By Matt Noonan
The first official Saturday of the 2020 college football season is less than 24 hours away – crazy, right?
For the past few days, weeks, and months, both I and others, have debated if and how a season could be played, especially during the ongoing coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. But somehow, some teams have found a way to keep everyone safe, including coaches, too.
And we already have a few games in the books, including a Week 0 affair between the Austin Peay State University and the University of Central Arkansas, which saw the Bears win by a score of 24-17.
Last night – Thursday, September 3, to be exact – the Bears suffered their first setback of the season, falling to the University of Alabama at Birmingham by a score of 45-35.
UAB jumped out to a 28-21 advantage by the break while holding the Bears to just two touchdowns in the second half.
According to UCA coach Nathan Brown, UAB may be the “the best team we play all year.”
Next week the Bears will be idle before returning to the gridiron on Saturday, September 19 for a 6 p.m. kickoff against Arkansas State.
South Alabama was also victorious last night as the Jaguars topped the Golden Eagles of Southern Mississippi by a score of 32-21.
Southern Alabama’s Desmond Trotter and Chance Lovertich combined for three touchdown passes and 363 yards of total offense while Carlos Davis rushed for a game-high 85 yards on 15 carries.
Clemson secures top spot in ACC Preseason Poll: By no surprise, the Tigers of Clemson secured the top spot in this year’s Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) media poll while Notre Dame and North Carolina checked-in second and third, respectively.
Louisville and Virginia rounded out the top five, securing the fourth and fifth positions, respectively, while Boston College – yes, our local connection to the ACC – secured the 13th spot out of 15 teams.
Syracuse and Georgia Tech rounded out the final two spots in the 15 team poll, checking-in 14th, and 15th, respectively.
Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence was picked to win the ACC Player of the Year award.
Noontime’s Game of the Week: Army over Middle Tennessee State University: The Black Knights have enjoyed a great deal of success over the past few years in their home stadium – in fact, they’re 17-2 in West Point, New York, according to Saturday’s preview, dating back to the 2016 season.
Army ended its 2019 campaign with back-to-back losses, including a 31-7 setback to Navy, along with just five wins, but for the Black Knights to be successful, both tomorrow and this fall, they will need their quarterbacks – Jabari Laws and Christian Anderson – to play their best football.
While I know Middle Tennessee may be the favorite in this game, I’m going with an early-season upset alert with the Army edging the Blue Raiders on the final drive.
Noontime’s Game of the Week Prediction: Army 24, Middle Tennessee 22
Noontime’s Week One Predictions
- Marshall over Eastern Kentucky
- Army over Middle Tennessee
- Southern Methodist University (SMU) over Texas State
- North Texas over Houston Baptist
- Memphis over Arkansas State
- Stephen F. Austin over the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP)
- Navy over Brigham Young University (BYU) (the game will be played on Monday, September 7 at 8 p.m.)