College football makes its return on Thursday night (yes, Thursday night) and fans will be treated to immediate action. No. 6 South Carolina takes on North Carolina in an ACC showdown while Ole Miss and Vanderbilt battle in an SEC tussle. No. 24-ranked USC will even make the plane ride over to Hawaii for a late-night game.
Get some sleep. Your weekends will not be the same for the rest of the year.
Last year’s season featured plenty of action, but the end result was rather anti-climatic. Alabama dominated throughout the season and carried that momentum into the BCS National Championship, where the Crimson Tide swatted Notre Dame 42-14. It was Alabama’s second-straight title victory.
For the sake of entertainment value, here’s hoping that the Crimson Tide stop being so stinkin’ good. However, it’s going to be a challenge for the rest field. Still, there are some formidable opponents in the mix.
Here is some analysis on what the Associated Press has dubbed the top five teams in college football.
The Crimson Tide welcome back now-senior quarterback A.J. McCarron, who tossed just shy of 3,000 yards last season. Losing a stud running back like Eddie Lacy might be a blow to any other team, but Alabama seems to be stacked at this position. T.J. Yeldon will step in to the starting roll after rushing for over 1,000 yards last season.
The only thing that works against Alabama this year is the timing of their schedule. Teams seem most vulnerable early in the season, and the Crimson Tide will face Virginia Tech and Texas A&M early on. Other than that, they’ll crush the SEC competition, per usual.
Let’s not forget, had it not been for a pretty questionable punishment levied out by the NCAA, the Buckeyes would have been competing for a National Championship last year. That 12-0 team was not eligible for a bowl game last, but they are this season. Also, they bring back nine players on offense, including Terrell Pryor-esque quarterback Braxton Miller. Plus, coach Urban Meyer knows how to win championships.
The Aggies made a splash during their first season in the SEC, even becoming the only team last year to knock off Alabama. Now, Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Johnny Manziel returns under center for his sophomore season. Manziel is a dynamic player, and the catalyst for a team that averaged over 44 points per game. Any team that can throw points on the board like that should be considered a threat.
Speaking of prolific offenses, make sure not to blink when you’re watching the Ducks. Last year, they featured the highest-octane offense in college football.
But, will Oregon be so explosive this year without coach Chip Kelly, who jumped ship to the NFL to coach the Philadelphia Eagles? The Ducks bring back nine on offense, so they should have a similar dynamic. However, we’ll have to see how new coach Mark Helfrich handles these resources.
After finishing 12-2 last year, the Bulldogs essentially return their entire offensive cast (10 players). They only bring back four on defense, though, which could ultimately be their downfall.
Georgia dropped one of the most heartbreaking games last season. They had Alabama on the ropes in the SEC title game — a game that could have changed the outcome of the entire year — but fell a few yards short. Can they get the job done this season?