College football is about to start. Before getting to the big week 1, college football sticks fans with a week of just a few games, that is commonly dubbed “week 0”. Here are five things to watch for in college football week 0.
1. Miami’s Quarterback Situation
Miami named Jarren Williams as their starting quarterback, which surprised many. Most people though Ohio State transfer Tate Martell would start and if not him, then N’Kosi Perry, who started some games for the Hurricanes last season. Rumors have been swirling about Martell transferring or changing positions, but nothing has been made clear yet, other than Martell still being with the Hurricanes as of now.
Williams is a redshirt freshman who will have the daunting task of going up against what should be a good Florida defense. They ranked 20th as a scoring defense last season, which will make his first career playing time tough. It will be interesting to note how Miami handles things. Will Martell or Perry see the field if things don’t go well? Can Williams rise to the task and lead a Hurricane upset bid?
2. Miami’s Linebacker Play
Miami will need good quarterback play to win, but they will also need their best unit, their linebackers, to step up. The Hurricanes have three senior linebackers who are probably the most experienced group in the country. Between Michael Pinckney, Shaq Quarterman and Zach McCloud, the linebackers will need to make some plays to upset the Gators.
Between the three of them, they have 581 total tackles already in their career. Quarterman is the leader of the defense in the middle and will need to step up big time in this game. He has the best NFL potential of the bunch and will be responsible for lining the Hurricanes up correctly to face the dangerous Feleipe Franks and the rest of the Florida offense.
3. Feleipe Franks
Franks blossomed last year with Dan Mullen in charge at Florida. He threw for 2,457 yards and 24 touchdowns in his second season starting for the Gators. With his productivity last season, there are high hopes for this Florida team.
While he is a good player, Franks is a longshot to win the Heisman. He does, however, get the first crack at impressing the country. All eyes will be on him to start the season with no other games going on at that time on Saturday. He is going up against the best pass defense in the country from last season, but Miami lost a lot of their starters from the secondary last season. This will give Franks the opportunity to shine in his first game of the season, which is more important because it is against quality competition.
4. Can Khalil Tate Bounce Back?
Tate took the college football world by storm in 2017, as he exploded 1,591 passing yards and 1,411 rushing yards. In 2018 though, he battled injuries and didn’t seemingly mesh well with the new offense provided by new head coach Kevin Sumlin. He played in 11 games, throwing for 2,530 yards and rushing for 224 more.
Now, Tate has one last chance to make an impression for his senior season. Arizona plays Hawaii at late on Saturday night and Tate will have the spotlight. Hawaii’s defense was not good last season and likely won’t be much better this season. Tate will have a chance to put up big numbers in week 0, but can he improve on a disappointing season last year?
5. How Many Yards Can Cole McDonald Throw For?
Hawaii went back to a pass-heavy offense last season and found a great quarterback to run it. Cole McDonald was great for the Warriors, as he threw for 3,875 yards, 36 touchdowns and 10 interceptions on 58.9 percent completion. He is just a junior this season, but with more familiarity with the system, could post some big-time numbers.
Much like Tate, McDonald will have some big opportunities because of the matchup. Arizona ranked 120th in pass defense last year, which gives McDonald a distinct advantage. With experience surrounding him McDonald could throw for close to 400 yards in a high-scoring game.
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