By Thomas Zinzarella ’21
It is officially a month into football season, and teams are settling in for what should be another exciting year on the gridiron. The University of Alabama once again finds themselves at the top of the polls and has set out to defend their National Title after their heroic comeback last year against the University of Georgia in the Championship game.
Alabama and Georgia are both favorites to get back to the college football playoffs but, there are a few new faces that fans should look out for. A team that is red hot to start and has worked themselves to College Football Playoff contention is the #5 Louisiana State University Tigers. They knocked off #8 University of Miami (FL) at a neutral site and have beat #7 Auburn University on the road, two solid wins for Coach Ed Orgeron’s squad. Additionally, #1 Alabama, #2 Georgia, and #18 Mississippi State will head to Death Valley to face the Tigers.
In the New England area, Boston College jumped into the AP rankings for the first time since 2008 as the 23rd best team in the country. Boston College has seen exceptional play from their offense, speared by Heisman trophy hopeful, running back AJ Dillon and quarterback Anthony Brown. Dillon has shown flashes of former Eagles tailback Andre Williams who finished fourth in Heisman voting in 2013. BC has always played well on the defensive side of the ball under their head coach Steve Addazio. Unfortunately, this past Saturday, the Eagles fame in the AP polls did not last long, as they fell to the Purdue University Boilermakers on the road with a final score of 30-13.
Boston College will have more opportunities to climb back into the rankings as they host #16 Miami Hurricanes and #3 Clemson Tigers. The Eagles will also head down to Blacksburg, Virginia to play Virginia Tech. BC will have to capitalize on these games in order to make a return to the Top 25.
Another team making some noise is the University of Rhode Island Rams. Yes, they may be a rival school of Providence College in basketball, but URI seems to be finding winning ways on the football field. Despite the face that in the past four seasons the Rams are just 7-38, finishing 11th of 12 teams in the Colonial Athletic Conference, URI started off this season defeating University of Delaware 21-19 on the road and then trouncing University of Albany 45-26. URI then took on their only football bowl subdivision opponent and one of their old rivals: the University of Connecticut Huskies. It was a high-scoring game where URI fell by just one touchdown, 56-49. Because of their success this year, the Rams have cracked into the Top 25 of the Football Championship Subdivision rankings at 23.
Favorites for Heisman:
The race for the Heisman trophy should be as exciting as it has been in the last couple of years. There was not a clear-cut favorite coming into the season ,as there are several players with the opportunity to win the award.
A few players to keep an eye on this year are QBs Tua Tagovailoa (Alabama), Kyler Murray (Oklahoma), and Will Grier (West Virginia). Each of these QBs has had a unique journey in their rise to fame. Tagovailoa was thrusted into the championship game in the second half and led a heroic comeback to secure the win for the Crimson Tide last year. Kyler Murray, who was the 9th overall pick in this past June’s MLB Draft, will head to spring training in March for the Oakland A’s after this football season has concluded. Grier started his career at the University of Florida, where he started six games before he was suspended for performance-enhancing drugs. He then transferred to West Virginia University.
This past weekend each player solidified themselves on why they should win. Tagovailoa threw for 387 yards and 4 TDs in a 45-23 win against #22 Texas A&M. Grier threw for 356 yards and 5 TDs and 2 INT in the 35-6 win against Kansas State.