Kenneth Harrison

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Carolina Blues

By: Kenneth Harrison news services

The NFL season is still in progress and the Carolina Panthers fired head coach Frank Reich. Reich was just hired in January 2023 and he signed a four-year contract.

Reich is a former backup quarterback known for making huge comebacks before he became a coach. In 1984 he led Maryland to a victory over the No. 6 Miami Hurricanes after trailing 31 – 0 at halftime.

In January of 1993 he led the Buffalo Bills to a Wild Card playoff win over the Houston Oilers, after trailing 35 – 3 early in the third quarter.

His playing career ended in 1998 and he started coaching in 2006. Reich was the offensive coordinator for the Philadelphia Eagles from 2016-17. He helped the Eagles win Super Bowl LII, which is the first Super Bowl in franchise history.

He took over as the head coach in Indianapolis in 2018. He coached the Colts for four and a half seasons, compiling a record of 40 – 33 – 1. He was fired halfway through the 2022 season after getting off to a slow start. Indy made two playoff appearances while he was there, winning one playoff game.

It is interesting the Panthers hired him after having being barely above average for the Colts. Carolina traded up to draft Alabama quarterback Bryce Young No. 1 in the 2023 draft. They had to know this would be a tough year but it was worse than they anticipated.

Carolina is 1 – 10 and in position to have the worst record and top draft pick in 2024. That pick was traded to the Chicago Bears.

Reich was Carolina’s first starting quarterback, starting the first three games for the Panthers’ expansion team in 1995 and going 0 – 3 before he was replaced by rookie quarterback Kerry Collins. Reich had thought of this return to the Carolinas as a head coach as a chance to put a “magical” ending onto his 30-plus year career as an NFL player and coach.

“It was a great opportunity,” Reich said. “The way the doors opened up for it was amazing. But there’s not always a storybook ending…. I also take comfort and find peace and strength that there is a next chapter of my life. I do believe that. I do believe God ordains our steps.”

Owner David Tepper fired him Monday, after they lost to the Tennessee Titans 17 – 10. He was fired in person by Tepper at Bank of America Stadium shortly before the news was announced.

“There’s a heart-pounding disappointment in not hitting the marks that we needed to hit to keep this going and try to get it turned around,” Reich said. “It hurts me for the guys, the team, the coaches and the fans.”

Reich was expected to help Young develop and so far the results have not been good. The roster is also bad so that has to play a factor.

Tepper seems to be running the Panthers into the ground. Reich spoke in a press conference a few weeks ago and he spoke about Tepper’s hands-on approach. I think that is going to be a problem with landing a good coach.

He purchased the Panthers in May of 2018 for $2.2 billion, the highest in NFL history and he did not have any other investors.

The best record they have had was 7 – 9 in 2018 when Ron Rivera was still the coach. He hired Matt Rhule in 2020 and he was fired after five games in 2022.

I’m not sure what the future holds for this franchise but they will be at the bottom of the NFC South for a while.

Fixed Wreck?

By: Kenneth Harrison news services

This is the first full season for Georgia Tech head coach Brent Key.

He took over as the interim head coach last season after Geoff Collins was fired. The Yellow Jackets started the 2022 season 1 – 3 before Collins was relieved of his duties. Once Key took over he went 4 – 4.

It looks like that momentum has carried over to this season. Tech is bowl eligible for the first time since 2018, which was Paul Johnson’s final season.

Key is a Georgia Tech alumnus and football letter winner. It is impressive that he lead this team to a bowl game because it did not look possible about halfway through the season.

They were 2 – 3 at the end of September. They suffered an embarrassing home loss to Bowling Green and it looks like that was the turning point.

The next game was at No. 17 Miami and they pulled off an improbable win that turned the season around. The Hurricanes should have taken a knee in the final minute of the game but they ran a play and fumbled. Tech recovered and Haynes King threw a 44-yard touchdown pass to Christian Leary with two seconds remaining to win, 23 – 20.

“We should have taken a knee,” Miami coach Mario Cristobal said.

Said coach Key: “We kind of thought they were taking a knee.”

Miami outgained GT 454-250 and had 23 first downs to the Yellow Jackets’ 12 but it did not matter.

They beat Syracuse 31 – 22 at Bobby Dodd Stadium to become bowl eligible. As a result, Orangeman head coach Dino Babers was fired after coaching there for 8 years.

The defense played well and held Syracuse to 94 yards at halftime.

“With them coming out in that Wildcat offense and running the ball a bit more it kind of allowed us to showcase our talents as a linebacker group and show that we can actually stop the run,” linebacker Paul Moala said.

Syracuse ran for almost 400 yards the previous week in a win over Pittsburgh. The Jackets contained the Orange to half that total.

“We really simplified things in this game, ran some simplified things within the plan, allowed the big guys up front to be able to do what they do,” Key said. “Good plan put together by the defensive guys in being able to do that and came up with some key turnovers at some key times.”

Quarterback Haynes King has played better than expected. He was at Texas A&M for 3 seasons and he did not do much before transferring to Georgia Tech. King has passed for 2,597 yards, 26 touchdowns, 15 interceptions and he’s completing 62% of his passes. He’s also the second leading rusher with 624 yards, 7 TD’s and he averages 6.4 yards per carry.

Running back Jamal Haynes is the leading rusher with 850 yards, 7 scores and he averages 6 YPC.

I think the program is taking a step in the right direction to be a solid winning program that can expect to play in a bowl game each season.

Barking Up The Right Tree?

By: Kenneth Harrison news services

We all know Georgia is a football school. The Bulldogs have had a tough time finding consistent success on the hardwood for men’s basketball. Let’s take a look at UGA and see if they can turn that around this season.

Mike White is in his second season as the head coach in Athens. He coached at archrival Florida previously from 2015 – 2022. He replaced Billy Donovan but he did not have the same level of success. His record for the Gators was 142 – 88 with four NCAA Tournament appearances.

Last season the Bulldogs went 16 – 16 in his first season. They are losing their top three scorers from last season but the team was 190th in offensive efficiency. Former four-star prospect Jabri Abdur-Rahim is the best returning player. He was the most efficient player for the Dawgs last year but he played the role of a non-creator.

Point guard Justin Hill transferred to UGA from Longwood last year. He started ten games but his offensive impact was inconsistent. He is expected to be better this season.

There are some new faces that are expected to make an impact. Senior guard Noah Thomasson played at Niagara the last two seasons. He averaged 19.5 points per game last year. We will see if he can make the jump from the MAAC to the SEC.

White brought in four freshman, all are four-star players. They are point guard Silas Demary Jr., wing Blue Cain, power forward Dylan James and wing Mari Jordan.

They also have four more transfers, headlined by seven foot senior center Russel Tchewa (South Florida).

The season opener was against Oregon in Las Vegas in the Naismith Hall of Fame Series tournament at T-Mobile Arena. The Ducks won 82 – 71. It is impressive that they fought to get this game within single digits.

“I loved the fight down the stretch,” coach Mike White said after the game. “The press was really effective for us, and this is really not a pressing team. But we fought to the bitter end. If we get the ‘pick 6′ at the end it could have been a little more respectable than that. But we fought to the end.”

Abdur-Rahim showed new-found offensive aggression and led the Bulldogs with 18 points, including three 3s. RJ Melendez overcame a slow first-half start to finish with 12 points and Cain scored 12 and had a pair of steals in his first collegiate game.

The Dawgs shot 30 three-pointers, only making ten of them.

“I liked our spacing and I like that this team got off 30 3s. That’s what this team needs to do. Sixteen turnovers was too many and we broke off our some of our execution on four or five possessions, which bled us a little,” White said.

The next two games are at home against Wake Forest and North Carolina Central.

After that they travel to the Bahamas for the Baha Mar Hoops Bahamas Championship. The first game is against No. 13 Miami. Depending on the outcome the next round is against Kansas State or Providence.

I think Georgia will have another .500 season. If they do better than that I would consider it a success.


A New Buzz

By: Kenneth Harrison news services

The NBA season has started and college basketball is right around the corner.

We are going to take a look at Georgia Tech and see what we should expect this season.

Former head coach Josh Pastner was finally relieved of his duties after last season. He coached at Tech from 2016 – 2023 with a record of 109 – 114. He was replaced by Damon Stoudamire.

You might remember Mighty Mouse from his playing days. He was a point guard at Arizona and was a three-time First-team All-Pac-10 player (1993-1995). He was also Pac-10 Player of the Year (1995) and a consensus first-team All-American (1995). He was drafted No. 7 in the NBA Draft by the Toronto Raptors and he was the first player drafted by that franchise. He was the NBA Rookie of the Year in 1996.

Stoudamire played in the NBA from 1995 – 2008 for the Raptors, Trail Blazers, Grizzlies and Spurs. He has been coaching since he retired. He was an assistant coach for the Boston Celtics from 2021 – 2023. He was the head coach at the University of Pacific (2016 – 2021) and his record was 71 – 77.

I think he has done a good job of putting together a good coaching staff that consists of veteran and young coaches.

“I’m excited about the people we’ve been able to bring in to this program,” said Stoudamire. “This is a versatile group, and it’s a youthful group. I wanted some younger guys for the most part, but we do have some experience on the staff as well. I like the diversity, I like the different basketball minds that we have. We have a mixture of college and pro backgrounds that will serve us well.”

Karl Hobbs was a great hire. He was the associate head coach at Rutgers from 2016 – 2023. He was the head coach at George Washington (2001 – 2010) and he was an assistant at UConn for two separate stints.

Terry Parker, Pershin Williams and Nate Babcock were also hired. He also hired his former Portland teammate, Bonzi Wells.

The Yellow Jackets return their leading scorer, junior guard Miles Kelly. The 6’6 Stone Mountain native averaged 14.4 points per game last season. They also have returning players Dallan Coleman, Kyle Sturdivant and Lance Terry.

A transfer player expected to make a big impact is big man Tyzhaun Claude. Last season at Western Carolina he averaged 15.4 ppg and 8.6 rebounds per game. They also have transfer point guard Amaree Abram (Ole Miss) and small forward Kowacie Reeves (Florida), who have major upside.

Tech has only made the NCAA Tournament once since the 2009-10 season so the program is trying to change that.

At ACC media day Stoudamire was asked what his goals were this season:

“You know what, I haven’t made any goals. Honestly, I don’t know what a successful season looks like, but I do know this, I think this team is just going to keep getting better and better. I can see it. It’s probably the first team that I’ve ever been a part of where the offense is ahead of the defense.”

The season begins November 6, at home against Georgia Southern. They have two more home games after that, against Howard and UMass Lowell. They should get off to a fast start.

I do not expect them to make the NCAA Tournament this season but I think their record will be around .500.

Gritty Gators

By: Kenneth Harrison news services

It’s crazy to think that Florida has not been a national title contender in quite some time.

The last time the Gators won the national championship was 2008. The following year, they finished the regular season undefeated but lost to Alabama in the SEC Championship game. Somehow, their decline coincided with Nick Saban taking over in Tuscaloosa.

After Urban Meyer left in 2010 there has been a revolving door of head coaches. Billy Napier was hired in 2022 and so far, his record is just above .500. He is only in his second season but some fans are wondering if he is the right man for the job.

I actually think he is. I also think it would create a bigger problem for the program if he were fired after this season.

A coach needs some time to establish a winning culture and recruit. Napier coached at Louisiana for four seasons prior to arriving in Gainesville and his record was 40 – 12. He had double-digit wins the last three seasons.

It is tough to watch rival Georgia in the same division win back-to-back national championships while UF is struggling to be bowl eligible.

So far, I think the season has gone well for the Gators. They are 5 – 2 heading into the Georgia game so they are on track to have a good season. They have a chance to upset some teams the last half of the season, starting with UGA.

Coach Napier spoke about some of these things during the bye week. He was asked about how Georgia tight end Brock Bowers’ ankle injury will affect Florida’s preparation:

“Yeah, we’re in the middle of the open date now. We’re working on ourselves. We’re obviously right in the middle of evaluating what we do well and the things we need to do better. We’ll start commenting on Georgia and work on Georgia later in the week.”

Running back Montrell Johnson played for Coach Napier at Louisiana and was named Sun Belt Freshman of the Year (2021). He transferred to Florida last season once Napier took the job and he is one of the best players on offense. He leads the team in rushing and he is averaging 5.2 yards per carry.

Coach Napier spoke about Johnson’s progression:

“Montrell is one of the more impressive young men we have. Obviously he’s physically talented. More importantly, he’s got really good practice habits. He’s tough, he’s durable, he’s smart. He can catch, he can protect. He’s been very productive. The guy’s over 2,000 yards now in his career. He’s been with us, this will be Year 3. I think Montrell wants to please; he wants to have success; he works as hard as anybody; and he’s a selfless guy. So anytime we ask him to block he does a fantastic job. I think one of the things you gotta do is try to get the ball to your players that are explosive and capable. Sometimes that will require the running back to be a blocker and Montrell has done that really well.”

Trevor Etienne is right behind him in rushing and he’s averaging 5.9 yards per carry.

Florida is outmatched against Georgia but I think they will play hard and make it a close game. Their final three games of the season are at #19 LSU, at #20 Mizzou and #4 Florida State. I think they will beat at least one of those teams.


Bowers-less Bulldogs

By: Kenneth Harrison news services

It’s not often that the best offensive player on a college football team is the tight end.

The last time we saw that was in 2020 when Kyle Pitts was at Florida.

That is also the case for the Georgia Bulldogs. Junior tight end Brock Bowers is a two-time All-American and he’s a projected top five pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. Bowers suffered a high-ankle sprain in the first half against Vanderbilt.

After being helped off the field and attended to in the medical tent on Georgia’s sideline, Bowers was escorted out of the stadium and taken for a magnetic resonance imaging, MRI exam. The Bulldogs knew what they were dealing with before their plane left Nashville.

He will have surgery on his ankle and that raises several questions. Will he return this season or is his college career over?

Bowers could choose to come back for a College Football Playoff run for the two-time defending national champion Bulldogs. Due to his on-field success and numerous Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) opportunities over the last two seasons, he is represented by a considerable management team. Along with Bowers and his parents, that group ultimately will decide whether he will continue his collegiate career.

The tight-rope surgery to repair a high-ankle sprain requires on average a recovery time of four to six weeks. Starting right tackle Amarius Mims underwent the same surgery on Sept. 18 and has yet to return.

Freshman tight end Lawson Luckie also had this procedure in mid-August and recently returned to the field.

Bowers has been the centerpiece of Georgia’s offense this season. He leads the team with 41 catches for 567 yards and has 4 touchdowns. He had more than 100 receiving yards in each of the past three games.

“Next man up,” quarterback Carson Beck said after the game. “That’s what we’re all about here at Georgia.”

With Bowers sidelined, Georgia will turn to sophomore Oscar Delp, freshmen Pearce Spurlin III and Luckie.

“I was proud of them,” head coach Kirby Smart said. “… Those guys practice every day. They take all of the same reps. I thought our guys did a great job.”

As it stands, Bowers would finish his Georgia career fifth in receiving with 2,395 yards, sixth in receptions with 160 and second in touchdown catches with 24. He would leave unchallenged as the greatest tight end ever to play for the Bulldogs.

It’s never a good time to have a star player injured but UGA is getting to the toughest part of their schedule.

That starts with playing rival Florida in Jacksonville on Oct. 28. Then the Bulldogs play home games against No. 20 Mizzou on Nov. 4 and No. 13 Ole Miss the next week before going to No. 17 Tennessee on Nov. 18.

Georgia is clearly not as good as they have been over the last couple of years, so they might struggle without Bowers. The SEC is not as strong as it has been in previous years so that will help. We will see what playmakers step up in his absence.

In Need Of Highlights

By: Kenneth Harrison news services

It’s October now so the NBA season will begin later this month.

There are typically about four teams that have legitimate chances to compete for a championship. Atlanta is normally not one of those teams.

Let’s take a look at the Hawks and what we should expect for the 2023-24 season.

Star point guard Trae Young is entering his sixth season in the league. He’s a two time NBA All-Star (2020, 2022) and he averaged 26.2 points per game and 10.2 assists per game last season.

The biggest struggle the franchise is having is adding another great player to the roster.

Atlanta is typically decent enough so they do not get a high draft pick. They consistently pick in the middle of the first round so they add role players. Also, they are not a free agent destination and I am surprised by that.

A couple of decades ago the franchise also had this problem with Dominique Wilkins. Hopefully history does not repeat itself and they don’t waste a star players prime years.

Last year they finished the season 41 – 41 and beat the Miami Heat in the Play-In tournament. Then they lost to the Boston Celtics (2 – 4) in the first round of the playoffs.

Head coach Nate McMillan was fired in February and he spent three seasons with the team. Quin Snyder was hired as the head coach a few days later.

The Hawks drafted guard Kobe Bufkin (Michigan) with the 15th pick in the draft. The sophomore earned Third-Team All-Big Ten honors. He’s a 6’5 left hander and hopefully he can become a solid scoring option.

In the second round they drafted 6’6 guard/forward Seth Lundy (Penn State). He’s a four year starter and as a senior he averaged 14.2 ppg and 6.3 rpg.

They also brought in two veterans in guards Patty Mills and Wesley Matthews. They will both contribute to leading the team and sharing their knowledge with the younger players.

The team emphasized how important it is to establish good habits.

“It’s about a day in day process about creating good and sustainable habits so that when you do reach those goals, you can continue to surpass them, because you’re leaning on the process of your work, rather than just ‘we’re doing anything we can to just achieve this specific goal,’” general manager Landry Fields said. “So that sort of paradigm of that mindset is really what we’re hopping on right now.”

Spacing the floor is also crucial to their success this season.

“I mentioned spacing a lot last year and spacing allows you to move the ball, it allows you to attack and even though you think it’s subtle, if you’re spaced properly sometimes that can be as simple as like you’re not in someone’s way when they get to go lay the ball in,” Snyder said. “So again, you’re doing something for someone else.”

Another goal entering the season is establishing an unselfish mindset.

“This season is about hard work,” Snyder said. “I would like for that to be characteristic of our system, us being a selfless team is huge and you can point to that in so many different areas, whether it’s taking the charge, making the extra pass, running back on defense, celebrating your teammates successes, all those different things.”

The season will begin at Charlotte on October 25 and is followed with a home game against the Knicks two days later.

I think they will finish the season slightly above .500 with an early playoff exit.

Just Pretending?

By: Kenneth Harrison news services

We have only played a few games in the 2023 college football season but I’m still left with questions.

Who are the real national title contenders? Let’s take a look at the top four teams and see what’s going on.

#1 Georgia: The Bulldogs have won two consecutive national championships and were undefeated last season. They have been ranked as the top team this year despite losing several key players from those teams.

Quarterback Stetson Bennett graduated and he’s on the LA Rams roster. The players drafted in the first round were defensive tackle Jalen Carter, tackle Broderick Jones and linebacker Nolan Smith.

Junior Carson Beck is the new QB this season and we have not learned much from the first three games. They opened SEC play against South Carolina at home. They went into halftime trailing the Gamecocks 14-3. The ‘other USC’ lost their season opener to North Carolina so they are not an elite team.

The Bulldogs shut them out in the second half and won, 24-14. The next game is against UAB so that will be an easy win. I want to see how they play against better competition but they do not play a ranked opponent until October 28, which is No. 25 Florida.

#2 Michigan: The Wolverines had an undefeated regular season in 2022 and went to the College Football Playoff. Michigan has played East Carolina, UNLV and Bowling Green so these are basically glorified preseason games.

Quarterback J.J. McCarthy is the returning starter so they do have continuity at the most important position on the field. The next games are against bad teams, Rutgers and Nebraska. They don’t face a ranked team until No. 7 Penn State on November 11.

#3 Texas: The Longhorns made a big jump in the polls after they beat No. 3 Alabama 34-24 on the road.

Now we should put an asterisk next to this because it does not hold the same weight as it would have over the last decade. The Crimson Tide are struggling at quarterback and Jalen Milroe was benched after that game. Alabama struggled at USF, so I think the quality of this win will be diminished as the season progresses.

Quarterback Quinn Ewers cut the mullet in the offseason and put himself in the Heisman Trophy race after the Bama game.

Texas responded by sleepwalking the first three quarters at home against Wyoming. They started the fourth quarter tied at 10. They ended up winning 31-10.

They only have one more ranked team on the remaining schedule and that’s No. 16 Oklahoma. I think they might be the hardest team to evaluate because the Big 12 has expanded and they don’t have many good teams to play.

#4 Florida State: Going into last week I thought this was the best team in the nation. They started the season with a blowout win over No. 5 LSU, 45-24. The Tigers have played well after that so it’s a good win.

Senior quarterback Jordan Travis is a returning starter and he might be a first-round pick in the 2024 draft. He’s thrown 8 touchdowns with only 1 interception, so he takes care of the football.

The Seminoles struggled and barely beat Boston College, 31-29. The next opponent is Clemson but they have lost seven straight meetings.

FSU does have three more ranked opponents on their schedule; No. 18 Duke, No. 20 Miami and No. 25 Florida.

I’m looking forward to November so we can truly see who the real contenders are.

NFC South Week 1 Recap

By: Kenneth Harrison news services

The NFL season kicked off yesterday. I’m going to take a look around the NFC South and see what we can take away from these performances.

Atlanta- 24 Carolina- 10: As a Falcons fan I’ve always been grateful to the Panthers. No matter how bad the Falcons are you can always count on one win against the guys from Charlotte.

I expected it to be a rough day for Bryce Young since he’s a rookie quarterback on a bad team making his debut. The first pick in the draft went 20-38 passing for 146 yards, 1 touchdown and 2 interceptions. I expect him to get better as the season goes on.

I was curious how the Falcons backfield would look since they drafted Bijan Robinson with the 8th pick in the 2023 draft. Tyler Allgeier rushed for over one thousand yards last season as a rookie.  Allgeier rushed for 75 yards and two TD’s on 15 carries. Robinson had 10 carries for 56 yards and 6 receptions for 27 yards and a score.

“This was a super-fun first game for me,” Robinson said. “I just can’t wait to showcase what we’ve got going down the line.”

Desmond Ridder is not the franchise quarterback of the future. He was efficient passing the ball, completing 15 of 18 attempts. He only passed for 115 yards though. He does not throw the ball downfield so playmakers like Kyle Pitts or Drake London can excel. London had zero catches and only 1 target. Pitts caught 2 passes for 44 yards.

Tampa Bay- 20 Minnesota-17: This game surprised me and left me thinking the Buccaneers have a chance to win the division. It’s way too early to make that prediction but they were the most impressive NFC South team yesterday.

Tom Brady retired for good, allegedly, and they replaced him with Baker Mayfield. The former number one pick is a journeyman who is on his last opportunity to be a starter in the NFL. He passed for 174 yards and 2 TD’s. Those aren’t impressive numbers but it is a big deal that he did not throw a pick. Mike Evans caught 6 passes for 66 yards and a score.

“It just comes with playing quarterback for a long time,” said Mayfield, who hopped from the Browns to the Panthers to the Rams to before landing with the Bucs. “The most important play is the next one.”

The Vikings won the NFC North last season and made the playoffs so this is a good win. Kirk Cousins passed for 344 yards, 2 touchdowns and an interception. He also lost 2 fumbles so the defense did a good job causing turnovers.

New Orleans- 16 Tennessee- 15: Derek Carr made his debut with the Saints and he did a decent job. He threw for 305 yards, 1 TD and 1 interception. He was sacked four times so he took a beating.

“I’m glad we won. That’s all I wanted to do,” said Carr. “That was one of the more physical games I’ve played in my 10 years. … We showed that we could win the ultimate physical type of game.”

Star running back Alvin Kamara is suspended the first three games of the season. Jamaal Williams had 18 carries for 45 yards, which is a paltry 2.5 yards per carry.

Second year receiver Chris Olave led the team with 8 catches and 112 yards.

New Orleans was the favorite to win the division before the season started. I think the Bucs will challenge them.


Kick It Off

By: Kenneth Harrison 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.


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