NCAA Football 2018 Season Preview
The upcoming season of NCAA college football is nearly upon us and it’s shaping up to be one of the most exciting seasons in recent history. After a phenomenal 2017 National Championship game, which saw Alabama win its fifth national championship in the last 10 years, doing so in overtime against SEC rival Georgia. Now, with things like spring games and National Signing Day in the rear-view mirror, it’s time to look ahead to the start of the 2018 season, which should be spectacular.
When Does the 2018 Season Start?
The first regular season games start of Saturday, August 25, followed by more games on Thursday, August 30 and continuing through Labor Day weekend. That first week will be packed with games over the course of five straight days and will include the following matchups:
- Purdue vs. Northwestern (August 30)
- Stanford vs. San Diego State (August 31)
- Alabama vs. Louisville (September 1)
- Auburn vs. Washington (September 1)
- Notre Dame vs. Michigan (September 1)
- LSU vs. Miami (September 2)
- Florida State vs. Virginia Tech (September 3)
For your favorite team’s entire schedule and tickets, make sure to check out our college football page here on SeatGeek.
What’s New With 2018 NCAA Football?
With 130 FBS teams spread out over 10 conferences, there’s always so much to look out for in terms of games and storylines. We could write pages and pages of things to watch for this season. Instead of trying to cover everything, let’s just discuss a couple of the major stories that should highlight 2018.
Herm Edwards’ Return to Coaching
After many years behind an analyst desk at ESPN, former Jets and Chiefs head coach Herm Edwards returned to coaching, taking the vacancy at Arizona State University. Many aren’t sure what to make of his return to such a, well, middle-of-the-road program such as the Sun Devils. Many are assuming he’ll fail. Something we can already gather from various reports is that the school is putting pressure on Edwards to win, secure top-25 recruiting classes, and vastly improve the program quickly. Eyes will be on him all year, as well as ASU’s VP of university athletics Ray Anderson, who just so happens to be his former agent.
Jimbo Fisher to Texas A&M
After a successful run at Florida State University, head coach Jimbo Fisher was scooped up by Texas A&M to the tune of $75 million over 10 years. It’s clear that the Aggies’ athletic organization is looking for championships and not just one. That hefty contract means that Fisher better get some results right away and it’ll be interesting to see how year one goes for a program that hasn’t seen a lot of success over the past few years.
How Does Georgia Bounce Back?
They’ll say they spent the past few months trying to forget about that overtime loss in the National Championship game, but there’s no doubt the coaches and players of Georgia have been haunted by defeat since January. There’s nothing that can be done about last season, so it’s important for the Bulldogs to shake off the loss and perform at the same level in 2018. Head coach Kirby Smart has to get his players ready to go, especially after the team had one of its best recruiting classes in program history.
Where Does the Pac-12 Stand?
Saying that 2017 was a disappointing year for this Power-5 conference would be an understatement. The Pac-12 had no representative in the College Football Playoff and its teams went just 1-8 in bowl games. It will be interesting to see how teams like Oregon, UCLA, and Washington perform in 2018, and if Herm Edwards’ ASU team can make a splash in the conference.
When Does the College Football Playoff Begin?
Looking ahead to the end of the season, the College Football Playoff semifinals will both take place on December 29, 2018. These will precede the National Championship game, which will take place on January 7, 2019 at Levi’s Stadium, home of the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers.
Who are the Favorites to Win the National Championship?
Alabama: Sure, this is the easy answer. After a fifth title in 10 years, the Crimson Tide return a lot of its offensive stars as well as the best coach on the planet, Nick Saban. While there are some uncertainties as to who will captain the team under center – Jalen Hurts or Tua Tagovailoa, the latter leading a second-half comeback in the title game – as well as a bunch of new coaches, the fact of the matter is that this is still a Nick Saban-led program, and the odds of another title are heavily in Alabama’s favor.
Who Will Be This Season’s Heisman Trophy Winner?
With former Heisman winners Lamar Jackson and Baker Mayfield prepping to take the field in the NFL, along with prolific running back Saquon Barkley, the Heisman race is wide open this season. With a lot of unproven freshman quarterbacks in the mix for 2018, it’s anybody’s trophy at this point. However, there is one guy to really keep your eye on.
Stanford’s starting running back Bryce Love is someone that could end up hoisting that trophy in a few months. As a junior last year, Love rushed for 2,118 yards and 19 touchdowns. He could easily break those numbers this season, especially when you consider how lackluster fellow Pac-12 defenses can be.
(Image courtesy Freepik.com.)