Its Time For ‘The Boys Of Fall’ To Kick Off The 2014 Football Season
This past Friday was the four year anniversary of the debut of Kenny Chesney's ESPN documentary 'The Boys of Fall' and it reminds us that its that time of year, when the weather begins to turn and the smell of pigskin and the sounds crushing monster hits fill the air. The college football season kicks off this weekend and the high school and pro season follow suit next.
College football kicks off the season this week. Texas A&M opened up the post "Johnnie Football" era Thursday and if things continue to play out this season the way Thursday did, the Aggies will be just fine, thank you.
Kenny Hill looked more than ready to replace Johnny Manziel as he broke Manziel's single-game passing record with 511 yards and No. 21 Texas A&M beat No. 9 South Carolina 52-28 on Thursday night, ending the Gamecocks' 18-game home win streak. Hill looked poised and confident in his first start, leading the Aggies to the most total and passing yards against South Carolina. The sophomore completed 44 of 60 passes with three touchdowns.
The Oklahoma Sooners take the field Saturday night, kicking off the 2014 season by defending Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium against the visiting Louisiana Tech Bulldogs. After going 9-2 in the 2013 regular season, the Sooners capped off the season with a triumphant Sugar Bowl appearance, downing the Alabama Crimson Tide 45-31, finishing the season 10-2, 7-2 against Big 12 opponents. They enter the season with a presason #4 ranking and seemed poised for a run at a national title.
On the other hand, the Oklahoma State Cowboys start the 2014 season with maybe the largest challenge they will face all season. Oklahoma State opens up the 2014 season by welcoming the defending national champions and preseason #1 Florida State Seminoles to Boone Pickens Stadium to kick the season off.
The Cowboys finished the 2013 season ranked 17th in the nation, with a 10-3 overall mark and a 7-3 mark in the Big 12. They finished the season with a pair of disappointing losses to Oklahoma (33-24 in the annual Bedlam Series) and Missouri (41-31 in the Cotton Bowl). The Cowboys hope to rebound in 2014, but open the season unranked. You'll be able to catch the every down of the 2014 Oklahoma State season at MY1073 and www.my1073fm.com.
High School football is always a big draw throughout Oklahoma and Texas, and never have hopes been higher in the Lawton Area than they are going into the 2014 season.
After a 2013 season in which they finished ranked 9th in the state, the Lawton Wolverines enter this season looking to build on the success of last year. A disappointing 28-15 loss to Westmore in the state playoffs ended last season, but Coach Randy Breeze's charges enter the 2014 6A-II season ranked 7th in the state and second in the division. Offensive lineman Jalin Barnett was named to MaxPreps 2014 Preseason All-American team and hopes to lead the Wolverines to the promised land, a 2014 state title. The Wolverines open the season by traveling to Salina, KS on September 5th, to take on the Central Mustangs. You can listen to all the action on Z94 and www.Z94.com.
The Highlanders of MacArthur High and head coach Brett Manning are also looking to build off a successful 2013 season, which saw them post a 10-3 record. The Highlanders finished the 5A District 1 regular season tied for 1st in the division with a 6-1 mark. Returning starters Will Collins (Sr QB), Connor Cherry (Sr Def End) and Jacob Goss (Jr OG) lead an experienced squad that returns 8 starters on each side of the ball that opens the 2014 season ranked #16 in the state. They open the campaign Sept 5th by hitting the road to take on the Clinton Red Tornadoes in Clinton. You'll be able to catch the play-by-play of this and every game of the 2014 MacArthur Highlander season at MY1073 and www.my1073fm.com.
Bill Whitely and the Eisenhower Eagles open the 2014 season in a re-aligned 6a division ranked 80th in the state after a disappointing 4-6, 3-5 finish in 2013. With nowhere to look but up, the Eagles look to build on last season's victories over Putnam City North, Altus, Moore and Grant to drive towards a 2014 playoff berth. The Eagles open up the 2014 season by welcoming perpetual Arkansas division 6A powerhouse Fayetteville Purple Bull Dogs to town to kick off the campaign on Sept. 5th.
And finally, turning to the pro game, the Dallas Cowboys are also hoping to rebound from a 2013 NFL season that can only be described as "disappointing." Jason Garrett knows there's a lot of pressure as head coach of "America's Team," but the Cowboys haven't done anything substantially successful in almost two decades.
With three straight 8-8 seasons, and just one playoff win since 1997, the Cowboys enter the new campaign confident they can match up with any team in the NFC East and make a run toward the playoffs for the first time since 2009, the last time Dallas posted double digits in wins (11-5). After internal strife when the club passed on choosing Texas A&M quarterback Johnnie Manziel in this years draft, Tony Romo is back in charge of a Cowboy offense that ranked 14th in the leage in passing and 24th in rushing (16th overall) but 5th in the league in scoring. The Cowboys have added guard Uche Nwaneri from the Jacksonville Jaguars to help protect Romo, but must replace one of his favorite targets, wide receiver Miles Austin, who now runs patterns for the Cleveland Browns.
On defense, the Cowboys face an uphill battle. After finishing last in the league in defense in 2013 (30th against the pass, 27th against the run and 26th in scoring allowed), the Cowboys have lost several key pieces on the defensive side. Defensive end and sack leader DeMarcus Ware is now a Denver Bronco, while his bookend DE Everett Brown and tackle Jason Hatcher jumped to division rival Washington. Also lost is middle linebacker Sean Lee was lost for the season to a knee injury suffered on the first day of training camp.
Dallas opens the 2014 season by travelling to San Francisco as the 49'ers open up Levi's Stadium, If the Cowboys are going to have to hope this year, they will have to get career years from Romo and several key offensive players and also for some questionable acquisitions on defense to come up big. Head coach Jason Garrett's head is on the line and if I was him, I wouldn't enter any long term leases.