In the first season of the revamped staff, fellow editor Kelvin caught that good luck train and road it right to a championship. Oh yeah, not to mention that two of the biggest games this weekend will be the first-ever college football games played in the newly-built Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Swinney expects the game to live up to the hype. You can also follow football action from other schools across the state and country on ABC and ESPN. UCLA QB Josh Rosen is being discussed as a Top 3 pick, but he needs to deliver on the field for the Bruins after a hugely disappointing 4-8 season previous year. A bunch of their new starters played a lot previous year and are primed for breakout seasons, and the defensive front is still loaded.
Pac-12 – USC, Utah, Washington, Stanford: The Trojans have to be favored – beyond the loads of talent – because they don’t have to play Washington in the regular season.
Normally, the “Rocky Mountain Showdown” is nowhere near the list of top college football rivalries.
The 6-foot-3, 215-pound Harrison ranked second on Alabama a year ago with 86 tackles while also posting two interceptions, seven pass breakups, two defensive touchdowns and several highlight-reel-worthy big hits.
This season, however, things could be a little different. Coach Jim McElwain has a three-man quarterback battle to settle between freshman Feleipe Franks, junior Luke Del Rio and senior transfer from Notre Dame Malik Zaire. The Seminoles return up to nine starters. Ohio State will pile on enough points to turn most of the fourth quarter into garbage time. The top tier of the board also includes Penn State RB Saquon Barkley (+700), Oklahoma Sooners QB Baker Mayfield (+800), Louisville QB and reigning Heisman victor Lamar Jackson (+800), and Ohio State QB J.T. Barrett (+800). On the other hand, for Georgia fans, the subtle thought of how the Mountaineers defeated then-No. That being said, for either of these teams to get to the CFP, it’s going to have to play some defense.
The defending champion Clemson Tigers look to recreate the magic of last season.
With Saturday’s game between No. 3 Florida State and No. 1 Alabama being deemed as the greatest college football season opener of all time, Swinney and McElwain were asked to chime in on the matchup during their respective conference calls on Wednesday.
Last season ended with a bang, with Clemson knocking off Alabama in the final seconds to win the National Championship. Our Fremeau Efficiency Index agrees with the Associated Press voters who have made the Crimson Tide a consensus No. 1, with 52 of the 61 first-place votes. Florida State is 9-1 against SEC teams under coach Jimbo Fisher, who will be facing Alabama and former boss Saban for the first time. A preseason No. 1 in the AP poll never has opened the season against another team in the top three.
Molly Geary picks Iowa: Led by quarterback Josh Allen, who’s getting serious National Football League buzz, the Cowboys are no slouch, but the Hawkeyes should have enough on defense and in their ground game to win this one at Kinnick Stadium.
Alabama: RB Bo Scarbrough tries to pick up where he left off last season – on a huge roll. He was last year’s leading tackler with 77 stops. Both head coaches could really use a marquee victory to jump start their programs and set the table for the season ahead.
The offense has the most questions. Of course, many would argue the league’s best at that position was Clemson’s Watson.
Saturday vs. Alabama*, 8 p.m.
Prediction: Georgia Tech 27, Tennessee 17; take Georgia Tech +3. The Spartans have what looks to be a less than hard road to a potential bowl game (nowhere near Indianapolis the first weekend in December, but a bowl game nonetheless). This will be the ninth ACC-SEC matchup in a Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Game, with the SEC holding a 7-1 advantage over ACC opponents in those games. The Wolverines take a step back this season and might be out of the playoff race by Sunday morning if they lose to Florida.
There will also be yellow in the bayou this weekend.