While Florida State, Alabama, Oregon and other highly ranked teams will garner most of the attention this season, there are a number of coaches at new places who will also draw their fair share of scrutiny.
One of those, undoubtedly, is Charlie Strong at Texas. There's plenty of intrigue as he takes over for Mack Brown and enters his first season in Austin with a team that is difficult to peg. There's talent on the roster, for sure, but a tough schedule and several unknowns make the Longhorns a bit of a wild card.
One thing Strong will certainly miss from his days at Louisville is having a quarterback like Teddy Bridgewater under center. The team's spring game was not at all a showcase for the Longhorns' signal-callers. David Ash's absence from the game -- he was out with a foot injury -- might have had something to do with the unimpressive showing. The new staff seems to like what they have seen so far in fall camp out of the 6-foot-3, 230-pound junior and heaped praise on him late Thursday.
"David Ash at the quarterback position is just unbelievable during this camp," Strong told reporters.
That's good news. Quarterback play has been an issue for the team, as Ash went in and out of the lineup last season due to injuries or concussions. He threw for 760 yards and seven touchdowns in three games early last season but missed all but one game of the Big 12 slate. He might not be Bridgewater, but it's a good sign for the Longhorns' offense that the reports coming out of camp are positive.
Strong also named sophomore Tyrone Swoopes as the "clear No. 2" behind Ash this week.
"I don't know when he's going to play," Strong said. "It's going to depend on the flow of the game and how we're playing offensively and how well David is playing."
Here are nine other things you need to know from Friday:
- Ohio State fans, as a whole, can't possibly find any humor in star quarterback Braxton Miller's season-ending shoulder injury. But at least one of them, apparently, has tried to bring some levity to the situation. Via Twitter, we learned that the Ohio State campus Barnes & Noble has a Miller mannequin, and it received some medical attention.
- Washington named its starting quarterback, as Chris Petersen gave the nod to sophomore Jeff Lindquist. The Seattle native will make his first collegiate start at Hawaii in the opener, but he's not a shoe-in to start the following week. Petersen continued to hint that fellow sophomore Cyler Miles, who started a game last season, will be in the mix once he returns from his one-game suspension.
- At the other UW, a report out of Madison indicated that the Badgers' quarterback race had been decided and, in a somewhat surprising upset, it's Tanner McEvoy who will take the first snaps against LSU next week. Last year's starter, Joel Stave, was expected to keep his job, but missing spring practice due to a shoulder injury might have put him too far behind this year.
- USC is dealing with some injury blues this week. Coach Steve Sarkisian told reporters on Friday that running back Tre Madden is dealing with a turf-toe injury and he's a game-time decision for the team's opener against Fresno State. Madden figured to be one of the primary backups to Javorius Allen in the backfield. Linebacker Lamar Dawson will remain out another month as he recovers from a knee injury, Sarkisian said.
- We might be a little closer to knowing who will start at quarterback for Virginia Tech, but coach Frank Beamer isn't ready to make the decision quite yet. The team held a scrimmage on Friday and both contenders, Mark Leal and Texas Tech transfer Michael Brewer, seemed to play solidly. Each tossed a pair of touchdowns and had their moments, even though their completion percentages were not that impressive. The bigger news of the day was Beamer revealing that true freshman Isaiah Ford has established himself as a starter at wide receiver. He had three scores on Friday and has drawn rave reviews from the staff.
- SMU coach June Jones has his starter at quarterback after a close competition during fall camp. Redshirt sophomore Neal Burcham earned the nod over Texas A&M transfer Matt Davis to replace Garrett Gilbert. Burcham started two games last season and threw for 556 yards and two touchdowns. He went through spring practice as the No. 1 guy while Davis didn't make it to Dallas until the summer.
- South Carolina's Steve Spurrier was up to his usual self earlier this week when he hinted that tailback Mike Davismight be doubtful for the first game against Texas A&M. He's since backtracked a little from those comments and said he'll play, while the running back himself tweeted late Thursday that there's no way he'll miss the opener. The real question is not whether Davis starts, but how many carries he'll get against the Aggies.
- First-year Vanderbilt head coach Derek Mason has named his starting quarterback and pulled the trigger on sophomore Patton Robinette. He beat out redshirt freshman Johnny McCrary and senior Stephen Rivers (Philip Rivers' younger brother). Robinette started one game last season and played in eight others, racking up 642 yards passing and four touchdowns.
- UCLA is doing a "Hard Knocks" type show this season and the Pac-12 Network released a teaser video of the first episode, which follows the Bruins around their fall camp in San Bernardino, Calif. There's some good stuff there, including tidbits with head coach Jim Mora and quarterback Brett Hundley.