By the time you are reading this, we will be only three days from the start of the new college football season.

Recruiting, spring practice, offseason work and preseason drills are all now complete. We finally get to watch actual games this Saturday.

It’s really a warm-up type of weekend as only two FBS games will be played as Florida and Miami meet in a battle of the Sunshine State and Arizona and Hawaii line it up. Both games will be worth a watch.

There are two FCS games this weekend and both will be televised. Villanova plays at Colgate and Samford will face Youngstown State in a contest in Montgomery, Ala.

A slew of games will be held the following Saturday as things crank up full speed.

The main talk at this juncture is whether Alabama and Clemson will meet again in the championship game. There is certainly a good chance of it although there are other contenders. Surprisingly most preseason polls have Alabama at No. 1 despite Clemson being the defending national champion. To me you are No. 1 until someone proves otherwise.

Certainly both teams are loaded with talent. Sports Illustrated even reported that three of the top 10 picks in the 2020 National Football League draft currently play for the Crimson Tide.

It’s a long way to go before we get to the playoffs, however. As always, the new season is welcomed with open arms. Here’s hoping your favorite team wins each game this fall.

Preseason Blues

When it comes to the Atlanta Falcons it’s pretty clear preseason games don’t mean much.

It has been several years since the Falcons have won a preseason game. It’s understandable that preseason games are not important in the grand scheme of things. Many wonder why the NFL still has so many of these meaningless contests. Most teams play four although Atlanta has five in 2019 due to the extra Hall of Fame game.

There is talk of moving the regular season to 18 games and cutting back the preseason to only two contests. That certainly makes more sense.

One thing that has never made sense is that the NFL allows teams to charge the same ticket price for preseason games as they do regular season games.

Most NFL coaches, mainly out of fear of injury to key players, don’t go all out to win preseason games. If a win happens that is fine. Otherwise it is what it is.

Race Remembered

In a follow-up to my recent column on the death of pro wrestling legend Harley Race, I learned something new about his full-time tenure in the World Wrestling Federation which began in 1986.

Race was a legitimate tough customer as noted by numerous pro wrestling historians. When Race signed with the WWF many fans thought a series of matches with federation champion Hulk Hogan would be on tap.

However, owner Vince McMahon and other WWF officials were actually scared to put Race in the ring with Hogan. They feared Race might hurt Hogan and not “put him over” in wrestling lingo.

They decided to have Race wrestle against other opponents, often being required to lose, before facing Hogan. According to Wrestling Observer editor Dave Meltzer, those matches took place with no incidents so the matches against Hogan were held.

Race recently died after a battle with cancer and is considered one of the top National Wrestling Alliance champions from an era when having that title actually meant something.

Winder resident Chris Bridges is former sports editor of the Barrow News-Journal. He is a multi-time winner for column writing from the Georgia Press Association, National Newspaper Association and the Georgia Sports Writers Association. He welcomes feedback about this column at pchrisbridges@gmail.com.

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