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I was hoping that I would be moving the week of the 10th so that I could see one last UT home game this Saturday against Rice. Alas, I will be on the road during the game. I feel really good about this team. Like Big 12 champions good. Like if things really go well Playoffs good. 

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Ethan Garbers has been named UCLA starting QB

HOWEVER - Chip Kelly also plans on rotating in both Collin Schlee and Dante Moore (at least for the first game)

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4 hours ago, RIPPA said:

Reminder there are 3 games on Sunday - including LSU @ FSU and 1 game on Labor Day (Clemson @ Duke)

There's a non-zero chance this game gets moved or delayed.  A big hurricane is headed towards North Florida with expected landfall on Wednesday and I'm guessing power/damage may be an issue. 

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I didn’t have time to write up an exhaustive P5 preview this year, but I do have a couple of topics and maybe a fun game or two to play to spur some thought and conversation ahead of the season truly kicking off this weekend. I thought I’d start us off with:

The Under-the-Radar Game of the Weekend

South Alabama @ Tulane (-6.5), 8:00 PM EST, ESPNU

With perennial G5 titans UCF, Houston, and Cincinnati off to the big leagues, the pool of potential playoff dark horses has shrunk considerably this season. And two of the strongest contenders will be meeting to this weekend in an elimination game, when the Green Wave welcome South AL in a battle of sister city universities.

Why is it a playoff elimination game in Week 1? Because if we’ve learned anything from a decade of the CFP, it’s that any prospective G5 team has to meet the following criteria, in order:

1. Be undefeated. This is non-negotiable.

2. No one-season wonders. Must show sustained greatness over multiple years.

3. Must have at least one marquee P5 victory to prove your bonafides.

So a loss this weekend will rule out one of these contenders.

With the exception of a maybe-resurgent (?) Boise State (who has tremendous brand recognition), Tulane has the best chance to get to the CFP by pulling a Cincinnati—following a NY6 bowl appearance (in Tulane’s case, even defeating USC; something Cincy couldn’t do against Georgia) with an undefeated season. But South Alabama could be the surprise team that people are talking about in November. The Jags went 10-2 in the 2022 regular season, losing those games by a combined 5 points (the less said about their New Orleans Bowl flop vs. Western Kentucky, the better). South AL returns a staggering 18 starters from that team, so the potential to take the next step towards an undefeated regular season is there.

Both teams will have the opportunity to collect a coveted P5 scalp in the coming weeks, as well, with Tulane improbably getting Ole Miss at home in New Orleans and South AL traveling to beleaguered Oklahoma State.

This is one of the Top 5 games this weekend, featuring two great G5 teams playing with real stakes on the line.

Other potential G5 playoff contenders to pay attention to as the 2023 season gets under way: 

The aforementioned Boise State: If they upset Washington this weekend (in another one of this weekend’s must-see games), the Bronco Playoff Hype Train will get rolling for the first time in years. They’ll also have a chance to knock off newly-P5-minted UCF at home the following week.

UTSA: Reigning back-to-back CUSA champs step up the ladder to the AAC this season. If they go undefeated and unseat Tulane for the AAC crown (those teams have a showdown in the last week of the regular season), and claim the scalps of Houston and Tennessee in the process, they would have a tremendous playoff resume.

Troy: Last year’s Sun Belt champs lost quite a bit from the dominant defense that led them to a 12-2 season and a bowl win over UTSA. Regression seems likely, but I wouldn’t totally rule them out. They’ll have a chance to knock off reigning Big 12 champ Kansas State in week 2 and to take down likely CUSA champ Western Kentucky later in the season. And then there’s the Battle for the Belt vs. South AL on November 2nd, which could carry huge implications.

Edited by EVA
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On 8/28/2023 at 2:45 PM, Dolfan in NYC said:

There's a non-zero chance this game gets moved or delayed.  A big hurricane is headed towards North Florida with expected landfall on Wednesday and I'm guessing power/damage may be an issue. 

The hurricane moved so fast, looks like they will be able to play it as scheduled since its already well into Georgia and almost back out to the ocean. Seems like Tallahassee avoided the worst of it.

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We did, the counties to the east of us got the Nasty stuff. We got Tropical Storm Conditions here, but trees still fell around town. Tallahassee being on the west side of the Hurricane helped us out a lot. We got 6 inches of rain according to our rain gauge in 12 hours. All the Colleges won't reopen until Tuesday.

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Of course I’m psyched for any and all football to be back, but I think the two marquee games tonight (Nebraska @ Minnesota, Florida @ Utah) have the potential to be bowling shoe ugly.

It’s tough to go on the road and win in Week 1, but with Cam Rising ruled out, I think Florida could win a rock fight out there. But if Utah can grind out a win against a solid SEC squad without their veteran QB, that might bode well for their three-peat in the Pac.

Honestly, one of the most intriguing storylines in CFB this year is The Simultaneous Rise & Fall of the Pac-12.

With so much of the CFB offseason talk focused on the demise of the conference and who’s going where, we’ve maybe lost sight of the fact that this could be the BEST the Pac-12 has been in a decade, and they have a strong chance to put a team in the playoff for the first time since 2016. Not only that, but the competition will be driven by three legitimate Heisman hopefuls at QB in Caleb Williams at USC, Michael Penix at Washington, and, god help me, Bo Nix at Oregon. The football will be attractive!

And, of course, as has been the case for the last two seasons, Utah is lurking around the corner, waiting to beat them all up and steal their lunch money (aka trip to the Rose Bowl).

And we haven’t even talked about UCLA and Arizona State both potentially starting 5* freshmen QBs (it’s only a matter of time for Dante Moore at UCLA) who could be supremely fun to watch and highly disruptive.

I’m personally intrigued by what DJ Uiagalelei is going to look like at Oregon State. He never looked especially great at Clemson in an offense that asked him to do more than he was capable of, but I’m curious to see how he fares in a QB-friendly offense that might be able to maximize his strengths. If he (finally) has his breakout season, Oregon State is a real dark horse in the Pac, because Jonathan Smith has built a rock solid foundation in Corvallis.

And then there’s Deion. Colorado might be the worst team in the P5 this season. His Louis Vuitton luggage must’ve gotten lost by the airline. But I’m betting this will be the most interesting 1-11 season you’ll ever watch.

This is gonna be a fun league. I think it’ll be worth it to stay up late this Fall.

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The Atlantic Coast Conference is expanding from its Eastern roots.

The ACC presidents and chancellors met on Friday morning and voted to add three new schools -- Stanford, Cal and SMU, sources told ESPN. It will bring the league to 18 members, 17 of which will play football full time in the league. The additions will be in all sports and will begin in the 2024-25 school year.


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