College Football: It’s That Time Again
It’s that time of year again. No, not MLB Opening Day or March Madness. It’s NCAA Spring Football! It was only 8 weeks ago that the University of Alabama won the National Championship against the Ohio State Buckeyes. Remember? Alabama walked away with a 52-24 win. This was Nick Saban’s 7th win overall becoming the winningest championship coach of all time, surpassing the legendary coach Bear Bryant who won 6 national championships at Alabama.
Forget The Super Bowl – What’s Next?
Once the college football national championship was over, the football community immediately turned to the NFL Super Bowl in February. Tom Brady led the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in his first year as QB for the franchise to the Super Bowl victory, earning Tom Brady his 7th Super Bowl ring.
After the Super Bowl, most of us started looking to the PGA Tour, March Madness and Major League Baseball. While these professional sports dominate the sports airwaves, college football is still being played. Many NCAA conferences moved their seasons because of COVID-19 and a concern for team/fan safety. To avoid playing last year, they postponed to Spring of 2021. The list of conferences that deferred to this spring and are still planning to play are as follows: Big Sky, Big South, CAA, MVFC, NEC, OVC, Patriot, Pioneer, SoCon, Southland, and SWAC.
Notable NCAA Changes
The most notable hire this season was Hall of Fame player Deon Sanders as the head coach of Jackson State in the SWAC conference. Coach Sanders started the season 3-0 but lost his first game this past weekend vs. Alabama State with a final score of 28-35. More than 310 schools and 35 conferences in D2 and D3 are playing Spring Football. In addition, most D1 schools have already reported for Spring Practice.
Alabama is replacing their highest scoring offense in history with a new Quarterback named Bryce Young and is favored to win the national championship again in 2021 – 2022. Bryce Young is from Santa Ana, CA and lots of buzz surrounds his new QB position. In addition to Alabama, Ohio State, Clemson, Georgia, Florida, Oklahoma, Texas AM, and Notre Dame are poised for a run this year.
There are also many new coaching changes in college football. These include Texas with new coach Steve Sarkisian, Auburn with new coach Bryan Harsin and UCF with new coach Gus Malzahn. There are also top players that will need to be replaced for their respective teams to compete. This includes Trevor Lawrence at Clemson, Justin Fields at Ohio State, Mac Jones and the 2020 Heisman Award winner Devonte Smith at Alabama.
Over the next month, most D1 programs will have their Spring games in front of fans. While the delays of 2020 were frustrating for everyone involved, this is the best result anyone could have hoped for once the 2021 games resume this spring. Many SEC schools have already announced full fan capacities for this coming season. In the end, following safety protocols kept the student athletes, their coaches and support staffs, and the fans safe. You would expect no less from our centers of higher learning and the responsible adults who take the safety and well-being of their athletes seriously! Kudos to all of them!
As March Madness, The Masters and MLB Opening Day (April 1) are upon us, NCAA football is still the mainstay for most sports fans. It is kind of nice to have college football year round.
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