'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.

After pulling out of transfer database, Auburn WR Kolbi Fuqua no longer with Tigers

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Never mind that initial never mind.

In early April, it was reported that Auburn wide receiver Kolbi Fuqua had entered the NCAA transfer database; nearly a month later, that first never mind arose as it was reported that Fuqua had pulled his name from the portal, seemingly signaling a desire to remain with the Tigers. Monday, however, an AU official confirmed that Fuqua is no longer a part of Gus Malzahn’s squad.

247Sports.com‘s Brandon Marcello writes that “Fuqua did not return to the Auburn football program following the conclusion of spring practices, a source close to the team tells Auburn Undercover. The circumstances surrounding his departure are not clear.”

The development comes a little over a week after Auburn added a commitment from Zach Farrar, a wide receiver who began his collegiate career at Oklahoma but heads to The Plains from the junior college level. Farrar comes to the Tigers with two years of eligibility he can begin using immediately this coming season.

A three-star member of the Tigers’ 2018 recruiting class, Fuqua was rated as the No. 28 player at any position in the state of Alabama. Fuqua played in one game this past season, and didn’t catch a pass in that very limited action.

JUCO next step for LSU transfer Dominic Livingston

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When Dominic Livingston announced in mid-February that he would be transferring from LSU, the defensive tackle indicated that the move was being made so as to be closer to his home in Texas because of unspecified family issues.  Monday, Livingston followed through on that plan of attack.

Speaking to 247Sports.com, Livingston confirmed that his collegiate playing career will continue at Kilgore College.  A community college in Kilgore, Texas, Livingston’s new college football home is roughly 200 miles from his hometown of Houston; his old home of Baton Rouge is roughly 270 miles from that same hometown.

Not surprisingly, Kilgore told the same website that he “will play a semester at Kilgore and go from there,” an obvious indication that he expects to be back at the FBS level in 2020.

If that is indeed the case, Kilgore would have three years of eligibility remaining beginning with the 2020 season.

A three-star member of the Tigers’ 2018 recruiting class, Livingston was rated as the No. 38 defensive tackle in the country and the No. 74 player at any position in the state of Texas.  As a true freshman, Livingston appeared in exactly one more game than I did.

Illini DE who suffered severe spinal injury speaking, eating and sitting up

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There is some positive news when it comes to a distressing situation that developed over the weekend.

Illinois true junior defensive end Bobby Roundtree sustained what was described as a severe spinal cord injury in a swimming accident Saturday and underwent surgery a day later.  According to the Associated Press, Roundtree is progressing well following the surgery and, while he remains hospitalized, is speaking, eating and sitting up.

Several members of the Illini football program, including Lovie Smith, traveled to Mease Countryside Hospital in Safety Harbor, Fla., to be with the injured player.

“Bobby Roundtree is exactly what you want in a student-athlete,” a statement from the head coach began. “He is a hard worker, dependable, a dedicated student and a leader.

“This is devastating to his teammates, the entire Fighting Illini family and his family and friends. We will give Bobby all the support possible as he battles through his recovery. Please keep Bobby and his family in your thoughts and prayers.”

Roundtree, who played his high school football in Largo, Fla., has started 20 games the past two seasons since coming to the Illini as a three-star member of their 2017 recruiting class.  This past season, the 6-5, 245-pound end led the Illini in tackles for loss with 12.5 and pass breakups, and was second in sacks with 7.5 and quarterback hits with four.

For that, the media named Roundtree honorable mention All-Big Ten for the 2018 season.

Iowa State officially adds Arkansas’ leading receiver

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Matt Campbell has officially added an experienced and productive piece to his Iowa State passing attack.

La'Michael Pettway revealed via Twitter in mid-January that he would be transferring from Arkansas; nearly four months later, he used the same social media vehicle to deliver the message that he would be continuing his collegiate playing career at Iowa State.  Monday, it was confirmed by the football program that the wide receiver has officially enrolled in classes at the university.

As a graduate transfer, Pettway will be eligible to play immediately for the Cyclones in 2019.

“I think the biggest thing he brings is he gives a veteran presence to this receiver group,” the head coach said according to the Des Moines Register. “[T]he opportunity to get a guy that’s done it at a very high level against really high-end competition can just add some veteran-ness to a group where there’s a lot of youth.”

This past season, Pettway led the Razorbacks in receiving yards with 499 and receptions with 30.  His four receiving touchdowns were good for second on the team.

Prior to 2018, Pettway had totaled 102 yards and a touchdown on seven catches.