Four Early Non-Conference Games not to Miss
Georgia at Clemson – Aug 31st
Mark Richt takes the loaded Georgia Bulldogs into Death Valley for a critical game to start the season. Aaron Murray will have one of the most explosive and balanced offensive units in the country at his disposal, and Todd Gurley would be the first RB off the board if he was eligible for the draft this year. Tajh Boyd and Sammy Watkins lead a high powered offense for the Tigers. There might not be a better QB match up all season than this one. Murray and Boyd both have great pro potential and with strong seasons both could be first round picks next May. If you have not seen a game in Death Valley, make sure you put it on your bucket list. It’s an awesome atmosphere and its college football at its finest.
Virginia Tech vs Alabama – Aug 31st (Atlanta)
The Crimson Tide will come in as the favorites (as usual) and are extremely talented in all phases. They look to start strong in their defense of their National Championship. AJ McCarron leads the offense with CJ Mosley becoming the leader of a strong and fierce defense. The Hokies are coming off their worst season in 20 years. The key to the season will be the reemergence of Logan Thomas, the very talented but inconsistent QB. Thomas had a rocky season but the whole team struggled to play consistently. Thomas also led the team in rushing, which is hard to believe considering the history of solid running backs in Blacksburg. This is the kind of game that can put Thomas back in good graces with NFL scouts. If he plays well against the Tide, all signs point to a strong season for Thomas and VT.
TCU vs LSU – Aug 31st (Arlington)
Casey Pachall returns from his suspension towards the end of last season, but has not been named the starter for TCU – yet. He is a very mobile and athletic QB who was off to a great start last season before his suspension in October. Pachall is 16-2 as a starter with a Rose Bowl victory under his belt. The Horned Frogs bring back a talented defense and are battle tested after grinding through their first year in the Big-12. LSU was hammered by the NFL draft losing 11 underclassmen. They do bring back Zach Mettenberger who was up and down as a starter last season. Starting RB Jeremy Hill remains suspended and his availability is still up in the air for the season opener. If Pachall can regain his form from last season, with the home crowd behind him, throw in the youth of the young Tigers and the questions surrounding LSU, it all adds up to an explosive and entertaining Saturday night in Dallas.
Florida at Miami – Sept 7th
Al Golden and the Hurricanes are looking for that marquee win to put the ‘Canes back in the national spotlight. With the NCAA sanctions likely behind them, this is the type of win that could propel them to an ACC title and potential BCS berth. They have an underrated QB in Stephen Morris who put up huge numbers at the end of last season. Morris has improved every year on campus and has a chance for a huge senior season. Florida is again a talented squad with national championship aspirations. They will be dominant as they were last year on the defensive side of the ball. The key to the season will be the development of Jeff Driskel and the offense. It was shocking to see how poor the Gators were on offense last season. They will also need to find a replacement for RB Mike Gillislee who was the first Gator RB to eclipse the 1,000 yard mark since 2004.