It's that time of year again when zebras flip coins, blow whistles and throw flags. Words and phrases such as scrimmage, blitz, pick six, audible, shotgun and others fill the airways. Yup, it is football season once again.
There are a few teams I care about and during the season I will be recapping their exploits on the field. Those teams are broken down into high school: Bishop Kenny Crusaders, my alma mater and L.D. Bell Blue Raiders, the local school and son's alma mater. College: University of South Florida Bulls, my alma mater, University of Florida Gators, the team I've rooted for since my youth, and TCU Horned Frogs, the local university. Pros: Jacksonville Jaguars, my hometown team, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, my college town, and Atlanta Falcons, a city I lived in for several years. I am also interested in the SEC conference. A few other teams or important games will sneak into the narrative from time to time.
The high schools started either last week or this week. The colleges mostly start next week and the pros kickoff the regular season in two weeks. I haven't gone into the last couple of seasons with too much optimism. Kenny and TCU have been the only two teams that have had decent records. This year I expect Florida, Bell, Jacksonville and Tampa Bay to improve, it would be hard not to. TCU should be a top 10 team. Kenny is in a new small five team 5A district so only four district games this year. Bell is once again in a very tough 6A district that includes two perennial state champ contenders.
Bishop Kenny is the only one of my teams that has played a game. They won at Orange Park 17-13 in a non-district game. I can't tell from the reports if this was a game that counts or a scrimmage. The Crusaders play at Bartram Trail today (8/28). Bell opens their season today at home against Keller.
Florida is predicted to finish in the middle of the SEC East. With a new coach, there is hope that there is improvement after the fairly dismal Muschamp era. Likewise, USF is projected to finish in the lower half of their conference. They too have not been stellar the last couple of years.
TCU meanwhile has been ranked #2 in the AP preseason poll. Hopefully they make it to the college football playoffs.The Frogs may be my shining star team this season.
I never expect too much in the pro ranks. Atlanta probably has the best chance to reach the playoffs from a weak NFC South division. I'm not optimistic though since the Falcons have been a disappointment lately. Tampa Bay had the #1 draft choice and used it on former FSU QB Jameis Winston. That should be an upgrade for the Bucs but you never know about rookies, especially when they have had behavior problems in college. There are still other weak areas on the team, like defense, but they should improve by at least a few games over their 2-14 record last season. Jacksonville has to improve from a 3-13 record right? QB Blake Bortles should be better but the Jags made no major additions to the roster. Maybe we can get four or five wins this year.
So, let the games begin. It won't be until February 2016 before we know all the results.
GO CRUSADERS, BLUE RAIDERS, GATORS, BULLS, FROGS, JAGS, BUCS, FALCONS!