Written by Davy Ondrejka
College football is back in full swing. This means stadiums filled with over a hundred thousand fans are back, making this year considerably different than the previous.
With last year’s COVID-19 restrictions, many underdogs were able to travel on the road and come away with some big wins. This year, it won’t be so easy; home field advantage is back as stadiums are once again back to full capacity. Even with all that support from the fans, it is the talent that makes teams win or lose.
Unfortunately, much of the great talent from last year — especially from the quarterback position — has moved on to the NFL. Last year’s top-ranked teams such as Clemson, Ohio State and Alabama, though losing great QB’s, are still ranked in the top five. So, there is still plenty of good football to watch. There is no way to know for sure, but we have an idea who some of the next stars will be.
D.J. Uiagalelei showed us glimpses of brilliance last year for Clemson. Spencer Rattler showcased even more for Oklahoma. North Carolina’s Sam Howell posted video-game numbers at times, and he likely will again. All three will be among the most popular wagers to win the Heisman Trophy, with Rattler and Uiagalelei two of the chalks to win the award.
Love them or hate them, Alabama seems to always bring in views, but will they be good again this year? Probably, though this year things might be more complicated than usual. In four years, Alabama has lost just four games. And, despite being dealt lofty point spreads every week, the Crimson Tide has still covered 30 of 55 games in that time. We all know how good Head Coach Nick Saban is, but there are still reasons to question just how dominant Alabama will be.
Alabama lost seven offensive starters last year. Those losses include quarterback Mac Jones, Heisman winner DaVonta Smith, wide receiver Jaylen Waddle, record-setting running back Najee Harris and meaningful pieces on an offensive line that made it the best in America.
Alabama’s defense, however, should once again be a strength. While it also lost pieces to the draft, a youthful group should be much improved. Last year, this unit was up and down by Alabama’s ridiculous historical standards. While the offense will likely still be what Alabama’s driving force is in this post-Lane Kiffin world, an improved defense could go a long way.
Although it looks as if Alabama still will have what it takes, there is plenty of room for other teams to make a name for themselves and begin their own dynasty.
Top five games you won’t want to miss.
1. Alabama at Texas A&M — October 9
2. Oklahoma vs. Texas — October 9
3. Notre Dame vs. Wisconsin — September 25
4. Florida at LSU — October 16
5. USC at Notre Dame — October 23