As usual, Mother Nature wants us to believe that this weekend is the Fourth of July rather than the start of college football.
We know better. Through the sweat, were well aware. Many folks were drenched a week ago with the beginning of high school football, and others await the initial NFL kickoff of the season, which was in doubt for a long time.
And as usual, the season brings us the normal buffet of plot lines and guesswork regarding the teams folks around here watch.
Georgia Tech gets going first, taking on Western Carolina on Thursday.
Certainly the Yellow Jackets will beat the FCS team going away, and the normal big-boy pounding will commence.
Georgia Tech is in some transition, so some early numbers may be deceptive.
The Yellow Jackets have some experience at quarterback, but its iffy, and this may be a season of switching, which would drive head coach Paul Johnson batty.
Johnson is unlikely to open up the offense, which is necessary to stay over the hump with the option offense. If the Yellow Jackets struggle again with consistency on offense, a possibility with questions at wideout, addressing the passing game will be vital.
The bruising offense tests the offensive line, and that group isnt necessarily in great form as far as health and depth. And also like another team, the defense will be a huge focal point in the second season of a new scheme.
The schedule, a so-so ACC and issues at Miami and North Carolina help Georgia Tech.
The conference is even, with a bunch of teams capable of going 4-8 or 8-4 and not surprising much either way.
The good early schedule should lead the Yellow Jackets to 8-4, but fans wont be sure whether its a good 8-4 or a lacking 8-4, since Georgia Tech may be closer to a 7-5 team rather than a 9-3 squad.
Georgia Military College head coach Bert Williams, on the other hand, could have done a better job scheduling.
The Bulldogs welcome preseason No. 1 Navarro at 1 p.m. on Saturday. Good afternoon.
But GMC opens up at No. 10 and has tweaked the offense to go with the typically offense-frustrating 3-3-5 defense.
August practice has gone pretty smooth for GMC, which has its normal collection of Division I recruits. A four-game homestand should help pick up some late-season momentum en route to 7-3.
Fort Valley State has a tough task on the road Saturday in a 6 p.m. kickoff against Florida A&M of the FCS.
The Wildcats have yet to really get the offense and offensive personnel going consistently in two seasons under head coach Donald Pittman. But now he has a former Big Ten quarterback and SEC receiver on the roster.
OK, both were backups, but the addition of Antonio Henton and Chris Slaughter should add a little zip, at least mentally. Simple execution is still the key.
FVSUs defense is in a reload mode, with a simple fast and physical philosophy. That unit is ready for the offense to catch up, although the early schedule will impact the offense more than the defense.
There will still be transition pains en route to an interesting 7-3 season.
Georgia Southern tees it up at 7 p.m. at Samford, and thats not really good news for the Bulldogs.
The Eagles are back. The calendar says 2011, but it might as well say something in the mid-1990s. They have the same quality tools at the key positions as during the most recent heydays. Expectations are huge, but so is the confidence level and talent level.
Lets just go ahead and think about the bowl-like intensity on Oct. 29 in Boone, N.C. when the Eagles visit Appalachian State.
And theyll want to meet again in the playoffs, which Georgia Southern enters with a 9-2 record.
Georgia and Boise State end Saturdays action by test eardrums in the Georgia Dome.
As of Wednesday afternoon, Georgias offensive line is intact. In fact, it appears pretty much all of the Bulldogs are mostly intact.
Well probably see some receivers step up, since there finally are no go-to receivers. Aaron Murray wont sit back in the pocket for seven seconds. And the defenders have likely learned how to tackle and cover receivers properly.
The gut feeling keeps swaying toward picking Georgia on Saturday for a variety of reasons, and this time, lets stick with the gut as the Bulldogs get started on a 9-3 season that will feel better than that.
The Bulldogs will find out sooner what theyll be like, while the Yellow Jackets first major test isnt until week three (and since Kansas won the last meeting, yes, its a test). But forget all the guessing and bragging and whining, there is but one glorious bottom line as were still six weeks from football weather.
Football itself is here. Im pretty sure I can get an Amen.
Contact Michael A. Lough at 744-4626 or firstname.lastname@example.org