A long dry spell has ended.
College football season officially returned last week and for those who freely admit to being junkies (this columnist included) it arrives none to soon.
The first game of the season was actually late last Friday night as California defeated Hawaii in a game played in Sydney, Australia. The 10 p.m. kickoff our time made it possible to catch some of the game following local high school football. The long work week, combined with a very long Friday, made it impossible for me to stay up until the end of this one as the teams combined for 82 points.
The early portion of the new season continued Saturday as Division I-AA power North Dakota State, winner of the last five national titles at that level, won an overtime thriller against Charleston Southern in a matchup of top 10 teams.
North Dakota State has become a fascinating program to watch. To win five national titles in as many years at any level of football is remarkable. During that stretch, the Bison have defeated several teams in Division I-A and it’s gotten to the point that many higher-level schools will not schedule NDSU.
(There was a report during the offseason that NDSU offered an open challenge to several Southeastern Conference programs but did not get one agreement to play. Many University of Georgia fans I know openly say they don’t want see their Bulldogs play North Dakota State on the gridiron.)
In the end Saturday, NDSU defeated Charleston Southern in overtime in a game which only made you hungry for more football. Unfortunately, the full schedule did not begin until this week.
One interesting matchup on Thursday of this week sees Appalachian State travel to Tennessee. Much is expected from the Volunteers in 2016 and many predict they will win the SEC East. I’m probably going out on a limb here but I’m not so sure the season opener is a guaranteed win for Tennessee. I’ve been thinking about making this one of the famous (or is that infamous) Upset Specials. What the heck. Let’s go with it. Appalachian State will defeat the Volunteers. You heard it heard here first (and probably only here.)
The SEC schedule begins Thursday for South Carolina and Vanderbilt. The over-under for this game is probably 20 points or less as neither team figures to have much offensive production.
South Carolina officials were so desperate in their search for a new head coach following the retirement of Steve Spurrier that they hired Will Muschamp. How quick some forget about the putrid job Muschamp did at Florida. How in the world he got another head coaching job in the SEC is beyond me.
I’m taking Vanderbilt in this game, primarily on the strength of the Commodore defense.
By the time Saturday finally gets here, most UGA faithful will have said their “Hail Kirby Smarts” and kissed the Vince Dooley statue in hopes for an undefeated season. Back in the land of reality, Georgia fans better be prepared for a tough battle with North Carolina.
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