The Way-Too-Early Week 1 College Football Matchup Previews

the swamo

Okay people I get it. You think I’m a crazy person for writing about college football…in June. And if you follow me on twitter (@Morgan_Moriarty) you can see I’m jonesing for pigskin. However with no other Gator sports to keep me occupied (all Gator sports are over with until football season) I can’t help but dream about August 29th, when College Football is back on the television and all is right with the world. There are some beautiful match ups in week one, and I’m here to get you hyped up for them. After all, it’s only two months away, and these games will be here before you know it.

Thursday August 29th

North Carolina @ South Carolina 6:00 PM ESPN:

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Spurrier Faces UNC to Open 2013

Why do I love this? For a number of reasons.  One reason being that it’s the first ever game of the 2013 season which makes me giddy just thinking about it. Two being that we get to watch the Ol’ Ball Coach once again in the first game of the season.

USC has had the first prime-time Thursday night slot for the last two years. Spurrier is now 68 years old and still has one of the best minds in college football. Gamecock fans are itching to reach Atlanta in December and win- could this game be the start to that season?

Utah State @Utah 8PM Fox Sports 1: The only reason I am highlighting this game is it’s the first game ESPN’s supposed soon to be rival Fox Sports 1 will have a college football game. It’ll be interesting to see what people think of their college football coverage.

Ole Miss @ Vanderbilt 9:15 PM ESPN:

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This matchup pits two SEC coaches who are attempting to build elite football programs from the ground up. James Franklin, Vandy’s coach, almost knocked off South Carolina last year in the 2nd Thursday night game of 2012. They had their first nine-win season since 1915 last year.

Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze made some big noise in the off-season recruiting wise, snatching up some of the nation’s top prospects including 5-star defensive end Robert Nkemdiche. This game will be a great one, and who doesn’t love Thursday night SEC football?

Saturday August 31st

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Toledo @ Florida: Gator football is just 12 Saturdays away. The Gators follow up their unforgettable 2012 season with a cupcake of an opponent, ToLOLedo (copyright for that pending). As much as I love myself some MACtion, Florida should steamroll the Rockets.

But keep in mind Florida’s 2012 season opener against Bowling Green, another MAC team. Florida was tied with BGSU until the fourth quarter when they finally pulled away. The offense didn’t look much different than former OC Charlie Weis’, and the defense gave up 327 total yards. Again this shouldn’t happen.

Brent Pease’s year two should give us a lot more depth to his offensive system, and the defense should be close to as dominant as last year thanks to returnees like cornerback Loucheiz Purifoy, defensive lineman Dominique Easley, and Ronald Powell who will play the buck position after sitting out in 2012 due to a torn ACL. This will be a special, special year for Powell now that he’s fully healthy. Not to mention Florida welcomes freshman Vernon Hargreaves III, one of the top high school corners in the nation.

Nicholls State @ Oregon: I didn’t know Nicholls State existed. Now y’all know. #NichoLOLsState

Alabama vs Virginia (Chick-fil-a Kickoff Classic in Atlanta)-  The defending National Champs takes on a mediocre ACC team. This game is likely to be a snoozer as Alabama returns AJ McCarron and TJ Yeldon, and they boast the top recruiting class of 2013.

However the Hokie faithful have been extremely bold about this match up in the off-season. Our friend on twitter @thekeyplay has gone so far as to make Hokie t-shirts that look like this:

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It’s a bold statement from a team that finished 2012 7-6. This will likely be a repeat of last season’s Alabama-Michigan game in Arlington where Bama rolled 41-14. Or Virginia Tech could find a way to keep it close. Regardless, these Chick-Fil-A Kickoff games are always fun.

Georgia @ Clemson 8:00 PM ABC-

NCAA FOOTBALL: DEC 01 SEC Championship - Alabama v Georgia

How Close Georgia was to Beating Alabama

This could potentially be the best football game of the year. Georgia comes into 2013 with a chip on their shoulder. They were just a pass away from beating the eventual National Champs…if WR Chris Conley hadn’t caught that tipped pass at the 5 intended for Malcolm Mitchell in the end zone as time expired in the SEC Championship game.

Georgia returns Aaron Murray and the entire offensive line, along with explosive running backs Keith Marshall and Todd Gurley. The Bulldogs did lose almost everything defensively, however.

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Quarterback Tajh Boyd had 36 Touchdowns in 2012

Clemson comes into 2013 with a lot of momentum after defeating LSU in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl. They return QB Tajh Boyd and WR Sammy Watkins, additionally their defense remains intact from last season.

Not to mention this game is in Death Valley. Clemson has the chance to shock the world, and if they do they could run the table and contend for a National Title bid. Get ready for this one, it’ll be a doozy.

Monday September 2nd

FLOLrida State @ Pittsburgh

floloridastate

This Picture Will Never Get Old

Could Pittsburgh really pull this off?  They just might. Florida State loses their quarterback EJ Manuel, running back Chris Thompson, and virtually their entire defense along with defensive coordinator Mark Stoops, who is now the Kentucky Wildcats head coach.

If Pittsburgh wins this, FSU will become once again an over-hyped team that makes it to the ACC Championship because the conference is so uncompetitive. On September 2nd I’ll be a Pittsburgh Panthers fan for sure.

These games will come up before you know it. Don’t forget to follow me on twitter @Morgan_Moriarty

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