Thursday, September 02, 2010

Shallowest College Football Preview Ever

Note: Don't forget to join in the College Football Pick 'Em Group (Daily Quickie Readers).

As for the upcoming season, a few notes:

*A confession: Last season beat the hell out of me. For starters, I was obsessively updating the Tim Tebow blog 2-3 (or more) times per DAY.

But more than that, it was the crushing weight of the expectations I put on the season for Florida: Nothing less than a national championship would be considered success.

I wasn't alone, and the team slogged through the season carrying that weight, right up until they were destroyed by Alabama so badly, I couldn't even feel that bad about it.

Last season was the epitome of why I found Florida so appealing to begin rooting for nine years ago: Championship expectations. And falling short was brutal.

This season, I don't expect that Florida will go 14-0 and win a national title, but I do honestly believe that the Gators will only lose one game -- at No. 1 Alabama -- before winning out, including beating No. 1 Alabama in a rematch in the SEC title game.

*Here is where I think things get really messy for the BCS: With the SEC's national-championship dominance -- a dynasty, really -- clearly established, what happens when a 1-loss SEC champ is vaulted for a spot in the national title game by an unbeaten Ohio State? Or unbeaten Texas? Or unbeaten Boise State? Each of whom having played a far less treacherous schedule than the SEC champ?

If you hate the BCS, you are rooting for this scenario, because if a BCS-title-game-worthy SEC team is jumped -- and it doesn't matter whether or not you disagree with the evaluation of "worthy" -- I honestly believe that the SEC will seriously and immediately consider leaving the BCS. Or at least imploding the BCS and forcing a playoff where their champ will always have a shot to win it on the field. And if the SEC leaves the BCS, the BCS has even less legitimacy than it has now.

*I have been on the record since early January that I think Boise State is the best team in the country, and if they had a head-to-head shot against any team -- Alabama, Ohio State, Texas, Florida, whoever -- Boise would win. They won't necessarily get that shot, even if they beat VA Tech and Oregon State en route to going unbeaten. If Alabama and Ohio State both go undefeated -- not to mention Texas -- I don't see Boise State jumping them into the Top 2 of the BCS standings. And that's a shame.

*Kellen Moore is my pick to win the Heisman. I have soured on Terrelle Pryor. I don't think Mark Ingram can get through the season uninjured (let alone overshadowed by his backfield-mate Trent Richardson).

Sidebar: I think Florida QB John Brantley will finish in the Top 5; I have watched virtually every snap he has taken at Florida and he is phenomenal. The team will score points like it did in 2008. I said this over at TimTeblog today, but Brantley will be so good that people won't say "Tim who?" but they will say "Uh, that guy behind Tebow on the depth chart might be the best QB in college football." That it is Brantley's first year as a starter doesn't faze me; Tim Tebow won the Heisman in his first year as a starter, with one of the greatest statistical seasons in the history of college football. Brantley is going to crush it. I will be in The Swamp on Saturday and for Week 2 against South Florida, and I can't wait to see the offense up close.

*The Game of the Year is on October 2, when Florida plays at Alabama. The 2nd best game of the year would be if they had a rematch in the SEC title game with a spot in the national-title game on the line. Beyond that, the next-best game of the year could be Monday night when Boise State plays Virginia Tech in the biggest game in the history of Boise State football.

*I'm not bullish on an unlikely team breaking through. There are good arguments for game-to-game parity in college football, but the top of the sport -- the teams that can legitimately compete for a national title -- is the same handful of teams. There are, however, some really interesting storylines:

-TCU as the new Boise State

-Terrelle Pryor being unleashed? (Or still stifled?)

-Garrett Gilbert and John Brantley performing more effectively than their predecessors.

-Lane Kiffin (vs. Derrek Dooley)

-Auburn as SEC spoiler

-Pitt RB Dion Lewis

-The kind of reception Nebraska gets on the road in the Big 12.

-Brian Kelly at Notre Dame. You all know I hate ND and have reveled in the schadenfreude throughout the Weis era, but I really do think BK is phenomenal.

What storylines are you looking forward to most? Leave them in the comments. And here's to an awesome season -- for its own sake, not because of once-in-a-lifetime superlatives.

-- D.S.

1 comment:

pete said...

The most compelling storyline to me is whether or not Dave Wannstedt's mustache will finally even out.