College Football Preview
August 28, 2014
Football season is here. The college game starts tonight with South Carolina and Texas A&M squaring off. We will then have a slate of college games this weekend before the NFL starts up next week. Let me take some time to talk about my preseason top ten.
It is tough to pick against Florida State.The Seminoles won last season’s BCS title and have most of their talent coming back including reigning Heisman winner Jameis Winston manning the quarterback spot. Word has it their defense will be even better. I do not see anyone in the ACC giving them a challenge so Florida State will likely make the playoffs.
I see Alabama coming back strong in 2014 after struggling to close out last season. Nick Saban will rebuild the Crimson Tide’s defense to go along with an offense that will feature runningback T.J. Yeldon. Ironically, Bama will likely rely on Florida State transfer Jacob Coker to earn the starting quarterback job.
I should take Oklahoma over Alabama but I just can’t do it. Sooner fans will point out to me that their team beat the Crimson Tide in last year’s Sugar Bowl. Oklahoma also has its starting quarterback back in Trevor Knight. Actually, I see all three of the before-mentioned schools in the playoffs.
I think the fourth playoff spot is wide open. I kind of like Auburn out of the SEC. Tigers quarterback Nick Marshall got better on a weekly basis last season. He will surface as a Heisman candidate while enjoying throwing the ball to the likes of D’haquille Williams.
My next two picks come from out west. You have to like Oregon. It is all about offense when you talk about the Ducks. QB Marcus Mariota, of course, is the name most fans will recognize. The dual-threat and Heisman contender will hope for RB Thomas Tyner to become the next in Oregon’s succession of speed weapons out of the backfield.
I think UCLA will give Oregon a battle in the Pac-12. After nearly playing for the conference title a year ago, the Bruins want to finish the job in 2014. QB Brett Hundley hopes to do just that, and he’ll have most of his top ball handlers back with him, including WR Devin Fuller and TB Jordon James.
I like Michigan State again out of the Big Ten. The Spartans ruined Ohio State’s championship dreams in 2013 and look to repeat in the expanded Big Ten. We will learn more about MSU during their Week 2 trip to Oregon.
Sid likes Auburn’s Nick Marshall
South Carolina could contend for a playoff berth if it can get through a difficult early season schedule. With Connor Shaw gone, Dylan Thompson takes over at QB. In the backfield with him will be talented TB Mike Davis, and WRs Damiere Byrd and Shaq Roland figure to be his main targets. All-everything DE Jadeveon Clowney will be missed, however.
I feel Baylor will be a factor again this season. It is doubtful that anyone will score more points than the Bears. Quarterback Bryce Petty will become a household name by season’s end. If only the Bears had a defense.
I will close out my top ten with Ohio State. The Buckeyes were one win away from playing for the BCS championship last year. OSU has the defense to compete for a title, but the season-ending injury to All-American quarterback Braxton Miller dashed their playoff hopes in my eyes.
College Football Playoff (CFP) Is Here
This is the year we find out if a college football playoff will work. It has long been said that college football has always been one of the most exciting and best regular seasons in sports as every game in the schedule counts. Unlike basketball, baseball, and hockey where teams can afford to have an off-day, colleges football demands strong performances every week to be successful.
The down side of the college game has long been the single game championship. The BCS (Bowl Championship Series), which was instituted back in 1998, would rank teams from the six major college football conferences (Big East, Big 12, Pac-10, ACC, Big 10 and SEC) based on an average computer ranking, a USA Today Coaches Poll and the Harris Interactive College Football Poll, giving each team a BCS score. The top 10 teams would then face each other in their respective bowls with the top two meeting in the National Championship Game.
It was explained to us that this system was introduced simply due to the time constraints of a tournament style playoff. Fans have long clamored for something like March Madness. The clamoring is over as the CFP (College Football Playoff) makes its debut this season, with the hopes of finding the best of both worlds, keeping the intensity and excitement of the college football regular season, with a more balanced, prolonged playoff.
Kicking off on New Year’s Day 2015, there will be two semi-final games, one played at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California and the other played at the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans.
A week and a half later, on January 12th the world will watch the first ever College Football Playoff game played at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
After the ninth week of the College Football season, the 13-Member Selection Committee, made up of high-standing members of the college football community (athletic directors, former coaches and players, league commissioners, etc.) will have the difficult task of ranking the teams based on their records, opponents, points for and against, and much more.
I am sure there will be some issues. In the past, controversy has always arose over the third ranked team, the school that missed out on the title game. We can now all look forward to discussing the fifth ranked team that misses out on a shot for the title.
Still, I am all for a system that gives us a champion on the field. And the CFP does a little better at that than the BCS did.