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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 is falling down the rankings

Tigers pound Odorizzi, Astros with homers as Houston drops fourth in a row

The Astros have not looked great in their last four games. Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

After watching their hot start of 6-1 cool down to a 6-4 record with three straight losses, the Astros returned to Minute Maid Park on Tuesday night, looking to do a better job at home against a beatable Tigers team.

Recent games' woes would continue, though, with Houston's pitching getting blasted by the opposing offense and their own bats primarily quiet.

Final Score: Tigers 8, Astros 2

Astros' Record: 6-5, tied for second in AL West

Winning Pitcher: Matthew Boyd (2-1)

Losing Pitcher: Jake Odorizzi (0-1)

Astros score first, then Tigers unload on Odorizzi

Houston looked to have something brewing in the bottom of the second, with three singles in the first four batters of the inning, the third an RBI-single by Myles Straw to put the Astros in front 1-0. However, Matthew Boyd would limit the damage, getting back-to-back strikeouts to end the threat.

After two easy innings for Jake Odorizzi in his regular-season debut for his new team, he would allow a game-tying solo homer to Akil Baddoo, his fourth of the year, in the top of the third. Detroit struck again in the top of the fourth, getting a leadoff double to set up a two-run go-ahead home run to jump ahead 3-1.

They didn't stop there, getting another two-run bomb later in the same inning; a frame that would take Odorizzi 31 pitches to get only one out before Houston would bring in Bryan Abreu to get the last two outs. Odorizzi's final line in his debut: 3.1 IP, 7 H, 5 ER, 3 HR, 0 BB, 4 K, 80 P.


Detroit continues home run parade, Houston loses fourth in a row

Abreu would hope to do what Luis Garcia did the night before, eat up as many innings as possible after a poor outing from Houston's starter. The Tigers would get yet another two-run homer, though, in the top of the fifth, extending their lead to 7-1, with all seven runs coming over a three-inning span. For good measure, they'd knock one more out with two outs in the top of the ninth, making it 8-1.

As far as Houston at the plate, other than their string of hits to bring in a run earlier in the second, they were getting nothing done against Boyd, who would go six and two-thirds innings. Detroit's bullpen would finish things off, despite an all-too-late sac fly by the Astros in the bottom of the ninth, with Houston dropping their fourth-straight game and continuing to lose ground in the division.

Up Next: The finale of this three-game set with Detroit will be an hour earlier on Wednesday, getting underway at 6:10 PM Central. Lance McCullers Jr. (1-0, 1.80 ERA) will try to maintain his perfect record and improve upon his two five-inning one-run starts for the Astros, going opposite of Michael Fulmer (0-0, 2.57 ERA) for the Tigers.

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