Football is back!

Ahhh! At long last… the start of football season is upon us. Tonight, here in South Carolina, high schools all across the state will suit it up for the first time this season. Tomorrow, college football officially kicks off, even if it is a rather lack luster start. The NFL is in the middle of the pre-season and still has two more weeks to go until the games that truly matter.

The beginning of the football season brings everyone joy, but more importantly… hope. Every team starts with same record and every team starts with the same chances of post season glory. However, that dream and that hope won’t last long.

Fan bases are itching to get back in the stands. Itching for the first tailgate of the year. Itching to yell and scream and cuss as their team battles it out on the field. There truly is no better time of year!

High School

The high school football season kicked off last night here in South Carolina, but the majority of schools will take the field tonight. Pre-season #1 Dutch Fork will take on Mallard Creek (NC) in their season opener while the Rebels of Byrnes will be in Greer to take on the Yellowjacks. A very interesting game to keep an eye on.

My alma mater, Travelers Rest, face off against Riverside at home tonight. TR is coming off a decent 7-4 season last year and will look to begin this season with similar success as they started off 2018 with a 35-14 win over Riverside. I’ll take the Dogs again to start the season off on the right foot.

In other AAAA Region 2 match-ups tonight, Eastside takes on Southside, Greenville is at Woodmont and Landrum travels to Blue Ridge.

Where I live, here in Easley, the Green Wave take on the Pickens Blue Flame in an AAAAA vs. AAAA match-up.

NCAA Football

Here in the South, college football is basically a religion. We wear out school’s colors with pride, even in those years where losses out weigh the wins. For me, Orange and Purple run through my veins as well as my wardrobe.

Saturday, we finally get a taste of college football. There are only two games this weekend featuring FBS teams: Miami vs. #8 Florida (neutral site game in Orlando) and Arizona at Hawaii. So while there aren’t really any huge marquee match-ups, these games will definitely suffice.

In the first game, an old rivalry is renewed as the Canes take on the Gators in Camping World Stadium. I loved what Dan Mullen was able to accomplish in his first year as the Gators head coach in 2018. A Gators team which has been steeped in mediocrity, finally showed some proof that the right head coach can make all the difference. A very good 10-3 year was capped off by a drubbing of Michigan in the Peach Bowl. On the other side, the Miami Hurricanes were all but impressive last year going 7-6 and getting whipped by Wisconsin in the Pinstripe Bowl. The Hurricanes have had some pre-season controversy with their quarterback situation by naming Freshman Jarren Williams the starter over highly touted QBs N’Kosi Perry and OSU transer Tate Martell. My thoughts going into this opening season game: With a Freshman QB for Miami going up against a very talented Florida defense and a lot of weapons on the offensive side of the ball for the Gators, I’ll take the Gators big over the Canes.

In the SOCON, the earliest of the televised games tomorrow features two FCS teams as Youngstown State travels down to Montgomery to take on Samford. The Bulldogs finished with a lack luster 6-5 (5-3) record last year. The Penguins will also be looking to set the tone for 2019 after finishing under .500 last season. A great nationally televised FCS match-up to start the college football season.

My Picks

Youngstown State vs. Samford – Samford 35-24 over YSU

Miami vs #8 Florida (-7) – I’m going with the blowout. Florida wins 41-10 over Miami

Arizona (-11.5) at Hawaii – Late night football offensive fire power. Should be a high scoring game. I’ll stick with Arizona, but closer than 11.5. Arizona wins 52-42 over Hawaii.

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