Spring game thoughts from across the country

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It’s the last big weekend of spring games, and there have been plenty of exciting stories. Let’s take a look at the last few weeks of spring football action and what’s to come this weekend.

High hopes on Rocky Top

Can Tennessee finally become a factor in the weak SEC East? Butch Jones has done a good job recruiting in Knoxville, Tennessee, most recently putting together a top-five class this year. It’s time to see some results. The Vols finished last season with a bowl win and an improved record. There are a lot of moving parts, and Saturday will be the first chance to see if they’re in the right places for a 2015 run.

Soaring Spartans

In recent years, Michigan State has been known for its hard-nosed defense, but last year showed the offense can be as high-flying as the best of them. Michigan State ended the year defeating offensive powerhouse Baylor, in the highest-scoring Cotton Bowl ever. This season, Connor Cook will be one of the best quarterbacks in the Big Ten. Look for him to dazzle Spartan fans during Saturday’s spring game. MSU was the biggest hurdle on defending national champion Ohio State’s regular season schedule last year, and this year should be similar. The Spartans will have to build on a strong 2014 if there’s any hope of conquering the Buckeyes in the Big Ten East.

Under center in Alabama

Perhaps the most prolific quarterback competition in college football history will go down this summer in Columbus, Ohio. But another College Football Playoff finalist is also searching for its signal-caller. Alabama got a look at its QB prospects Saturday. Last year’s presumed starter, Jacob Coker, had the best performance by far in April 18’s spring game, throwing for 183 yards and a touchdown. The next best performance was by redshirt freshman David Cornwell, who threw one TD and 110 yards. Five different QBs saw action. While Coker looks to be the frontrunner, he was the early favorite last season before Blake Sims took over for the Crimson Tide.

Horned Frogs on a mission

Speaking of way-too-early favorites, TCU is widely considered to be the best team that’s not the reigning national champion. Expectations have never been higher for the Horned Frogs. They hosted a Friday night extravaganza on April 10 for fans, complete with the unveiling of new Nike uniforms, but the scrimmage wasn’t all too exciting. The biggest news to come out of Fort Worth, Texas, was head coach Gary Patterson speaking on TCU being left out of the College Football Playoff, saying that someone will always feel like they “got screwed.”

Pac-12 South powers

Three teams in one of college football’s most competitive divisions showed off their spring stuff on April 10-11. Arizona, Arizona State and Southern California are all contenders in the Pac-12 South.

Arizona is coming off its first premiere bowl appearance since 1993 after winning the division last year. Quarterback Anu Solomon was a bright spot for the Wildcats last year as a redshirt freshman, and he looked sharp in their spring outing. Solomon said he feels more comfortable this year and head coach Rich Rodriguez said he has already improved from last year.

The Sun Devils didn’t have a traditional spring game due to renovations at Sun Devil Stadium. The team played on a 70-yard field, but the practice gave fans a first look at the conversion of running back DJ Foster into a wide receiver.

USC is the way-too-early favorite in the division and should be a factor in the College Football Playoff race. Senior quarterback Cody Kessler, a possible Heisman contender, had limited action but threw for 126 yards and a touchdown. The Trojans will be even better in the fall when they bring in the rest of a sanction-free recruiting class.

Chris is a sophomore in Media.

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@ChrisKennedy_4