Five reasons to be fired up for college football

North Carolina players celebrate following a 45-20 win over Duke in an NCAA college football game in Durham, N.C., Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014. (Gerry Broome)

It's back! Better than ever? Time will tell. The first edition of the College Football Playoff certainly left a good taste. Games resume in earnest on Thursday when UNC and South Carolina meet in Charlotte. Simply punching those characters on a keyboard gets my pulse up a notch or two. Bye bye Little League World Series. See ya meaningless Major League Baseball. It's time for something more compelling.

1) Renewed balance. Some coaches aren't worth the iPhone they recruit with. Then there's the needle mover that is Jim Harbaugh. One foot on campus at Michigan and the balance of power shifted to the Midwest. What do you get for $7 million a year? For starters, how about every seat in the big house filled!

Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh speaks at a press conference during the NCAA college football team's annual media day in Ann Arbor, Mich., Thursday, Aug. 6, 2015


2)Triangle ACC resurgence. In 2013 all three schools finished with a winning record. This year, there's a feeling that the trio can match that and then some. When was the last time they ALL exceeded expectations?? Has it ever happened?? Each has strung together some good years, usually at the expense of a neighbor.

3) Uniform grab-bag. It wasn't long ago I was I was in the "get off my lawn" camp. Trying to figure out who was playing whom (and...what conference are they in now?) was an a-g-o-n-i-z-i-n-g exercise. I've come around and now look forward to the matte helmets and exploratory color-combos. Innovation is the American Way after all.

NC State's "Pack in Black" helmet.


4) Poll-schmoll. I get that fans and coaches need a measuring stick along the way but I could take or leave the rankings. Like in basketball, they are no longer needed. We've got PLAYOFFS! Nearly 26 million watched Ohio State win the championship in January. Think TV execs aren't kicking themselves for waiting decades to get this in place?

5) The great unknown. Ok, ok, OSU is going to roll to the title. They are the unanimous #1 (see poll thoughts above). OR maybe, just maybe there will be an upset or two and doubt in Columbus will turn to exuberance in say.. Starkville or whatever ville is your favorite. That dose of uncertainty is why we love the games! And I cannot wait for kickoff!

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