August 25, 2013
Football season has arrived. There is a full slate of games this weekend, kicking off with South Carolina versus North Carolina late Thursday afternoon.
Ole Miss, of course, opens its season later that evening in Nashville, Tenn., against Vanderbilt. As of Sunday morning, the Rebels are a 3- to 3 1/2-point favorite over the Commodores. The game appears pivotal for both teams, and the winner figures to enter the middle of September as a media darling of sorts. The loser, meanwhile, will have to climb out of an early hole, never a fun task in the ultra-competitive Southeastern Conference.
Hugh Freeze will address the media Monday. One of the questions he’ll be asked is which running backs will make Thursday’s trip to Nashville. If freshman Jordan Wilkins is among those making the trek to Nashville, he will be playing against his brother.
Vanderbilt's James Franklin, meanwhile, has some running back questions to address as well. Specifically, how do the Commodores possibly replace Zac Stacy?
Alabama opens its season on Saturday against Virginia Tech in Atlanta. The Crimson Tide, ranked No. 1 in every major preseason poll, are shooting for its third consecutive national title. Alabama is searching for a repeat SEC crown. How tough is the SEC? It's been easier for Nick Saban to win national titles than league championships in Tuscaloosa. No SEC champ has repeated since 1998 when Tennessee accomplished the feat.
Georgia almost spoiled Alabama's title bid last December. Georgia’s offense, led by Aaron Murray, is tremendous again. However, the Bulldogs have questions on defense. They need to be answered if Mark Richt and Co. are going to make another run at an SEC title.
In other football-related news:
He’s in his third year at Florida, but Orlando Sentinel Mike Bianchi still isn’t convinced Gator Nation has embraced Will Muschamp.
Brady Hoke wants to win a national title at Michigan. He watched Alabama dismantle Notre Dame in January to claim its second straight BCS title and was convinced he’s on to something in Ann Arbor. That something: Smash-mouth football on both lines of scrimmage.
Nebraska's Bo Pelini gave his team a glimpse of his funny side during fall camp in Lincoln.
Off-topic, here are some Sunday links that caught my eye today. Enjoy.
I remember covering my first sporting event after the 9-11 attacks on New York and Washington. I was covering Auburn at the time, and the Tigers played at Syracuse on Sept. 20. Security at the Carrier Dome was air-tight, as then-Gov. George Pataki was in the building. I remember being scared of a terrorist attack that night, a fear that has never completely gone away as I enter stadium after stadium each fall. I used to have a real fear about dying in a terrorism attack on a stadium. Who knows? It could still happen. But the end of my stay here on Earth is much more likely to be caused by something _ anything _ else.
One of my fears on gameday is getting stuck on a packed stadium elevator. I'll have a new perspective from now on though. At least I'm not stuck in space.That happened to Donald Pettit and the Expedition Six crew.
Finally, one of my favorite movies ever is “For Love of the Game.” It stars Kevin Costner playing the role of Billy Chapel, an aging Detroit Tigers pitcher trying to make a career decision as he finishes the season against the New York Yankees. The movie is really more of a love story, and I'll freely admit I'm a bit of a sucker for those. Anyway, the announcer for that Tigers-Yankees "game" is legendary Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully, who just signed up for another season as the Dodgers' play-by-play man at the youthful age of 85. If you've never watched a Dodgers game just to listen to Scully narrate the action all by himself, you haven't lived. He's simply the best there ever was.
Finally, happy 71st birthday to my dad, Mike McCready. Not everyone in this life is blessed with a loving, caring, supportive father figure who has always been there when needed, but I am. I couldn't be more fortunate.