With the 2018 college football season around the corner, fans of the sport will soon get to see marquee Week 1 matchups around the country. Some of those games include: Louisville vs. Alabama, Oregon State vs. Ohio State, Washington vs. Auburn and Miami vs. LSU. Outside of the meeting between the Buckeyes and Beavers at Ohio Stadium, all of those much-anticipated season openers will be played at neutral site locations.
To commemorate the start of the season, ESPN and Marvel collaborated to create "College Football Playoff Comic Covers" featuring the mascots of the aforementioned teams. Each cover was inspired by an original Marvel comic edition, and it swapped the characters out with the mascots from each school.
Sports and comics have overlapped so many times over the years," Marvel Vice President and Executive Director Ryan Penagos said. "Of course, we at Marvel and our friends at ESPN have had so many great collaborations."
Last year, Marvel and ESPN teamed up to create a cover for the season opener between Florida State and Alabama; in addition there was a cover made for the season-opening clash between West Virginia and Virginia Tech and Michigan vs. Florida. There was also a College Football Playoff preview cover, which featured the mascots of previous winners Ohio State, Clemson and Alabama, made ahead of the 2017 campaign.
This year's Louisville vs. Alabama cover was inspired by "Invincible Iron Man #66." The Oregon State vs. Ohio State edition was made in tribute to "Civil War II #3 (variant)." For Miami vs. LSU, "The Deadly Hands of Kung Fu #29" was used for inspiration. The Washington vs. Auburn cover was based on "Civil War II #1."
ESPN and Marvel unveil four comic book covers that feature school mascots facing off, and Alabama versus Louisville is one of them.— Charlie Potter (@Charlie_Potter) August 16, 2018
The UA-UL cover is in homage to Invincible Iron Man 66 by Gill Kane. pic.twitter.com/iW61lRXVlw
All four games have College Football Playoff implications. Oregon State, which has a new coach — Jonathan Smith — after going 1-11 and 0-9 in the Pac-12, and Louisville are the only programs in the group that have not received much playoff buzz entering the season. Louisville is transitioning to life after 2016 Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson, with redshirt sophomore Jawon Pass set to take over at quarterback. A close battle with the Crimson Tide could change the perception surrounding Louisville, but the Cardinals and coach Bobby Petrino would still have to get past three-time defending ACC champion Clemson in the Atlantic Division.
All of the games will take place on Sept. 1, excluding Miami and LSU, which will kickoff from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, on Sept. 2. The defending champion Crimson Tide face Louisville in Orlando at Camping World Stadium, while Washington and Auburn will meet in Atlanta at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Each game will be televised on ABC.