Kick It Off
By: Kenneth Harrison
TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services
Week 1 of the college football season kicks off this week.
Let’s take a look at some of the teams from the South.
Florida at 14 Utah: This was a very close game last year that Florida won at home, 29-26. Now the Gators travel to Salt Lake City to face the Utes on Thursday.
Quarterback Anthony Richardson left for the NFL draft and was picked fourth overall. Fifth-year redshirt junior and Wisconsin transfer Graham Mertz has been named the starter.
Florida coach Billy Napier is entering his second season but he’s already on the hot seat. Utah is the better team and I expect them to beat the Gators by double digits.
Virginia vs 12 Tennessee: This game is in Nashville at Nissan Stadium, the home of the Tennessee Titans. It’s considered a neutral site game but the Vols will have most of the crowd cheering for them.
QB Hendon Hooker played great last season before suffering a season ending injury. He’s now in the NFL and his former backup, Joe Milton is the starter.
Milton is 6’5, 236 pounds with a very strong arm. He was named the MVP of the 2022 Orange Bowl against Clemson.
The Cavaliers were 3-7 in 2022, which was head coach Tony Elliott’s first season. Tennessee should easily win this game.
Georgia Tech vs Louisville: This is the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Friday night. Both teams have new head coaches this season. Jeff Brohm was hired to coach the Cardinals in December. He was previously the head coach at Purdue and his record is 36-34.
Brent Key was the interim coach for the Yellow Jackets last season and went 4-4 to become the head coach. I think this will be a close game but I give the edge to Louisville.
21 North Carolina vs South Carolina: The battle of the Carolinas is a neutral site game at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte.
The Gamecocks have Spencer Rattler in his second season as the QB there. Coming out of high school he was the MVP of the Elite 11.
He was also featured on the show QB1: Beyond the Lights. His career initially looked promising at Oklahoma before things fell apart. Let’s see if he can finally put everything together this season and be an elite quarterback.
Drake Maye is the signal caller for the Tar Heels and he’s projected to be the second quarterback picked in the 2024 draft. Last season he passed for 4,321 yards, 38 touchdowns and 7 interceptions.
I think this game will be decided in the trenches so I give South Carolina the advantage.
5 LSU vs 8 Florida State: This game is at Camping World Stadium in Orlando. The Seminoles won this game last season 24-23.
The defense is led by defensive end Jared Verse. He transferred from FCS Albany and in his first season at FSU he had 17 tackles for loss and 9 sacks.
Redshirt senior QB Jordan Travis had a good 2022 season and he’s expected to take the next step this season.
LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels transferred in from Arizona State last season. He was pretty good and led the Tigers to an upset win over Alabama.
I think this will be a close game but I’m picking FSU.