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Del Olaleye: The fun is about to begin - it's college football season

Dana Holgorsen is not above a little pettiness. Tom Pennington/Getty Images

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.

The pettiness

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.







 

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Houston loses to end the road trip

Dodgers get best of Odorizzi to split series with Astros

Jake Odorizzi allowed four home runs over three innings against the Dodgers on Wednesday. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images.

After spoiling the night of many Dodgers fans in the opener of this two-game series in Los Angeles the night prior, the Astros returned to the stadium to a fresh set of hostile fans, looking to get the mini-sweep. This one went much more in favor of the home team, though, as the Dodgers would ride three big innings to start the game to the win for the series split.

Final Score: Dodgers 7, Astros 5

Astros' Record: 65-43, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Max Scherzer (9-4)

Losing Pitcher: Jake Odorizzi (4-6)

Odorizzi gets shelled

After a Michael Brantley solo home in the top of the first run against Max Scherzer, making his Dodger debut, it looked like the Astros may continue their momentum from the night before to grab hold of this game as well. However, that all changed in the bottom of the inning, as the Dodgers would tee off against Jake Odorizzi.

In that inning, he allowed four runs, a leadoff solo shot by Mookie Betts, then later a three-run blast by Will Smith. Betts made it 2-for-2 with solo homers in the bottom of the second, extending the lead to 5-1. Things went from bad to worse in the third, with Los Angeles getting their fourth home run, this one for two runs to make it a 7-1 game. Odorizzi would finish the third but go no further.

Scherzer K's 10 over seven innings in his Dodger debut

Houston tried to start clawing back into it in the top of the fourth, getting a second run against Scherzer with a two-out RBI-single by Kyle Tucker, trimming the lead to five runs at 5-2. First out of Houston's bullpen was Yimi Garcia in the bottom of the fourth, and he tossed the first 1-2-3 inning for Houston. Rafael Montero was next in the bottom of the fifth, working around a leadoff double followed by a walk for a scoreless inning.

Montero remained in the game in the bottom of the sixth, still 7-2, and would get another scoreless inning, this time sitting down the Dodgers in order. Scherzer finished his quality debut for his new team in the top of the seventh, erasing a leadoff walk to complete seven innings while allowing two runs.

Astros lose to split the series with Dodgers

Brooks Raley was Houston's next reliever, and he, too, would get through a scoreless inning by erasing a two-out single. In the game-within-the-game, the Dodgers brought in Joe Kelly for the top of the eighth, who notched two strikeouts to bring none other than Carlos Correa to the plate, setting up a rematch of the well-known incident that led to the "pouty face" clip from 2020. Carlos Correa won this round, launching a 405-foot homer off of Kelly to make it a four-run game at 7-3.

Phil Maton kept the score there, stranding two runners in the bottom of the eighth to send the 7-3 game to the top of the ninth, where the Dodgers would bring in Kenley Jansen. After a leadoff single, Kyle Tucker would get the Astros within two runs on a two-run homer, making it 7-5. That's as close as they would get, as Jansen would regroup to get the next three batters out to wrap up the loss for Houston.

Up Next: With this road trip completed, the Astros will have a quick turnaround as they catch a late flight back to Houston then turn around with a game Thursday at 7:10 PM Central to open a four-game series with the Twins. Framber Valdez (7-2, 3.01 ERA) will take the mound for Houston in the opener, while Minnesota will counter with Griffin Jax (1-1, 6.41 ERA).

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