The 2016 National Funding Holiday Bowl: It's the bowl game that almost wasn't. Or, at least, the 39th edition of the San Diego-hosted contest almost got a drastic makeover when the Minnesota Golden Gophers teased a boycott, the result of 10 player suspensions.
Every college football season is a new opportunity for the true or redshirt freshmen players on 128 FBS teams to make a statement. While each year always produces a handful of freshmen standouts, it seems more first-year players are making an impact at a high level.
The Pac-12 has produced plenty of standouts in the freshmen ranks in recent years, and the next star from this season’s crop of freshmen is clearly quarterback Sam Darnold at USC. Darnold’s emergence as the starter was a big reason why the Trojans are playing in the Rose Bowl against Penn State in January and could have this program in the mix for a playoff spot in 2017.
The 2016 college football season had a little bit of everything, to the point where you could fill your bingo card twice over. The greatest opening weekend ever? Definitely. Historic upsets from coast-to-coast? Without a doubt. Shootouts? Check. Seismic shifts as the result of game-changing plays? Double check.