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It’s Time For College Football Again!
Today is an exciting day for college football fans. If you’re like me, you can’t get enough of the pre-season hype from ESPN and other outlets as professional analysts try to be prophetic about the outcome of the season. I had to laugh recently when I watched Lou Holtz and others attempt to predict who would win the national championship game between USC and LSU, as if the game between the two teams was already scheduled. The national championship game is four months away. With a full season of football ahead of us, anything can happen. The outcome of the college football season is a permutation that includes so many unmeasurable and unpredictable factors, such as a team’s motivation for a particular game, injuries, clutch practice decisions, umpire calls , And much more. One of the most appealing aspects of college football is the understanding that fans and participants are going for a ride that has more question marks than ready answers.
Here are some of my thoughts on some of the issues and highlights of the 2007 college football season.
- Conferences – How do they compare?
It’s pretty well understood in the college football world that the SEC features the best teams and players Saturday after Saturday. Florida proved last year that the best of the SEC was far too much for the best of the Big 10. It would have been interesting to see USC compete for the national title with the Gators last year, but they lost. against UCLA, which then went on to be handled by Florida State, which last season also wasn’t even run in the ACC.
A recent MSN poll showed that 50% of respondents chose the SEC as the best conference, followed by the Big 10 (17%), the Big 12 (11%), the PAC-10 (9.2%), the Big East (7.6%). , and finally the CAC (5.4%). As a Florida State fan, it’s hard for me to see our conference being perceived so low. The inclusion of Virginia Tech, Boston College and Miami a few seasons ago in an already somewhat competitive conference was supposed to put the ACC on par with the SEC, but Miami and Florida State have been big disappointments recently, and d he other ACC teams haven’t performed well outside of the conference either. I expect that to change this year, with Miami and Florida State reclaiming their places in the Top 10, and the competitive level of the entire conference going up a few notches. By the way, how was the Mountain West Conference excluded from this poll?
- Heisman race
As a former defensive player, it’s hard for me to accept that the Heisman Trophy is supposed to go to the “best” player in college football, but scoring and offense make blockbuster movies more than hard hits and fierce defense. True to tradition, the top contenders for the Heisman this year are all running backs and quarterbacks. In the last twenty years, 11 times the Heisman has been awarded to a quarterback, 6 times it has been awarded to a running back, twice a wide receiver has earned it. So, a little trivial question: who has been the only defender to receive the award in the last twenty years? Answer: Charles Woodson won it as a cornerback at Michigan in 1997. Good luck to the guys on the harder side of the ball, but I predict a quarterback will win it this year – either John David Booty or Colt Brennan.
- Bobby Bowden and Joe Paterno
The battle continues this year between these two great-grandfathers. I guess something has to be said about their competitive nature, but on the other hand, their programs both suffer because Bowden and Paterno haven’t learned to find hobbies as rewarding as walking the sidelines during big college football games (and heck, Paterno can’t even step on the sidelines anymore). Apparently, neither of these coaches intends to stop coaching until 1) the other retires or 2) they die of old age. I personally think they could learn a lesson from LaVell Edwards. By the time he retired, there were Cougar fans who thought his time was over, but the fatigue had nothing to do with what was experienced at FSU and Penn State over the past five or six years. Bowden’s relationship with disgruntled Florida State fans and, crucially, financial backers soured as legitimate accusations of nepotism were leveled. However, he has a new support staff that seems much more likely to effectively utilize the talent that’s been hanging around Florida State for the past few seasons. Paterno’s health is in obvious decline and his side are unlikely to pick up any wins over Bowden. The race to the finish for these two could come down to wins and losses (wins basically – same difference) this season, and it will be difficult for Paterno to overcome the three-game deficit. I hope Paterno announces his retirement this year, and Bowden follows soon after.
- Find a good seat on the couch…
College football looks to be as exciting this year as it has ever been. In April, we recovered the 14 games that were removed from every game last year. That means we’ll be able to see more late-game rallies and more football in general. Game coverage continues to expand, so a fan almost has to discipline themselves to avoid overdosing the game throughout the week. College football fans everywhere now have a fresh 0-0 start for their favorite teams. It will be quite a rollercoaster ride by January.
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