College Football Season Returns

Kamryn Torr, Editor In Chief

Kamryn Torr, Editor in Chief

College football is finally back this weekend and any fan of college football has been counting down to this weekend since the season ended following The University of Alabama championship win against the University of Georgia back in January. Big-time players such as quarterback Sam Darnold from USC, running back Saquon Barkley from Penn State, quarterback Baker Mayfield from Oklahoma, linebacker Roquan Smith from Georgia, and wide receiver Calvin Ridley from Alabama are players who have moved on due to the NFL draft this past year. These schools are losing some primary players for their team from this past season, but some of these schools are still favored to be very successful this upcoming season.  When it comes to the top teams at the end of the season, although it may be very early to discuss, there is already several debates going on regarding the final four teams in the college football playoff.

Obviously, most predictions have Alabama in the playoff conversation because well, it’s Alabama and they are always in the playoffs. Alabama fans love that, but any other college football fan wishes something crazy could happen one season and change the fact of Alabama being in the playoffs. The only controversial conversation among Alabama is the quarterback decision and whether Tua Tagovailoa or Jalen Hurts will be starting for the Crimson Tide. Although I have mixed emotions about Alabama and the fact that they are always in the college football playoffs and the national championship, I don’t see Alabama not getting in. Plus, this year I feel as though Alabama will hopefully have some new competition in the playoffs.

If one team could possibly stop Alabama from getting into the playoffs, it could be the University of Georgia. Georgia’s schedule is overall manageable in the fact that they can make it to the SEC championship to face Alabama. Although Georgia’s schedule is manageable, along with losing Roquan Smith to the NFL Draft, the Bulldogs also are without Sony Michel and Nick Chubb. These were some key players that they had in their run to the national championship, but if they can fill in those areas, Georgia may have another shot at making a run into the playoffs.

Although they have made it into the college football playoffs the past several years as well,  the Clemson Tigers will also make it back into the playoffs. When it comes to Clemson’s schedule, their schedule seems somewhat easy aside from the game at Florida State later in the season. Anything can happen in college football, as we all know, but  Clemson will ultimately win the ACC and earn their spot in the playoffs.

If there were to be one team that would stop Clemson from getting into the playoffs, it would be the University of Miami in the ACC championship game. Miami has a decent schedule and if they can go undefeated or even lose one game throughout the regular season and beat Clemson in the conference championship game, that would seal Miami a spot in the playoffs.

Last year, no Big Ten teams were in the playoffs, but there is so much talk about the Penn State Nittany Lions and the big year they could have. Last year the Nittany Lions ultimately didn’t make it into the playoffs due to 2 games: losing to Michigan State by 3 and losing to Ohio State by 1. Although they lost key players such as Saquon Barkley, Mike Gesicki, Deshaun Hamilton, Marcus Allen, and Grant Haley, sports analysts are confident that senior quarterback for the Nittany Lions, Trace McSorley, could possibly lead them to the college football playoffs with having a very strong home schedule this year.

The Nittany Lions “could have” a big year because their fifth game against the Ohio State Buckeyes will ultimately determine which of those two teams will be in Indianapolis playing in the Big Ten Championship at the end of the regular season. Also,  whoever wins the game on September 29 in State College will be in the playoffs, but only if that winning team doesn’t suffer more than one loss throughout the season. Aside from the Buckeyes being a key factor that could stop the Nittany Lions, Michigan and Wisconsin are other schools that should be getting some attention in the fact that they could make a run. The Big Ten Conference is the toughest conference in my opinion which is why the contender in that conference is always a question mark.

The last and final position in the college football playoffs is where I struggle. I feel as though that position is up in the air at all times throughout the season and sometimes it can be like last year where they doubled up teams from a single conference. If the committee this year doesn’t double up on teams from an individual conference, I feel as though Washington or Oklahoma could have a good argument to make it into the playoffs. Washington opens up with a huge game against Auburn and if they can win that game, they’ll continue to have a good season. Oklahoma has a decent schedule and if they can find a way to replace Baker Mayfield, they will have a positive season as well.

As someone who has been counting down to the start of college football since the day it ended, I am glad to say that college football is finally back.

To see the Trail staff’s college picks for opening weekend, click here