The nights are drawing in, there will soon be a chill in the air and our social media feeds will soon be awash with people drinking drinks that contain pumpkin spice… This means one thing.
College football is back!
The wait is over, we are about to embark on another season together and we truly couldn’t be happier for it; Fans will be in the stands, the schedules are full and life is returning to normal again and, Saturday nights are for football again.
The place to be on Saturday night in the UK is mainly going to be BT Sport, being the only (legal) place that you can get college football games. Sky Sports are also showing Notre Dame home games this season too, but BT Sport is the only channel guaranteed to be showing college football each and every week.
Each week here at the Full 10 Yards we will bring you our previews of the games on TV in the UK.
Week 0 actually kicks off at 6pm on Saturday evening with Nebraska travelling to Illinois but disappointingly, this isn’t being shown on UK TV.
You will have to wait until 8.30pm for the first TV game of the season where Hawaii travels to Los Angeles to take on UCLA. However in the infinite wisdom of the BT Sport schedule makers, you will only be able to tune in from 10pm and probably just catch the second half.
*Editors note: After talking with our friend Rory-Joe Daniels of The Touchdown, the first half of this game may be available on BT Sport Extra 4 – Which is an extra channel that BT use when they have an overflow of programming. So keep your eyes peeled for that.
Once the season is in full swing, these preview pieces will have much more to talk about but here we go…
Hawaii @ UCLA – Rose Bowl, Pasadena, CA
UCLA -17.5 point favourites at time of writing.
As suggested by the betting above, UCLA should take this one with relative ease. Hopefully for UK TV viewers, it won’t be over before 10pm – However, what I will say is for ESPN Player subscribers, you will be able to stream the whole game from 8.30.
Hawaii will be travelling to the mainland under the watch of Todd Graham, who is in his second year as Head Coach after taking over the Rainbow Warriors after Nick Rolovich left for Washington State.
Hawaii finished 5-4 overall last year and whilst there were some bright spots – Beating Carson Strong’s Nevada whilst holding their star QB to 168 yards, and winning their bowl game vs. Houston, there were also some low points – Having games against three Pac-12 opponents cancelled and heavy defeats to Wyoming and San Diego State.
On offense there are some names to look out for such as running back Dae Dae Hunter, receiver Jonah Panoke and Last Chance U’s Dior Walker-Scott who could be lining up at receiver or in the backfield, as well as returning kicks and punts.
By Mountain West standards the defense for Hawaii should be a powerful one which is headed up by tackling machine Darius Muasau at the heart of it – 102 tackles, 9.5 for loss and 4.5 sacks last year means he’ll command attention from opponents all throughout the season.
Hawaii will generally be a fun watch and a confusing opponent due to their run and gun offense and mobile QB, Chevan Cordeiro. Cordeiro can escape the pocket and is liable to run one in too having scored 7 TDs in 2020… Again, he’s another athletic guy who UCLA will have to keep an eye on.
On the opposite side of the field will be the UCLA Bruins coming off a disappointing 3-4 season under Chip Kelly.
The Bruins will be hoping to kick on in what could be a strong Pac-12 South that contains Utah, Arizona State and their cross-town rival USC, who will all be looking to battle it out for the division title.
No one more will want, or indeed need a positive season than Kelly. Moving into year 4, he’s apparently going to open up the playbook some more for QB, Dorian Thompson-Robinson. If the results aren’t good in 2021, Kelly could be looking for work next Spring.
One thing that was obvious last year was that UCLA could put up points – The Bruins put up no fewer than 25 points in every game that they played last year, they even lost a game against Oregon when scoring 35. However, it was keeping the back door shut and coming out the wrong side of close games, the one point, double overtime loss to Stanford being a case in point.
UCLA and Kelly will want to see another leap forward from DTR at QB, and after knocking him a fair before the 2020 season, I actually have him down as potentially blossoming into the best QB in the conference. Kelly seemed to finally figure out that he should allow his peacock to fly at QB, and throw in some designed runs.
Given that success, I’d expect DTR to have a big game on Saturday evening putting up big numbers with arm and legs against Hawaii.
Look for tight end Greg Dulcich to be a favourite weapon as well as transfers, running back Zach Charbonnet and wide receiver Kam Brown from Michigan and Texas A&M respectively. UCLA also looks strong on the offensive line too with Paul Grattan, Alec Anderson and Sean Rhyan returning, so the offensive should continue to tick and run up the scoreboard.
Hawaii isn’t a bad team at all but UCLA will want to get off to a nice start before facing LSU in Week 1, where they will be hoping to take an SEC scalp.
Score Prediction: Hawaii 17 – 51 UCLA
Bold Prediction: Greg Dulcich to score 3 Touchdowns
Check back next Friday for the week 1 edition of the College Football UK TV Preview!
Follow Lee on Twitter @Wakefield90