Summer Reading Material: “Let’s Ride”
Published on Wednesday, 7/25/18, at 8:12 a.m. Eastern.
Updated on Sunday, 8/19/18, at 5:45 p.m. Eastern.
Here are my by-lines (mostly filed to VegasInsider.com) previewing the 2018 college football season, along with a few other articles. I’ll be adding more articles/links as we get closer to Week 1, so check back on this page for more in the coming weeks…
—The Pimpslap Treatment I’ve been dealing Jeremy Foley for decades continued in my preview of the 2018 Gators, who have only one quarterback that’s taken a collegiate snap on the roster. His name is Feleipe Franks. Scary!
–Just like last year when we cashed South Carolina ‘over’ 5.5 wins before the calendar hit November, we’re once again extremely bullish on Will Muschamp’s third team in Columbia just in general and to go ‘over’ its win total again.
–Stanford is going to have one of the nation’s most dynamic offenses with veteran weapons like RB Bryce Love, TE Kaden Smith, WR J.J. Arcega-Whiteside and WR Trenton Irwin. I like the Cardinal to go ‘over’ its win total of 8.5.
—The entire list of the Westgate’s Games of the Year. *Note: Some of these lines may have been adjusted by now.*
–Expectations are high for Joe Moorhead’s first team at Mississippi St. Dan Mullen certainly didn’t leave the cupboard bare. My take on the Bulldogs in 2018.
—My QB Rankings with Will Grier listed at No. 1.
—5Dimes has released conference division odds, with Clemson listed as the biggest ‘chalk.’
—My breakdown of Derek Mason’s fifth team at Vanderbilt, one that likely needs to go bowling for him to be retained for a sixth season. If you know Mason, his approach to all games and any hot-seat discussion can be broken down into two words: “Let’s Ride!” (Love Mason and really rooting for him with one exception — when I’m in NashVegas for the Commodores’ date with my Gators on Oct. 13. And by the way, if you’re an SEC fan and haven’t gone to your team’s road game at Vandy before, trust me and just do it ASAP!)
–Looking for a surprise team that I believe can cash a lot of tickets this year? Look no further than D.J. Durkin’s third team at Maryland (assuming a few of his QBs can stay healthy!).
—My breakdown of the Ole Miss Rebels, who are loaded on offense but aren’t going to be able to stop anybody during their last year of probation.
–Iowa will be without four starters for its opener at home vs. No. Illinois. All four will be serving one-game suspensions, including OTs Alaric Jackson (12 starts LY) and Tristan Wirfs (8 starts LY), plus DTs Cedrick Lattimore and Brady Reiff.
–DawgPost.com is in the middle of a series of articles documenting Mark Richt’s final season in Athens. The 2015 campaign was one filled with chaos on a staff Richt assembled with lots of new faces and tons of responsibility for defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt. Part I of the series is available for free and can be seen here. Unfortunately for those of us who aren’t UGA fans and aren’t going to donate a penny to this cause, the rest of the series is hidden behind a subscription wall. Believe me, I’m working hard on my UGA friends to get me a copy-and-paste version sent to my e-mail address. The second installment of this series is titled, “Nobody believes in Brian Schottenheimer.” Of course, “Schottie” was at Florida at the same time I was. He served as Danny Wuerffel’s back-up QB and basically prepared for a coaching career learning under Steve Spurrier. I bought Schottie a beer and we chatted for about five minutes in New Orleans at a hotel before LSU and Alabama played their rematch for the national title in January of 2012. He visits 30-A (where I live in Santa Rosa Beach, Fla.) regularly and is now the new offensive coordinator for the Seattle Seahawks. I saw him at AJ’s one night last summer and talked to him for a few minutes. I asked him how that year in Athens went and let’s just say he won’t ever coach in the college ranks again. And he remains a Gator! (don’t we all?!)
–I always respected Matt Millen as a helluva NFL linebacker. I accurately thought he was one of the worst GMs in the history of pro sports during his tenure with the Detroit Lions. I thought ESPN should’ve kept him off the air when the Sandusky Saga went down at Penn St. However, I never doubted the dude’s toughness. And I wish him nothing but the best as he struggles with amyloidosis, a crippling disease that’ll take his life soon unless he’s able to get a heart transplant. His story is here from Dan Pompei of Bleacher Report.
–Liberty is poised to compete at the FBS level for the first time this year as an Independent. The Flames are coached by a familiar name, Turner Gill, the legendary Nebraska quarterback from the early 1980s. Gill had a nice run at Buffalo as a head coach and nearly scored the Auburn job. Instead, he settled for the Kansas gig a year later. That didn’t go well and he’s been at Liberty ever since, as he’s about to enter his seventh season. Liberty has played 12 lined games, all as a road underdog, since 2009. The Flames are 11-1 against the spread in those 12 outings, with the lone non-cover coming in a 29-14 loss at SMU as 13-point ‘dogs in 2016.