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Introducing College Football as an Olympic Sport

Updated: Jul 5


College football as an Olympic sport; Oregon coach Dan Lanning and Georgia coach Kirby Smart shown with the Olympic Torch and Logo.
© Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports

Imagine that the American contingent of athletes at the upcoming Paris Olympic Games included 24 college football players and three coaches, fired up and ready to represent their country and compete on the world stage.



Based on fantasy football rules and scoring, it will be fun to build a roster of college football players who would experience the thrill of victory and avoid the agony of defeat.

 

In honor of the Olympic Games, below is the team that could represent the United States in Paris in a new Olympic sport, college football.

 

Quarterbacks (2)

Dillon Gabriel, Oregon Ducks

Playing for the Oklahoma Sooners last season, Gabriel completed 69 percent of his passes and threw for 3,660 yards, 30 touchdowns and only 6 interceptions. In addition, Gabriel rushed for 373 yards and 12 TDs for the Sooners before transferring to the Pacific Northwest and the Land of Nike. He figures to be a leading contender for the Heisman Trophy this year.

 

Kaidon Salter, Liberty Flames

Salter led the Flames to a 13-1 record and a New Year's Six bowl appearance in the Fiesta Bowl against Oregon. Ranking No. 3 in the FBS in passing efficiency at 176.60, Salter accounted for 3,965 total yards, 44 total touchdowns, completed 61 percent of his passes and threw only 6 INTs.



Running Backs (2)

Ashton Jeanty, Boise State Broncos

Jeanty had a breakout season in 2023, rushing for 1,347 yards and 14 touchdowns, averaging over 6 yards per carry. In addition, Jeanty added 569 yards receiving on 43 catches with 5 more scores. The accolades for Jeanty were numerous last season:


  • Associated Press second-team All-American

  • USA Today first-team All-American

  • College Football Network All-American

  • First-team All-Mountain West Conference



Ollie Gordon, Oklahoma State Cowboys

Gordon rushed for 1,732 yards and 21 touchdowns, averaging 6.08 yards per carry. A 2023 unanimous All-American, Gordon won the Doak Walker Award as the top running back in college football and was named the Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year. Gordon Posted nine games of 100+ yards rushing, including six straight.


Wide Receivers (3)

Luther Burden III, Missouri Tigers

Burden was a first-team All-Southeastern Conference selection last year after catching 86 passes for 1,212 yards and 9 touchdowns. He is widely regarded as the best wide receiver in college football heading into the 2024 season.


Tetairoa McMillan, Arizona Wildcats

McMillan caught 90 passes for 1,402 yards and 10 touchdowns a season ago and was named second-team All-Pac-12 Conference and third-team All-American by the Associated Press. He Posted six games of over 100 yards receiving, including four straight games to finish the season.



Ricky White, UNLV Rebels

White earned first-team All-Mountain West Conference honors after catching 88 passes for 1,483 yards and 8 touchdowns. He averaged 17 yards per catch.


Tight Ends (2)

Colston Loveland, Michigan Wolverines

As the second-leading receiver on the Wolverines squad a season ago, Loveland hauled in 45 passes from JJ McCarthy for 649 yards and 4 touchdowns on his way to first-team All-Big Ten honors.


Oscar Delp, Georgia Bulldogs

Delp, playing in Brock Bowers’ 6-foot-4 shadow, caught 24 passes for 284 yards and 3 touchdowns.


Flex (4)

RB RJ Harvey, UCF Knights

Harvey rushed for 1,416 yards and 16 touchdowns last season, averaging 6.27 yards per carry. Also, he rushed for over 100 yards in seven games, including five straight. Against Oklahoma State, Harvey shredded the Cowboys’ defense for 206 yards on 24 carries with 3 TDs, for an impressive average of over 8 yards per carry.


WR Tez Johnson, Oregon Ducks

Johnson caught 86 passes last season for 1,182 yards and 10 touchdowns, playing for a 12-2 team that competed in the Pac-12 title game and earned a Fiesta Bowl berth.


WR Barion Brown, Kentucky Wildcats

The greatest show on bluegrass, Brown was a threat to score from anywhere on the field, and did. An all-SEC performer at wide receiver, all-purpose, and return specialist, Brown was a human highlight reel against Clemson in the Tax Slayer Gator Bowl. Against the Tigers, Brown scored a rushing touchdown, returned a kickoff 100 yards for a score and caught a touchdown pass, all in a losing effort.



TE Mason Taylor, LSU Tigers

In 2023, Taylor was fourth on the team in receiving with 36 catches, 348 yards, and 1 touchdown and will be a dependable target for newly anointed starting QB Garrett Nussmeier in 2024. Taylor caught the game-winning pass from Jayden Daniels on a two-point conversion to beat Alabama in 2022.


Defense

Penn State Nittany Lions

The Nittany Lions return seven starters from last year’s team that ranked among the nation’s best in the following categories:


  • No. 2 in total defense

  • No. 7 in pass defense

  • No. 1 in rush defense

  • No. 3 in scoring defense

  • No. 1 in sacks

  • No. 2 in tackles for loss



Coaching Staff

Coach: Dan Lanning, Oregon Ducks

The coach is 22-5 in two seasons with the Ducks, and he led Oregon to a top-10 finish in 2023.


Offensive Coordinator: Gus Malzahn, UCF Knights

Malzahn has won 65 percent of his games and coached UCF to a top-10 finish in total offense and rushing offense in 2023.


Defensive Coordinator: Kirby Smart, Georgia Bulldogs

Yes, Smart is a three-time SEC Coach of the Year, has won 85 percent of his games as a head coach and has two national championships, but his true coaching prowess is on defense.


Lighter of the Olympic Flame: Tim Tebow

Tebow is the 2007 Heisman Trophy winner, a two-time Maxwell Award winner (2007-2008), and he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2023.



There it is. The “United States College Football Olympic Team.” Hey, the 2028 Summer Olympic Games will be held in Los Angeles. Maybe the International Olympic Committee (IOC) will make college football a real Olympic sport. If so, who would be on your roster?




 


 

 

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