By RJ Younger and Laken Litman
FOX Sports activities Faculty Soccer Writers
Faculty soccer season is right here!
After a handful of video games to get us getting into Week 0 — together with a Nebraska-Northwestern thriller in Eire — the schedule heats up with a bunch of nice matchups in Week 1.
What are a very powerful video games? Who’re probably the most attention-grabbing gamers? What would possibly shock you? FOX Sports activities Faculty Soccer Writers RJ Younger and Laken Litman are right here to assist make sense of all of it with our Week 1 school soccer roundtable.
Right here is the whole lot that you must know.
Which coach wants a win most in Week 1?
Younger: James Franklin, Penn State. The Nittany Lions have not received a sport since skunking Rutgers 28-0 on Nov. 20, they usually did not see a 100-yard rusher all final season.
With Franklin being rewarded with a 10-year, $70 million extension simply three days after PSU’s final win, the Nittany Lions want to point out they are a drive within the Huge Ten in opposition to Jeff Brohm and a potent Purdue offense that has the flexibility at hand them a third-straight loss at Ross-Ade on Thursday night time (8 p.m. ET on FOX and the FOX Sports activities app).
Litman: Brian Kelly. After all of the drama and viral moments surrounding his transfer from Notre Dame to LSU final November, Kelly must show he is the proper slot in Baton Rouge. He has a proficient workforce, which incorporates star large receiver Kayshon Boutte who was named a preseason first-team All-American, however the Tigers get an early take a look at in Week 1.
LSU faces a Florida State workforce in determined want of a profitable season — the Seminoles have not had one since 2017, so this can be a crucial yr for third-year head coach Mike Norvell. Will the Tigers appear like an SEC contender or will FSU, which simply received its season opener, spoil Kelly’s debut?
Which freshman are you most excited to look at?
Younger: Nick Singleton. The Nittany Lions have but to supply a show-stopping function again since Saquon Barkley left Pleased Valley. That was 5 years in the past.
In Singleton, they’ve a home-grown Nationwide Gatorade Participant of the Yr who rushed for two,059 yards and 44 TDs as a prep senior. He has the capability to be the dynamo frosh in 2022 that Ohio State tailback TreVeyon Henderson was in 2021.
Penn State coach James Franklin on RB Nick Singleton
Penn Franklin speaks on bringing in Manny Diaz as his DC, what he expects out of RB Nick Singleton, and what he thinks about the way forward for school soccer.
Litman: Walter Nolen, defensive lineman from Texas A&M.
Nolen was the No. 2 general participant within the 2022 class and was reportedly going to Michigan earlier than finally selecting the Aggies and becoming a member of one of many nation’s most scrutinized recruiting courses on this new NIL period.
Nolen is 6-foot-4, 325 kilos, and scouts say he is fast and agile on his ft and provides a ton of depth to an Aggie protection that was a top-15 unit final season. Along with his dimension and pace, it is not unrealistic to assume Nolen might be one of many extra dominant defensive tackles within the SEC by the point his school profession is over.
Which switch are you most excited to look at?
Younger: The straightforward reply is Caleb Williams at USC. However, for me, it is Quinn Ewers at Texas.
It is easy to neglect the stir Ewers made — as one in every of simply six gamers ever with an ideal 247 Composite rating of 1.000 — when he determined to reclassify, skip his senior yr of highschool, and get to Ohio State a yr forward of schedule. However with C.J. Stroud solidifying his place as Ohio State’s starter at QB, Ewers returned to his dwelling state and to play for its flagship college.
Now that Ewers is the Longhorns’ starter, I am wanting ahead to watching how he does underneath the brilliant lights on the Forty Acres.
Why you need to watch Texas’ Quinn Ewers in Week 1
RJ Younger solutions essential questions earlier than Week 1, together with which switch are you most excited to look at?
Litman: For the sake of being totally different right here, I’ll go along with Williams, who adopted Lincoln Riley from Oklahoma to USC. The brand new-look Trojans are going to be one of many extra intriguing groups to look at with these two working the offense. Can Riley make them a Pac-12 and Faculty Soccer Playoff contender? There is definitely sufficient star energy.
Heading into their second yr collectively, Williams and Riley have developed a powerful relationship and belief. Williams is aware of Riley’s offense, and it helps that he’ll have talent gamers like reigning Biletnikoff Award winner Jordan Addison, who transferred from Pitt, and Mario Williams, who additionally transferred from OU.
As a real freshman final season at Oklahoma, Williams began the final seven video games and accomplished 136 of 211 passes for 1,912 yards and 21 touchdowns with simply 4 interceptions. He additionally ran for 442 yards on 79 carries, with six extra touchdowns. He set OU freshman information for regular-season passing yards (1,670) and passing touchdowns (18). Williams ought to choose up the place he left off in Norman and be a Heisman Trophy candidate in his first yr in Los Angeles.
What’s the greatest under-the-radar sport?
Younger: No. 19 Arkansas at No. 23 Cincinnati. (Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET)
After a win in opposition to Notre Dame in South Bend, an undefeated common season and convention title led to an invite to the Faculty Soccer Playoff, the Bearcats need to comply with up on their most profitable season ever.
They will face a Razorbacks program that is coming off of its most profitable season in a decade with an eye fixed towards turning into simply the third workforce out of the SEC West to earn an invite to the CFP.
Litman: No. 7 Utah at Florida.
Utah begins the season as a top-ranked workforce after profitable the Pac-12 final season and almost beating Ohio State within the Rose Bowl. Kyle Whittingham’s workforce is a favourite to win the convention once more, but it surely has a major SEC hurdle in Week 1.
A highway journey to Florida stands in the best way of getting issues off to a 1-0 begin. After a 6-7 season final yr, the Gators are led by a brand new coach in Billy Napier, who has numerous younger playmakers on this roster. This features a proficient group of working backs, similar to freshman Trevor Etienne, the youthful brother of former Clemson star and present Jacksonville Jaguar, Travis.
Is Utah a CFP contender?
RJ Younger breaks down the highest 5 storylines across the Pac-12 convention this season, together with whether or not Utah is primed to make its first journey to the Faculty Soccer Playoff.
Which under-the-radar participant are you most excited to look at in Week 1?
Younger: Illinois QB Tommy Devito.
Devito earned the beginning quarterback job at Illinois simply days earlier than the Illini’s season-opener in opposition to Wyoming — he would full 27 of 37 passes for 194 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions in a 38-6 victory.
A switch from Syracuse, the place he began 15 video games and handed for almost 3,500 yards with 27 TDs — together with 19 in 2019 — DeVito will probably be joined within the backfield by 1,000-yard rusher Chase Brown.
He’ll even have a brand new offensive coordinator in Barry Lunney Jr., who was employed away from UTSA after main the Roadrunners to an upset of the Illini final yr. With Lunney and All-Huge Ten again Brown, DeVito may be the lacking ingredient to pushing Bret Bielema’s Illini into competitors for the Huge Ten West Division title.
The Illini open Huge Ten competitors on Friday in opposition to Indiana (8 p.m. ET on FS1 and the FOX Sports activities app), a workforce Illinois must beat to point out it may be a drive within the West.
Litman: Cameron Rising, QB, Utah.
In relation to the Heisman Trophy dialog this yr, we’ll discuss quarterbacks Bryce Younger, C.J. Stroud and Caleb Williams. One man which may not be within the dialog but, however might be is Rising, who remains to be only a bit underneath the radar.
Final yr as a sophomore, Rising led the Utes to a Pac-12 title and Rose Bowl sport in opposition to Ohio State. He had nearly 2,500 passing yards with 20 touchdowns to simply 5 interceptions. Coming into his junior season, he is a veteran chief who will doubtless take Utah to consecutive convention championships.
What workforce goes to shock us?
Younger: Minnesota. The Gophers dodge each Ohio State and Michigan throughout the common season and face only one preseason top-25 workforce outdoors their division — No. 15 Michigan State.
They return not simply their beginning quarterback in Tanner Morgan however the perfect tailback most have forgotten about in Mohamed Ibrahim. He rushed for 163 yards on 30 rushes with two TDs in opposition to eventual Rose Bowl champ Ohio State earlier than struggling a season-ending damage.
Gophers coach P.J. Fleck, Morgan and Ibrahim even have been reunited with offensive coordinator Kirk Ciarocca. The final time they have been all collectively, the Gophers received 11 video games, completed No. 10 within the nation and stamped their most profitable season in a half-century with a win over No. 12 Auburn within the Outback Bowl.
Can Minnesota win the Huge Ten West?
RJ Younger breaks down which Huge Ten groups he thinks can beat their preseason win projections.
Litman: West Virginia. Neal Brown is on the recent seat after going 17-18 in his first three seasons in Morgantown, however this season he has quarterback JT Daniels.
The previous five-star recruit received the beginning job at each USC and Georgia, and now finds himself at West Virginia for his final stand. Daniels is sensible and proficient, he is simply had issues staying wholesome. If he can keep away from accidents, he’ll give the Mountaineers an opportunity to compete within the Huge 12, in addition to give himself a chance to impress NFL scouts.
Laken Litman covers school soccer, school basketball and soccer for FOX Sports activities. She beforehand coated school soccer, school basketball, the U.S. Ladies’s Nationwide Soccer Crew and the Olympics at Sports activities Illustrated, USA At present and The Indianapolis Star. Her first ebook, written in partnership with Rizzoli and Sports activities Illustrated and titled “Sturdy Like a Girl,” was revealed in spring 2022 marking the fiftieth anniversary of Title IX.
RJ Younger is a nationwide school soccer author and analyst for FOX Sports activities and the host of the podcast “The Number One College Football Show.” Observe him on Twitter at @RJ_Young and subscribe to “The RJ Young Show” on YouTube.
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