Football approaches, heat be darned

I’m not a complainer most of the time, but this heat is trying my good humor. The only place I want to see triple digits is in my paycheck.
Afternoon temps in the 100s are almost blunting my enthusiasm for the looming football season – be it high school, college or pro. Almost, but not quite.
Here are the things I’m looking forward to seeing out of each kind of gridiron action in 2007:

High schools

Is Southern Vance a one-year wonder? It’s a fair question, considering the Raiders had never made it out of the third round before last year’s run to the State 2AA title game. Mark Perry steps in for David Jennings in the head coaching spot, but plenty of the key figures return to try and produce a repeat performance.
I like the offense, and the defense will round into form. Look for another deep postseason run.
Can Webb be a 3A dark horse? The Warriors are getting zero pub in the run up to the season, but few teams can boast nine returning starters on both sides of the ball. John Hammett’s bunch finished 7-4 last year, and with a senior-laden, talented defense and Antwan Thorpe returning at quarterback, this is a team that could be a real surprise.
Can Warren County and Northern Vance turn the corner? Both have plenty of obstacles to overcome, as Warren County is breaking in its third coach in three seasons and the Vikings are about as youthful as any team around. The schedule does neither squad any favors, either.


New coaches, new stories? Butch Davis and Tom O’Brien step into new roles at Carolina and State, respectively. Davis has the better recruits while O’Brien had more in the cupboard. Davis will have the Tar Heels turned around in a year or two, while the Wolfpack will be much improved right away with the added discipline of the former Boston College boss.
Who’s No. 1? Virginia Tech’s a great story, USC is loaded with five-star talent and both Louisville and West Virginia have decent shots at the title. My pick? I’ll take LSU.
The Bayou Bengals have 14 returning starters and a home-loaded schedule that should help them navigate the brutal SEC. The only tough road test is Alabama, and LSU is 32-3 at home since 2002.
Who’s winning the Heisman? This is almost impossible to predict, but I get paid to take such chances (read: I need the column inches). West Virginia’s Steve Slaton, Arkansas’ Darren McFadden and Louisville’s Brian Brohm are prime candidates, but to find my choice, you have to hope a plan and fly to the islands. Hawaii’s Colt Brennen toils in a pass-happy, run-and-shoot offense for a team that will likely be undefeated and challenge for an at-large BCS bowl bid.


Can the Panthers bounce back? I think they can, though cutting Keyshawn Johnson was puzzling with the lack of proven talent behind Steve Smith. DeAngelo Williams and Jake Delhomme (or David Carr) must have big years for the Panthers to challenge in the NFC.

Super Bowl pick? Right now? You’re kidding. If I had to nail one down now, I’ll lean towards the Patriots.

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7 Responses to “Football approaches, heat be darned”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    You need to go back and read some recent numbers from the SV football program before calling them a one year wonder. They won 41 games over the last 4 years and 59 over the last 6. They won 7 playoff games over the past four years. Your bias towards Shelby during the playoffs was sickening. To call SV a one year wonder not only calls your intelligence into question, it resounds with a resonating thud of ambivalence towards a program you know LITTLE ABOUT or even pretend to think you understand. If you had been here through the 4-50 something start in the early 90’s then your appreciation of Raider Football would be on an even keel. Before you go passing judegement on others, remember you write for a newspaper that is not exactly par with the New York Times. Let’s not throw stones when we live in such a large and vulnerable glass house.

  2. Randy Capps Says:

    Perhaps you should go back and read what I wrote a bit more carefully. I asked if they were a one-year wonder and then proceeded to say they were not.

    And as for my so-called Shelby bias, no one involved with the Southern Vance program seemed to think I wasn’t playing it straight, and that’s good enough for me.

  3. Gabe Whisnant Says:

    No props my way for “stealing” a format idea? 🙂

  4. Randy Capps Says:

    I guess I owe you one of those…

  5. Gabe Whisnant Says:

    It’s cool. I see how you give Hanks props and not me … must be your Eastern N.C. bias setting in.

  6. Anonymous Says:

    Keep up the good work Capps. To bad you can’t be here in Cleveland County to see some real football getting cranked up.

  7. Anonymous Says:

    if they don’t get a new defensive coordinator they won’t win conference let alone state

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