James Hayes is a buddy of mine from college. And he writes a college football blog. It’s called Twelve Saturdays and a Bowl. And it’s probably the best college football blog that exists on the internet webs. And I don’t often throw around compliments like that — lightly or otherwise. Especially not to guys who are anti-SEC and pro-Ohio State. [Of course if I lived in Tennessee and had only Vanderbilt and UT (stalwarts of the SEC as they were) to choose from, I might be anti-SEC as well….]
I asked Hayes to write a college football preview for my blog, and he sent me a copy of the one he put on his blog. All the same, enjoy.
Wow. What an off-season! Forget the fact that Ohio State and North Carolina lost their coaches due to scandal. Ignore Cam Newton’s questionable eligibility last season. And stop giggling every time you hear Derek Dooley on the radio and think he sounds more and more like George W. Bush. Here is the one sentence that summarizes the last eight months: Al Golden would rather be coaching football at Temple than Miami.
There are college football preseason polls and analysis on every sports website around. For those of you who are new to this site, you need to know that my objective here is not to tell you who won the starting right guard spot at New Mexico State. My objective is to have no objective, to throw out my two cents on the college football landscape while being somewhat interesting. It will give a weekend review on Mondays and a weekend preview on Fridays. [Readers, remember this is James on his blog and not on mine. So subscribe over there in order to read his reviews and previews.]
The first thing you need to know is that Dan Persa, Northwestern’s quarterback, can bench press 325 pounds— the total weight of Northwestern’s biology majors. Persa is good at football. He would have garnered a few Heisman votes last year if hadn’t gotten hurt. But, as my oldest brother Mark says, “If ifs and buts were candy and nuts we’d all have a Merry Christmas.” I don’t know what that means.
Favorite quote from the preseason pundits:
“The SEC has won five straight national titles, and…do people from the South hold up that streak with an incredible amount of misplaced pride, as if they’d attended all twelve schools in the conference simultaneously. That’s like saying you’re a fan of time zones.” –Drew Magary
Nebraska is now a member of the 12-team Big Ten. That’s a perfect fit. The last two teams that the Big Ten has added (Penn State in 1990) have strengthened the top of the conference. The Big Ten had 11 teams for years and needed another marquee football team for greater revenue, exposure, respectability, and wins. Nebraska’s first Big Ten game will be against Wisconsin. The second that game kicks off, it will seem like those teams have had a 100-year rivalry. That’s how perfect the fit is.
Speaking of the Badgers, has anyone noticed that the transition from Barry Alvarez to Brett Bielema has been seamless and awesome? Bielema is 49-16 since taking over in 2006.
South Carolina is sleeper to win the SEC this year because Jadeveon Clowney will be rushing the quarterback and Marcus Lattimore will be running the ball, if for no other reason. But would you surprised if I told you that South Carolina has lost at least 5 games a season since 2002? Having said that, it’s hard to imagine Florida, Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia or hapless Vandy topping the Gamecocks. (By the way, in the wake of the Michael Vick scandal, and the fact that cock fighting is illegal, why hasn’t anybody questioned a “Gamecock” mascot in this ultra sensitive society we live in? Somebody said that South Carolina wanted to change it, but the only alternatives they could think of were “The Elephant Poachers,” “The Ponzi Schemers,” and “The HOV Lane Drivers.”)
Keep an eye on MTSU at Purdue Saturday. Purdue’s top two quarterbacks are out, and MTSU has a penchant for giving bad-to-midrange major conference teams fits (see: Vandy).
Ohio State will go 9-3 this year. They will lose to Michigan State, Wisconsin and Nebraska. They won’t go to a bowl game because the NCAA won’t let them. And remember this name: QB Braxton Miller.
Here are a few other items to watch this season: Gus Johnson doing play-by-play for Fox; Les Miles’ grazing; Joe Paterno’s hip; Miami’s third-string players; Desmond Howard’s necktie knots; Boise State apologists; Luke Fickell’s deer-in-the-headlights look at Nebraska; and Notre Dame’s BCS bowl bid.
Here is my week one top five:
- Florida State
- Andrew Luck
- Marcus Lattimore
- LaMichael James
- Trent Richardson
- Me (I plan on having a good year.)