College Open Thread (!): August 29

USA TODAY Sports

The college season kicks off with a marquee showdown for the Cackalack crown.

It may not be spring, but it feels like the circle of life begins anew tonight.

College football is returned.

Let's get into it. Tonight's big game:

North Carolina at #6 South Carolina (6:00 p.m., ESPN)

Jadaveon Clowney is a manbeast, this is known. But the true junior has been ineligible for the draft to this point. This should be his final year in the college ranks, and I'm not sure if the NFL or his college opponents are more thankful for that. In any case, you need to get a look at Clowney early and often. He's star NFL material. Also, rub whatever magical bauble you have to ensure he doesn't end up in the NFC West. SC's set up for the season better than any time in years, so HC Steve Spurrier can't afford to drop games outside of SEC play. With a trip to Georgia looming next weekend, they're not afforded any easy warmups (like their Nov. 23 game against Coastal Carolina).

For UNC, they've fed plenty of great NFL talent in recent years, but the team's been a mediocre mess. Larry Fedora's now in his second year as HC. In four years, he took Southern Mississippi to a 11-2 record and back into the top 25 (of course, they went 0-12 the next year...). And while the recruiting has taken a dip since the Butch Davis days, QB Bryn Renner is a quality QB, though I am higher on him than most.

A couple other games on TV worth checking out:

Utah St. at Utah (8:00 p.m., FS1)

Ole Miss at Vanderbilt (9:15 p.m., ESPN)

Rutgers at Fresno St. (10:30 p.m., ESPNU)

#24 USC at Hawaii (11:00 p.m., CBS Sports)

Football's back. Rejoice.

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