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The most wonderful time of the year

Football season is upon us, and with all due respect to Christmas, this is the most wonderful time of the year.

What’s not to love about a game where Division I-AA Appalachian State — a school better known for a corny academic recruitment commercial — can go to the “Big House” and upset a Michigan team ranked No. 5 in the country?

Nobody gave Pitt a chance to go into Morgantown and beat No. 2 West Virginia last year. I love a game where a 4-7 team can wreck the national title picture.

Pitt put an LSU team fresh off a senior day loss to Arkansas back in the national title hunt. A few weeks later, the Tigers played an Ohio State team that was overmatched for the second consecutive year.

It seems that the lesson should be learned — the BCS does not work. But, that’s a story for another column.

What’s not to love about a sport where players’ names sound so familiar over such a short period that it seems like they’ve been there forever? Pat White, I’m talking to you. Retire already.

Is Alabama’s recruiting as good as advertised, and will coach Nick Saban show enough improvement on last year’s 7-6 record to justify his $4 million salary?

How will Auburn’s offense change with Tony Franklin taking over the offensive reigns? The spread guru’s offense put up no fewer than 21 points in any game at Troy last year, but will his system translate to the caliber of football played in SEC?

The same thing was asked about Urban Meyer’s offense when he took the reigns at Florida, and his teams have fared pretty well in a league formerly known for three yards and a cloud of dust.

And how will Troy compensate for the loss of Franklin? Is there another under-the-radar offensive coordinator waiting in the wings?

Will Reggie Barlow lead Alabama State back to its first SWAC championship since 2004, or will the inability to get over the hump rear its ugly face again?

If given an NAIA playoff shot, will Concordia rise to the occasion?

All of these questions will be answered on the ever-winding path that is college football season. And I, like many followers, can’t wait to see the results.