Wednesday, August 29, 2012
It has been a tough off-season for college football. The never-ending Penn State scandal continues to make headlines, and North Carolina's academic scandal gets bigger.
The bad press didn't contain itself to programs as schools dismissed or suspended countless players for breaking team rules. But no player's dismissal was bigger news than the Honey Badger (Tyrann Mathieu) as he was dismissed from LSU and entered a drug-rehab program.
Starting Thursday, the focus moves back to the football field as the 2012 college football season begins. The SEC will go for a seventh straight national title as Alabama, LSU, Georgia, Arkansas and South Carolina all battle for a title game spot.
Conference expansions have made it to where I need a chart just to keep up with who is in what conference this season. I have to keep telling myself that West Virginia is in the Big-12, not the Big East.
But you'll see plenty of good games kick off this season (and not just the ones in The Slate). Late Thursday, BYU will host Washington State as Mike Leach gets back into coaching after an ugly breakup at Texas Tech.
The first upset of the season could come Thursday as well when Texas A&M travels to Rustin to face a Louisiana Tech team loaded with talent. Rain from Isaac could level the playing field by slowing down A&M
Friday could answer some questions on whether Tennessee is about to rejoin the SEC elite this year. The Volunteers take on North Carolina State, an always-tough team, in a neutral-site game.
College football Saturday starts early with Notre Dame playing Navy in Ireland. Don't stay out too late Friday night, because this game starts at 8 in the morning on CBS.
You'll find plenty of good games on Saturday, too, with some in-state rivals kicking off the day. Marshall and West Virginia University will battle for yearlong supremacy of West Virginia; Colorado and Colorado State will do the same for their state.
Saturday's main events will be Clemson facing Auburn and Michigan meeting Alabama. Both games will be played at neutral sites, and the SEC will have a chance early to plant their flag at the top of the mountain early in the season.
It is going to be a great college football Saturday. I need to find a place quick that sells fresh doughnuts—I always kick off each college football season with a dozen doughnuts and coffee.