College Football is Back

College football is officially back this weekend with multiple must-see games on Friday night and Saturday. Last season ended with (another) Alabama Crimson Tide championship over the Georgia Bulldogs in a game where ‘Bama switched out starting quarterback Jalen Hurts for true freshman Tua Tagovailoa to secure a championship 26-23. Alabama once again open the season at the number one spot in the NCAA football preseason rankings even after losing Calvin Ridley, Minkah Fitzpatrick, Rashaan Evans, Da’Shawn Hand, and Bo Scarbrough. Coach Nick Saban has done nothing to assure people who his starting quarterback for this season will be, naming both Hurts and Tagovailoa co-starters. The number one ranked Crimson Tide opens up the season against Louisville on Saturday.

 

The AP Preseason rankings for 2018 goes as follows:

  1. Alabama
  2. Clemson
  3. Georgia
  4. Wisconsin
  5. Ohio State
  6. Washington
  7. Oklahoma
  8. Miami
  9. Auburn
  10. Penn State
  11. Michigan State
  12. Notre Dame
  13. Stanford
  14. Michigan
  15. USC
  16. TCU
  17. West Virginia
  18. Mississippi State
  19. Florida State
  20. Virginia Tech
  21. UCF
  22. Boise State
  23. Texas
  24. Oregon
  25. LSU

 

As we can see, Penn State has fallen a few spots after the departure of now-Giants’ franchise cornerstone running back Saquon Barkley. Other than that change, this year’s top 10 is very similar to what we saw at the end of the previous season. Oklahoma at 7 is still a little too high after the Cleveland Browns selected Heisman winner Baker Mayfield number one overall in the 2018 NFL Draft, but AP rankings voters must believe Kyler Murray can step in and contribute for the Sooners. UCF, coming off an undefeated season and a final ranking of 6 fell all the way to 21 after their one-handed star linebacker Shaquem Griffin was drafted by the Seattle Seahawks to reunite with this brother Shaquill.

 

bryce love

Last week, Bovada released the final preseason odds for the upcoming season’s Heisman winner with Stanford running back Bryce Love with the best odds at +700. The rest of the list includes:

Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama

Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin

Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State

Will Grier, QB, West Virginia

Khalil Tate, QB, Arizona

Jake Fromm, QB, Georgia

Trace McSorley, QB, Penn State

J.K. Dobbins, RB, Ohio State

Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson

 

Ohio State has two players in Dwayne Haskins and JK Dobbins to fight for the Heisman award to go along with the projected number one overall pick in the 2019 Draft, Nick Bosa, younger brother of Los Angeles Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa. Bovada must assume Tua Tagovailoa will win the starting job for ‘Bama to receive the second best odds for the award. A sleeper to watch out for is sophomore running back D’Andre Swift from Georgia. As a third option behind Nick Chubb and Sony Michel last season, the freshman rushed for 618 yards on 81 touches, an average of 7.6 yards per carry along with 3 rushing touchdowns and 17 catches for 153 yards and one touchdown. I fully expect him to be a workhorse running back for the Bulldogs to alleviate some pressure off of fellow sophomore and Heisman candidate Jake Fromm.

 

The highlight games for this upcoming weekend will be 6 Washington @ 9 Auburn, 14 Michigan @ 12 Notre Dame, 8 Miami @ 25 LSU, and 20 Virginia Tech @ 19 Florida State. Hopefully a team not named Alabama will reign supreme over college football this season.

 

 

Mike Johnston

Glenside, PA

University of South Carolina ’21

Twitter: @mjohnston0880

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