With the first week of college football upon us, the excitement over one of the biggest sports in the United States has fans from coast to coast ready for the action to begin.
Week 1 starts with some stellar matchups, but certain teams like the No. 10 ranked Arkansas Razorbacks will start the season with an easy matchup.
Sorry Jacksonville State Gamecock fans; your team is merely a minor roadblock on Sept. 1 for the highly ranked Razorbacks.
Despite not being the greatest matchup to start the season in terms of pure football enjoyment, just having the sport back in our lives will be enough to get every college football fan excited.
Where: Razorback Stadium, Fayetteville, AR
When: Saturday, September 1, 7 p.m. ET
Listen: ESPN 92.1; Arkansas, WLJS 98.1; Jacksonville State
Live Stream: ESPN’s College Gameplan
Betting Line (via Covers)
Over/Under: Not Open; Spread: Not Open
The betting lines have not been opened for this matchup yet. We will update as soon as this information becomes available.
Injuries (via USA Today)
Knile Davis, RB, Probable
Maudrecus Humphrey, WR, Out for season
Andrew Peterson, TE, Out for season
Marquel Wade, WR, Out for season
None to report.
BCS/Top 25 Implications
The Arkansas Razorbacks start the season as the No. 10 ranked team in the nation, but they can’t take this Jacksonville State game lightly. Not only are they tougher than most people think, this is another chance for the Razorbacks to get their team in order before Arkansas’ big meeting with the Alabama Crimson Tide in Week 3.
Jacksonville State isn’t fighting for Top-25 contention, but they have plenty to prove. Their head coach, Jack Crowe, was the former head coach at Arkansas but was fired and has rebuilt his reputation with the Gamecocks. Those JSU players will have revenge and upset on their minds.
What They’re Saying
Jacksonville State Football head coach Jack Crowe told JSUGamecockSports.com about how excited he is about the current group of players they have on the roster:
We are as excited as we can be to start another football season. This is my 13th year and I don't think I have ever been around a bunch that has ever worked harder to perform and I think we potentially have the best leadership group that we have ever had in this group of guys (Washaun Ealey, Marques Ivory and Kevyn Cooper). When you look at the group of freshmen that we have, we are a talented football team.
Arkansas defensive end Chris Smith told the AP via ESPN about running back Knile Davis’ first contact in practice since his injury and how the young star feels going into Week 1:
The first time they tackled him all the way to the ground, he coughed the ball up, but the ground caused the fumble, so it would not have been a fumble. ... He's ready to go, though. He's excited. And I think it was good for him, without a doubt, to take some hits and feel good about himself.
Jacksonville State Player to Watch: Marques Ivory & Coty Blanchard, QB
After now-senior quarterback Marques Ivory went down with a broken leg in Week 1 of the 2011 season, the Gamecocks were forced to start Coty Blanchard for the remainder of the year.
Now the Gamecocks have two viable starters on their team. How they treat both and how many snaps each will see is the biggest question heading into the 2012 season and the team’s Week 1 matchup against Arkansas.
Arkansas Player to Watch: Knile Davis, RB
After breaking his ankle in the preseason of 2011, the Arkansas Razorbacks star running back Knile Davis is back for action and ready to lead the team to glory.
With 14 touchdowns and almost 1,500 all-purpose yards in 2010, the Razorbacks will need the star to return to that form if they want a chance in the tough SEC.
If his leg is back to 100 percent, Arkansas will be tough to beat in Week 1 and throughout 2012.
Prediction: Arkansas 43, Jacksonville State 17
Despite the strong play of the Gamecocks in 2011, the Arkansas Razorbacks are one of the nation’s elite teams and will crush Jacksonville State.
I kept the score modest here, but this could get ugly if Knile Davis and the boys decide to send a statement to Alabama and the rest of the SEC.
Check back for more on the NCAA Football as it comes, and don’t miss Bleacher Report’s College Football page to get your fill of college football.