College football is back. From anchorage <okay … I don’t think the University of Alaska had a football team> to Miami <they do> everyone is excited.
Every college town across America is preparing to either begin a run to the national championship or be the spoiler for someone assuming a trip to the national championship game.
There is almost nothing in between.
Get in or keep someone out.
Let’s call this time of the season … “hope springs eternal.”
I am not sure that there is another sport in which it is true that on any given day a team can win a game it is not supposed to win.
North Dakota beating Kansas State yesterday.
While North Dakota is an excellent smaller college football team … they would get their butts kicked over a full Big 12 <or any major conference> schedule. But one game? That is what well coached good teams can do. Win one big game.
Hope springs eternal.
This is THE game the little guys hope for and the big guys hope they make it through so they can get to the big game at the end of the year.
All that said and with week one on the way just some enlightened college football thoughts:
Week one and you already have a game that plays a really big role in the national title chase.
Death Valley is a tough place to play … particularly when hope springs eternal.
Dabo Sweeney may be the goofiest head coach in the game with the goofiest name.
Mark Richt may be the non goofiest straight laced coach in the game.
Clemson has disappointed us so many times in big games you almost expect them to disappoint.
Aaron Murray comes up small in big games.
I think Clemson wins this one. If they played this game on the last day of the season I would probably choose Georgia … but today … week one … at Clemson? Give me the Tigers.
Which leads me to rivalries.
The fact that Georgia plays Clemson in Death Valley <at Clemson> the first week of the season is a spectacular kick off to the college football season. It also made me think about all the rivalry games I have been lucky enough to attend:
USC – UCLA
Oklahoma – Texas
Texas – Texas A&M
Alabama – Auburn
Penn State – Pittsburgh
Stanford – California
The southern rivalry circuit:
Clemson- Georgia, Clemson- South Carolina, South Carolina – Georgia, Georgia – Florida, Florida – Florida State
USC – Notre Dame
Michigan – Ohio State
I am sure I have been to others <I vaguely remember some Ivy league game in which I may have fallen asleep at> but these would be the major ones.
All those articles and debates about who has the greatest rivalry? Throw ‘em away. Just when you think you know the best … you will go to another and it will be awesome.
Rivalry games , in totality, are the best.
Equal to each other. Just the best.
Now a non rivalry game.
And the one which no one seems to be speaking about.
Alabama Virginia Tech
No one is talking about this game. I don’t know why. Virginia Tech is pesky … because Frank Beamer is one of the best coaches in college football. Oh.
Unfortunately for Frank … Nick Saban may be the best college football coach of this generation <I actually believe Pete Carroll would have been if he had stayed in college ranks>. Alabama is not only one of the best teams but because of Nick they may be one of the fastest starting teams in college football. Oddly … up until a couple of years ago … so was Virgini Tech. it seemed like every year they would be undeafted ¾ of the way thru the season and then lose it all at the end. ;ately they lose every game in sight at the beginning of the year and then win everything at the end.
That said. Who knows how Virginai Tech will play … and Alabam will play well <or as well as this team will play>.
Here is what I think.
Alabama wins IF it isn’t close.
Virginia Tech wins if they get 2 touchdowns from defense and/or special teams.
Which leads me to …
The coaches you love to hate
Nick Saban. Nick Satan. Boy he can coach. Boy he is a jerk. I guess if all you care about is winning he is your guy. If you want to be a loveable program … well … he is not your guy. Pete Carroll he is not.
I will admit … I never thought Steve Spurrier could build a national competitive team at South Carolina. Boy … I sure was wrong. Love to hate him but he sure can coach.
Rich Rodriguez. I have always thought he was a good coach. Maybe he can be the one who take an Arizona team and make it consistently nationally competitive. The state of Arizona has always had good underachieving teams. Maybe he is the one who makes them achieving teams.
Bill O’Brien. Ok. No one hates him … they just hate the program at Penn State. Basically no one wants him to do well <except maybe me>. He is the best thing that has happened to Pennsylvania since maybe they fired the guy who cracked the liberty bell.
A random thought.
The all-mormon team against anyone.
This is almost my favorite pick every year to beat the crap out of any team … yes … that includes Alabama.
I could almost call this the State of Utah team. BYU + Utah + Utah State + maybe Hawaii <which surprisingly is a lot like Utah but with palm trees> = the best Mormon college football team in the world.
If you gave me Idaho <Boise State and the Vandals … which I think has a football team> this team would beat anyone, everywhere … any day.
I could also possibly call it the ‘all vowel’ all-star team because there are so many unpronounceable names with lots of random vowels strewn among the team but suffice it to say this team could compete with anyone and have more wives than pets.
By the way … who would have thought the Mormons would make great football players? <not me>. Brigham Young knew good thing before anyone else.
Penn State is ineligible to play in the postseason once again. Who cares. They will win. And they will win at least one big game this year which will make ‘hope spring eternal’ for future years.
The Nittany Lions will score a lot of points. regardless of who they have at quarterback. Why? Bill O’Brien. One hopes <eternally> he decides to stay in college football instead of being tempted by the lure of that happy hooker <not to be confused with Happy Valley> called the NFL. He is a great college coach.
His selection to replace Paterno was brilliant.
A high character choice.
Oh. About character …
Texas A&M is just not as good as everyone thinks they are <see last line for caveat>.
Manziel is a punk … but who cares … when he is on a football field he is as good as Tebow was <in college> and a lot more fun.
He will hand you a beer. All Tebow did was hand you a prayer.
I am not really sure about the A&M ‘code of honor’ but A&M will win some games this year just because of Manziel and … a guy named Brandon Williams who transferred from Oklahoma. A running back and one of the nation’s top recruits in 2011 Williams will be an interesting weapon for Texas A&M.
If this Williams guy and the returning RB they had last year <I am too lazy to research his name> are as good as they can be?
I will take back my first sentence in this A&M write up.
They will kick a lot of team’s asses this year if those running backs are good.
If … that leads me to …
Despite consistently having one of the most talented teams they just can’t seem to win the games they should.
Clemson faces No. 5 Georgia, No. 6 South Carolina and No. 11 Florida State.
Here is an interesting thought.
Even if they sweep those 3 games they will not be in the national championship game. Why? Because the boneheads will still figure out how to lose a game to Wake Forest or Elon or the South Carolina school for the Blind.
That is what the Tigers do.
Which is unfortunate because if they actually did make it to the national championship game you could sell tickets to the circus called “rural South Carolina visits the big city and teach city folk what college is all about.”
That, my friends, would be a must see.
Speak of must see …
Ok. Ok. As an SC graduate I had to include them.
The starting team>s> are as talented as any in the nation <by the way … that ncludes Alabam>. But here is where NCAA sanctions are sneaky … from 23-85 SC has major issues with depth. They will be a couple of injuries away from mediocrity … or a couple of tough long brutal tiring games away from mediocrity. In addition … Lane Kiffin is no Nick Saban.
When they are playing well this is must see football.
With Marqise Lee and tight ends Randall Telfer and Xavier Grimble and running backs Silas Redd, Justin Davis and Ty Isaac … this team will <in spurts> look like the New England Patriots. And they don’t run any of that funky gimmicky Oregon crap. Just straight up football.
My prediction? Either 11-2 or 8- 5. Nothing in between.
On a side note.
The cheerleaders are always must see.
I have lost more to write but I want to get some initial thoughts up before the games begin.
College football is here.