The wait is almost over. Players and fans across the country are counting down. The best time of the year is upon us.
College football is almost back.
At this time last year, everyone knew USC would win the National Championship and that Matt Barkley would win the Heisman Trophy. I had USC beating ‘Bama in the Nat’l Champ… But this success was not to be. Matt Barkley didn’t have the Heisman season that was expected, then adding injury to insult, he got hurt and was unable to play in his Senior Night game vs Notre Dame. USC finished the season 7-6 with a loss to Georgia Tech, also without Barkley, in the Sun Bowl(which completely screwed up my bowl mania).
Alabama was, well, Alabama. You know something exciting is going to happen whenever that team steps onto the field. The Crimson Tide rolled to a 13-1 record and a National Championship win over Notre Dame. This gave the SEC its 9th BCS National Championship and its 7th consecutive. The one mark on their record was Texas A&M. And that is a story in itself.
Texas A&M went into the season as one of two new members of the SEC(the other being Missouri). From the time it was announced that they were joining the conference, everyone was questioning if A&M really belonged there. Looking back now, no one should have questioned it. But, hindsight is always 20/20. This Texas A&M team went from unknown to one of the most talked about teams in college football in a matter of games. Thanks, of course, to the always exciting Johnny Manziel. The (redshirt)Freshman phenom took the sports world by storm and became the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy(Mark Ingram is the youngest winner at 19). During his first season starting for the Aggies, Manziel was not allowed to talk to the media. Maybe they should have kept it that way. Recently, he has posted a few questionable tweets and has been caught in some bad situations. His response? “I’m still a sophomore in college, I’m still going to do things that everybody in college does and I’m going to continue to enjoy my life. Hopefully people don’t hold me to a higher standard than that.” In my opinion, if you win the Heisman Trophy as a freshman(or any other age for that matter), you should know that everyone is holding you to the highest standard possible. You are a role model to younger kids who run around pretending to be “Johnny Football.” You need to teach them what is and isn’t appropriate as well as teaching them how to handle success. Having to be escorted out of a Texas frat party is not appropriate. All that aside, he is one heck of a football player and I look forward to watching him play this season.
Perhaps the biggest story of this upcoming season is the BCS. It will breathe its last breath on January 6, 2014. The FBS is getting a four-team playoff. It seems like everyone has been begging for this change forever. The BCS rankings have been scrutinized for being unfair as well as cheating teams out of a chance at the National Title. The call for change was loudest at the end of the 2011 season when Alabama and LSU played in the National Championship. These teams had met before and were not only in the same conference but the same division(SEC West). Adding to that, Alabama, the eventual winner in a shutout, didn’t even play in the SEC Championship Game. This caused major controversy. Oklahoma State was sitting on the outside looking in with a 12-1 record. Many thought the Cowboys should play for the title simply because it was unfair to have two teams from the same conference who had already played each other face off in the championship. That game really got the ball rolling for a playoff system. Of course, anyone who thinks the new system is going to be perfect is living in a fantasy. There is still the issue of picking the four teams who will compete in the playoff. The difference is now the 5th and 6th teams are going to be angry as opposed to the 3rd and 4th. Let’s hope the BCS goes out with a game for the ages, rather than a dud or a controversy.
Conference alignment has been the name of the game over the past few years. This year is no exception. The Big East no longer exists in college football. The newly named American Athletic Conference, or as they want to be called, “The American”, has 10 football teams as well as Villinova in other sports. Rutgers and Louisville will be parting ways with The American after this year to the Big 10 and ACC respectively. The American will then gain East Carolina, Tulane and Tulsa in 2014. The Big East will still be a conference in other sports.
One last piece of information I found interesting was the distances some teams have to travel this year. Not overall, but to one game. Army has to travel to Hawaii(round trip ~9890 miles) and Hawaii has to travel to Navy(round trip ~9700 miles). That has to be extremely tough on the players and coaches. Army has a bye week before and after their trip to Hawaii but, Hawaii has games the weeks before and after their trip to Navy. I don’t really understand this. Hopefully those players can sleep on an airplane.
We are now only a week, 7 days, away from the start of college football. It’s almost time for kickoff.