We begin the start of the 2012 college football season, with an inspirational sandwich.
The people of Subway, the Home of Jared, in a boffo public relations gesture, have hired former Rutgers football player, Eric LeGrand, to be one of its spokesmen.
He will appear in several commercials that are scheduled to air during this football season.
The 21 year old LeGrand, as you may remember, was left paralyzed on the field, after making a spine snapping tackle during an October 2010 game against the Cadets of Army.
Despite his difficult challenges, LeGrand has been a glowing example of the resolve of the human spirit, recovering some mobility, and vowing that he will walk again.
The corporate suits of Subway quickly realized, that his story of perseverance should be acknowledged, and felt that he would be a great addition to its stable of spokesmen representing the company’s brand. Good for them.
This weekend, let’s see which teams celebrate victory, by munching on platters of foot longs, and which; get sandwiched, and starved by the opposition, playing as if; the cupboard is bare.
No. 8 Michigan vs. No. 2 Alabama – (Ch.5, 8 p.m. Saturday) Jerry’s World, Dallas, Texas
Kudos, and bouquets, to both teams for opening its season, not with some sugary treats from Cupcake U, but by giving college football fans a healthy, delectable, lightly seared entree.
These Sons of Bo Schembechler are commanded by its electrifying, dual-threat, senior All-America QB; Denard Robinson.
The Starry signal caller, protected by his Escalade-sized (6-8, 302 pound) All-America tackle Taylor Lewan, is assisted by junior tailback Fitz Toussaint (over 1000 yards – suspended, may not play) and a pair of field stretching receivers; Roy Roundtree (knee – will play) and Jeremy Gallon.
But as always, the question amongst the faithful of Ann Arbor continues to echo; can Robinson accurately deliver the ball when the pressure is on?
And since 2008, “Mighty Meeechigan” is; 3-10 against ranked teams, and hasn’t defeated a top ten team in almost five years.
Overall, Big Blue’s D, led by end Craig Roh, and its tackling-machine backer Kenny Demens, is a solid, but still evolving eleven.
During Nick Saban’s short stewardship (5 years) the Tide has placed a pair of crystal national championship footballs in its trophy case.
Those accomplishments have allowed “Saint Nick” to breathe the same rarified air once only reserved for; “The Bear,” Coach Paul Bryant.
But that secular worship isn’t simply the result of the number of checks in the W column. More importantly, it comes from an appreciation from the Tuscaloosan Community, when the coach was a ubiquitous presence in helping them recover from last summer’s deadly tornado.
His is one statue; the Administration will not be tearing down.
Alabama is directed by the steadily maturing arm of its junior QB; AJ McCarron.
The QB also has the All-State protection of an offensive line that returns four starters, and features a pair of All-Americas; Barrett Jones, and Chance Warmack.
Tailback Eddie Lacy with be the principal bell cow, with Jalston Fowler, and a pair of freshmen, Dee Hart and T.J. Yeldon also getting touches.
The receiving corps featuring Kenny Bell and Kevin Norwood is inexperienced, but runs like Mercury, and packs more talent, than a Victoria Secret runway.
Last season’s top rated D, lost seven starters to graduation.
But this group, behind All-America safety Robert Lester, and end Damion Square, will still hit harder than Charlie Weis hits the dessert buffet, and plays with the same animosity Mayor Tom Menino holds, toward a Chick-fil-A.
In Groucho’s favorite town; “When hunting in Africa, the elephant tusks are difficult to remove, but in Alabama, the tusks are looser.”
SEC speed, and coaching, leaves the Wolverines seeing Crimson.
No. 24 Boise State at No. 13 Michigan State (Fri. ESPN, 8 p.m.) Idaho should name a new potato species in honor the remarkable accomplishments of BSU Coach; Chris Peterson.
In the last six years, this blue turf maestro has led the Broncos to a Leahy-esque chart topping record of; 73 -6.
And the last three times Boise State has utilized a first year starter at quarterback, the Broncos haven’t missed a snap, compiling an eye-popping record of: 33-2, when its new signal caller has taken over.
This year, the director’s baton has been passed to junior QB Joe Southwick, who has the unenviable task of replacing BSU legend, (all-time winningest Division 1 QB), Kellen Moore.
But fear not Potato Heads, the untested commander will have plenty of protection.
Boise has four returning starters on the offensive line, and a pair of sure handed targets; Matt Miller, and Mitch Burroughs, to help with Sotuhwick’s apprenticeship.
The D, which is showcasing a lot of new faces, is led by corners; J.C. Percy and Jamar Taylor.
The last time the Sparty faithful tasted such success (22 wins – last 2 seasons) its legendary, Hall of Fame coach, Duffy Daugherty, was patrolling the East Lansing sidelines.
QB Andrew Maxwell will celebrate his coming out party, while leaning heavily on an experienced offensive line, and a starry, pulverizing senior tailback, Le’Veon Bell.
The new signal caller’s primary target with be wideout Bennie Fowler.
While the offense looks to develop a rhythm, the D, will be like its namesake; mean, relentless, and attacking from all directions.
This group, which is stronger than the support lining of a Kim Khardashian cashmere sweater, is anchored by a pair of All-Americas; end William Gholston and corner Johnny Adams, as well as a trio of swashbuckling backers; led by Max Bullough.
In a very intriguing match up and fully aware that it’s always dangerous to go against Boise State in a season opening game; but in East Lansing, and no Kellen Moore, we like the Spartans D, to ride to victory over the Broncos.
No.14 Clemson vs. Auburn (Sat. ESPN, 7:30 p.m.) Atlanta, Georgia The Tiger faithful continue to shudder at the inconsistency of the Clemson D, which remains the one nagging constant of the Dabo Swinney era.
It is also the reason D-Coordinator Brent Venables was imported from Oklahoma.
His mission is to try and plug those leaks, which at times, resemble a gusher in a Big Dig tunnel.
On the other side of the ball, Clemson has more offensive weapons than the arsenal of the Syrian “Butcher;” Bashar al-Assad.
Led by its Fab-Four; QB Tajh Boyd, tailback Andre Ellington, All-America wideout Sammy Watkins (suspended two games) and his equally talented partner Andre Hopkins, this group can score quicker, and more often, than George Clooney.
If Venables can shore up the D, which has talent in ends Malliciah Goodman, Corey Crawford, and backer Stephone Anthony, the Tigers, could once again, earn an invite to a BCS soiree.
Scot Loefler, Auburn’s newly minted o-coordinator, (formerly at Temple), intends to reestablish a power running attack at Auburn.
The chief benefactor of that emphasis, is its senior road runner, Onterio McCalebb, who will get breathers from Corey Grant, and Tre Mason
QB Kiel Frazier’s learning curve is still on the upswing, but he does have a pair of prime time targets; All-America tight end Philip Lutzenkirchen, and wideout Emory Blake.
The Auburn D behind ends Corey Lemonier, Dee Ford, and backer Daven Bates, are the leaders of this young, but improving eleven.
This should be a classic ACC/SEC grudge match. And despite the uncertainty of the hangover effect of its Orange Bowl embarrassment, we still give the edge to the Tigers of Clemson, based simply on its firepower.
Southern Miss at No. 17 Nebraska (Sat. ESPN2, 3:30 p.m.) The schedule makers didn’t do any favors to the Golden Eagles of Southern Miss.
Its highly regarded coach, left for the greener pasture$$ of North Carolina, while a dozen position starters left by way of graduation. Therefore, if the Boys from Hattiesburg are to celebrate its 19th consecutive winning season, it will take more than skill to make it happen.
Its new commander is untested QB Chris Campbell, who is assisted by tailback Desmond Johnson, and a dynamic, all purpose water bug, (5-9, 168) senior Tracey Lampley.
The inexperienced D, led by end Jamie Collins, and tackle Rakeem Nunez-Roches, is also missing a pair of starting corners, due to camp injuries.
In Lincoln, the formula is simpler than Wheel of Fortune, so goes QB Taylor Martinez, so goes the Huskers.
If Big Red’s dual-threat QB can improve his throwing ability, (a big if, although he guarantees a 70% completion rate), it could be a special season for these Sons of Tom Osborne.
The gifted field general, whose legs dance with the lightness and elusiveness of Fred Astaire, also relies on one of the country’s toughest, and most effective tailbacks; Rex Burkhead.
Burkhead is to the Huskers offense, what a shredder is to a hedge fund manager.
Martinez also has a gaggle of quality receivers, featuring tight end Ben Cotton, and receiver Kenny Bell.
On the other side of the ball, it’s been a while since the Black Shirt D has lived up to its havoc-wrecking reputation.
But a strong front seven, led by tackle Baker Steinkuhler, end Cameron Meredith, and backer Will Compton, is desperate to restore some of that lost defensive reputation luster.
In Lincoln, the Huskers grab all the vowels, spelling victory for the Big Red Machine.
Georgia Tech at No.17 Virginia Tech (Mon. ESPN, 8 p.m.) Georgia Tech runs more than a Kenyan track team.
QB Tevin Washington is the Houdini behind Coach Paul Johnson’s option special, with assists from tailback David Sim, and most importantly, a seasoned offensive line.
As always with the Sons of Bobby Dodd, the question hangs like the scent of hot dogs wafting from the front door of the Varsity. When the Jackets are forced to throw, will Washington’s accuracy be anywhere near Division 1 level.
The D led by end Izaan Cross, and backer Jeremiah Haochu, isn’t stout, but quicker than President O’Bama in rolling his eyes over another Joe Biden faux-pas.
There are two guarantees in life; no matter the strength of the breeze, Mitt Romney will never have a hair out of place, and VaTech coach, and future Hall of Famer, Frank Beamer, will field another top 20 team.
The Hokies unquestioned leader is its Himalayan-sized (6-6, 262) QB, Logan Thomas, who is surrounded with a cast, whose first name is: inexperience. VaTech has only one other returning starter.
Despite the questions on offense, the signature dish in Blacksburg remains; Bud Foster’s D.
This season has eight returning starters from last year’s highly decorated squad, led by end James Gaye, tackle Derrick Hopkins, and backers; Bruce Taylor and Tariq Edwards.
While the offense finds its stride, the Hokies D will determine the direction of the VaTech season.
In this game, Beamer’s Boys notch another W onto the belt of its future Hall of Fame Coach.
Be sure to read our recap which will be up and running by Sunday at noon.
We’ll be back Wednesday night for our week two analysis. Until then, Peace, and listen to the music. College football is back!!! pk