By Michele Gordon
It's that time of year again but it seemed like forever to get here. Another season of college football in the DMV is on the horizon so without further ado, let's get started.
Pretty much everyone is aware of the obstacles facing the Terps heading into the season. The injury bug showed up in College Park early in fall camp and did some serious damage. Quarterback C.J. Brown is out for the season with a torn ACL. Linebacker Kenny Tate is dealing with more knee issues and will miss 2-3 weeks.
This Saturday the Terps will start true freshman Perry Hills at quarterback. I've spoken to quite a few players and they have all said that they are impressed with his poise. Hills himself feels he is ready to go against William & Mary and insists he does not get nervous or the "butterflies. Redshirt freshman Brandon Ross earned the starting job at running back so new offensive coordinator Mike Locksley has his hands full.
Maryland hosts the Tribe this weekend at Byrd Stadium. The CAA has had a lot of success against the ACC in past years so you can never count anyone out. However, Jimmye Laycock's squad no longer has superstar Jonathan Grimes.
Mike London's squad enters this season as the unknown. Many say the Cavaliers overachieved last year but I wouldn't be surprised if they had another strong season in 2012. Quarterback Michael Rocco has been named the starter for Saturday's game against Richmond (coached by his uncle, Danny Rocco). However, Alabama transfer Phillip Sims continues to learn the offense and is not far behind. London told the media on Monday that his goal is to redshirt sophomore quarterback David Watford. Tailback Perry Jones should have another impressive season. He told me in late July that he's waiting for Coach Reid (defensive coordinator) to use him on defense.
The Wahoos host Richmond this Saturday at 3:00 (you can watch it on Comcast SportsNet). As I said above with Maryland, you can never count out the CAA. I believe new head coach Danny Rocco will do a great job with this program but I don't see an upset happening in Week 1.
The Hokies have faced big-time opponents including Alabama and Boise State in season openers but this year's week one contest takes the cake. Virginia Tech hosts Georgia Tech on Labor Day night at Lane Stadium. In each of the last seven seasons, the winner of the GT-VT game has gone on to claim the Coastal Division title and play in the ACC Championship Game. Junior quarterback Logan Thomas is expected to have a HUGE year for the Hokies and Bud Foster's defense looks to be as dominant as ever. This is always a terrific contest but I think the Hokies have the advantage with home field plus a month to prepare for Paul Johnson's triple option offense.
PREDICTION: VIRGINIA TECH
It will be fun to watch the CAA this season. Defending CAA champion Towson has been picked to win again but Old Dominion is hot on their heels. The Monarchs are departing for Conference USA next year so this is their last chance to win a conference title and participate in the playoffs for a few years.
There are plenty of intriguing matchups this weekend but I'm most looking forward to watching Towson face Kent State Thursday night (on Comcast SportsNet Plus). I spoke to head coach Rob Ambrose and a couple of players at the end of July and they are a very confident and motivated bunch.