The Campus Read-Option: College Football Is Back In Full Effect

The college football season kicks off in earnest this weekend, and for those of us who’ve been counting the days ever since Clemson took out Alabama in the national title game, today has the distinctive feel of Christmas eve.

It’s the calm before the storm, because each year brings so much drama and newness that each weekend is an adventurous roller coaster ride toward answering the most pressing preseason question: what four teams will get that coveted spot in the playoffs?

Here’s a quick breakdown of the can’t miss games that I’m looking forward to watching.

#8 Washington vs Rutgers, Friday, 9/1 at 8:00 PM ET

You might be asking yourself, “Why in the world would I want to watch Rutgers get pummeled like Conor McGregor in the 10th round against Floyd Mayweather?” The answer is simple. If you appreciate excellence, you need to watch that Washington offense every chance you get this year. 

Huskies junior quarterback Jake Browning tied the Pac-12 record of 43 touchdown passes last year while his team scored a school-record 585 points. The player to watch for Rutgers is wide receiver/punt and kick returner Janarion Grant, who has returned five kickoffs and three punts for touchdowns during his career. 

Washington’s Dante Pettis Scores Game-Winning TD on Punt Return

4th-Ranked Washington kept its undefeated season alive with a 31-24 victory over 17th-ranked Utah. Dante Pettis scored the game-winning touchdown on a 58-yard punt return late in the 4th quarter.

Washington also has a return specialist extraodinaire in Dante Pettis, who has five career punt return touchdowns and needs one more to break DeSean Jackson’s Pac-12 record.

Akron vs #6 Penn State, Saturday, 9/2 at 12:00 PM ET

Most people are familiar with the incredible job that head coach James Franklin has done in making the Nittany Lions into a playoff contender, along with the play of quarterback Trace McSorley and perhaps the best running back in the land in Saquon Barkley. 

Both are Heisman Trophy candidates this year, with Barkley rushing for 1,496 yards last year and McSorley setting school records for single-season passing yards with 3,614, 29 passing touchdowns and 3,979 yards of total offense.

Trace McSorley || Official Sophomore Highlights

The heart and soul of Penn State Football, QB Trace McSorley. I do not own any of the video/music. Like/Subscribe and comment who y’all want to see next!

The players you may not be as familiar with, but need to be are the receiving corps of Juwan Johnson, DaeSean Hamilton, Saeed Blacknall and tight end Mike Gesicki.

#11 Michigan vs #17 Florida, Saturday, 9/2 at 3:30 PM ET

The Wolverines lost 11 players to last year’s NFL Draft. The Gators have not lost an opening game in 27 years. 

I’m looking forward to seeing Florida’s redshirt freshman QB Feleipe Franks, who supposedly has a rocket for an arm. The Gators defense was among the nation’s best last year, surrendering a mere 16.8 points per game. 

Rashan Gary 2016 Highlights

Chronological Highlights of Rashan Gary’s Freshman season.

When Florida has the ball, keep your eyes on Michigan sophomore defensive end Rashan Gary, who has been touted as the second coming of Reggie White. 

#16 Louisville vs Purdue, Saturday, 9/2 at 7:30 PM ET

So let me get this straight, Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson passed for 3,543 yards and 30 touchdowns last year as a sophomore, in addition to rushing for 1,571 yards and an additional 21 scores. And the word coming out of the Cardinals spring and summer practices is that they’ll be unleashing an even deadlier version of Jackson this year for his junior campaign???

The Most Exciting Player in College Football || Louisville QB Lamar Jackson 2016 Highlights

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Sign me up!!!

#3 Florida State vs #1 Alabama, Saturday, 9/2 at 8:00 PM ET

Both of these supremely talented squads are among the early-season national championship favorites, and many are calling this the biggest opening game ever in the history of college football. And that’s not just simple hyperbole. A No. 1-ranked squad has never opened the season against a team ranked as high as No. 3 on opening weekend.

Nick Saban’s Crimson Tide are still seething at their 35-31 loss to Clemson in last year’s title game. And Florida State has been a popular pick to unseat Clemson this year as the best and most talented team in the ACC. 

Jalen Hurts looking for big sophomore season | SportsCenter | ESPN

Alabama QB Jalen Hurts broke out last season, going 14-1 and making the national championship game. His sophomore year could be bigger.

The Seminoles and Alabama have combined to win five of the past eight national crowns, though that is somewhat deceiving because four of those championships belong to the Crimson Tide.

The quarterback matchup here alone will be worth the price of admission, with Jalen Hurts and Deondre Francois, FSU’s best signal caller since Famous Jameis, under center. 

Hurts, who passed for 2,780 yards and 23 TD’s while leading Alabama to the national championship game as a true freshman, is the real-deal-Holyfield! And as a native of Houston, you better believe he’s gonna be balling out to represent his flood-ravaged hometown.

FSU QB Deondre Francois Looking To Take Off In Year 2

FSU quarterback Deondre Francois had a successful season as a redshirt freshman leading the Noles to ten wins. Francois is looking to build upon that as a sophomore as Florida State will be one of the most highly touted teams in the country coming into the 2017 season.

You won’t find any tougher players in all of college football than Francois, who took a licking last year behind some suspect protection and still threw for 3,350 yards and 20 touchdowns.

Best Safety in College Football || Florida State Safety Derwin James Highlights

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When Florida State’s D is on the field, keep your eyes on safety Derwin James, the country’s very best defensive player.

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