Welcome to my weekly column called, A Look Around the Country, which will highlight notable games from the week before and week ahead as well as the Heisman and Playoff race. Special features include an in-depth look at the Buckeyes as well as a Michigan update, mainly to bask in their misfortunes. As always, feel free to comment back with your own opinions and I hope you enjoy!
Well, it’s finally back. Our beloved game of college football is finally back which means all of our Saturday’s from here on out are most decidedly, booked solid. Sign me up. The biggest storyline to begin the season is whether or not Ohio State will be able to repeat as National Champions for the first time in program history. Urban Meyer is definitely set up well with a massive amount of talent at his disposal but as history has shown; repeating is very, very difficult. Needless to say I still have the Buckeyes pegged as my National Champions for 2015.
I preview Week One below but how much does the first week of the season matter in the grand scheme of things? Ohio State lost in Week 2 yet still went on to win it all. Nevertheless, it will be great to see football back in action with a huge slate of games set for the first week of the season. Sit back and enjoy.
Notable Games Last Week
This is where I will highlight the biggest and most important games each week which are relative to the national landscape or have major conference implications. Unfortunately, there were no games last week. Come back soon.
Big Games This Week
Michigan at Utah
The Jim Harbaugh Era officially kicks off on Thursday night as the Wolverines head to Salt Lake City to take on the Utes. Fan expectations couldn’t be any higher in Ann Arbor but we’ll see how long it actually takes him to put his system in place. Make no mistake; Michigan will be much better this season.
Thursday, September 3 at 8:30pm on FOX Sports 1
TCU at Minnesota
Many people, including me, have TCU in their Playoff this season but not as many have much confidence in the Golden Gophers. Well I do and definitely see this game being a competitive one despite the talent TCU Quarterback, Trevone Boykin has. TCF Bank Stadium will be rocking for this one and if a play or two goes Minnesota’s way look for the upset right out of the gates.
Thursday, September 3 at 9pm on ESPN
Texas at Notre Dame
When it comes to storied programs, these two schools are always mentioned near the top. Brian Kelly is getting the Irish ready for a potential playoff run (they are picked by some to make it) and they definitely have the talent to do it. Charlie Strong still has a long way to go to bring the Longhorns back to Big XII supremacy. Having said that, I do have the Irish as a Playoff dark horse and expect them to win big in South Bend but a tough schedule (Georgia Tech, @Clemson, USC to name a few) will keep them from going.
Saturday, September 5 at 7:30pm on NBC
Wisconsin vs Alabama
I can hear sweat starting to trickle down the faces of Alabama fans everywhere. The Tide have lost their last 2 bowl games (Sugar Bowl’s vs Oklahoma and well, you know) and this season presents itself with more uncertainty at the QB position. Paul Chryst has taken over the reigns in Madison but will be without Melvin Gordon (although RB Corey Clement should have no problem filling the void). Nick Saban still has plenty of talent though and should not have too much trouble in this one.
Saturday, September 5 at 8pm on ABC
Ohio State at Virginia Tech
The Defending National Champions kick off their season in Blacksburg on Labor Day night looking to avenge their lone loss from the 2014 campaign. The Buckeyes will be without Joey Bosa, Corey Smith, Dontre Wilson, Jalin Marshall, and Noah Brown (leg injury) so it will be up to the young receiving corps (including Michael Thomas and Braxton Miller) to pick up the pace. Expect Ezekiel Elliott and Curtis Samuel to get a lot of touches. This game will also serve as the answer to our 8 month question: Who starts at QB? For the record, I am going with J.T. with splashes of Cardale. Virginia Tech is no slouch this season and will have a great defense to test Ohio State so do not expect a snooze fest. The Buckeyes better be ready or else we will see a repeat of last season.
Monday, September 7 at 8pm on ESPN
I will highlight the Wolverines season opener with Utah next week and provide analysis as we move closer to The Game.
I will begin to highlight the nation’s best players next week after the first games of the season kickoff. A plus sign (+) means an improvement, E means no change, and minus sign (-) means drop in poll. Everyone starts with an E.
Trevone Boykin, TCU: E
Ezekiel Elliot, Ohio State: E
J.T. Barrett/Cardale Jones: E
Cody Kessler, USC: E
Leonard Fournette, LSU: E
Connor Cook, Michigan State: E
Dak Prescott, Miss. State: E
My Playoff if the Season ended Today
1. Ohio State (at Virginia Tech)
2. TCU (at Minnesota)
3. Auburn (vs Louisville)
4. USC (vs Arkansas State)
Just Missed the Cut
5. Michigan State (at Western Michigan)
6. Clemson (vs Wofford)
7. Baylor (at SMU)
8. Alabama (vs Wisconsin)
9. Oregon (vs Eastern Washington)
10. Notre Dame (vs Texas)