Let's do this thing, yo!
It’s been a long eight or so months, but the new season is here and with it a new way to crown a champion. College football will forever be changed as the top four teams will compete in the first College Football Playoff this season.
But before we start looking ahead, it’s important to remember how we got here. So, here’s your 2013 refresher:
This guy won the Heisman, but created a lot of off-field drama while doing it (and after doing it). His team also won the national title and many people think it can do it again.
Even though the SEC’s streak of national championships ended, it did have two of the most miraculous plays in college football history courtesy of national championship runner-up Auburn.
Sorry Alabama. And by the way, this play made Chris Davis a rockstar for pretty much the rest of his life.
This trophy is now gone.
And we've replaced it with this.
And, sadly, this guy has moved on to the NFL.
I think that’s everything, so let’s look ahead to this week.
Game of the week:
No. 16 Clemson vs. No. 12 Georgia, 5:30 p.m. ET
This was Dr. Saturday’s game of the week to open last year and it didn’t disappoint. We’re expect similar greatness in 2014. Both of these coaches have downplayed the importance of this game, but the winner will have the inside track to the new four-team playoff. Both of these teams will introduce veterans at quarterback in Cole Stoudt and Hutson Mason, but neither guy has a lot of experience. Both teams also have been dealing with some major injuries, which could play a role as well. Clemson needs this game more than Georgia simply because the rest of its schedule isn’t as strong, but it’s going to be tough for the Tigers to go between the hedges and come out with a win. This is going to be an entertaining game, but Georgia should come away victorious.
Game to watch:
No. 14 Wisconsin vs. No. 13 LSU, 9 p.m. ET
This game has to be the most anticipated of the opening weekend simply because of the gameplay between the two coaches. Neither team has named a starting quarterback, though the popular opinion is that Wisconsin will start former safety Tanner McEvoy. What we hope McEvoy brings to this game is that dual-threat ability that will keep LSU from stacking the box to stop running back Melvin Gordon. Some pistol offense could keep LSU off balance and make this a tighter game than many expect. Les Miles has been quietly confident about the prospects of his team this year. LSU should win this game, but if Wisconsin pulls off the upset, it could go undefeated with its favorable schedule.
Don't waste your time with:
No. 1 Florida State vs. Oklahoma State (Arlington, Texas), 8 p.m. ET
I know everyone is excited to see Jameis Winston and the defending national champions, but I have a tough time seeing this game being competitive. Oklahoma State returns just four players from a defense that allowed 242.5 passing yards per game last year. Florida State is going to be motivated to show that it’s ready to defend its national championship and perhaps even its Heisman Trophy. While this game might be close early, I think Florida State runs away with it.
Keep an eye on:
J.T. Barrett, QB, Ohio State
No quarterback has been talked about more this week than Ohio State redshirt freshman J.T. Barrett, who steps in as starter for the injured Braxton Miller. While many don’t believe Navy will give Ohio State much of a game, I do think this is a going to be a good test to see whether Barrett is ready to lead what many thought was a playoff-possible team this season. There are going to be some ups and downs, but how Barrett and Ohio State weather them will be telling. On the flipside, this also will be a good chance to see Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds, a true dual-threat that gives Navy a legit passing threat, something that had been lacking in the offense before he came along. Reynolds has been heralded as a darkhorse for the Heisman, but he’ll have to have a good game against the Buckeyes to make that dream a reality.
Utah State (+6) at Tennessee, Sun., 7 p.m. ET
There’s no team in the country that will have more new players on the field than Tennessee and playing against a Utah State team that many believe will win the Mountain West is going to be a challenge, even at home. USU veteran quarterback Chuckie Keaton is back after missing last season with a knee injury and while the Aggies don’t have a lot of starters returning, they do have a lot of players with playing experience. Tennessee is green in so many positions and its quarterback is iffy. This game could be close and Tennessee definitely has a bit of an edge because it’s at home, but Utah State will keep this under the number and possibly even leave with a win.
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