As the last week of August has arrived so has the start of the college football season. Here are ten quick thoughts.
1.) PLAYOFFS?!- This is what everyone was waiting for. But the question remains if the four-team playoff will quell the college football postseason debates which the BCS always seemed to spark. Fans probably would like to see it expand to eight but is it fair to teams to make the break in between conference championship games and the start of the playoff shorter or extend the season close to February? This year most FBS conference championships will be played on December 6, with the playoff semifinals on New Year’s Day, followed by the National title on January 12. It’s worth monitoring how this pans out as there will surely still be postseason debates about teams left out of the playoff which will prompt discussions about revisions.
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Jameis Winston could be in line for a
second straight Heisman Trophy this year.
2.) Time’s yours, Jameis- Noted crab leg enthusiast, reigning Heisman trophy winner, and Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston has made the headlines a lot both on and off the field during and after his Heisman season. With defending champion Florida State at the top of polls as the season gets underway nothing short of a repeat is expected and Winston will have to perform similarly to the way he did a year ago.
3.) Quack Quack- Oregon is once again in the top five to start the year. The Ducks missed out on a BCS bowl game last season but won the Fiesta Bowl two years ago and the Rose Bowl in 2011. Quarterback Marcus Mariota is receiving early Heisman trophy recognition. In an improved Pac 12 can the Ducks remain at the top come December?
4.) Boomer Sooner- I like this Oklahoma team. They had a very impressive 45-31 victory in the Sugar Bowl against Alabama to close out 2013 in which quarterback Trevor Knight looked crisp throwing for 348 yards and 4 touchdowns against a stout Alabama defense. Can Knight have success over the course of a full season? Oklahoma will be tested on November 8 against Baylor but other than that could realistically go undefeated this season en route to the Big 12 title game.
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Don't be surprised if Nick Saban and
Alabama are one of four teams left on
New Year's Day.
5.) Crimson Tide the top dogs in the SEC- There’s some new faces in Tuscaloosa this year but Alabama still figures to be a national powerhouse. Jacob Coker and Blake Sims were both listed as starting quarterbacks on Alabama’s first depth chart but Alabama remains strong defensively and has the playmakers in the backfield and in the passing game to allow for a feeling out period for the coaching staff and these twoquarterbacks.
6.) Auburn…lucky last year?- How many times have the chaos of last year’s iron bowl shown on Sportscenter? Or how about the Hail Mary to win the game against Georgia? Yes, Auburn was a late-game drive by Florida State away from hoisting the Coaches Trophy but there are plenty of skeptics as to the legitimacy of Auburn’s run to the National Championship last year. Auburn will have plenty of chances to prove themselves this year with games against LSU, South Carolina, Ole Miss, Texas A&M, Georgia, and Alabama in conference this year.
7.) What’s going on in the Big Ten?- Things certainly opened up when Ohio State lost Braxton Miller for the year. I think it’s Michigan State, Wisconsin, and then everybody else but if a team can upset one of those two and get hot in what looks to be a weak conference who knows?
8.) Can the Pac 12 rival the SEC as the nation’s best conference?- The SEC has eight teams in the AP top 25 and the Pac 12 has six. Oregon and UCLA are in the top ten for the Pac 12 while Alabama, Auburn, South Carolina are for the SEC. Perhaps two of these five teams could meet in the playoff. It will be interesting to see how strong the Pac 12 is from top to bottom compared to the SEC which has obviously dominated college football in recent years.
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Expect to see a lot of this guy on your
television screens on Saturday afternoons.
9.) Quarterback preview- A Jameis Winston-Marcus Mariota showdown in the National Championship would be fun. But Bryce Petty of Baylor, Brett Hundley of UCLA are two guys to keep an eye on as well as aforementioned Trevor Knight in Oklahoma and don’t forget about Nick Marshall at Auburn who will have a more important role in that offense with Tre Mason gone.
10.) Why Melvin Gordon will win the Heisman- Save the best for last. I believe Melvin Gordon flashes the pose in New York this year. He’ll be aided by what looks like a weak Big 10. In addition the Badgers are set to start junior quarterback Tanner McEvoy who is relatively unproven so I expect a heavy dosage of runs in their offense and with James White gone to the NFL that means a lot of Gordon. Gordon is an explosive playmaker who I think can overcome the fact that defenses should be game planning around him. Sooner or later the running back Heisman drought had to come to an end right?