'Saturday Storylines' — Debuts for Barkley and Paulus

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In the game of the day, how will Virginia Tech’s young trio of running backs do when facing Alabama’s staunch run defense led by nose guard Terrence “Mount” Cody? Freshman Ryan Williams will start in place of injured Darren Evans, but he’ll be fighting for carries with fellow freshman David Wilson and sophomore Josh Oglesby.

While Georgia head coach Mark Richt puts his 10-2 road record versus ranked teams on the line at No. 9 Oklahoma State, two of the nation’s best wide receivers will be on display. Cowboy junior Dez Bryant deservingly gets a lot of love, but there aren’t many out there with more potential than Bulldog sophomore A.J. Green.

Will Michigan be able to leave its troubles behind (at least for three and a half hours) and find solace on the field at the Big House? Perhaps, but it would be a lot easier if they didn’t find Western Michigan quarterback Tim Hiller and the rest of the Broncos out there waiting for them.

The Syracuse football program doesn’t deserve any or our attention, but former Duke point guard Greg Paulus’ debut as a one-and-done starting quarterback will be fascinating. One thing’s for sure, Minnesota is more than happy to see him back there taking snaps.

Just like Paulus, Matt Barkley hasn’t played in a real football game since high school . . . but he’ll turn 19 on Tuesday. For the first time in USC’s storied football history, a true freshman starts at quarterback. Trojan boss Pete Carroll certainly has figured out a way for us to care about a game involving San Jose State.

After seeing Boise State basically go 13-0 on Thursday night (yes, they’ve got that many regular season games), No. 20 Brigham Young knows it must beat Oklahoma to keep pace with the Broncos in the hunt for a BCS berth. Both teams have four new starters along the offensive line to protect their prized passers. Max Hall figures to be in more jeopardy than Sam Bradford, but all of it will make for good TV.

Although denying any involvement (yeah, right), Notre Dame got that pesky billboard taken down. Supporters hope that isn’t the only defensive action taken by the Irish this week. Self preservation while facing Nevada’s pistol offense could prove to be much tougher than practicing censorship.

There are several new quarterbacks taking over the reigns at high profiles programs in Week 1. Most notably they are: Jarrett Brown (West Virginia), Joe Cox (Georgia), Blaine Gabbert (Missouri), Greg McElroy (Alabama) and Dom Natale or Tom Savage (Rutgers). In some cases, they’re filling the cleats of an all-timer at their school. That’s never an easy assignment, no matter who you line up against.

Is Ole Miss ready for its close-up? Much has changed in the last year for the Rebels. Are they ready for the spotlight that comes along with a target? Sunday’s short drive up to underrated and over-motivated Memphis will provide the initial indication.

Labor Day finds a pair of programs that have been working overtime to get back to national prominence. The Florida State-Miami series used to reside at the top of the college football pantheon. The Seminoles and Hurricanes are both on the climb back up and will eventually get there, but the one that uses the other as a stepping stone earns a crucial recruiting advantage in the region.

Report: Georgia, Oregon could open 2022 season in Atlanta

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Nothing definitive has been put on the books just yet, but one report suggests a future meeting between Georgia and Oregon could be heading to Atlanta in 2022.

According to a report from Dawgs247, contracts are being worked up to bring the Bulldogs and Ducks together for the first time since 1977. And if the game is being played in Atlanta, it would stand to reason the matchup between the SEC and Pac-12 programs would be part of the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game festivities, whether the only game or one of the multiple games lined up for the early season fun. There are currently no games scheduled for 2022 as part of the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game.

The Chick-fil-A Kickoff in Atlanta has tended to pair teams from the SEC and ACC, but a few notable exceptions have been made over the years if it means being able to bring a noteworthy program to Atlanta from outside the southeastern region of the college football map. Washington will be the first program to represent the Pac-12 in the game this season when they open the season against Auburn.

West Virginia has been the lone representative from the Big 12 to play in the game, losing to Alabama in 2014. Boise State is the only other program to play in the game from outside the power conferences, having done so twice. Boise State beat Georgia in the 2011 game and lost to Ole Miss in 2014.

Georgia has played in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game twice before, drawing even with one loss against Boise State in 2011 and picking up a win against North Carolina in 2016. Oregon has never played in the game.

Georgia is already scheduled for one future Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game in 2020 against Virginia of the ACC.

Future Chick-fil-A Kickoff Games:

  • 2018: Auburn vs. Washington
  • 2019: Alabama vs. Duke
  • 2020: Florida State vs. West Virginia
  • 2020: Georgia vs. Virginia
  • 2020: Auburn vs. North Carolina
  • 2021: Alabama vs. Miami
  • 2021: Louisville vs. Ole Miss

Troy player receives football scholarship from his mom

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The moment when a player receives a surprise scholarship among the company of his teammates is never one that gets old watching, and you have to give it to coaches and programs finding new ways to always keep these moments as special as they can. Recently, Troy long snapper Cameron Kaye was surprised with a scholarship at the end of a practice, and his mother was the one to hand over the official paperwork.

As Troy head coach Neal Brown says in the video, Kaye started every game Troy played a season ago and has earned a 3.0 GPA as an exercise science major.

Kaye announced he had received his full scholarship offer on Friday, two days prior to Troy’s video team releasing the video included in this post.

Videos of players learning they are being put on scholarship will never, ever get old.

Penn State DE Torrence Brown latest Nittany Lion to retire

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The hits just keep on coming for Penn State. Just days after a pair of Penn State players announced their retirement from football, defensive end Torrence Brown has announced his retirement from the game just before the start of the college football season.

“Due to multiple injuries and surgeries, my career at Penn State has come to an end,” Brown said in a statement shared on his Twitter account recently. “It has been tough coming to terms with this news but I know that everything happens for a reason and God will continue to guide me.”

Brown missed the majority of the 2017 season due to a knee injury suffered early in the year. He had hoped to return to the field this fall, but that clearly did not come to be for Brown as he battled back from injury.

Last week, Ryan Buchholz and Jordan Miner announced their retirements from the game. Prior to that, 2018 signee Nana Asiedu announced his retirement due to a heart condition. Quarterback Jake Zembiec also has retired due to a shoulder injury.

“We’re kind of having a strange year, to be honest with you,” Penn State head coach James Franklin said recently in response to some of the previously announced retirements, according to PennLive. “It’s challenging for them, it’s challenging for their parents, it’s challenging for us as a staff, in terms of managing a roster and depth, and those types of things. Most importantly, it’s difficult (because) this is their dream. This is their ultimate dream.”

Brown said he intends to follow through with the winter semester to earn his degree.

UCLA loses LB Josh Woods to season-ending knee injury

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UCLA’s defense was dealt a bad card just before the start of the 2018 college football season. Bruins head coach Chip Kelly announced to reporters that linebacker Josh Woods will miss the entire season due to a knee injury from Thursday’s practice.

“It’s a big blow,” Kelly said, according to a Los Angeles Daily News report. “Just a great young man, everything you want in a football player. So it’s hard for us to try to replace because we don’t have that much depth at that position. But right now our thoughts are with Josh.”

Woods was expected to be a starter for the UCLA defense this season. Last season, he appeared in seven games and recorded 30 tackles, including 23 solo tackles. His 2017 season was cut short due to a shoulder injury.

It remains to be determined if Woods will get the chance to play for UCLA again. The senior has already earned his degree but does have the option of using a redshirt for the 2018 season and continuing to play again in 2019.