College football kicks off with a bang

Chris Olave 2021 Ohio State vs Minnesota

It was quite a weekend for college football, as many of us who love the game saw the crowds return and bring back the magic of the game. Yes, we still have issues with this top-heavy sport with Alabama and a few other dominant teams, but the traditions, crowds and games themselves make this an irresistible sport. No, NIL won’t ruin it. It will just continue to evolve, and likely in a better way.

As for the games this weekend, Ohio State and Minnesota kicked things off on Thursday night, as the Gophers came out to play and made things interesting for the first half. The Gophers have a monster offensive like in front of star running back Mo Ibrahim, and the Buckeyes have a young defense that clearly needs some more time to gel.

Meanwhile, C.J. Stroud was making his first start at quarterback and struggled in the first half. He had trouble throwing accurately on the run and couldn’t consistently get the ball to Ohio State’s talented receivers. That changed in the second half as Ryan Day schemed the receivers open and Stroud hit them in stride. The Buckeyes showed how Chris Olave, Garrett Wilson and the rest of the Buckeye receivers will torch opponents all season. And they have running backs as well, as Miyan Williams and true freshman TreVeyon Henderson both scored on long touchdowns.

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Alabama opens as a favorite against Georgia

Yes, we’re stuck with two SEC teams in the National Championship game again . . . oh well. Both teams look great and are deserving, but given the bowl records of the rest of the SEC, plus the record of the Big Ten and UCF’s victory over Auburn and you have a tough time justifying only having a 4-team playoff.

Alabama opens as a 4.5 point favorite over Georgia in the title game. It should be strength against strength in that game, with two physical defenses and power running games.

Nick Chubb returns to power Georgia past North Carolina

It’s always nice to see an injured player return to full strength, and Nick Chubb made a statement on Saturday that he’s back to terrorize college football defenses. Kirby Smart wasn’t shy about using him, as Chubb carried the ball 32 times for 222 yards as Georgia got past North Carolina in a pretty good football game.

Chubb instantly becomes a serious Heisman candidate with this performance, and it gives new head coach Smart a stabilizing force on offense.

College Football Week 7, NFL Week 6 Free Picks

No. 25 Missouri vs. No. 7 Georgia, 12:00PM ET
The Tigers are back in the AP top 25 for the first time in two years and are coming off a 51-28 drubbing of Vanderbilt on the road last Saturday. Quarterback James Franklin has looked sharp in the early going and has weapons at his disposal in Henry Josey and dynamic playmaker Dorial Green-Beckham. On the other side, No. 7 Georgia barely escaped Knoxville with a victory last weekend and is severely banged up offensively. The Bulldogs will be without running backs Keith Marshall and Todd Gurely, as well as recievers Michael Bennett and Justin Scott-Wesley. And while quarterback Aaron Murray has put on a show in back-to-back weeks, the defense still has plenty of holes after losing a handful of starters to the NFL draft back in April. Georgia is tough to beat in between the hedges, but look for Mizzou to keep things tight.
FREE PICK: MISSOURI +7.5

No. 9 Texas A&M vs. Ole Miss, 8:30PM ET
Two weeks ago there was plenty of chatter surrounding the 3-0 Rebels as they headed into Tuscaloosa. But following a 25-0 blanking at the hands of Alabama and a 30-22 upset last week versus Auburn, Ole Miss has once again fallen off the map. On the other side, A&M has completely regrouped following its loss to Alabama. The Aggies thumped a hapless SMU squad 42-13 before out-pacing Arkansas 45-33 two weeks ago in Fayetteville. Kevin Sumlin’s team is well rested coming off the bye and more importantly his defense has started to show signs of life. The spread is too low for this game, as “Johnny Football” and Co. should roll.
FREE PICK: TEXAS A&M -6

Steelers at Jets, 1:00PM ET
It was impressive to watch Geno Smith lead the Jets to a huge road victory over the Falcons on Monday Night Football, but suddenly the national media has made him into Randall Cunningham. Thanks to a rash of injuries the Falcons were without their starting running back, left tackle, middle linebacker, one of their outside linebackers, one of their starting defensive ends and were forced to play a hobbled Roddy White and Julio Jones because their reciveving corps is so thin. In other words, what the Jets did was impressive but they didn’t exactly beat the same Atlanta team that came within 10 yards of going to the Super Bowl last year. The Steelers are coming off their bye and thus, should have had plenty of time to regroup and iron out their issues on both sides of the ball. While it’s shocking to see the Giants at 0-6 on the year, it would be even more surprising to watch the Steelers fall to 0-5.
FREE PICK: STEELERS +1

Rams at Texans, 1:00PM ET
The Texans are in the middle of a freefall because quarterback Matt Schaub can’t protect the football. He’s had an interception returned for a touchdown in four straight games and has seemingly lost his confidence. That said, Houston’s running game has remained effective and its defense still boasts the likes of Brian Cushing and J.J. Watt, who is the best interior defensive lineman in the league. The Rams are coming off a win over the winless Jaguars but they still struggle with penalties, third down conversions on both sides of the ball, and run defense. Sam Bradford has also reverted back into a check-down machine and should be under constant duress in Houston. Look for the Texans to get back on track on Sunday.
FREE PICK: TEXANS -7.5

Mark Richt is officially on the hot seat

University of Georgia head coach Mark Richt walks off the field following a time out during the fourth quarter of their Southeastern Conference NCAA football game against the University of Florida in Jacksonville, Florida October 31, 2009. REUTERS/Daron Dean (UNITED STATES SPORT FOOTBALL)

It’s official, folks, Mark Richt is on the hot seat. An 0-2 start in Georgia (for the first time since 1996) isn’t what the fanbase wants, especially after a losing season a year ago. And no, it doesn’t matter that the Bulldogs opened with two teams that could realistically end the season in the top 10.

Richt is in 11th season as the Bulldogs head coach, and the team is certainly headed in the wrong direction record wise. Since the 11-2 season in 2007, the Bulldogs have gone 10-3, 8-5 and 6-7. That’s not the kind of progression you want to see in a major program this late into a coach’s tenure. And unfortunately for Richt, he doesn’t have a national title or legendary status to fall back on like a Joe Paterno.

The schedule gets easier for the Bulldogs, even in the SEC. They’re fortunate to be in the East, and they just played the divisional favorite down to the wire. It’s not out of the question for Georgia to still find a way to get to nine or 10 wins. I’m serious. They’re young and talented at some key positions, and should only get better as the season goes on.

If they do that, Richt should stay to see what he can do with a junior version of Aaron Murray and a sophomore Isaiah Crowell.

But if they don’t, and end up with a seven-, or six-win season, That young talent won’t be Richt’s to deal with anymore.

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