Tuesday night's 2019 season debut of HBO's "Hard Knocks" with the Oakland Raiders opened to mixed opinions. While there should be no shortage of storylines, it may be more theater than football.
Considering the show's overall success in the NFL arena, however, it would be a lot of fun to see it at the collegiate level too. Keeping that potential in mind, these would be the six most exciting programs to headline a college football version of "Hard Knocks" this season.
6. Kansas Jayhawks
Kansas Jayhawks' football has been the laughing stock of the Big 12 for practically a decade, but a recent coaching change has brought a great deal of optimism this offseason. Former LSU Tigers' head coach Les Miles is now at the helm, hoping to bring his history of winning culture to Lawrence, Kansas. As a struggling team looking to turn things around, Kansas would arguably reflect the most similar type of product that we've seen on recent seasons of "Hard Knocks," and it would be entertaining to see how quickly Miles can try and turn things around with the Jayhawks.
5. Alabama Crimson Tide
On the traditional "Hard Knocks," we typically get to see a team that is struggling to get over the hump and find some wins. However, getting an inside look at Nick Saban's Alabama program would be the polar opposite of that. There's isn't a more well-oiled machine in college football than Bama, and we would get a closer look at the most competitive and consistently elite program in the country over the past 10 seasons.
4. Florida Atlantic (FAU) Owls
Florida Atlantic head coach Lane Kiffin needs to have a camera on him, so taking the coverage style of "Hard Knocks" to FAU would be a no-brainer. The former head coach of the Oakland Raiders, Tennessee Volunteers, USC Trojans, and Alabama offensive coordinator never seems to miss an opportunity to take a jab at his previous program, often making waves on Twitter. We know that fiery coaches make for great television, just look at Netflix's "Last Chance U," which is the same show that featured numerous recruits who Kiffin brought to his FAU program over the past two seasons.
3. Ohio State Buckeyes
Ohio State dealt with being in the headlines for much of last season, but mostly for the wrong reasons. It would be interesting to see the aftermath of the Urban Meyer era as well as how Ryan Day begins his own program in Columbus. Ohio State is also expected to be a top contender once again in 2019, just as long as they can handle the pressure under new leadership.
2. Oklahoma Sooners
With former Alabama star quarterback and graduate transfer Jalen Hurts battling for the Sooners' starting job in Norman this year, there are already plenty of storylines surrounding an Oklahoma program that's now produced back-to-back Heisman Trophy-winning quarterbacks. Getting revenge on his former school and winning a national championship should Hurts' focus this season, especially after appearing in three consecutive College Football Playoff National Championship games with the Crimson Tide. Hurts' story, combined with the exciting, young head coach in Lincoln Riley would likely make for a great watch.
1. Clemson Tigers
The reigning national champion Clemson Tigers would provide a similar look to Alabama's program from a winning culture perspective, but we'd also get to see head coach Dabo Swinney's high-energy personality on the big screen. Taking the cameras to Clemson would give us Dabo, the 2019 Heisman betting favorite in sophomore quarterback Trevor Lawrence, plus a look at all of the turnover from the Tigers' elite 2018 defense. It's safe to say there'd certainly be plenty of storylines to follow down in South Carolina heading into the 2019 season.
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