SBJ/August 21-27, 2017/In Depth

A season in the making

As college football nears kickoff time, here are the storylines and issues we’ll be watching this season:

A new video board and premium areas are among the renovations at Notre Dame Stadium.
Photo by: UNIVERSITY OF NOTRE DAME (2)
A new Notre Dame

Notre Dame’s football renovation — we’re talking the stadium, not the team — will debut Sept. 2 when the Fighting Irish take on Temple. The $400 million Campus Crossroads project, which includes stadium improvements for athletics, academics and student life, will introduce premium areas, a new video board and all-new seating that replaces the old wooden bleachers inside iconic Notre Dame Stadium. The project is the largest in the school’s history and will transform the game-day experience without sacrificing the school’s rich tradition.

Photo by: ATLANTA FALCONS

Atlanta, home to college football

The city considered by many to be the capital of college football is staking its claim again by bookending the upcoming season with the best opener — Alabama versus Florida State in the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium — followed by the College Football Playoff championship game in January. How’s this for an opening weekend: Georgia State opens its retrofitted Turner Field on Thursday, Aug. 31; the Crimson Tide and Seminoles tangle two nights later and then Tennessee and Georgia Tech go back to Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Labor Day evening. Hello, college football.

Oklahoma State will aim to deliver on lofty preseason expectations in the Big 12 Conference.
Photo by: AP IMAGES

Big 12 still big?

The Big 12 is often described as the most vulnerable conference among the power five and it’s easy to understand why. Just once in the three seasons of the College Football Playoff has a Big 12 team been selected — Oklahoma, after the 2015 season. The two cash cows of the league, Oklahoma and Texas, both have first-year coaches. And the school predicted by many to win the conference is Oklahoma State, if the Cowboys can hold off their in-state rival. This season clearly represents a crossroads for the Big 12. If the new coaches can lead a revival at Texas and maintain Oklahoma, the conference could flourish. If not, the Big 12 might again find itself on the outside looking in when the CFP selection committee makes its picks.

Ohio State lawsuit

Chris Spielman, one of the most beloved Ohio State football players, shocked Buckeye Nation last month when he filed a lawsuit against the school and IMG College. The complaint says that Ohio State and sponsor Honda hung banners inside Ohio Stadium featuring several former Buckeye greats without their permission or any compensation. Like the O’Bannon case before it, Spielman’s lawsuit goes to the heart of the name, likeness and image issue in college sports, even for former players. While this issue will play out in a courtroom rather than a football field, the ramifications could be long-lasting and every school will be watching.


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