and Ohio State have some similarities.

Both teams are in the Big Ten for starters. Both teams have coaches prepare their teams differently but the result on the field is almost identical.

Coach Harbaugh brings a certain intensity that makes his team fear losing and only strive for the greatest. Coach Meyer has a sense of calmness about him and that makes his team very confident when they hit the field. Both coaches make their teams feel like they are the best on any field or against any team. If you didn’t see or know how both teams prepared, you would think they were very similar.

Clemson Tigers- Macaroni and Cheese

Courtesy of AL.com

Courtesy of AL.com

The Clemson Tigers are macaroni and cheese. Macaroni and cheese is one of those Thanksgiving food items that needs to be made by the same person every year.

We have all had that aunt or uncle that elects to make the macaroni and cheese but everyone in the family knows your mother’s mac and cheese is better. That is what Clemson is for many people. One year they could be 14-1 and only lose to Alabama in the National Championship. The next year, they could struggle against Troy, North Carolina State, and lose to Pittsburgh.

Many people think Clemson is just too unpredictable and that turns them off. That is the same thing with macaroni and cheese on Thanksgiving. You never know how good it is until you bite into. It could “14-1” good or “10-1” decent.

 

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“From Our House to Yours”

Heisman Watch

It is mid-October, which means the College Football season is heating up. We truly have a good enough body of work to look at which players are ready for a run at the legendary 25-pound trophy named Heisman.

And in no particular order, here are the players I have on my Heisman Watch List. Every week, even if I don’t write about it, I always talk about my Heisman Watch list on my new podcast Across The Goal Line with my co-host Robert McCachren.

Lamar Jackson, QB Louisville

Courtesy of The Crunch Zone

Courtesy of The Crunch Zone

One of the greatest beginnings to a season in college football history. Jackson has otherworldly tangible talent. He leads his teams in passing yards and is the team leader in rushing yards. Through Week 7, he has passed for over 1806 yards and has rushed for 832 yards. He has 15 passing touchdowns and 15 rushing touchdowns. That is only through seven weeks. Many quarterbacks won’t get 30 touchdowns this season. But, that’s what makes Lamar Jackson who he is. Jackson, at the quarterback position, is the fifth-leading rusher in the FBS and he is the FBS leader in rushing touchdowns, from the quarterback position!

Those are all of his tangible talents, but this sophomore quarterback is a leader and has the respect of his team. His team looks to him when they are down and in a jam. He is the playmaker of the offense and he does not melt under the bright lights.

The Clemson game told me everything I needed to know about Jackson. Down 28-10 at halftime, he and the offense came out on fire. They started the second half with 26 unanswered points on a very good Clemson Tiger defense. Jackson never lost composure during the whole game no matter if the score was 28-10 or 28-36. He just has that baller mentality. He never quits and he goes 100% every play he is on the field. I love it.

Even though the Clemson game didn’t end in his team’s favor, it definitely won over many of the people watching him on primetime. After the game, he didn’t throw his receiver under the bus for not getting upfield and getting the first down. Instead, he took responsibility for the loss and took the loss like the veteran leader he has grown to be.

Deshaun Watson, QB Clemson

Courtesy of Sporting News

Courtesy of Sporting News

Last year, he was the premiere athlete at the quarterback position in college football. This year, he and his offense started very slow. He struggled to be the “Deshaun Watson” that we had deemed him to be. He had a slow start to the season opening up against Auburn on the road and at home against Troy. In those two games, his completion rate has about 53% and his adjusted QBR was 60.6. That is way below the bar Watson has set for himself. From Week 3 and on we have seen more of the Deshaun Watson we expected to see.

This year when the lights shined the brightest, Watson showed up. On Week 5 against Lamar Jackson and the surging Louisville Cardinals, Watson reintroduced himself into the Heisman race. He did throw three interceptions and one on a critical drive in the fourth quarter, but in Watson-like fashion he came back after being down 38-26 to win the game 42-38. Watson manufactured two straight touchdown drives in fourth quarter to give the Tigers a chance to win the game.

Yes, he started the season very slow. However, I like that after the second game of the season against Troy, he addressed his below average play. After that press conference, we were back to seeing the Deshaun Watson we wanted to see.

Through Week 7, Watson has thrown for 1950 yards, 20 touchdowns, and eight interceptions. He has also contributed 279 yards on the ground and one score. If he can continue to win and play at a high level, people will start to forget his first two games of the season.

Jalen Hurts, QB Alabama

Ron Jenkins/ Getty Images

Ron Jenkins/ Getty Images

Surprisingly enough Jalen Hurts is still not on many people’s Heisman List, but he has been on my radar since Week 2. He is the quarterback of the best team in college football. How is this kid not getting any recognition? It’s because his numbers don’t really jump at you. He has 1385 yards passing, nine passing touchdowns, and three interceptions. On the ground, he has 428 yards and eight touchdowns. The kid is very special.

He is the first freshman to start for Nick Saban, ever! He is only 18. Think about what you were doing at 18 and I mean really think about it. Many of us were flunking our first year of college Spanish, drinking at frat parties, and making “Mom, I’m broke. Please send money” signs for College Gameday. This true freshman beat the odds and became the starting quarterback of the University of Alabama.

He has passed every test in front of him with flying colors. He beat USC in his first game on a neutral field. He has played some of his best ball against Ole Miss, Arkansas, and Tennessee.

Most noticeable game being his last game against rival Tennessee on the road when he gained 275 yards rushing and passing and scored three times using his legs. That Tennessee game is not even his best statistical game, but this game was probably the most important game he has played. It really showed the whole nation that he should be on everyone’s Heisman watch list.

Even though his numbers don’t jump off the screen at you, his play on the field does jump out to me. He is playing some of the most efficient ball from all FBS quarterbacks. He doesn’t put his team in bad situations and he has the respect of his peers. Many college quarterbacks don’t do these things, but as a freshman, Jalen Hurts is a leader of men and that can’t be measured in the stat books.

J.T. Barrett, QB Ohio State

Courtesy of Sporting News

Courtesy of Sporting News

J.T. Barrett, just like Deshaun Watson, has managed Heisman hype in previous seasons and going into this season he was definitely on everyone’s Heisman watch radar. But during this season, he hasn’t been the consistent player we know he can be. Even though he has gained 1641 total yards and has scored 20 touchdowns, it just feels like he can do so much better.

Barrett and Watson are having almost completely different years. Watson started off slow and has picked up steam now. While, Barrett started off very hot out of the gate. In two of his first four games, he completed 70% or more of his passes. Also in that four game stretch, he completed no less than 63% of his passes.

In his last two games he has not played up to his standards. In the Indiana game, he posted his career-low in adjusted QBR (46) in any game that he started and finished. In the first half of the Wisconsin game, he and his team struggled to move the ball. Barrett lead the troops in the second half and they escaped the upset at Camp Randall. All of his three touchdowns came in the second half and overtime.

Out of all four players on my Heisman watch list, J.T. Barrett has to show me he can keep the Indiana game and the first half of the Wisconsin in his rear view mirror. I think he can do that.

Heisman Watch Honorable Mention

Michigan defensive back/linebacker Jabrill Peppers is one of the most dangerous players in College Football. He is on the verge of being on my Heisman watch list. He is a game changer for the Wolverines on defense. He can play defensive back and he is even strong enough to come down and play linebacker. He also leads the country in punt return yards. The Wolverines have also used him to spark their offensive. In their last game, Peppers scored two rushing touchdowns. This player is probably the only player in the country that has the possibility to score every kind of touchdown. He can do everything on the football field. There hasn’t been a player like him since Charles Woodson, and Woodson and Peppers have something in common. The Maize and Blue.

 

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“From Our House to Yours”

Stanford v. Washington Preview

On Friday night, the Washington Huskies get their first test at home against the Stanford Cardinal. This is one of the three Top 10 matchup during Week five of College Football.

This game has the possibility to be one of the most explosive of the weekend.

John Froschauer/ AP

John Froschauer/ AP

The Washington Huskies’ offense features one of the great passing attacks in college football. Quarterback Jake Browning is tied for third most touchdown passes in college football so far. His passing offense is one of the more efficient passing attacks in college football. The Huskies have completed 71.4% of their passes, which is fifth in the nation. They are also second in the nation in quarterback rating.

Who have the Huskies played this year? They have not played a defense ranked higher than 61st in points per game, but that will change on Friday. The Huskies will play host to a Stanford defense that ranks eighth in points allowed.

That will be a deciding force in the game on Friday. It won’t be how great Christian McCaffrey is, because McCaffrey is usually lights out when the lights are the brightest. The difference will be if the Cardinal defense can get to the Browning and disrupt the passing game of the Huskies. If the Stanford defense shuts down the passing game and make the Huskies run the ball, it will be an easier game for Stanford on the road.

Luis Sinco/ Los Angeles Times

Luis Sinco/ Los Angeles Times

Stanford should escape Washington with a win because of this important stat: Since the 2010 season, both Washington and Stanford have played 23 ranked Pac-12 teams. Washington record against those opponents is 6-17. While, Stanford’s record is 17-6 against those teams.

Stanford is coming into this game with really good big game experience, while Washington’s big game experience is not too good in the recent past. David Shaw knows how to get his troops ready for a big game. And we have seen him do it countless times inside and outside of the Pac-12. Washington’s head coach, Chris Peterson, has good big game experience, but it was at Boise State, not Washington.

Washington is a team on the rise, but I will go ahead and go with the team that has done it before. So, I am picking Stanford to beat Washington in a close contest.

Stanford beats Washington 35-28.

 

Clemson v. Louisville Preview

The winner of this game will win the ACC and be the ACC representative in the College Football Playoff.

If I used that sentence in the preseason many people would think I was talking about the Clemson-Florida State game, but the game I am talking about is the Clemson-Louisville game. One of the surprise teams of the year, Louisville, will go to Death Valley and visit the reigning ACC Champions, the Clemson Tigers.

Both teams have great quarterbacks behind center. Clemson has Deshaun Watson. A year ago, Watson was the “it” quarterback of the ACC and the whole nation. Now, that quarterback is Louisville’s Lamar Jackson. This year, he is lighting up the College Football landscape.

Courtesy of The Crunch Zone

Courtesy of The Crunch Zone

Lamar Jackson is on an otherworldly run right now. He has scored 25 touchdowns already and it is only the start of Week 5. Jackson is playing at level that college football has not seen in a while. His level of play has him compared to the first true spread quarterback, Michael Vick. Vick has said on Twitter that Lamar Jackson is way better than he was in college.

But my one question for the Jackson and his offense is: Has Louisville played a top notch defense? My answer to that is no.

Yes, they played Florida State, but actually look at the Florida State defense and stop looking at the name. This year, when they are playing Charleston Southern University, their defense has more holes than Swiss cheese.

Against FBS opponents, Florida State has given up 132 points and 1,360 yards. On average, the Seminoles are giving up 44 points per game and allowing the opposing offense to gain 453.33 yards per game.

Does that sound like a good defense? I thought not too.

I’ll show you a good defense. A defense that is sixth in total yards allowed, third in yards per game, eighth in points per game, and fifth in points per game.

Now, that sounds like a good defense. This defense belongs to the Clemson Tigers. This is where the game inside of the game lives. Can Clemson’s defense contain Louisville’s run game? If they can get Louisville into third and predictable, Clemson can win the game. The Louisville passing attack is good, but Clemson’s pass defense is really good. Clemson’s defense ranks third in allowed passing yards per game, while Louisville’s offense ranks 10th in passing yards per game. But, if Lamar Jackson and running back Brandon Radcliff are running like crazy, Clemson will have no shot in winning this game. The Cardinals rushing attack fuels their passing attack and if opposing defense can’t stop their run game, the game is lost.

Courtesy of Sporting News

Courtesy of Sporting News

Clemson’s offense should start to click as we go into October. Since 2009, Dabo Swinney has only lost two home conference game in the month of October. Which means Deshaun Watson has not lost an October home ACC game ever in his career. In fact, Clemson has only lost one ACC game where Watson completes the game (they lost was an overtime game against Florida State). That was also Watson’s third game of his freshman year and it was his first road ACC game. At home against an ACC foe, Swinney is Mr. October.

This game is played at night, at Death Valley, and it will be played under Dabo Swinney and the quarterback for Clemson is still Deshaun Watson. Clemson plays the underdog card well and gets the win in front of their home fans. The score will be high, Clemson wins the game 45-35.

What’s Next For LSU?

Stacy Revere/ Getty Images

Stacy Revere/ Getty Images

Les Miles has been on the hot seat since the end of last year, and after the heartbreaking loss against Auburn, the seat got too hot.

On Sunday, Les Miles was fired and offensive coordinator Cam Cameron was also relieved of his job. Ed Orgeron will be the interim coach of the LSU Tigers the rest of the season.

So what is next for the LSU football program?

In the short term, interim head coach Orgeron needs to get his football team focused on winning the SEC West. Year in and year out, the SEC West is one of the hardest divisions in college football and the LSU Tigers are always in the hunt. That needs to be the prime objective for Orgeron and his football team. The first step to doing that is to rebound against the Missouri Tigers this Saturday.

The Missouri offense has been putting up a lot of points and also features the second-leading passer in college football. Drew Lock, through four games, has already thrown for over 1500 yards and has 14 passing touchdown. The Missouri offensive line has kept Lock pretty clean in the first four games, as opposing defenses only have one sack on Lock.

Courtesy of LSU Sports.net

Courtesy of LSU Sports.net

That number might be a little bit higher after Lock leaves Tiger Stadium on Saturday night. The LSU Tiger defense features the nation leader in sacks. sophomore Arden Key, who has 6.5 sacks. It will be near impossible to beat LSU at home, at night and after a heartbreaking loss. The LSU Tigers should win these game rather easily.

Winning the SEC West will be a whole lot harder. As of Week 5, LSU is fourth behind Alabama (A team they have not beaten since November 5, 2011), Texas A&M and Auburn. So, the Tigers of LSU have some work to do if they hope to get Atlanta and play in the SEC Championship game.

In the longer term, LSU needs to find a new head coach and to find a good one fast. Nick Saban and Les Miles were the last two hires for this job. LSU has to get a coach with a big name and a coach that will win early and often. Les Miles leaves LSU as the winningest head coach in school history. He finished with a record of 141-55.

So who do I think LSU could get?

Courtesy of CBS Sports

Courtesy of CBS Sports

I think the first candidates would be the Stanford head coach David Shaw and the Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin. LSU has enough money to pay both of those candidates. Shaw has done a great job with Stanford and would only make sense for a SEC school to try and bring him to the southeast.

And Mike Tomlin is probably one of the only NFL coaches now that I could see making the move to the college level. He will definitely connect with the players and could definitely keep recruits at LSU and take some from other schools. He can also make a new recruiting pipeline in the state of Pennsylvania for the LSU Tigers.

Courtesy of AP

Courtesy of AP

They could also give one of the great college football coordinators a promotion. If they are looking for a more offensive-minded coach, look no further than Lane Kiffin. Kiffin has been waiting for the perfect head coach spot since September 28, 2013, and LSU is that perfect head coach spot. He would already be in a state to recruit in and he has his two pipelines to California and Alabama. Those three states continually pump out great high school talent.

Another option is Clemson’s defensive coordinator Brent Venables. He is one of the great defensive minds in college football. And has produced many top college defenses. He is also a great recruiter. His high-energy attitude helped him to become the National Recruiter of the Year by Rivals.com.

Whoever they pick to become the next LSU head football coach will have huge shoes to fill.

It’s A Young Man’s Game

In the 1972 college football, expanded their game. They brought in five new teams, including the South Carolina Gamecocks and the Appalachian State Mountaineers. But, more importantly this was the first year freshmen were eligible to play varsity collegiate football.

Before 1972, they couldn’t play for their varsity teams. Think about some of the great seasons we would have missed out on. We would have missed Jadeveon Clowney’s freshman season and many others.

Without that rule in 1972, we would not be able to see some of the great freshmen quarterbacks in 2016. Now it’s a young man’s game.

Here are some of the freshmen quarterbacks this year that are showing some of the old guys who’s boss.

University of Georgia’s Jacob Eason

Dale Zanine/ USA Today

Dale Zanine/ USA Today

Native of Lake Stevens, Washington, Jacob Eason is the prototype quarterback. He is 6’5″, 230 pounds can move in the pocket and can make every throw. As a quarterback, there isn’t much he can’t do. It is no wonder he is a former 5-Star quarterback. Even though Georgia is nearly 3000 miles away from home, the Bulldogs signed Eason. And when Eason arrived it to Athens, it was widely known that fifth-year senior Grayson Lambert would probably be the starter week one. Which he was. But who did Georgia lean on to get there win over North Carolina?

They turned to true freshman quarterback Jacob Eason. And Eason delivered the win.

In his first college football game, he passed for 131 yards on 8-12 passing. And he also threw a touchdown pass. More importantly it seemed as if the team responded better to Eason. Eason was inserted into the game down 24-14 to North Carolina when Lambert was not playing well. Georgia would comeback and win the game 33-24. Eason’s adjusted QBR rating against North Carolina was 92.6.

But after a struggle against Nicholls State, Bulldog fans wait to see what Eason will do against Missouri on the road this week. Although head coach Kirby Smart is unsure on who to start, I think Eason gives them the best chance to win.

University of Alabama’s Jalen Hurts

Ron Jenkins/ Getty Images

Ron Jenkins/ Getty Images

Yes, the same Alabama coached by Nick Saban. Moments before the first game against the USC Trojans, he picks Jalen Hurts as his starting quarterback. Jalen Hurts is the first freshman to start for Nick Saban at Alabama. He is also the first true freshman to start for Alabama since 1984. During his first game he looked like he had been with the team for years. Hurts scored the ball four times while beating the Trojans.

Jalen Hurts threw for 118 yards on 6-11 passing and threw two touchdown passes. He also added two more scores on the ground. He lead the Crimson Tide to a 52-6 win over the Trojans.

And in week two, Hurts put on another show at home against Western Kentucky. He threw for 287 yards and added two more passing touchdown to his college career total.

This week, the Crimson Tide want more of the same when Hurts has his first true road test against the Ole Miss Rebels. If he wins this game, he could definitely be in the Heisman talk.

University of Texas’ Shane Buechele

Ronald Martinez/ Getty Images

Ronald Martinez/ Getty Images

Longhorns head coach Charlie Strong did it up big when he named true freshman Shane Buechele the starter. The night before the season opening against Notre Dame, Strong called Buechele’s mom to tell her the great news. And before the game he told Shane to not let her down, and he didn’t.

He and his fellow quarterback senior Tyronne Swoopes lead the Longhorns to the double overtime win over Notre Dame. Buechele completed 16 of his 26 and threw for 280 yards. He had two passing touchdowns and one rushing touchdown in the 50-47 game against Notre Dame.

In his second game, he did even better. Against UTEP, Buechele completed 81.5% of his passes and threw for four touchdowns. In his first two games, he is averaging a QBR rating of 85. The Longhorn faithful will be hoping for more of the same when he has his first true road game against California this week.

Florida State University’s Deondre Francios

Joe Rondone/ Democrat

Joe Rondone/ Democrat

The true freshman quarterback made his first college start against Ole Miss in his hometown of Orlando, Florida. At first, it seems that the bright lights made the former four-star recruit melt. But after his second quarter touchdown pass, the pressure started to make a diamond. That diamond’s name is Deondre Francios.

Francios had 478 yards of offense against the Rebels. He threw for 419 yards and two scores. He also gained 59 yards on the ground. This comeback win over a national championship contender really helps Francios gain the respect of the older guys. This win also helps him with the fans. In the last 5 years, FSU has had some great college quarterbacks play for them. So with this win it helps him win over the crowd and know that the fans are really behind him and aren’t look for the backup quarterback.

In week two, the Seminoles played another championship contender team, but it was a FCS championship contender. They played a depleted CSU Buccaneers squad at home. And Francios did not miss a step. He threw for 262 yards on 78.1% passing and threw three passing touchdowns.

But this week Francios, will also meet his first true road test against the Louisville Cardinals. If he can win that game, the whole country will have their eyes on this freshman quarterback.

The State of College Football in Texas

The six premier college teams of Texas all look to be in great shape. Baylor, Texas Tech and TCU all scheduled easy games to begin the season, but all won in a great fashion.

Ronald Martinez/ Getty Images

Ronald Martinez/ Getty Images

Baylor beat Northwestern State 55-7 in Waco. The most important part of the game was the return of quarterback Seth Russell. Russell is coming back from a neck injury he suffered last year. Russell went 14-20, threw for 163 yards and also threw for four touchdown pass. Baylor is also working with a new head coach. Jim Grobe is the new head coach after the firing of Art Briles. Baylor fired Briles after an investigation that Baylor University allegedly mishandled many sexual assault complaints, many of which included some players for the Baylor football team.

Texas Tech had an easy time with Stephen F Austin. Red Raider junior quarterback Patrick Mahomes II lit up the Lumberjack defense. He had over 500 total yards of offense and six touchdowns. He threw for 483 yards and threw four touchdowns. While on the ground, he ran for 57 yards and scored twice using his legs. Texas Tech ended up winning the game 69-17.

In Fort Worth, the TCU Horned Frogs had a scare against the South Dakota State Jackrabbits. Before the end of the first half, TCU was down by as much as 10 points. TCU won the game 59-41. Most importantly, new quarterback Kenny Hill had a great game. Hill ran for three scores and threw for two more. He threw for over 400 yards, but head coach Gary Patterson would love for Hill to throw less interceptions. Hill threw two during the game.

As for the other three teams in Texas, they scheduled big time opponents. Houston, Texas A&M and Texas were all underdogs in their games, but they all came out on top.

George Bridges/ AP Photo

George Bridges/ AP Photo

Last year, the Cougars beat the Florida State Seminoles in the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl. Many thought it was fluke, but after Saturday the Cougars showed why they belong in the National Championship conversation. Houston’s first opponent of the 2016 season was the Oklahoma Sooners.

Freshman defensive tackle Ed Oliver had a great college debut. Oliver is former five star recruit from the Houston area. Oliver is the first five star recruit to go to a non-Power 5 conference. On the field, he showed his worth. He had seven tackles and sacked Baker Mayfield twice on the day. The defense held the Sooners to 70 yards rushing. Senior corner back Brandon Wilson had a 100-yard missed field goal return.

On offense, the Cougars were clicking. Greg Ward Jr. had over 300 yards passing and threw for two scores. Running back Duke Catalon had 88 yards rushing and receiver Steven Dunbar had 125 yards on seven catches. The Cougars would end up beat the Oklahoma Sooners 33-23 and this was their second straight Top 10 victory.

The Texas A&M Aggies hosted the UCLA Bruins for a SEC-Pac 12 match-up. The Aggies were trying out new quarterback Trevor Knight and his first outing was good. He threw for over 200 yards and one touchdown. On the ground, Knight had 31 yards rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns. In overtime, Knight’s second rushing touchdown was the game-clinching touchdown.

The Aggie defense picked off Josh Rosen three times during the game. Justin Evans had two of them and Priest Willis had the other one. The defense also got to Rosen five times. Texas A&M won the game 31-24 in overtime.

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The Texas Longhorns beat the Notre Dame Fighting Irish on Sunday. It took two overtimes to do it, but they beat Notre Dame 50-47. It was a battle of the two quarterback systems. It was Notre Dame’s Malik Zaire and DeShone Kizer versus Texas’ Tyrone Swoopes and true freshman Shane Buechele. Buechele is the first freshman starting QB at Texas since 1944. It paid off for the Longhorns. Buechele threw 280 yards and two scores, while Swoopes was the running quarterback. Swoopes ran for 53 yards and also had three rushing touchdowns. His third rushing touchdown was the dagger. Swoopes leaped over the goal line and ended the game.

This weekend was huge for college football, but it was especially big for the state of Texas. Vince Young’s ’05 Texas team was the last team from Texas to win a National Championship, but that was 10 years ago. All six of these teams want to be the team that brings the state of Texas back to the National Championship game.

South Carolina vs Vanderbilt Preview

College football started off with a bang in Sydney, Australia. But now it is back in the states and our first FBS game will be an SEC East showdown. The South Carolina Gamecocks will travel to Nashville to play the Vanderbilt Commodores.

This should be your modern SEC East football game. Both teams have at least a decent defense and an offense that can only produce around 35 points on a great day. But isn’t football better ugly?

Ugly in a good way though. Ugly as in big hits on defense. Running backs carrying the ball 20 times or more in ball game. Gritty hard-nose football that you really only see in the SEC and that is why this game is so compelling.

Tim Dominick: The State

Tim Dominick/ The State

Both teams have good defense. South Carolina has turned the page from having an offensive-minded coach in Steve Spurrier and have now handed the keys to program to defensive-minded head coach Will Muschamp. Muschamp did inherit a defense that can make some plays. This USC defense definitely has the talent to rival the Gamecock defense of the early 2010s. They have great depth at their pass rushing positions. Linebacker Bryson Allen-Williams should definitely have a breakout season this year at the weak linebacker spot. He has the tools and skills to rush the passer and to guard some slot receivers and most tight ends.

Their defensive ends can definitely get to the passer at a high volume. Marquavis Lewis, Darius English, Dante Sawyer, and Shameik Blackshear all can pressure the passer and make it easier on a Gamecock secondary that needs help.

On offense, the Gamecocks have a bunch of unknowns. They will be starting two new linemen on the right side of the offensive line. USC has a lot of new talented players but most of them are unproven. They still have not settled the quarterback battle. On their first depth chart they listed senior Perry Orth, freshman Jake Bentley, and freshman Brandon McIllwain. South Carolina should have a good running game with the stable of running backs they have in Columbia featuring freshman AJ Turner.

Frederick Breedon/ Getty Images

Frederick Breedon/ Getty Images

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For Vanderbilt, they are already a pretty good defensive team. Last year their defense was in the top 25 of points allowed in the FBS. Around half of that teams defense comes back this year including their All-SEC First Team stalwart linebacker Zach Cunningham. Cunningham had double digit tackles in six games last year and he finished last year on a three game double digit tackle streak. This defense has proven their worth on the field and wants to prove it again this year.

Vandy has settled their quarterback battle and it seems like Kyle Shurmur will be the starter for this game. And he will be protected by familiar lineman but some in different places. Last year’s starting guard Barrett Gouger will be starting at center this year.

Courtesy of Associated Press

Courtesy of Associated PressShurmur will be surrounded by a bunch of familiar targets. Running backs Ralph Webb and Dallas River are retuning to the team. Tight ends Nathan Marcus and Sean Dowling are also retuning. The wide receiving core also returns Trent Sherfield, Caleb Scott, and Latevius Rayford.

I think Vandy’s continuity and experience will be the key determining factor in this game and I see the Commodores winning by less than two scores. The score will probably look like 20-17, 31-17, or 24-10.

 

California vs Hawaii Preview

This is all we have been waiting for since the clock hit zero in Glendale, Arizona on January 11, 2016.

It has been 228 days since the last college football game was played. Now college football is back and the first game will be played in Sydney, Australia between the California Golden Bears and the Hawaii Warriors.

Courtesy of TodaySU.com

Courtesy of TodaySU.com

This opening college football match-up features a California team that is coming off of an 8-5 season a year ago. A big part of that team will not be here this year. This is Cal’s first year removed from former quarterback Jared Goff, and his replacement is  transfer quarterback Davis Webb. Webb’s former offense at Texas Tech is very similar to the “Bear Raid” offense of the Golden Bears. The Bears will return a very experienced offensive line to protect Webb.

The run game will be solid with returning running backs like, Tre Watson, Vic Enwere and Khalfani Muhammad. Those three running backs accounted for 1,595 yards of Cal’s 1,984 total rushing yards from 2015. The only real question mark on offense is at the wide receiver position. California lost their top six leading receivers from last year, but their wide receiving core is flooded with young talent like 5-Star athlete Demetris Robertson.

The Bears are very experienced on the defensive side of the ball. Their defense is anchored by their front seven, especially their defensive line. They have an emerging defensive end in Cameron Saffle. He saw little action last year but in the games he did play in, he made a difference. Also on the line is end DeVante Wilson and tackle James Looney. This defense line will give Hawaii and other offenses some trouble. In the secondary they have incredible depth and competition at all positions. This summer they had many walk ons like, Marloshawn Franklin, come and fight for a starting corner back position.

Courtesy of Rukkus.com

Courtesy of Rukkus.com

For Hawaii they are coming off of a 3-10 season a year ago and they also lost their starting quarterback from a year ago. But new starter Ikaika Woolsey is very experienced and has game experience. Just like Cal, the Warriors return their three top rushers, Paul Harris, Melvin Davis and Steven Lakalaka. Those three gained 1,537 of Hawaii’s 1,611 rushing yards. But unlike Cal, Hawaii also returns their three leading receivers. Senior Marcus Kemp, sophomore Devan Stubblefield and sophomore Dylan Collie will be Woolsey’s main targets when the Warriors throw the ball.

The Hawaii Warriors are also very experienced on defense. The strength of their defense is definitely in the middle, anchored by senior linebacker Jerrol Garcia-Williams. Williams is definitely the star of the defense, but do not sleep on defensive end David Manoa. He came onto the scene late for the Warriors, but made an impact in every game he played last year. The back end of the defense looks to make a bigger impact this year. Hawaii’s secondary last year was very nonexistent. So in the offseason the Warriors added transfer defensive backs, Jamal Mayo and Jalen Rogers.

Their secondary also gets back Trayvon Henderson after his season-ending injury against Ohio State last year. So the secondary should be a lot improved from last year.

I predict California gets the victory pretty easily against Hawaii. Cal quarterback Davis Webb will have a great game in his debut with his new squad. Hawaii is a 20-point underdog and it will probably a even worse outcome for the Warriors. California should win this game by at least three touchdowns and the field goals.

But the real winner of this game is the fans because college football is back until January 9th, 2017.

 

 

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