College football in my opinion is better because there are new exciting players yearly. College football is better because there are new fans yearly. College football is better because the facilities are being improved every year. College football is better because one loss can destroy a season its win or go home. College football is better because it’s still a kid’s game boys are becoming men. College football is better because there is still a scent of innocence. College football is better because as opposed to 32 teams there are over 100 vying for one thing. College football is better because by seasons end games are on Tuesday through Saturday. College football is better because it has not been tainted by contract disputes and General Managers/ Head Coaches feuding for control. College football in my opinion is just better.
For the first time in a long time the BIG DOG to begin the season is not hailing from either the state of Florida or Alabama. For the first time in a long time there is pressure on what has been the most dominant conference in college football to get their mojo back. The SEC won 8 National Championships from 2003-2013 that last years they have been unsuccessful.
Has Alabama lost its edge? There was a time when teams lost the game before the game began. The never giving the opposition credit even in times of defeat Nick Saban stalking the sideline intimidated not only his opponent but the opponent fan base as well. Now teams at least attempt to play the game with the idea we can win. Examining the Tide last year by their standards it was not that impressive. They struggled at times. They looked overmatched at times. They quite frankly won games that they probably should have lost. Now don’t get me wrong they were still a very good football team one of the best but undoubtedly everyone outside of Paul Finebaum knew they were not The OUTRIGHT BEST unlike the previous years during what time seemed like a decade of dominance sans the Tebow Years at Florida. I looked closely at those great Bama teams to see if I could find something that they did not do well to determine if that indeed has been the catalyst to their recent setbacks. One thing that continued to stick out to me that seemed to be a key ingredient to their recent inability to win the big game is the lack of true outside pass rush. Bama has always had elite athletes all over the field that excelled at what was asked of them but when was the last time they had an elite put your hand down in the grass come off the edge pass rushing defensive end. Not an outside linebacker blitzing but a traditional 3-4 defensive end. The last time I remember a consistent pass rush threat for the Tide from the defensive end position it was (Curry and Copeland). With class after class of Blue Chip recruits will they finally be able to find a player or two to get pressure off the edge without having to blitz a linebacker? Makes you wonder if Coach Saban had pressure off the edges would that change his stance on wanting to slow the game down with the elimination of the no-huddled fast paced game we now see.
How about them Volunteers? Can they be considered a dark-horse in the SEC East? Has Butch Jones quietly with his last two recruiting classes begun the process of building a juggernaut (don’t laugh) or at least a team of respectability? With the recent graduation of players out of the SEC East and the coaching transition at Florida only a retooled Georgia team seems to stand in the way of a possible Volunteer resurgence although you can never count out the old ball coach (South Carolina always finds a way to win a game they aren’t supposed to win but also lose a game they are not supposed to lose).
Alabama is undoubtedly the cream of the crop in the SEC West but what looks to be a riveting watch is how Gus Malzahn uses his apt passing QB Jeremy Johnson something he has not had as a head coach since his days at Arkansas State with Ryan Aplin. With Nick Marshall you always got the sense that it was run first then maybe throw it up to Coates and let him use his elite athletic ability to make a play. Not taking anything away from Marshall he was good at what he did but teams definitely did not worry about his elite passer skills. Johnson has the size of Cam Newton at 6-5 240lbs, whether or not he can make the plays that Newton made under the tutelage of Malzahn will be interesting to observe. The expectation is Will Muschamp and his revamped Auburn defense will provide the offense many opportunities for success.
What are true expectations for Florida this season and new head coach Jim McElwain. He has SEC and National Championship pedigree as evidenced by his stint as the offensive coordinator for the Crimson Tide during two of their Championship seasons so what we can expect is a coach that will not be scared of the moment and with the caliber of athletes he has at Florida I expect sooner than later results.
I refer to him as “The BEST and most SELFISH” coach in college football. Let me start first by saying this, if I am an athletic director and I am either looking to build a program and/or win championships Urban Meyer is on my speed dial and I will call and call and call until I get a conversation with him. If he says no I would wait a week pray on it and call again just to be sure he has not had a change of heart. There is no doubt that this guy is THAT GUY when it comes to coaching college football and there is also no doubt that he is THAT GUY when it comes to selling a program its tradition and why that is more important than possible bigger and better opportunities. The question I have is what promises were made to keep all three there. Two time Big 10 Conference Player of the Year Braxton Miller. First team All-Big 10 conference record holder for TD’s in a season and probable conference player of the year (he would have challenged Melvin Gordon for that award if he stayed healthy and likely been a Heisman presentation invitee) J.T. Barrett and of course “That Dude” Cardale Jones who not only looked like a stud but played like Tom Brady replacing Drew Bledsoe in the three BIGGEST ball games of the season with all eyes on him. Urban Meyer has got to be the best salesman in America! I understand telling people what they want to hear but Braxton surely had options to go elsewhere and definitely start. With this past drafts weak QB Class Jones very likely would have been at worst a late first rounder (although there was not much film it actually could have helped because there was little to critique and find fault with when looking at the outcome). If one of those guys had left I could understand the other staying but to convince them all to stay (if only I could have been a fly on the wall to hear those conversations). Who starts and how will this play out? How can there not be animosity in the meeting room? To make things a bit more interesting than they already are all three were recently named to the Maxwell watch list for the BEST player in college football. This is just another opportunity for Urban Meyer to display his ability to manage and succeed.
The Big Ten already had marquee names heading traditional programs and now enter Harbaugh. Michigan finally got their man. Everybody wants in on November 28th in Ann Arbor. Of course the in-state rivalry game with Sparty is BIG as well but everybody knows if Harbaugh can beat the BIG BAD WOLF from Columbus all will be good in the land of Wolverine.
The first year jitters are over so don’t be surprised if Chris Petersen and the Washington Huskies become a dark-horse season ruiner in the Pac 12. The first game will be an emotional one for him as he returns to Boise to face his understudy Brian Harsin and his old team, which you know have had this game circled during all of the offseason training in preparation for this season. Nothing would be better than to let the old ball coach know that maybe just maybe the grass was not greener and he should have stayed. If they win this game they have three very winnable games and an open week before facing what can be considered one of the toughest six week stretches of any team with games at USC Stanford, Arizona St and home games against Oregon, Arizona and Utah. They will either come out this battered and bruised or they will have earned major respect and ruined the National title hopes of several conference opponents.
One great QB moves on from the Pac-12 two potentially can lead their teams to playoff bids. Kevin Hogan has the ability the question is does Stanford have the talent on both sides of the ball? USC is primed to make a run if Cody Kessler can stay healthy. They have everything else they need. They will miss Leonard Williams but the bevy of talent Sarkisian has cannot be understated. I’m sure Jim Mora Jr. and those cross town Bruins will have a lot to say about the Pac 12 as well.
Will they run Charlie Strong out of Texas if they have another disappointing year? It is widely known that Strong is an excellent recruiter and a very good coach but Texas wants to win now. They crawled into a bowl game with a .500 record and subsequently had a poor showing only mustering seven points albeit against an Arkansas team that was a tough defense, just ask Bama, LSU and Ole Miss. There is an understanding that Strong is rebuilding and getting his kind of character guys into the program but another 6-6 record won’t cut in Austin. I tell you what he better win the Red River shootout!
Brad Kaaya proved he can play ball with the big boys and Miami will be a tough ball club to beat. If it weren’t for conservative play calling last season Miami very likely would have won two or three more games. Will Al Golden coach loose this season and let his athletes make plays? Will Golden and his coaching staff trust Kaaya a little more and allow him to play vertical football throughout as opposed to when they fall behind and are trying to mount a comeback?
FSU undefeated in consecutive seasons. Best Player in college football. Most scrutinized player and team in college football the last two seasons. Great coach that has faced many adversities but always weathered the storm and persevered. What looked like a rebuilding season (lets be real Sean Mcguire led the team to a big win against Clemson but his inconsistent spring did not give the Seminole hopeful much comfort as a full-time starter) now has aspirations of a possible championship run with the addition of former Notre Dame QB and recent transfer Everett Golson leading the charge. Seminole fans remember his 346 total yard performance the last time he was in Tallahassee and hope that he brings that level of play to the program. With tough away conference games against Georgia Tech and Clemson on the latter part of the schedule the team will have time to gel.
This is supposed to be Clemson’s year. If Deshaun Watson can stay healthy I would not be shocked if he gets an invite to the Heisman Trophy presentation. Can’t wait to see and hear Dabo Swiney after their first big win. This guy makes Clemson University seem like the BEST PLACE IN AMERICA to play college football. I can only imagine the excitement he invokes in the alumni during pre-season luncheons.
Will the Big 12 join the Championship party of four this season? Does the lack of a conference championship game force either a Baylor or a TCU to go undefeated to get in? Will a conference get multiple team invites to the playoff party? Can a mid-major say a Georgia Southern go undefeated and make an argument for a playoff bid? Who’s this year’s Blake Bortles or Cardale Jones? Can Bob Stoops get Oklahoma back on track? With 475 yards passing against Washington while at Eastern Washington Vernon Adams showed what kind production he can produce against an FBS quality opponent. Can he win the job at Oregon and if so how will he fill the BIG shoes left by Heisman trophy winner Marcus Mariota? What is the likelihood of no teams from last year’s final four making it to this season’s final four? Who’s the next great back at Wisconsin? Can a running back do enough to have a legitimate shot at winning the Heisman Trophy? Will this be the year that Notre Dame realizes unless they go undefeated they will need a conference championship game to propel them to the college football playoff final four?
There is so much more to talk about with college football. This is only the beginning. After four games the smoke will start to settle and there will surely be a team no one thought was a contender. By midseason teams we thought were contenders will show themselves as pretenders. Towards seasons end around rivalry game time and close to conference championship games the arguments will start to heat up as to which one lost teams are most deservingly to get in. Teams with one loss will cheer for everyone they beat to win out of conference games against BIG 5 opponents. Last year the conversation was can the SEC conceivably get 3 teams into the playoffs? At the end of the season if Alabama had not won the conference championship game The SEC would not have had any teams in the playoffs. Imagine that! The joy about college football is you just don’t know. We are a couple of weeks from the beginning of the race to get into the final four. Right now everybody is in, the questions the season will answer is who can manage to stay in?