SEMINOLES REPEAT AS CHAMPIONS, BUT WINSTON DOES NOT MATCH ARCHIE GRIFFIN
More than 130 years of major college football have been played and at the end of each of those seasons, national champions were crowned -- either by poll or after a bowl game.
With the Rose, beginning in 1901, followed by the Orange and Sugar some 35 years later and then the Cotton, Fiesta, and even the Florida Citrus (Georgia Tech, 1990) and Holiday (BYU, 1984), bowls have hosted teams about to be crowned national champs.
In a little more than four months from now, the first-ever true playoff will change all of that.
Four teams, three games and one champion.
Times are a changin' in college football.
It’s been a long wait.
I am not one of the majority hailing this as a greatest thing since high-def TVs. Make no mistake, the playoff will be wildly popular, because, let’s face it – American loves a playoff in any sport -- but if it leads to expansion such as an eight-team or 16-team playoff in years to come, college football and college athletics in general will suffer in many ways yet to be determined.
As it is, 2014 is here, so we’ll save the second-guessing for later years.
I see Alabama, Florida State, Oklahoma and Oregon becoming the first four teams to make the inaugural playoff, with the Seminoles repeating as champions. That is, unless Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston suffers some sort of season-ending injury.
Otherwise, the Seminoles will romp through a relatively patsy schedule … especially with the rival Florida Gators being down and out. Miami is average at best. Notre Dame comes to Tallahassee. Clemson will drop off a bit.
Other big items to expect as the season kicks off tonight in Columbia, S.C….
HEISMAN WATCH RANKINGS
Jameis Winston, Florida State – He has to be ranked No. 1 after winning the bronzed stiff-armed last year, bidding to match Archie Griffin as the only two-timer. Can he succeed where Tim Tebow, Mark Ingram, Sam Bradford and Johnny Manziel failed?
Marcus Mariota, Oregon – Doesn’t it seem like he was been in Eugene for eight or nine years.
Brett Hundley, UCLA – This QB is a stud – can run it and throw it. He could lead the Bruins to a surprising playoff berth.
T.J. Yeldon, Alabama – With the Tide breaking in a new quarterback, expect this lightning-fast running back to roll up big numbers.
Todd Gurley, Georgia – If he can stay healthy and survive a brutal schedule, the Dawgs’ tailback may reach 1,500 yards.
Mike Davis, South Carolina -- Underrated as anyone in the country.
DECEMBER’s WINNER – Hundley. I believe he will roll up numbers that make voters take notice by October, while Winston won’t be as sharp as times.
THE CONFERENCE CHAMPS
Big Ten – Ohio State (even without Braxton Miller).
ACC – Florida State (it’s the Seminoles and everybody else in the basketball conference).
Big 12 – Oklahoma (Sooners rolling from Sugar Bowl win over Alabama while Texas will be rebuilding).
Pac-12 – Oregon (Could be the toughest conference this season with Stanford, UCLA and USC all formidable).
SEC – Alabama (Not a cinch to win it; Auburn, Georgia and South Carolina, LSU could contend).
THE INITIAL HOT SEAT
Will Muschamp, Florida – Nobody’s backside is hotter than the Gators’ fourth-year coach. He may need to win nine games to save his job. Make no mistake, the gap between No. 1 and the rest of the pack is huge.
Mike London, Virginia – I expected him to be fired at the end of season, but his splendid recruiting continues to save him.
Charlie Weis, Kansas – Not sure the Jayhawks can win three games, and it’s long time for a change at this hoops school.
Tim Beckman, Illinois – Normally, you get three years to turn things around, but the Illini have shown no signs of improvement.
Ron Turner, Florida International – Not that this is a plum job by any means, but Turner was a curious hire to begin with.
GAMES OF THE WEEK: Georgia 33, Clemson 19 – The Tigers may be in for a fall this season, after last year’s Orange Bowl championship ending; Florida State 30, Oklahoma State 20 – Cowboys may hang tough into the fourth quarter against defending national champs.
UPSET OF THE WEEK: Western Michigan (+12.5) over Purdue.
BLOWOUT OF THE WEEK: Oklahoma 59, Louisiana Tech 10 – The Sooners open what could a march toward the inaugural playoff.
BEST BETS: Texas A&M (+10.5) at South Carolina; Western Kentucky (+7.5) vs. Bowling Green; Arkansas (+21.5) at Auburn; Rice (+24) at Notre Dame; Navy (+17) vs. Ohio State.
Last Updated (Thursday, 28 August 2014 03:08)
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