The NCAA Football season is right around the corner, and now that the spring game is behind us, we are slowly approaching the start of the season. But before we dive in, let’s go over what the spring game showed us from the top programs around the country, and the most anticipated teams to take the field.
Alabama’s spring game was a sight to see. Talk about one of the most successful programs in the history of college football and in the last decade more specifically. Alabama Crimson Tide are in good hands behind center with Tua Tagovailoa. Tua, coming off of a good season carrying Alabama to the National Championship game, is looking to take Bama home with the championship in 2020. Coming up short to the Clemson Tigers was tough for Tua, but he will bounce back in a big way. As always, Bama also has a running back core that is set to dominate.
However, offense wins games, and defense wins championships. Alabama doesn’t have a lot to prove, but they must dominate in the SEC if they want to be back at the top of the rankings in the football world. With the number one recruiting class in the country, Crimson Tide fans have nothing to worry about. Based off of the tremendous play on both sides of the ball for Alabama, look for them to be a powerhouse throughout the 2019-2020 football season.
Georgia had some question marks going into the spring surrounding the linebacker position with all starting positions up for grabs, and it seems Georgia filled them with SEC size and speed. Will that be a weakness in the Bulldogs defense? Doubtful, but possible. The other main area of concern for the Bulldogs was in their secondary. The Safety positions will be filled by senior J.R. Reed, and junior Richard LeCounte. LeCounte was Georgia’s leading tackler a season ago. Along with the two starters, they also have great back-up safeties if injuries become an issue. The defensive back position, however, is much more questionable.
Although they do have players to fill the position at CB they must rely on a young group of corner-backs to carry the weight. Their roster is full of sophomores and juniors full of size and speed, and after the spring game, those young corners also have shown they can play big when needed. Georgia’s defense stepped up big time in the spring game holding QB Jake Fromm to just 14 of 29 through the air with 116 yards. They also held the offense to an average of three yards per carry. Couldn’t ask for much better from the young defense.
Georgia has had two great seasons back to back, but they could not make it all come together when it mattered most and lost to Alabama after having the lead. This year they look for a different result, but they must get the team clicking to have the result they have sought after for the last two seasons.
Miami going into the spring game was trying to find one key part to their offense: a starting quarterback. Rosier leaving the Hurricanes opened some doors for some hopeful quarterbacks including N’Kosi Perry, Jaren Williams, and Tate Martell. N’Kosi Perry was the quarterback that split time with Rosier last year and was seen as the fan favorite to get the starting position. In the spring game, he started first with the offense and racked up 145 yards and a touchdown. Williams also threw for a touchdown, but most impressively Tate Martell, an Ohio State transfer, was the star of the show. Looking comfortable from the shotgun he threw for two touchdowns.
After the game, however, there is still no decision from head coach Manny Diaz who will be the starter for the 2019 season. All three look like great weapons for the starting job, but there can only be one. Not only was the quarterback situation something to watch, we also saw a defense who is ready to play some ball. Will the Hurricanes make some noise in the ACC come fall? Stay tuned.
Oregon: PAC 12
Eugene has been buzzing since last year when Mario Cristobal led the Ducks to a winning season and beat Washington in OT during the regular season and eventually went on to beat Michigan State 7-6 in the RedBox Bowl. Some key victories for the Ducks was all they needed to land some big prospects including 5-star recruit Kayvon Thibodeaux. However, the spring game didn’t matter as much on the field as it did in the stands. Autzen stadium saw an impressive 35,000 fans. This is significant because that is what Oregon needs to land recruits and keep up the atmosphere that comes with winning.
Some of the big takeaways from the game was Justin Herbert looking as good as ever, and the defensive depth chart for the Ducks looks solid. The number one offense and number two defense came away with the win, but we can’t forget to look at who will back-up the NFL hopeful, Justin Herbert. Tyler Shough was a recruit from Arizona that Oregon was big on. From the woes at back up from years past including back up Braxton Burmeister, the Ducks now have a quality QB2 option and he will lead the Ducks in seasons to come. Oregon looked great and are hopeful they have a shot at the College Football Playoff this season.
Oklahoma – BIG 12
The long anticipation of seeing transfer Jalen Hurts in a Sooner jersey is officially over. Jalen Hurts appeared in his first game and looked calm, collected, poised, and was in charge the entire time on the field. Hurts completed 11 of 14 through the air hauling in 174 passing yards and he also did some work on the ground racking up a rushing touchdown. Oklahoma has nothing to worry about behind center, and Sooner fans can sleep easy knowing their offense is in good hands.
Oklahoma looks crisp as always, and both sets of defenses looked ready to play on the big stage. I have no doubt they will be in the top of the BIG 12 once again.
Ohio State – BIG 10
Ohio State fans were worried about the future of the program following the announcement of Urban Meyer’s retirement. But, Buckeye fans can relax as the spring game showed us that Ryan Day knows what he is doing, and has prepared his team well in the off-season. Although the first quarter was slow going, the second quarter had plenty of scoring for the offensive hungry football fans.
Georgia transfer Justin Fields showed us some great things in the spring game letting us know that he is the man for the job. The Buckeyes and Fields like to be fast on offense. In the second quarter, all five of the touchdowns were in drives that were less than three minutes in length. Ohio State also has shown they have a star at the wide receiver position. Binjimen Victor is going to be the go-to man for Fields. The Buckeyes look great and will try to make their way back to the College Football Playoff as well.
Notre Dame – Independent
Notre Dame has become a football team well-known for their stellar defense throughout the season, and this year it doesn’t look to be any different. The Fighting Irish defense racked up 15 sacks in the game and looked to be in control. However, the offense looks like they can generate some great offense, but the depth chart is the biggest concern.
Starting quarterback Ian Book looked great throwing 16 of 21 and recorded a touchdown. Unfortunately, the back-up quarterback looks like a major drop-off. Phil Jurkovec had some trouble behind center. The main issue is holding on to the ball for too long, and the pressure he is receiving is making him rush his progressions. The offensive depth chart is also concerning since they allowed a lot of sacks. If Notre Dame can stay healthy, their offense will click, but if injury plagues the team, look for them to struggle.
Michigan – BIG 10
Michigan did not have much of a spring game. The game felt more like practice and was more casual than we would like to see out of a spring game which gives us the first glance at what they have to offer. One thing that we were looking for was the speed of the offense under new offensive coordinator Josh Gattis. Gattis did hold up to his reputation for bringing in a quick offense and the team seemed to be fine with speed offense, but conditioning will be key when they get into a tough battle during the season. We didn’t see much else that raised great anticipation or concern. We will see what they bring come game one of the season.
Texas – BIG 12
Although Texas weather played havoc on the Longhorn spring game, we still got glimpses of some great things the fan base can look forward to in the future. Texas has hauled in two straight top ten recruiting classes, and some of the young stars seem to be a difference maker for the Longhorns. Jordon Whittington showed some hope at the running back position, Kobe Bryce and Jylen Green made some big plays for the secondary, and RSFR QB Casey Thompson was stellar.
Texas has a lot to be excited about. Bringing back a lot of key players will make the difference down the stretch for the Longhorns. Having experience will help the young guys learn the ropes, and will give them the experience needed to win big games during the season and into bowl games.
Clemson – ACC
Clemson is coming off of a major win last season in the College Football Playoff, taking home the National Championship. Going into the spring game there was mainly just excitement that filled the air, and fans were on the edge of their seats to see the very talented team put on a show. The main thing that we were watching for, was the strength in the defense. After losing some top-notch defenders, the question was if they would remain a dominant team, and that question has been answered. The defense actually looked better than the offense. One thing that we noticed was the inability of the DB’s to get their head turned to look for the ball, but their coverage was always tight.
A star-filled Clemson squad is ready to play ball and Death Valley was roaring with excitement. There is no doubt that the Tigers are ready for the 2019 season to start. ACC better be ready.
Florida – Feleipe Franks looks better than ever. Florida is ready to roll. Looking for them to make some major upsets in the SEC and make a run for the SEC title.
Auburn – Offense looks good but the defense looks better. Still room for improvement, but they look ready.
Penn State – Beaver Stadium was buzzing and for good reason. Transfers hurt their squad’s depth chart, but they filled them with quality players. Penn State will be ready.
Overall, the NCAA season is building up to be a good one. We could not be more excited for the first day of football and are anticipating a great year filled with close games and upsets. Check back for predictions, game analysis and more.
Cover Photo: SBNation.com
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