There are plenty of intriguing college football games this weekend – and we’ll get to those in a second – but first, a word on the suddenly famous Josh Shaw.
The USC cornerback claimed he sustained two high ankle sprains this past Saturday after jumping from a second-story balcony and saving his 7-year-old nephew from drowning, but Shaw’s version of events are being called into question.
“I was going to say this is one of the most bizarre college football stories I’ve ever heard, but of course we have that Te’o precedent, so it’s a pretty weird situation where we have no idea what’s going on or who’s telling the truth,” Sports on Earth national college football writer Matt Brown said on The MoJo Show. “All we know is that USC has a pretty good cornerback who has two injured ankles. That’s all we basically know right now.”
Indeed, and now, we move to the field.
If you’re a college football fan, you’re in luck – because there are a lot of great games this weekend, including a pair of Top 25 match-ups: No. 21 Texas A&M at No. 9 South Carolina on Thursday at 6 p.m. ET, and No. 13 LSU versus No. 14 Wisconsin at Houston’s Reliant Stadium on Saturday at 9 p.m. ET.
“It’s really nice,” Brown said. “The college football offseason is just so painfully long for those of us who follow it so closely. It’s really nice to be able to get back into it with a big weekend with five days of games. I think some of these games could end up being lopsided, but there’s a lot of big games between big opponents. It’s a good measuring stick in Week 1 to really jump into the season with both feet.”
LSU/Wisconsin figures to be the most intriguing game of the weekend.
“These are two teams that (are) not really playoff frontrunners, but it’s not impossible for them to get in that mix,” Brown said. “Both teams replaced a lot of talent. Wisconsin replaces its entire front seven. Its biggest assets in the receiving corps are gone. They just picked Tanner McEvoy to start at quarterback. Tanner McEvoy played safety in the bowl game last year. (There’s) lot of uncertainty for Wisconsin.”
There’s also a lot of uncertainty for LSU, which lost a 3,000-yard passer, a 1,000-yard rusher, a pair of 1,000-yard receivers and had several defections on defense. But the Tigers do have freshman Leonard Fournette, arguably the top running back prospect since Adrian Peterson.
“(He’s) receiving almost as much hype as I’ve ever heard for a true freshman,” Brown said. “He’s been compared to Michael Jordan, Adrian Peterson and Herschel Walker, which is the most unfair thing I’ve ever heard. But also I do believe he might live up to some of that hype. There’s a pretty good opportunity in the first game.”
There’s also a pretty good opportunity for Texas A&M, which could start the post-Johnny Manziel era with a bang.
“I think it’s going to be tight until the end,” Brown said. “Texas A&M’s defense has a ton to prove. They were the Achilles’ heel all last year when they went 9-4 and held Manziel back because they lost some games because of that defense. I think they’re going to be a little bit better on that side of the ball.”
Offensively, the Aggies will start sophomore Kenny Hill at quarterback.
“They’re never going to replace Manziel, obviously,” Brown said. “It can’t possibly be as good as it was with Manziel and Mike Evans, but I think they can still be good.”