It’s Time For College Football!
It’s almost that time…time for the College Football season to start in the US. For the next four months or so you need to clear your diary for Saturday afternoons and evenings, because you have the opportunity to see some wall to wall spectacular Football.
The top programmes attract bigger crowds than some NFL teams, with their dedicated fan bases bringing a level of excitement and support that you just don’t see anywhere else. Tradition and exuberance go hand in hand to create an atmosphere that, as a Football fan, you just can’t help getting wrapped up in. The teams all have nicknames, some more unusual than others (how about Texas Christian Horned Frogs). So where do you find this great feast of Football? Firstly you need make sure you have a subscription to BT Sport, for that is where you will find the ESPN channel, home to College Football. Every Saturday during the season you can tune into “College Gameday Live”, a marathon programme of games, updates, news and features. The show is sponsored by “The Home Depot” (that’s B&Q to me and you), and each week it visits a different campus who are hosting a big game, focusing on the teams history and players, whilst chatting about the latest news. Hosted by anchor-man Rece Davis, it features a panel of former players and coaches giving analysis and insights, and ultimately their predictions for the day’s results, the entertainment, banter and humour are relentless.
The top sides are known as Division One programmes, and are split into regional conferences. The year ends with the Bowl Games “season”, a collection of “sponsored” match ups with some crazy titles, one of my personal favourites being the “Famous Idaho Potato Bowl”. The top four sides will feature in the College Football Play-Off series, effectively two semi-finals, leading to a National Championship Game. Clemson University are the current champions, having beaten perennial top side, the University of Alabama in last year’s final. I could give you a list of things to look out for, but I wouldn’t want to spoil it for you, I think you’d enjoy it more experiencing it for yourself first hand.
What I will do, to enhance your viewing experience, is give you a heads up on some of this year’s top players to watch, so, buy position, look out for these ballers.
Offensive Line – Quenton Nelson – Notre Dame – He’s a sizeable individual with explosive power out of his stance and the ideal frame for a guard. He has the ability to create wide running lanes and possesses a good degree of nastiness (ideal for his position). He will link up with Mike McGlinchey to nullify opposing defensive linemen.
Wide Receiver – Dante Pettis – Washington – Not gifted with a deal of size, but quickness off the line and precise route running make Pettis a hard man to cover at receiver. Sure hands and a good catch radius will likely make him WR1 for Washington this season. Look for him to create thrills in the return game as well.
Running Back – Saquon Barkley – Penn State – The powerful rusher stacked up an impressive 1,898 total yards from scrimmage last year and he will be looking to improve on that! Not a burner, but very hard to take down once he gets in the open field. Has good pass catching ability out of the backfield, and home run potential. Keep an eye out for Derrius Guice from LSU, speed, power and pop at the line make him a dangerous offensive weapon.
Quarterback – Sam Darnold – USC & Jarrett Stidham – Auburn – All the pre-season talk is about Darnold, he picked up the reins after game three last season and never looked back, leading the Trojans to a 10 and three record and a win in the Rose Bowl, where he threw five touchdowns as they edged Penn State. He can play inside or out of the pocket. Over in Auburn, Jarret Stidham has transferred in from Baylor and secured the starting job. He shone in spring training camp and I think he will surprise people this year with his level of play.
Defensive Line – Nick Bosa – Ohio State – Another year, another standout D-lineman at Ohio State with the surname Bosa. Following in the footsteps of his older brother (Joey, the Chargers 1st round draft pick in 2016), Bosa has a great first step off the edge and tends to find his way to the opposing quarterback in a hurry.
Linebacker – Tremaine Edmunds – Virginia Tech – Has the ability to shed blockers using his height and long limbs, which he utilises to find his way to ball carriers, often beating blockers to the punch. Has great lateral pursuit and excellent stamina, allowing him to contribute on all three downs. Look for him to make tackles all over the field.
Defensive Back – Minkah Fitzpatrick – Alabama - Versatility allows him to play anywhere in the defensive backfield. He has blazing closing speed in coverage and is an excellent tackler in run support. Has the size needed to match up with the bigger receivers and the athleticism to match the more elusive receivers.
For the full experience on gameday Saturdays, make sure you have completed your usual domestic chores early, maneuverer your armchair into viewing position “A” and have a plentiful supply of your favourite American snacks and beverages to hand. Sit back and enjoy!