Busy week for college football – not so much with on the field action but more off field action, with the hiring and firings of coaches, the Heisman presentation, and some major money being thrown at some coaches. If you want some football before bowl season starts you can catch the FCS playoffs. The lower divisions are duking it out right now for their national championship trophies. I watched some of the games this weekend and they were exciting. It gets me excited for the FBS playoffs to start next year. I agree with many other college football fans that we will expand from 4 teams to 8 teams soon enough. Maybe they will keep four teams and have two wild card games. This is something we can all speculate and talk about this off season. The only real game we have to talk about this weekend was Navy beating up on Army, 34-7, in the snow today. Navy has now won 12 in a row vs their rival, Army. Congrats to Navy!
Let’s get into the news and action from this past week:
1. JAMEIS WINSTON WINS THE HEISMAN — [Editor’s note: I was going to throw in a bunch of “z-z-z’s” here, but accidentally hit “x-x-x” – not sure which is more accurate!] Anyway, that will be the headline tomorrow morning in the newspapers. Was it really a surprise? Without consideration to any player west of Texas, he has been the most consistent player from Week 1 until now. Despite the off field “headlines” he was making, he stayed focused on the field and brought home the Heisman hardware. He is the youngest player to win the Heisman. Winston will now turn his attention to Pasadena as his team prepares to take on Auburn for the national title. What a year he had and congratulations. Here is a little clip from Winston’s Heisman moment this season.
2. Mack Brown finally steps down at Texas and what a mess it was. It turned into a “he said - she said” kind of mess about him stepping down. Texas used to be the flagship university in Texas and it was “THE PLACE TO BE” for athletes in the state. Well, Mack Brown’s reign started to crumble and other universities starting rising up from Texas’ shadow. During Mack Brown’s reign, Baylor football somehow became relevant. Despite his 8-4 finish, Texas still had a shot to win the BIG-12 and play in a BCS bowl. The real question is, who will be chosen to lead Texas back into the national spotlight? That is something we can talk about for awhile. Who would not want to be at Texas? They have unlimited resources and access to some of the best athletes in the country. I am putting my money on James Franklin of Vanderbilt getting the call up. He made Commodore football relevant in the SEC this year and has made that team competitive during his time at the school. For him to do that speaks volumes about his ability to coach, recruit and lead a team to prosperity. At this point, who does Texas go after? So many big-name coaches have been signed to big deals and are committed long term to their schools . . . Nick Saban!
3. Speaking of Nick Saban . . . He used this Texas job to get paid. He played it so right and will now make more than any other college coach in the nation — and almost any NFL coach. He will make anywhere from $7-7.5 million dollars annually. WOW! I bet the fans enjoy all the winning but they are the ones who will foot the bill! It is getting ridiculous how much college coaches are getting paid. As long as the coach is winning, the fans probably don’t mind paying them. Heck, Kevin Sumlin of Texas A&M was able to cash in on an 8-4 season. He did not even win the SEC WEST and got a raise of almost $2 million dollars. Most schools have been locking their coaches into long term deals and giving them significant raises to make sure they do not jump ship this off-season to some great schools having openings, such as Texas.
On a side note: USC did a great job hiring Steve Sarkisian to be their next coach. He really gives them a chance to be competitive again. Just kidding. I think it was a bad hire and they could have gotten someone with a better history of success. Good luck to the Trojans — 8-4 records are what you are in store for.
4. Bowl Season is upon us and there are some great matchups to look forward to. The only matchup that gets my blood boiling is the Sugar Bowl. They got Alabama right but picking Oklahoma . . . REALLY? That was a horrible $election. I know Oregon did not impress at the end of the season, but if the Sugar Bowl Committee had selected the Ducks, it would have been the National Championship II. At the beginning of the season everyone wanted Alabama vs Oregon and expected that matchup. Well, as we know, the season had its twists and turns and now we get FSU vs Auburn for the national title. The BCS could have rewarded us in its final year with that matchup. It could have helped put to rest the SEC vs PAC-12 debate. I probably would have been more excited for that matchup over any other BCS bowl. Now we get Texas vs Oregon in the Alamo Bowl. Good thing Mack Brown stepped down, because he would have probably been fired after his team loses to Oregon in that bowl game. Who knows, maybe Texas will now play inspired ball for their coach and we could get a shootout on our hands like in 2011.
What bowl games are you looking forward to? Here is my list of the Top-10 bowl games that will be worth watching and could provide us with some highlights (no particular order).
I. Florida State vs Auburn (National Title game) – There are going to be a lot of points scored. We will also have the Heisman winner and a Heisman runnerup playing in that game. Will the Heisman curse strike Winston?
II. Missouri vs Oklahoma State (Cotton Bowl) – Another game that will feature a lot of offense. It will also give Missouri a chance to face off vs its old BIG-12 rival.
III. Michigan State vs Stanford (Rose Bowl) – For as much offense as some of the other bowl games will provide, I expect a 3-0 slugfest in this one. Imagine if this game turns into a shootout. Who would have thought that?
IV. South Carolina vs Wisconsin (Capital One Bowl) – This will be Jadeveon Clowney’s last chance to make a good impression on the field for NFL scouts. He will get his chance vs a powerful Wisconsin rushing attack.
V. Duke vs Texas A&M (Chik-fil-A Bowl) – This will probably be the last chance for Johnny F. to show the college football world why he won the Heisman last year. Duke also has some offensive firepower and should make this one interesting.
VI. Arizona vs Boston College (Advocare V100 Bowl) – Two of the nation’s top running backs will square off and leave us with some big yardage totals.
VII. Oregon vs Texas (Alamo Bowl) – It will either be Ducks winning big or the Longhorns playing with heart for Mack Brown’s final game to pull off the upset.
VIII. Clemson vs Ohio State (Orange Bowl) – Both schools planned on playing for the national title. Instead they get to go to South Beach and play each other. This game is crucial for both schools because it will start the off-season on a high note and establish poll position for next year.
IX. Louisville vs Miami (Russell Athletic Bowl) – Both schools expected so much more this season but were forgotten about after major defeats. Teddy Bridgewater looks to put on a show vs the school he was formerly committed to.
X. Fresno State vs USC (Las Vegas Bowl) – Fresno expected a BCS game and got this one instead. I expect them to take out their frustration on an undermanned USC squad, but both schools will score a lot of points in the process. And USC fans like to go to Vegas — but will they show up for the game?
We have some great matchups that should give us a lot of offense and highlights. I really will enjoy some of the regular bowl games over the BCS ones this year. Can’t wait! Get ready, college football fans, the off season is almost upon us. It is going to be a LONG one! We get the playoffs next year and will have to wait an eternity for it to get here. Congrats to Jameis Winston on the Heisman again, Texas better score a home run with their coaching hire, and my Gators will be sitting home this bowl season. What a year!
1. College Football Mailbag
2. Mack Brown a success
3. 2013-2014 Bowl Schedule
4. Notre Dame QB back at school
5. Navy runs over Army