Irish-Longhorns, FSU-OleMiss are matchups to look forward to

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Before I get to this week’s opinion, we will take a quick look at two college football matchups for the upcoming season.

Notre Dame/Texas

One thing about the Irish is you can see a lot of their games on national TV. They have just a few patsies on their schedule but you won’t see one in their first game when they travel to Austin and take on Charlie Strong and his Texas Longhorns in what will be a great game to watch Monday, Sept. 4 on ABC at 4:30 p.m. PT.

Strong is in his third year as head coach of Texas. His first two he would like to forget, going just 11-14. That doesn’t add up to his $5 million a year annual salary. Strong had little offense last year so he went out and hired Sterling Gilbert, who was the offensive coach of Tulsa, so we do see a more wide open attack.

Strong is in need of a top QB and may just find one out of his top recruiting class in the Big 12. His freshmen last year made the most starts in the nation. Strong needs a fast start or it could be see-ya-later after this season if there is no winning record and a bowl game.

This will be a huge revenge game also as the Irish humiliated the Longhorns last year in South Bend, 38-3. If Notre Dame can get by Texas they go home for three straight games with the only toughie, Michigan State. They could be undefeated going into Game 7 when they get Stanford in a big revenge game in South Bend. The Cardinal prevailed 38-36 in a real doozy of a game last year at Palo Alto.

Head coach Brian Kelly is in his seventh year at ND and believe it or not he makes less than Strong. Kelly only gets a measly $4 million but he is well worth it. He has gone 55-23 in his six years at Norte Dame so he has paid his way.

Notre Dame lost a lot of top players to the NFL draft but does get both of their top QB’s back in Zaire and Kizer, so don’t feel bad. They will be a tough beat for any team but laying 4.5 points in Austin could be dangerous to your bankroll. Tread lightly and wait till the Cardinal come to South Bend to peel some big green.

FSU/Ole Miss

Handicappers all say the same thing – the Seminoles are just completely loaded for bear and barring any huge disaster they should be in the title game. The Noles won 10 games last year without QB Jameis Winston. They get almost their entire team back and all 11 starters return on offense. Jimbo Fisher, the head coach, also makes only $4 million.

It is a lot of hype and we will see just how good Florida State is on Monday, Sept. 5 when they play Ole Miss in Orlando at 5 p.m. PT on ESPN. Huge Freeze, one of my favorite head coaches and a real gentleman, makes only $3.2 million a year. That’s a bargain as he has gone 34-18 in his four years in Oxford and has taken Mississippi bowling in each of his four years winning three of four bowl games.

The good thing for Ole Miss is that Jim Kelly’s nephew QB Chad Kelly will be back. He led the SEC in passing last year and, if he can get protection, that +6 points looks like a take for this bettor.

It will be a tough year though for Freeze and his Rebels as his schedule is brutal. The Rebels will play 10 teams that went to Bowl games last year. Only two matchups look like automatic wins, Wofford in Game 2 and Georgia Southern in Game 9. Not an easy task.

On the horizon

Next Sunday, Aug. 7, football season officially starts with the Packers playing the Colts in the Hall of Fame game at Fawcett Stadium in Canton, Ohio. ESPN will televise at 5 p.m. PT. We will dig up a play next week.

In my younger days back in Steubenville, we would catch the Hall of Fame game and the next day head to the Ohio State Fair, one of the largest in the nation. We would go for several reasons but the main one was to get some of that roasted corn on the cob straight from the corn fields. This corn on the cob lover just cannot describe the difference. We would also have at least two or three beer brats fresh in from Wisconsin and, yes, several beers.

My talking point for the week about walking around lucky and not even knowing it involves the city of Charlotte, N.C. They got very lucky when the NBA pulled the All-Star game from their beautiful city.

Just remembering back when they held it here in Vegas, they are one lucky city. I do have an idea for the NBA’s All-Star game though. They need to get hold of Dennis Rodman and have him contact his good buddy Kim Jong-un in Pyongyang, North Korea. He would love to have it there!

Twitter: @SabesBet

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