It is time for one of the great traditions in sports and on this board. I have been quiet on the subject during the offseason, but I am still engaged.

The main thing to remember is that this season is different from any other. We have a four team playoff, and it will be fascinating to see how the 13 member selection committee goes about its business. Old stereotypes will not apply anymore. My guess is that they will go for four conference champions this year to satisfy as many as possible.

It has been a long journey to get to this point. I am old enough to recall New Years Day comprising the Cotton, Sugar, Rose and Orange Bowls in that order. There were conference tie ins and the champ was decided by a poll. The Fiesta took the place of the Cotton, but this system was in place until 1998 when the BCS era was ushered in. The BCS was supposed to end all debates because #1 would play #2. We all see how that turned out, and now we have four.

One thing is sure, the magic of New Year's Day will be restored as the two semifinal games on that day (thinking Rose and Orange). The next two years New Years Eve will be it (lots of restaurant dinners will be cancelled). It's time for the players to report and let's play football.
Original Post
quote:
Originally posted by billhike:
Yawn.

2 months until HOCKEY!!! Winner


What is this Hockey you speak of? Is it a cold weather version of soccer?

Can't wait till August 30th where I should see the Gators win one against Idaho in Gainesville. Optimistic for improvement from last year (which won't take much Smile )
For an interesting article on what makes Nick Saban tick, Google "The joyless triumph of nick saban". This is almost a full page article by Paul Finebaum in the Wall Street Journal today. If I provide a link, you will have to log on but you can find it with a search.
Taking an early look at which teams will make it to the playoff. With five major conferences, one champ will be left out.

SEC - the league looks to be balanced without a super team, so the champ could have two losses. Does an SEC champ with two losses get in? It depends on the other leagues.

ACC - Unless Jameis Winston gets hurt or something else happens, FSU looks to run the table. Pencil them in.

Big 10 - best guess is Michigan State or Ohio State, but Iowa has the easiest schedule.

Big 12 - The Sooners are getting all of the love, but Baylor will have a say.

Pac 12 - many think that this could be the best conference this season. The picks here are UCLA or Oregon, but Stanford could be a factor.
quote:
Originally posted by scbeerman:
Taking an early look at which teams will make it to the playoff. With five major conferences, one champ will be left out.

SEC - the league looks to be balanced without a super team, so the champ could have two losses. Does an SEC champ with two losses get in? It depends on the other leagues.

ACC - Unless Jameis Winston gets hurt or something else happens, FSU looks to run the table. Pencil them in.

Big 10 - best guess is Michigan State or Ohio State, but Iowa has the easiest schedule.

Big 12 - The Sooners are getting all of the love, but Baylor will have a say.

Pac 12 - many think that this could be the best conference this season. The picks here are UCLA or Oregon, but Stanford could be a factor.


SC, always enjoy your updates and analysis. Nice to see you included the Big 10 in your discussion Wink

Here in Ohio the weather has cooled a bit recently, Fall is just around the corner. Let the games begin!
quote:
Originally posted by scbeerman:

ACC - Unless Jameis Winston gets hurt or something else happens, FSU looks to run the table. Pencil them in.



Im not sure about running the table. I think will be heavy favorites in every game and will be the better team in every game. That being said, its hard to go undefeated and its incredibly hard to run the table for two straight years. There are just to many things that can happen. FSU had some unbelievable injury luck last year. They didnt really lose anyone for a significant amount of time, except for Hunter who was replaced by Jalen Ramsey(no drop off at all). They got turnovers early against Clemson to jump on them and give Winston some confidence in his first big road game. It was kind of a perfect storm of luck and skill last year.

I think this years defense will actually be better and the offense not quite as good. I just feel like something will happen, injury/bad luck/over confidence/off field stuff that could trip them up in a game. Do they get to the playoff with one loss? It probably depends on who the loss was to, when it was and how they look in the rest of their games.
quote:
Originally posted by jburman82:
quote:
Originally posted by scbeerman:

ACC - Unless Jameis Winston gets hurt or something else happens, FSU looks to run the table. Pencil them in.



Im not sure about running the table. I think will be heavy favorites in every game and will be the better team in every game. That being said, its hard to go undefeated and its incredibly hard to run the table for two straight years. There are just to many things that can happen. FSU had some unbelievable injury luck last year. They didnt really lose anyone for a significant amount of time, except for Hunter who was replaced by Jalen Ramsey(no drop off at all). They got turnovers early against Clemson to jump on them and give Winston some confidence in his first big road game. It was kind of a perfect storm of luck and skill last year.

I think this years defense will actually be better and the offense not quite as good. I just feel like something will happen, injury/bad luck/over confidence/off field stuff that could trip them up in a game. Do they get to the playoff with one loss? It probably depends on who the loss was to, when it was and how they look in the rest of their games.


Rough start JB for your two favorite teams

http://espn.go.com/college-foo...demically-ineligible

http://espn.go.com/college-foo...onduct-investigation
quote:
Originally posted by Redhawk:
What? Only 8 SEC teams are ranked?

Well, this is the highest pre-season ranking for my Spartans since 1967, so I hope they can live up to the hype.


Redhawk, are you going to the game? I will be at the game flying the Duck colors. Oregon will be wearing yellow jerseys for this game so Autzen Stadium will follow suit.
quote:
Originally posted by Pippin:
quote:
Originally posted by Redhawk:
What? Only 8 SEC teams are ranked?

Well, this is the highest pre-season ranking for my Spartans since 1967, so I hope they can live up to the hype.


Redhawk, are you going to the game? I will be at the game flying the Duck colors. Oregon will be wearing yellow jerseys for this game so Autzen Stadium will follow suit.


No, unfortunately, I don't plan to be there. I know a couple of folks who are making the trip out there. I believe WineSparty is one of them. It sure looks like it is setting up to be an awesome event. Has ESPN officially declared this venue for College GameDay? I would think it would be a shoo-in for that.

And if you guys are wearing yellow, that makes it all the better when I say GO GREEN! Big Grin
Here is a quick preview of the SEC East:

South Carolina - the OBC knows that he has a good team. The talent level is up despite some key losses, and confidence is there due to three consecutive 11 win seasons. If QB Dylan Thompson plays well, the Gamecocks could find themselves in Atlanta.

Georgia - the Dawgs have an awesome array of offensive talent led by RBs Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall. They need 5th year senior Hutson Mason to perform at QB. New defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt could put UGa over the top. As usual, the talent is there, but can they win the big one.

Missouri - the defending East champs are now dependent on soph Maty Mauck to lead them. Winning two in a row may be a tall task.

Tennessee - coach Butch Jones is building a program, but the talent level is not quite there yet. Still, look for the Vols to pull a surprise or two.

Vanderbilt - new coach Derek Mason must continue the success enjoyed by departed James Franklin, but it will be difficult. Franklin took a great recruiting class with him to Penn St. The Dores will still be competitive.

Kentucky - Mark Stoops has increased the talent level by going into Ohio for players, but who does he jump over in tis division?

Florida - I left my team for last because they are the wild card. Are the Gators the 11 win team of 2012 or the 4 win team of 2013? If the latter, Will Muschamp is bye bye. The biggest change is the addition of David Cutcliffe protégé Kurt Roper to run the offense. Roper features a spread, fast paced offense, which is better suited for Florida athletes. Since the roster has adequate talent at RB and WR, the key is the health of QB Jeff Driskel. The defense will be good as all Muschamp defenses are good. They just need a little help form the offense. The schedule is brutal, but the Gators could be the surprise team of 2014.
quote:
Originally posted by Redhawk:
quote:
Originally posted by Pippin:
quote:
Originally posted by Redhawk:
What? Only 8 SEC teams are ranked?

Well, this is the highest pre-season ranking for my Spartans since 1967, so I hope they can live up to the hype.


Redhawk, are you going to the game? I will be at the game flying the Duck colors. Oregon will be wearing yellow jerseys for this game so Autzen Stadium will follow suit.


No, unfortunately, I don't plan to be there. I know a couple of folks who are making the trip out there. I believe WineSparty is one of them. It sure looks like it is setting up to be an awesome event. Has ESPN officially declared this venue for College GameDay? I would think it would be a shoo-in for that.

And if you guys are wearing yellow, that makes it all the better when I say GO GREEN! Big Grin

I will indeed be there! Banana
Now for the SEC West:

Auburn - it will be tough to top the drama of the last four games of 2013 including the "prayer at Jordan-Hare" and the FG return. Coach Gus Malzahn has an offense that has not been deciphered by rival coaches. He returns a QB for the first time in ages in Nick Marshall, but the schedule is brutal.

Alabama - the gold standard in college football (if you do not believe it, ask their fans, right Pawwl). The Tide is possibly two Auburn rallies away from five championships in a row. However, while loaded at about every position, coach Nick Saban needs a QB. FSU transfer Jake Coker better be the answer, otherwise no title this year.

LSU - The Bayou Bengals are being overlooked this season, so this is when "Mad Hatter" Les Miles shines. He has two prize freshmen in RB Leonard Fournette (looking for an out of nowhere Heisman candidate) and WR Malachi Dupre. Despite losses to the NFL, there is always talent in Baton Rouge.

Texas A & M - Johnny Football is gone along with two other high draft picks. Kevin Sumlin has recruited well, and his offenses always score plenty of points. The problem is that his defense last year was horrible, and that will be the demise of the Aggies this season. It could be a tough year in College Station.

Ole Miss - Hugh Freeze's prize recruits of 2013 (got them honest, sure) are now sophs including DL Robert Nkemdiche and WR Laquan Treadwell. The Rebs have an experienced QB in Bo Wallace. This is a pivotal year in Oxford.

Mississippi State - QB Dak Prescott could be the key to a surprise year in Starkville. Dan Mullen has done a solid coaching job, but he needs to beat a ranked opponent.

Arkansas - former Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema is building, but it remains to be seen if his smashmouth style will work here.
quote:
Originally posted by patespo1:
Braxton Miller could be out for the season after reinjuring shoulder Bang

With a new O-line and new QB, could be a longer season than expected for my Buckeyes


While I don't feel sorry for Urban Meyer or your Buckeyes, I do feel bad for Braxton Miller. I don't like to see anybody go out with an injury, especially a kid with his potential.

This is bad news for the entire Big Ten conference, which is struggling for credibility. Watch the media closely through the year. If Ohio State does well, it will be because the Big Ten conference wasn't good enough to take advantage of a Buckeye team without Braxton Miller. If some other team wins the Big Ten, it will be because Ohio State was weakened by the loss of Braxton Miller. Or at least that's what the analysts will be saying. It is now even more important for the Big Ten to do well in their nonconference games.

Actually, it is probably a blessing for Ohio State to have this happen now. With their questionable offensive line, combined with their heavy use of a dual threat quarterback, Braxton Miller was very likely to become injured, or at least severely hobbled, at some point in the season anyway. This way, his back up will have ample opportunity to learn the offense, and be effective later in the season, instead of coming in cold in the second half of the Michigan State game. Plus, it will make Ohio State a better team next year.
Let's take a stab at the ACC, the other conference that I follow closely:

Atlantic

FSU - defending national champs who return Heisman winner Jameis Winston and a boatload of talent. They should be double digit favorites in all of their games (unless the Gators have a good team then all but one). The only thing that will keep Jimbo Fisher from reaching the playoff is complacency, internal team issues or injuries.

Clemson - Dabo Sweeney lost Tajh Boyd and Sammy Watkins, but he returns DE Vic Beasley. The Tigers have talent, but may not have enough to beat a top ten team. Also, a certain coach in Columbia is in Dabo's head. The issue with Clemson is can they win THE big game.

Louisville - the Cards have returned former coach Bobby Petrino which means that they will move the ball and there will be constant turmoil. Will Gardner is the newest gunslinger for Petrino, and hopefully, Jessica Dorrell is still in Arkansas.

NC State - former Gator QB Jacoby Brissett takes over, but this is an average team.

Boston College and Syracuse - both former Big East members are middle of the road teams.

Wake Forest - new coach Dave Clawson is young and aggressive, but may be a year or so away. In the Deacs tradition, a frosh QB, John Wolford, will start.

Coastal

Va Tech - hokey hokey hokey hi (just love saying that). Frank Beamer and Bud Foster always have a good defensive squad, so the issue is always the offense.

Miami - Al Golden is a good coach who is building the talent level in Coral Gables. The Canes have a good RB in Duke Johnson, but questions at QB. They are not a top ten team yet.

Ga Tech - since Paul Johnson is still the coach, the Jackets will run the option. They usually win a game they should not.

Duke - the defending division champs lost a lot, so a repeat may be tough. They will still have a respectable team.

North Carolina - Larry Fedora is a good offensive coach, and the Heels will score points. QB Marquise Lee is the key.

Any of these five teams could win this division.

Pitt- touted as a possible surprise team.

Virginia - everyone is pulling for Mike London to keep his job.
SCBeerman, thanks for the rundown.

Here is my take on the BigTen, for what it's worth.

This is a season where a lot is new in the conference. The addition of Rutgers and Maryland top the list of changes. The old Leaders and Legends divisional alignment is gone, replaced with more straight-forward "East" and "West" divisions.

Big Ten East-

Ohio State: Up until yesterday, the Buckeyes were the favorite to win the conference. Now, senior QB and Heisman hopeful Braxton Miller has apparently suffered a season-ending injury, leaving the offense in charge of one of two young QB's with essentially no game experience. However, Urban Meyer has a pretty good resume, and there is no shortage of athletic talent on the Buckeye roster. Their D-line may be the best in the nation, but they have some gaps to fill at LB, DB, and Offense. They might still be able to win the conference, but their Vegas Odds just plummeted.

Michigan State is now the new favorite to win the East, and probably the overall favorite in the conference. While the Defense lost a few key starters, there is young talent to fill the gaps, probably with even more speed this year. Pat Narduzzi's defensive track record is pretty solid. For a change, MSU's Offense looks loaded, with an experienced RS junior QB Connor Cook, a proven RB in Langford, and more talent at receiver than coach Dantonio knows what to do with. Combine that with one of the best duo of kickers in the nation, and this could be another special year for the Spartans. They will have to face a tough early road challenge in Eugene, Oregon, in week 2, however.

Michigan hopes to clean up their offensive woes by stealing OC Doug Nussmeier away from Alabama. There are still questions in the O-line and in the backfield, but the defense looks to be greatly improved, so the Wolverines have realistic hopes of 9 wins this season. If they don't win at least 8, Brady Hoke's large rear end will likely be in a very hot seat.

Penn State welcomes new coach James Franklin, who has brought a younger vibe to State College. Serious or not, he has even hinted about changing the uber-traditional PSU unis to something more akin to Oregon or Maryland (yikes!). The Nittany Lions will again be hampered in the depth department due to their probation and reduction of scholarships, but there are hints that the NCAA may decide to lift the sanctions this year, so we will find out in the next month or so if the post-season is a possibility. On the field, Penn State has one of the best young QB prospects in the nation in Christian Hackenberg. This team won't win them all, but has enough fire power to upset a good team or two.

Indiana looks to be significantly improved. Their offense has been very effective in recent years, but this year their D might be upgraded from pitiful to "average", which means they have the chance to surprise somebody. 6 wins and a bowl game would be a welcome finish for the perennial underachieving Hoosiers.

Rutgers comes into the conference with some modest talent, but will have to play road games at Ohio State, Michigan State, Nebraska and Maryland, with home games against Michigan, Penn State, Wisconsin and Indiana. Plus there are non-conference road games at Washington State and a more-dangerous-than-usual Navy. Welcome to the Big Ten, Rutgers!

Maryland has talent and speed on both sides of the ball, so a finish in the upper half of the division is a possibility for the Terrapins.

West Division-

Wisconsin is the slight favorite in the West, but it is not unanimous. They face an early test in Week 2 against LSU in Houston, a game which will undoubtedly sway the national perception of the conference one way or another. They are solid at most positions, but still haven't settled on a QB yet.

Nebraska isn't talked about much, but I think that's how Bo Pellini prefers it. They are probably co-favorites to win the West. A non-conference home match up with the Miami Hurricanes, and an early conference road trip to Michigan State will tell us how serious the Huskers can be this year.

Iowa is a wild card this year. They have a solid team on both sides of the ball. But even more importantly, their schedule is a gift from the gods, avoiding Ohio State, Michigan State, Michigan and Penn State entirely. It is quite possible they could be 10-0 going into their final two games AT HOME against Wisconsin and Nebraska. If they can avoid any mid-season stumbles, and finish strong, the question may be, "will the committee think their schedule is good enough to get them into the final field of 4?".

Northwestern has suffered some off-season turmoil, and will likely take a step back from the lofty expectations of the past two years. They can still be a dangerous team, but probably not one of the top 3 in the West.

Minnesota will also likely struggle to be relevant this year, losing some key players from last year.

Purdue hopes to be slightly improved, but that's not saying a whole lot.

Illinois has tried to shore up their roster with a plethora of JUCO transfers. Coach Beckman hopes this will work, or otherwise he is gone.
quote:
Originally posted by Redhawk:
quote:
Originally posted by patespo1:
Braxton Miller could be out for the season after reinjuring shoulder Bang

With a new O-line and new QB, could be a longer season than expected for my Buckeyes


While I don't feel sorry for Urban Meyer or your Buckeyes, I do feel bad for Braxton Miller. I don't like to see anybody go out with an injury, especially a kid with his potential.

This is bad news for the entire Big Ten conference, which is struggling for credibility. Watch the media closely through the year. If Ohio State does well, it will be because the Big Ten conference wasn't good enough to take advantage of a Buckeye team without Braxton Miller. If some other team wins the Big Ten, it will be because Ohio State was weakened by the loss of Braxton Miller. Or at least that's what the analysts will be saying. It is now even more important for the Big Ten to do well in their nonconference games.

Actually, it is probably a blessing for Ohio State to have this happen now. With their questionable offensive line, combined with their heavy use of a dual threat quarterback, Braxton Miller was very likely to become injured, or at least severely hobbled, at some point in the season anyway. This way, his back up will have ample opportunity to learn the offense, and be effective later in the season, instead of coming in cold in the second half of the Michigan State game. Plus, it will make Ohio State a better team next year.


I like your silver lining approach. Everything I hear about JT Barrett is positive, except for lack of experience. While not the athlete that Braxton was, he is supposed to be less prone to mistakes.
quote:
Originally posted by scbeerman:
Great summary of the Big 10 by Redhawk.

I know they have to play the games, but Michigan State is in a great position. If they can win in Eugene in their second game, pencil them in the playoff. The pundits have been harping on Iowa's schedule all summer.


If Mich St goes undefeated with a win in Ore you cant possibly keep them out of the playoffs.

Lot of positive talk coming from the FSU coaching staff. I havent ever heard Jimbo be this positive. It makes me both excited and nervous.

Dalvin Cook finally recovered from his injury and is back on the field. Word is, he is FSU's best RB. He wont supplant Williams as the starter but he will get a bunch of carries. I have been a huge fan since I saw his HS film. I cant wait to see him play.
With the start of the season here I have been emailing the past week with some of my buddies about the season. We are pretty evenly slpit between UF and FSU grads. There has been some good honest opinions, $h!t talk and general buffoonery. One thing, brought up by an FSU alum, was the the idea of a 6-6 UF season ends in Muschamps firing, if he lasts that long and Foley flies out to SF and parks in front of Harbaugh's house until he agrees to come to UF.

As an FSU alum this is absolutely terrifying. If Im a UF fan I would actively root to go 0-12 if it meant you got Harbaugh. He has been unhappy with SF ownership about his contract and was rumored to possibly be involved in a trade a few months back. To be honest I might rather have Harbaugh than Jimbo.

We finally have games tonight!!! Winner
quote:
Originally posted by jburman82:
quote:
Originally posted by Stefania Wine:
Harbaugh is grossly overrated.


What makes you say that?


Close observation. He got Andrew Lucky at Stanford and it doesn't say much for his talent assessment or ability to check his ego that Richard Sherman was benched, ignored, then ridiculed as non-NFL talent.

He took over the most talented team in the NFL. Really any coach who was not a moron and could add to 12 (Nolan) or wasn't an assistant inside linebacker coach (Singletary) should have been able to get that team into the playoffs.

He ignores team weaknesses to the point they are not addressed. It's agony watching Kaepernick still not understand formations, the offense or be able to get a play call off. Discipline on the team is the worst in franchise history and again, something he ignores rather than faces.

Ownership hates him but is stuck with him until the team ages and looses, which it will do in a year or two. Then he's yours and no one in the know will be sorry to see the door hit his ass on the way out.
Paul, I give him credit for having Luck on his team. He had to identify him as talented(not a huge feat) and then go beat out other schools for his services(impressive). He also had one of the biggest upsets in college football history when he beat USC in 2007. He set up that program for the run of success its had.

The Sherman thing doesnt bother me. Lots of coaches have thier problems with players that go on to greater things.

Say what you want but he was the one who got the talent in SF to actually translate into wins. Discipline the Seahwaks is crap too. I cant count how many of their players have been suspended for PED's. Richard Sherman runs his mouth like an idiot half the time.(Perhaps why he butted heads with Harbaugh)

I dont watch enough SF football to intelligently comment of the Kapernick formation and play call stuff.


You are right, eventually the tables will turn and SF will get old and hurt and he'll be gone because he has no friends in the front office. At that point some smart college with come in with a bunch of booster money and get someone who can turn around their program. I just hope its not UF.
John - At this point Stanford recruits itself, the coach is less a factor than any other D 1 school. You're a top talent and your family and your self wants to go to a top academic school and play D1, it's Duke, Northwestern and Stanford, and really it's Stanford. Then Connie Rice shows up with a random Noble Prize winner to talk about a Stanford education with your parents and it's a closed deal.
quote:
Originally posted by Stefania Wine:
John - At this point Stanford recruits itself, the coach is less a factor than any other D 1 school.


I cant tell you how strongly I disagree with this. People used to say that about ND and look at them now. No school recruits itself. Recruiting is an absolutely brutal business and for top academic schools like Stanford, Northwestern, Duke, ND, Vandy, ect its even harder.

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