Today is Monday, August 21, 2017

College football finally arrives

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Joe Biddle

Finally.

After talking, writing and drafting fantasy teams, the college football season is here.

And the surprises, they were aplenty.

You think South Carolina fans are kicking their dogs off the porch after the previously ranked No. 9 team in the country was ambushed, 52-28 by Texas A&M before a packed house at Williams-Brice Stadium?

If the Gamecocks are the ninth best team in college football, then those voters need to have their vote taken away from them.

You think Vanderbilt fans are yearning for James Franklin, whose Penn State team beat Central Florida with a last-second field goal?

One thing Franklin did at Vanderbilt. He beat the teams he should beat. He also took advantage of Florida, Georgia and Tennessee having down years while Franklin was here.

Franklin surely would not have lost by 30 points to a Temple team that was 2-10 a year ago.

Other SEC teams had to be watching Thursday night as those two shockers gave them fair warning. You better not be thinking you can sleep walk through season opening games against Little Sisters of the Poor.

Tennessee was ready for prime time Sunday night, as the Vols turned the Orange youth brigade loose on the Utah State Aggies. Senior quarterback Justin Worley led the way with three touchdown passes, one a swing pass out of the backfield to former Beech High All-Everything running back Jalen Hurd. Hurd is one of a number of freshmen that made their debuts a night to remember.

It begs some questions and I’m not sure we came away with any answers.

I don’t think Derek Mason and his team are as bad as they looked with seven turnovers against Temple. If they are, there will be a lot of long nights ahead, although hopefully not as long as the Thursday night game that was delayed by lightning and didn’t end until 1:14 a.m. on Friday.

I think the SEC West Division is much more powerful top to bottom than the East.

Granted Georgia broke open a close game with ACC member Clemson, 45-21. The Dawgs look like the team to beat in the East. South Carolina has to beat Georgia to have any chance to win the East.

I have to go with Alabama to win the West. The Tide beat West Virginia, 33-23 in the Georgia Dome, not a cupcake opener. They finally broke away, lowering some Bama fans’ blood pressure.

Auburn beat Arkansas in convincing fashion. The West could go down to the Iron Bowl as it did a year ago. LSU will be a factor with the number of athletes they have, but the quarterback position is still a weak link. We will see what Ole Miss brings to the table this week when they play Vanderbilt at LP Field. If the Commodores can’t stay with Ole Miss, I suggest they change the message on the back of their game jerseys from Anchor Down to Kick Me.

We saw enough of Texas A&M to know they are dangerous. If the season stopped today, my Heisman Trophy vote would go to Aggies quarterback Kenny Hill, who torched South Carolina.

Some are banking on Mississippi State being a much-improved team, although you can’t go on them beating Southern Miss, which was 1-11 last season.

I don’t see a weak sister in the West, but any team in the East can be had if they don’t bring their A-game.

Contact Wilson Post sports columnist Joe Biddle at joebiddle11@gmail.com.  

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