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Season Preview | Tide, Tigers & Irish

College classes have started and in a couple of day’s college football will kick off. Students are getting their body paint ready as they prepare to cheer on their fellow students on the field. The defending champions, Clemson, start out as number five in the top 25 poll. So who is the number one team in the country? The Alabama Crimson Tide. Led by Nick Saban, the Crimson Tide are always ranked at the top of the top 25 polls. Alabama is coming into the season looking to find their way back into the National Championship Game, and this year they want to win it. After losing 35-31 in the title game last season to Clemson, they want to hold the trophy over their head. Sophomore QB Jalen Hurts looks to improve in his second year as the starting QB for the Crimson Tide. To help Hurts improve his game is the new offense coordinator for the Crimson Tide, Brian Daboll. Steve Sarkisian, who was the offense coordinator, left the team to go to the Atlanta Falcons. Daboll received the call from Saban to come to Alabama. Daboll has won five Super Bowls with the New England Patriots while coaching there, and he was also the offensive coordinator for the Miami Dolphins, Cleveland Browns and Kansas City Chiefs. Look out for Crimson Tide as they try to fight their way back to the Championship, led by their new offense. The Crimson Tide start their season September 2nd as they take on Florida State.

Staying in the SEC, let’s take a look at the 13th ranked team in the country, Louisiana State University, better known as LSU. LSU finished 8-4 last season, then beat Louisville in the Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl. After losing first-round draft pick Leonard Fournette to the draft, senior QB Danny Etling will be looked upon to lead the Tigers to the promise land. Etling battled freshman Myles Brennan throughout camp, and kept his job as the starting QB. Etling is going to need a strong year after having an up and down season last year. Etling went on to finish the season strong after throwing over 300 yards and two touchdowns against Texas A&M, and threw over 200 yards and two touchdowns in a win in the Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl against Louisville. If Etling can play like he did at the end of the season, the Tigers may surprise everyone and give Alabama a run for their money to be claimed the top team in the SEC. LSU starts their season September 2nd against BYU.

Lastly, Brain Kelly and his Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Kelly has the most to lose in this upcoming season. After finishing 4-8 last year, Notre Dame has a lot to improve on. Most importantly the defense. In six games they gave up over 30 points. In the first game of the season they gave up 50 points to Texas. Teams average 171.2 yards on the ground against the Irish, and 233 in the air. If the Irish want to keep up with the big dogs, they need to figure out their defense. On the other side of the ball, they need to figure out who is replacing DeShone Kizer. Kizer left for the NFL and was drafted to the Cleveland Browns and was announced he would be their starter. Backup QB Malik Zaire, who actually shared snaps with Kizer some games, transferred to the University of Florida. The Irish are putting their season in the hands of junior Brandon Wimbush. Wimbush last saw the field in 2015, once against UMass where he threw five passes, and 92 rushing yards on four carries. Later on in the season he came in during the game against Pittsburgh to take Kizer out since they were so far ahead, and Wimbush had four rushing yards on three carries and fumbled once. Kelly needs to make sure Wimbush is ready for the season, or he could see himself losing his job as the Irish coach.

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