Good news: spring football is almost upon us! We can now get a sneak peak at what to expect for the fall from our favorite teams. A lot of the nation will be paying attention to certain schools to see how new coaches are with their team along with incoming freshmen possibly making an impact. Alabama should still be loaded this spring even though Saban kicked off all of the players involved with the burglary. Things are good for Alabama right now but look to be headed down a rocky road for their rival LSU if the rumors are true. Les Miles reportedly had an affair with a student and will step down on Monday from LSU. (Ed. note: As of Sunday, this has not been substantiated by any major news media). Now that’s some news, but we will have to wait on Monday to see if it is true.
1. It seems that this week South Carolina is the team making headlines and for all good reasons. Jadeveon Clowney made the cover of Sports Illustrated for spring football, the school’s defensive coordinator is getting a nice raise and extension, South Carolina is expanding and revamping their facilities, and they will raise ticket prices to help pay for the upgrades. Good for them with all this going on, but the real thing that got me was the raising of ticket prices. How many of us can’t afford to go to every game already because of ticket prices being to high? It seems that is all the off season news, schools raising ticket prices to pay for upgrades and new facilities. Yes, those things help attract top recruits and keep your team competitive among the nations elite, but enough is enough. Soon stadiums will sit half empty because fans can not afford to go and have to sit home watching. Hopefully the playoff money coming in 2014 will help lower ticket costs and when a school does upgrades, they won’t pass the entirety of the bill off to the fans.
2. It might only be news to Kansas fans, but Mark Mangino is returning to the college ranks. I know he had a rough ending there at Kansas, but he was the best thing that has ever happened to Kansas football. Mangino will now be taking his talents to Youngstown State. Leading Kansas in football to a 12-1 record should speak volumes about his coaching ability. It should only be a matter of time until a big school hires him on as a coordinator or a small school hires him as a head coach.
3. The biggest news of the week is that people think Penn State should have their sanctions reduced. This is a sensitive subject but Penn State might be able to make a case. The only way Penn State could get the NCAA to reduce sanctions is plead how good they are doing in righting the wrong and also bring up how the NCAA botched the Miami case and should reconsider shortening the sanctions. It’s a mixed bag for me on this one. I am all for punishing them for what went on there; but then again, do not punish the current team and fans because of past transgressions. It should be interesting to see if this subject gains some momentum and where it leads to.
4. Spring football is almost here. Some of the spring games I will be most interested in are Oregon, Florida, Alabama, Texas, and Louisville. I would like to see most of what these schools will be offering on offense. Will Oregon pick up right where it left off now that Chip Kelly is gone? How will the offense look? Blur offense still in effect? Can Florida even find an offense in the spring? Will Florida’s defense still be a force with all the departures? Will Alabama continue to roll despite the turnover on defense? Can Saban have his offense as the key contributor next season? Can Mack Brown finally decide on a quarterback and will it work? Is Texas ready to return to elite and challenge for the Big-12 crown? Last, but not least, is Louisville ready for the next step? Can they carry the momentum from last season into 2013? There are just a few of my thoughts. How many of you will actually watch the spring game? Besides your school, will you watch other schools spring games? There are so many new coaches across the country and so many more questions to be answered. I am sure it all comes back to….who has the best chance to dethrone the SEC? I am calling Alabama vs Ohio State for the title next year.
5. No expansion news this week, but just because it’s quiet and we are not hearing anything does not mean nothing is happening. The whole shake up of the BIG EAST and its football and basketball becoming divided is only a side note compared to what will happen when the BIG-12 or PAC-12 decide to make a move on some more schools. The SEC is at 14 schools and the BIG-10 is at 14. Will the PAC-12 make another run at Texas and other BIG-12 schools leaving that conference stumbling or will some mid-major get the nod of moving up to the big leagues? It is all just talk and back door dealings but I still would like to think the BIG-12 is about to move from 1o schools up to 12. Who knows…maybe the PAC-12 commissioner will be the first to start a super conference?
It’s another slow week, but at least with spring practice opening up we will have more to talk and speculate about. There are still probably a few other schools’ spring games I will be interested seeing, just to see if they have righted the ship and will provide any competition this fall. Let’s hope the police blotter doesn’t fill up much more this off season and hopefully a few dominoes will fall with expansion in the upcoming months.
1. Winners of the month
2. College football mailbag
3. PAC-12 mailbag news
4. More on Penn State penalties
5. Ole Miss gaining momentum