The wait is nearly over. After nine months of game day silence, the excitement of college football returns this Thursday. Coaches and players have completed training camps, game week preparations have begun, and depth charts are nearly finalized. Here is a summary of the winners and losers of this seasons training camps.
Nathan Costa, Oregon
The fifth-year senior fell just short of a starting nod after fighting through numerous season-ending knee injuries during his collegiate career. Oregon coach Chip Kelly named sophomore Darron Thomas the starter against New Mexico during week one. Costa was previously named the starting quarterback in 2008, before suffering a season-ending knee injury. With the unpredictability of college football, Costa may certainly still find the field in 2010.
Butch Davis, North Carolina
The true details of the Tar Heel Tutor Scandal are still being unveiled. With very high expectations, the Tar Heels will most likely meet LSU in Atlanta without the services of eight returning starters, including six high NFL prospects. This "minor" incident may linger for a few weeks, as the team must start the season strong with games against the Tigers, Georgia Tech, and Rutgers.
Mark Ingram, Alabama
Technically the 2009 Heisman winner injured his knee during game week preparations, but this is a blow to Crimson Tide ground game. Sophomore stud running back Trent Richardson was already in line to take carries away from Ingram. Look for his workload to increase. Ingram is out for the opener against San Jose State, and it could be weeks before he returns.
Rich Rodriguez, Michigan
The uncertainty of the Michigan depth chart released by Rodriguez doesn't provide much confidence in the emergence of true leaders at two skill positions. Quarterbacks Denard Robinson, Tate Forcier, and Devin Gardner were listed as co-starters. Then add in the fact that Vincent Smith, and Michael Shaw were named co-starters at running back. Not a great way to cement consistency heading into a season were the hot seat continues to burn.
The Bruin program can't seem to catch a break. Rick Neuheisel has been successful in acquiring elite talent but has had trouble capitalizing on his team's potential. Lineman Jack Bacu was ruled academically ineligible, Kai Maiava broke his ankle, and quarterback Kevin Prince is doubtful to start in a tough season opening road game against Kansas State.
Major League Baseball
It happens every year. The MLB takes center stage during the summer, and is quickly placed on the back-burner once the NFL, and college football begins. Average baseball fans returns to the glory of football just as pennant races heat to a boil. The modern landscape of sports is focused on football, and the overlap of seasons continues to diminish the importance of baseball.
Left with Excitement
Boise State Broncos
The national media has been gushing over the Boise State program since the end of the 2009 season. Chris Peterson returns a wealth of talent and experience and has the opportunity to entertain the country in a marquee game against Virginia Tech on Labor Day. The team strayed from serious injuries, and the preseason rankings have placed the Broncos high enough to make a legitimate run to the BCS National Championship game.
Steven Threet, Arizona State
A junior transfer from Michigan, Threet managed to beat out sophomore Brock Osweiler for the starting quarterback position. Unfortunately for Threet, he is breaking in new receivers, and will need running back Cameron Marshall to provide ample support in the Sun Devil offense.
Robert Marve, Purdue
A freshman transfer from Miami, Marve inherits a strong running game and the support of a stout defense. Blessed with a strong arm, the young quarterback will be thrown into the fire in a week one contest at Notre Dame.
Zach Collaros and Cincinnati
The Bearcat quarterback is primed for a huge 2010 campaign. The media attention left the program with Brian Kelly, but the offense still remains very potent. Collaros will benefit from game experience gained in 2009, the return of wide receiver Armon Binns, and running back Isaiah Pead. Don't expect the Bearcats to roll undefeated during the regular season, but the program somehow has managed to find themselves under the radar once again.
Case Keenum, Tyron Carrier, Patrick Edwards, James Cleveland, and Charles Sims, Houston
The Heisman hopeful quarterback returns his four main targets from a season ago. With a mediocre defense, the Cougar offense is primed for a gigantic statistical season through the air. The team opens at home against Texas State and doesn't face a legitimate defense until traveling to meet UCLA in the middle of September.
Dayne Crist, Notre Dame
A former five-star recruit like Jimmy Clausen, the Irish quarterback finally gets his chance in 2010. At 6-4', 235 pounds, Crist has the tools and ability to make Golden Domers quickly forget Clausen. If new coach Brian Kelly can transfer his explosive Cincinnati offense to Notre Dame, look for Crist and big-play receiver Michael Floyd to have big seasons.
Relieved Training Camp is Finally Over
Lane Kiffin, Southern Cal
After a summer of turmoil and probation, Kiffin will look to the playing field to regain the luster of a program. It is amazing how quick to the media attention of Trojan football was lost, and winning is the only way Kiffin can bring it back. The west coast is eerily quiet without the relevance of college football in Los Angeles.
John Brantley, Florida
Certainly no slouch of a quarterback, Brantley must feel relieved that he can now put on the pads and create his own Gator legacy. As Tim Tebow makes waves in the NFL, the new Gator QB will constantly be compared to Tebow unless he takes the squad to national prominence.
Houston Nutt, Ole Miss
While it is very unlikely to see Jeremiah Masoli during the first few games of the season, it is safe to say that Nutt is looking forward to showing the college football nation that his gamble will payoff. Nathan Stanley will start against Jacksonville State while Masoli learns a new play-book and adjusts to the landscape of the SEC. As the season progresses, Nutt is hoping to answer the skeptics questioning his ethics regarding Masoli.
Jimbo Fisher, Florida State
Unfortunately for Fisher and his team, the shadow of former coach Bobby Bowden has yet to fade. In his first year at the helm, reports of Bowden being pushed out the program seem to linger in the media. The Seminoles are talented with Christian Ponder at quarterback, and Fisher would much rather speak of Seminole victories rather then replacing a legend.