College Football Round Table:
I asked a number of Fanspeak members the following questions about the upcoming college football season. Here are their answers and mine to follow at the bottom:
1. What will be the top five teams after the Bowl Season is done?
2. Who will win the Heisman Trophy this year?
3. What impact will all the major scandals have on the college football landscape this year?
4. Who is one breakout player you are looking forward to seeing?
5. What is a team that you think will either surprise (win a couple more games than expected) or disappoint (fall flat on their face) this season?
1) Right now I think this is one of those years where we’re going to have great parity in college football. No one team seems to be too dominant, so it’s hard to predict a top 5 team preseason. Alabama is a serious candidate because of their STACKED defense. Oregon can score points like no one’s business, but can they stop anybody? I don’t necessarily buy into the OU hype just quite yet. If they can go on the road to FSU and beat them without their star mike LB (Travis Lewis) then I will start to buy their hype. Same thing with FSU, wary of buying into the hype. If FSU can beat OU, then the next week go on the road and beat Clemson (a serious trap game after a big OU game).. then I’ll start to believe.
2) I think the Heisman trophy goes to Trent Richardson. The guy is an absolute monster and will be fed steady carries early in the season as Bama tries to introduce a new starting QB. I also like Andrew Luck, which makes Stanford’s game vs. Oregon an absolute must-win to keep Luck in the Heisman conversation.
3) Miami and Ohio State will both be rocked and have very mediocre seasons. They also face each other in week 2 in what I am calling the scandal bowl. Especially with all the suspensions Miami was just handed down, I see it being difficult for them to even reach 9 wins this year.
4) David Wilson, the running back from Virginia Tech (of course this is coming with a little bias). The guy is an absolute freak of nature athlete. 5’10”, 210 Lbs, 4.3 40 yd dash.. the guy has caught a bunny rabbit on campus with his bare hands, as well as a bird flying around in Iowa at the NCAA Championships for Track and Field. He can also do 6 backflips consecutively IN PADS. All that aside, Wilson has a nose for finding the holes in the defense and is small enough to squeeze through them, while powerful enough to bounce off tacklers. With an easy first 4 games on VT’s schedule, I expect to see a heavy dose of David Wilson early and often from the Hokies.
5) I think a main candidate for a flop is Florida State. Being ranked 5th in the country without really having accomplished anything could put some pressure on this team to perform. They have tons of talent but the execution is yet to be seen. EJ Manuel looks very solid in what we have seen from him so far, but can he continue doing so as the sole starter?
1) 1-Alabama 2-Oklahoma 3-Oregon 4-Boise State 5-Florida State
2) Andrew Luck (LaMichael James is a close 2nd)
3) Miami will finish not ranked and Ohio State will be out of the top 20. LSU due to suspensions will be out of the top 10 when the season is over.
4) Not trying to be biased but Geno Smith from WVU will have a break out year under Dana Holgorsen’s new offense.
5) Arizona State will turn a lot of heads this year. Also, dark horse National Championship team, look out for Texas A&M. I like them a lot this season.
1. My top 5 after the bowl season are: 1. Oregon. 2. Oklahoma. 3. LSU. 4. Stanford. 5. Notre Dame.
2. Andrew Luck. He’s too good to not win it.
3. I think things will start to quiet down when games get going this season. Other than opposing fans trying to make their voice heard with some crazy sign at a Miami game, getting back to the flow of the college football season should be enough to settle the talk down.
4. Russell Wilson is an extremely talented quarterback who mostly stayed under the radar in the ACC. But now that he is playing for a serious contendor in Wisconsin, I can’t wait to see what he is truly capable of.
5. Surprise: Mississippi State. Disappointment: LSU.
1. (in no particular order) Oklahoma, Alabama, Oregon, Stanford, Ohio State
2. Marcus Lattimore, South Carolina
3. Huge — but only if the NCAA can objectively realize that the system is broken.
4. LaMichael James, Oregon
5. UCLA (surprise)
1. Top 5 Teams Not sure which order, but here’s my thoughts
-2 Va Tech
-3 Florida State
-5 Boise State
2. Andrew Luck Heisman Winner
3. Not much, but the drum beat for change will grow louder
4. Taylor Martinez QB Nebraska
5. Nebraska could jump into top 5 if things fall in place
1. My order would be Oregon, Oklahoma, Alabama, Boise State, and Wisconsin
2. My Heisman pick is Denard Robinson from Michigan. If they put him in a balanced offense where he starts throwing the ball somewhat effectively it could happen. The real question will be is if they win enough games.
3. I think it will be pretty big. Ohio State, Miami, LSU, and UNC are all going to be highly effected, and could lose an extra game or two which will hurt their prestige. We’ve already seen it cost two coaches their jobs and this will impact the sport going forward. Other schools such as Oregon and Auburn are on the fringes that they too could be pulled into this mess.
4. I have three breakout players (I know I cheated). One RB Ray Graham from Pitt. This is a homer pick, but he had 900+ yards last year while splitting time with Dion Lewis. The Panthers will have a new wide open offense that he should get plenty of chances to use his big time speed. Two, QB Aaron Murray from Georgia, he came into this program with a lot of hype and the Bulldogs are poised to make a run, he has big time breakout potential. Third, QB Ryan Tannehill, Tannehill was a receiver for much of his first couple years on campus, but he has developed into a quality passer and took over the team midway through the season last year. He’s not a great passer just yet, but he’s very accurate and delivers quick throws. He also has outstanding mobility which should keep plays alive and present a quality running threat to opposing defenses.
5. Surprise team: South Carolina- The SEC is a bit down this year with Florida in transition, Auburn a bit down, and Georgia, Arkansas and LSU all with some question marks. Even Alabama needs to replace their top QB, RB, and WR. While they do have the weapons (and the defense they aren’t a sure thing). I think South Carolina can really surprise this year. They have a lot of talent on that team and should make a serious run this year in the SEC. Remember this was the team that faced off with Auburn in the SEC title game last year, and they are better than a year ago.
Disappointing team: Oklahoma State- Some people are pushing the Cowboys as a contender for the Big 12 and a top 10 team (preseason rank of 9th), but I don’t see it. Sure they have a big name QB and WR combo, and a solid offensive line, but I think that is about it. There defensive talent is lacking and that is going to come back and cost them. I think they will end up probably about 4th in the conference (maybe 5th depending on Texas), and at the bottom of the top 25.
Thanks everyone for helping out! Let the debate begin!