College Football Preseason News and Notes

College Football Preseason News and Notes

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College football teams are now practicing at full tilt despite 100 degree heat indexes persisting across much of the southern half of the United States. For teams with deep pockets, scrimmages are taking place in temperature regulated tents, enclosed edifices where players will still work up a sweat, but they won’t have to deal with a penetrating sun or stifling heat.

Those teams without a dedicated practice field will do the majority of their conditioning inside, at least during the hottest times of the day. Head over to most fields early or late and you’ll find the players doing sprints, taking hits and practicing plays. Over the next few weeks those practices will intensify with full blown scrimmages held to gauge player readiness. At about the same time, fellow students will begin to appear on campus, led by the freshmen class and followed by upper classmen.

Joe Paterno was hospitalized on Sunday after taking a hit from a Nittany Lions player while his team was practicing. JoePa’s right shoulder and pelvis were injured and the 84-year-old coach was admitted for testing, but released on Tuesday to return to practice. The legendary coach is in his 46th season and with 401 victories under his belt says that he has no plans to retire.

Few avid fans will likely tone their interest in college football despite some heart-wrenching and serious scandals. That’s the contention of Stewart Mandel and Andy Staples in their Sports Illustrated piece, “Ten Reasons to Embrace College Football After a Year of Scandal.” The SI piece notes that since the year began, one highly respected coach was forced to resign, South Carolina QB Stephen Garcia was suspended for the fifth time and corporate fraud has been alleged with one of the high profile bowl games. Still, the writers are bullish on this season noting, “At its core, college football is about the connection between the actors on the field and the devotees who watch them.” The top reason given is Andrew Luck, the Stanford QB who was a first round lock for the NFL. Instead of obtaining his millions now, Luck has delayed gratification to finish at the helm for the Cardinal.

The University of Utah and the University of Colorado are in the newly minted Pacific-12 or PAC-12 conference, becoming the first new teams to join since Arizona and Arizona State arrived in 1978. This same conference has shown much stability since its founding in 1915, seeing only two schools leave permanently in nearly 100 years of operation. And those schools are? The University of Idaho and the University of Montana, both of which probably reject leaving given the prestige of this west coast conference. Utah, by the way, opens PAC 12 play at USC on Sept. 10 and Colorado will host Cal on that date (see team schedules).

So, how will BYU fare playing an independent schedule this year? Maybe not so bad, given that the Cougars were able to secure seven home games including match ups with Utah and Utah State. Big on the schedule is a Sept. 10 game at Texas which should go far in determining if this team can compete outside of a conference. The Cougars open on Sept. 3 at Ole Miss and will be battling Oregon State and TCU as well.

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