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College football spring game primer: Times, dates, what to watch on loaded weekend

first_imgNorth Carolina5 p.m.ACC Network ExtraThe big storyMack Brown is back on the sidelines at North Carolina, and he challenged the fans for a big showing. The Tar Heels did not have a spring game last year, and this is the start of a new and exciting era. The new offense likely will feature the tag-team of Michael Carter and Antonio Williams in the backfield.What else?The Tommy DeVito era begins at Syracuse. Pitt tailback AJ Davis and Virginia Tech quarterback Ryan Willis will be in the spotlight as they try to solidify starting jobs for 2019.Big TenTeamTimeTVIndiana (Friday)7 p.m.BTN2GoMinnesotaNoonBTN2GoOhio StateNoonBig Ten NetworkWisconsin1 p.m.BTN2GoIllinois2 p.m.BTN2GoMichigan State2 p.m.BTN2GoNebraska2 p.m.BTNPenn State3 p.m.BTN2GoRutgers3:30 p.m.BTN2Go/BTNMichigan5 p.m.BTN2GoThe big storyOhio State fans will get a first look at Justin Fields in action under new coach Ryan Day, though Matthew Baldwin is also competing for the starting job. The Buckeyes also have a pair of exciting freshmen in receiver Garrett Wilson and defensive end Zach Harrison should make an instant impact. The two-time defending Big Ten champions will be loaded as usual.What else?Nebraska should have a large crowd with second-year coach Scott Frost and Heisman dark horse Adrian Martinez. Michigan State and Michigan shuffled their offensive staffs, and it will be interesting to see how much their philosophy shifts. Just don’t expect to see too much.MORE: College football’s most intriguing 2019 spring gamesBig 12TeamTimeTVOklahoma (Friday)8:30 p.m.FSOK+Baylor1 p.m.Fox Sports SouthwestWest Virginia1 p.m.WVUSports.comKansas State2 p.m.Texas Tech3 p.m. Who’s ready for spring football?A total of 32 Power 5 teams will have their spring football game on Saturday, and that includes six top-10 teams in Sporting News’ way-too-early top 25 in Alabama, Oklahoma, Ohio State, Texas, Florida and Michigan. Independent Notre Dame also is in action. MORE: SN’s way-too-early top 25 for 2019With that in mind, Sporting News circles the best storylines among the Power 5 and independents for this weekend’s spring games. There’s always a reason to watch:ACCTeamTimeTVPitt1 p.m. Virginia Tech4 p.m. Syracuse1:30 p.m.center_img Notre Dame needs to replace some playmakers around Ian Book, and those playmakers should step up. The Irish, however, have more questions on defense: Defensive coordinator Clark Lea must replace several key pieces, and this will offer clues as to who will fill in around Julian Okwara, Asmar Bilal, Khalid Kareem, Alohi Gilman and Jalen Elliott.What else?Army is ranked, too, and the Black Knights have a ton of momentum with quarterback Kelvin Hopkins Jr. Returning. Notre Dame12:30 p.m.NBC Sports NetworkThe big story Kansas7 p.m.ESPN+Texas7:30 p.m.Longhorn NetworkThe big storyOklahoma fans will get a first look at Jalen Hurts to see how he fits within Lincoln Riley’s offense. The defense will be a focus with new defensive coordinator Alex Grinch, too. … Texas is back in action for the first time since the Sugar Bowl victory against Georgia, and all eyes will be on the playmakers surrounding quarterback Sam Ehlinger. Running backs Keaontay Ingram and Jordan Whittington will be in the spotlight. Freshman Bru McCoy is awaiting word on a waiver to play immediately after transferring from USC. Collin Johnson and Devin Duvernay also are part of a deep group of receivers.What else?First-year coaches Neal Brown, Chris Klieman, Matt Wells and Les Miles will be making their first spring game appearances.Pac-12TeamTimeTVUtah1 p.m.Pac-12 NetworkStanford4 p.m.ESPNUArizona8 p.m.P12NThe big storyHow will Khalil Tate bounce back? The Wildcats will be in prime time, so it will be another look at how the quarterback adjusted in the offseason under second-year coach Kevin Sumlin.What else?Andy Ludwig returns as Utah’s offensive coordinator. This will be a live look at the offense, which shouldn’t change much. Stanford quarterback K.J. Costello no longer shares a backfield with Bryce Love, and three starters are gone along the offensive line. Which playmakers emerge?MORE: Early predictions for 2019 seasonSECTeamTimeTVKentucky (Friday)6 p.m.SEC NetworkTexas A&M (Friday)8:30 p.m.SECNFlorida1 p.m.SECN (ALT)Alabama2 p.m.ESPN2Mississippi State2 p.m.ESPNUAuburn4 p.m.SECNMissouri4 p.m.ESPNUTennessee6 p.m.SECNThe big storyAlabama will be in the spotlight for the first time since the 44-16 loss to Clemson in the College Football Playoff championship. Will there be subtle differences in the offense with new offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian? How will be the defense change under Pete Golding? Freshman defensive end Antonio Alfano has moved up the depth chart throughout the spring.What else?Texas A&M moved its game up with stormy weather in the forecast. There’s more excitement heading into Jimbo Fisher’s second season, especially with Kellen Mond back at quarterback. Bo Nix and Joey Gatewood will battle for the starting job in a pivotal season for Auburn. Kelly Bryant is in a Missouri uniform. Tennessee brought in a talented freshman class, including linebacker Quavaris Crouch. Feleipe Franks enters the spring as the starter at Florida after a 10-win season.IndependentTeamTimeTVArmy (Friday)7 p.m.last_img read more

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