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And They’re Off-The race for college football supremacy has begun. Opening weekend evolved as scripted as all of the big boys prevailed. Number 1 Alabama’s stout defense scuttled the #3 Florida State offense as ‘Bama seeks to return to the championship game it frittered away last year to Clemson. You can bet your bottom dollar that coach Nick Saban does not suffer fools well and shall steer the Tide back to the top of the heap.

Number 4 USC survived an outstanding effort by reigning Mid-American Conference champ Western Michigan. The 49-31 final score was certainly not indicative of the scrum as Western actually held a second-half lead at one point. Southern Cal Heisman hopeful Sam Darnold had an impressive 289 yards through the air. SC must soul-search a tad.

And Michigan bowled over Florida, a match-up of true bluebloods trying to get back into the thick of the national conversation. Florida came into the game missing ten suspended players. And it showed as the Wolverines prevailed 33-17. Michigan is relatively green as most of last year’s starters graduated or moved on to the pros. They shall continue to make strides as long as head coach Jim Harbaugh makes it about the team and not about himself.

Biggest upset of the initial weekend was lowly Howard University beating UNLV. The Running Rebels out of Las Vegas were favored by a whopping 45 points and lost outright by the score of 43-40. Stunning Rebels anyone?

Not Naysayin’, Just Sayin’- Please, please, please, Cal Poly head coach Tim Walsh. Can you please find some semblance of a passing game to take the onus off of the running game and keep the opposing defenses from stacking the line of scrimmage in anticipation of Poly’s run-oriented offense?

It appeared that a once-moribund passing attack was finally coming to fruition during the second half of the opener against Colgate as quarterback Khaleel Jenkins mounted an impressive, valiant  Mustang comeback by engineering two touchdown drives, and nearly a third, while showing a deft passing touch at times in the loss. The next week Jenkins goes 4 for 10 for a measly 37 yards in a loss to San Jose State.

Absent an aerial attack the opposition feasts on stopping the predictable rushing attack. Hopefully the Cal Poly offensive coordinators will install a more pass-friendly game plan for their next game. Can’t hurt.

And They’re Off…Also- Pro football, that is. The 2017 season kicks off in earnest this coming weekend and the masses can’t wait! Raider fans are giddy as qb David Carr has recovered from his broken leg and the enigmatic Marshawn Lynch is now in the Raider fold after a one-year retirement hiatus. Ninety percent of the easy-up canopies you see shading human beings on the beach are promos for the silver and black. Expectations are high. Hope is eternal.

The 49ers have a new regime, the Rams have the youngest head coach ever and the Chargers look not to get home-schooled at their new digs in Carson. There Cali. Your teams have been mentioned. Let’s get to the meat and potatoes.

Look for the New England Patriots to return to the Super Bowl and face the Green Bay Packers in what will amount to a scorefest provided by future Hall Of Famer quarterbacks Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers, respectively.

The Pats reloaded in the offseason and though they just lost valuable slot receiver Julian Edelman for the entire season they cannot be pooh-poohed off as viable contenders.

The Pack brings back a squad that made it to the conference championship game last year. Off-season acquisitions have emboldened their resolve to take it at least one step further in 2017.

Alas, predicting sporting events is a road any man or woman should never go down. You look like a genius if you are correct, but the majority of the time you end up with egg on your face. Therefore a Super Bowl champion shall not be predicted here. Just the combatants.

Predictions are akin to kissing your sister. Or kissing your blister. All are very reticent acts.

-By Michael Elliott

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