|Morry Gash / Associated Press|
|Gary Andersen has reportedly pegged Tanner McEvoy to lead his offense against LSU on Saturday.|
OK, if you're like us, you're giddy with anticipation -- giddy like a 6-year-old on Christmas morning -- about the start of the college football season on Thursday.
As we get ever closer to that first kickoff, CFB 24/7 takes a look at some winners and losers from the final full week of fall camps.
McEvoy evidently has won the starting quarterback job at Wisconsin, beating out incumbent Joel Stave. Stave threw for 2,494 yards and 22 TDs -- second-most in a season in Wisconsin history -- last season. But basically since the day the 2013 season ended, coach Gary Andersen said there would be an open competition at quarterback. McEvoy is a better athlete -- while he signed with Wisconsin out of junior college as a quarterback in February 2013, he started three times at safety last season -- and provides the Badgers with a running threat at quarterback, something Andersen has said he wanted. And while Stave had his moments in 2013, he also tossed 13 interceptions and lacked consistency against top-level opponents. We'll find out about McEvoy quickly: Wisconsin opens against LSU on Saturday in Houston. The Badgers are in basically every preseason top 25 and are expected to be one of the top contenders for the Big Ten West Division title. McEvoy will operate behind a big, physical line and in front of a deep group of tailbacks headed by star junior Melvin Gordon.
There's nothing like being compared to Michael Crabtree to raise a receiver's profile, and that's the case with East Carolina's prolific wide receiver. Hardy, who has a good shot at setting the NCAA career mark for receptions, was called a "definite first-round pick" by ECU receiver coach Donnie Kirkpatrick. And Pirates offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley said Hardy has some of the same qualities as the San Francisco 49ers receiver, whom Riley coached at Texas Tech.
Baylor will be showing off its brand-spanking-new stadium on Aug. 31 against former longtime Southwest Conference rival SMU. The school also is unveiling a statue of Heisman winner Robert Griffin III that night. To top it all off, Griffin himself is scheduled to be in attendance. It won't get much better for a Bears fan than to be there that night.
We're still not sure why he is transferring, but former Northwestern RB Venric Mark seems happy that he will play at Division II West Texas A&M this season. Mark, who was one of the most explosive players in the Big Ten, would have been the offensive focal point for the Wildcats this season. He should be able to put up big numbers at West Texas A&M. Mark rushed for 1,366 yards at Northwestern in 2012, then missed all but three games last season with various injuries. He announced he was leaving Northwestern on Aug. 13.
Sarafin, a backup center at Arizona State, became the first active college football player to come out publicly as gay on Aug. 13, and he was one of five Sun Devils walk-ons to be awarded a scholarship on Wednesday. Sarafin, a fifth-year senior, is pursuing a master's degree in biomedical engineering.
Every other "losing" team this summer can feel good about not being Ohio State. It's hard to imagine a bigger blow than the one suffered by the Buckeyes: Starting QB Braxton Miller will miss the season with a shoulder injury. He will have surgery Tuesday. His absence effectively removes Ohio State from the playoff discussion, and thrusts redshirt freshman J.T. Barrett -- Miller's replacement -- squarely into the spotlight.
It seemed an extreme long shot to begin with, but the uber-talented Green-Beckham found out Friday that his eligibility appeal to the NCAA had been denied. Green-Beckham was dismissed at Missouri in April and ended up transferring to Oklahoma, which just happened to need a wide receiver of Green-Beckham's stature. OU helped him file his appeal. He now must sit out this fall, but there's a chance he will enter the NFL draft in 2015.
Learning that your top receiver has an injured foot and seems likely to miss the opening game -- against a tough conference opponent, at that -- is bad enough. But Louisville is having to consider life without star wide receiver DeVante Parker for the season. Parker saw a specialist Sunday, and fingers are crossed in Louisville that it is not a serious injury. As it is, he is expected to miss the Sept. 1 opener against Miami; that's Louisville's first-ever game as an ACC member.
Duke already had lost its best defensive player, LB Kelby Brown, to an ACL injury; on Monday, the Blue Devils found out that star TE Braxton Deaver also would miss the season with a torn ACL. Deaver led all ACC tight ends in receptions last season and again would've been a key part of Duke's passing attack. In an eerie coincidence, Brown and Deaver both missed the 2012 season with torn ACLs.
Man, you have to feel for Kansas coach Charlie Weis. You need some semblance of a rushing attack to be successful, and that is going to be difficult for the Jayhawks this fall. In a 24-hour period early in the week, Weis lost his top two tailbacks, Brandon Bourbon and Taylor Cox, to season-ending injuries. That means that each of his top four tailbacks is gone for the season. Projected starter Darrian Miller left the team in June, and touted freshman TB Traevon Wrench -- KU's top recruit -- didn't make the academic grade and now is at a junior college.
Mike Huguenin can be reached at email@example.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.