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Del Olaleye: The fun is about to begin - it's college football season
My favorite time of the year begins in earnest Thursday. Week 1 of the college football season is here. Yes there were games over the weekend but unless your team played or you happen to be a degenerate gambler you didn’t really care about the Week 0 matchups. If you happen to be a degenerate, my guy Jerry Bo has you covered. You can find his stuff right here on Sportmap.
Major programs get going this weekend and we have multiple Top 25 matchups to get the season started. Coaches around the country finally have to stop with all the roster games. At least most them do. I say most, because coaches like to overthink things sometimes. We’ll get to that later.
You know the season is here because announcements about starting QBs are being posted on twitter and suspensions for conduct unbecoming are being publicized. The most notable name suspended is Mississippi State starting quarterback Nick Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald, a potential Heisman candidate, will miss the start of the Joe Moorhead era as the Bulldogs host Stephen F. Austin. Starting in his place will be Sophomore Keytaon Thompson. Thompson has started for Fitzgerald before. It happened to be the last time Mississippi State took the field. He helped lead the Bulldogs to a bowl win over Louisville. Fitzgerald missed that game because of a gruesome leg injury he sustained in the Egg Bowl against Ole Miss.
Tennessee and West Virginia have never played against each other but that doesn’t mean they can’t act like old conference rivals. New Tennessee coach Jeremy Pruitt released his Week 1 depth chart and included plenty of “or” between the names of players. That usually signifies that the starter at a certain position hasn’t truly emerged. West Virginia responded by putting an “or” multiple times on the depth chart as well. Dana Holgorsen by way of 247sports’ Chris Anderson said, "we 'OR'd them because Tennessee 'OR'd us first." See, petty. The Vols and Mountaineers face each other in Charlotte on Saturday.
Starting QBs named
Clemson: Kelly Bryant holds off Trevor Lawrence as the 5-star true freshmen who impressed in the spring gets beat out. Bryant led Clemson to a third consecutive playoff appearance last season and gets his chance to make it four in a row for the Tigers.
USC: JT Daniels won the job and will be the second true freshman in program history to start the season opener at QB for the Trojans. The first was Matt Barkley in 2009.
Nebraska: A true freshman wins the job there as well. Adrian Martinez, who committed to Nebraska after Scott Frost accepted the job will begin the Frost era as the man. That announcement led to Nebraska’s only other scholarship quarterback transferring. That leaves the Huskers with two walk-on backups if something happens to Martinez.
Alabama: Ol’ tricky Nick Saban won’t name his starter for Week 1. He listed Tua Tagovailoa and Jalen Hurts co-starters. The Tide are preparing to play Louisville as life after Lamar Jackson begins for the Cardinals. Barring some special package of plays for Hurts to start the game, it would surprise plenty of people if Tagovailoa doesn’t take the opening snap for Alabama.
Hate watch Game of the Week: 20 Virginia Tech at 19 Florida State
The Seminoles begin the season on Labor Day night hosting the Hokies. It is the first game of Willie Taggart’s tenure at FSU after eight seasons of Jimbo Fisher leading the way. Nothing would be better than to watch all that excitement and anticipation of new beginnings drain away. I can’t stand Virginia Tech either but they’re the lesser of two evils. A depleted Hokies team beating the Noles in Tallahassee would be a great end to the true opening weekend of the college football season.