Sunday, January 12, 2014

Final Thoughts on the 2013 College Football Season

The 2013 college football season is in the books. Now about the only thing left to look forward to in the sporting arena is March Madness. (Yes I know NFL playoffs are in full swing and MLB is right around the corner). Now that is the way to do it and it is doubtful that the ranks of "major" college football will anytime soon go to a similar format. Whether they should or not is a question that no one has really answered......One thing that we do know for certain is the asinine BCS has finally given up the ghost and very few would argue that this is a bad thing.......

This was finally the year that FSU was back. Every season they tell us that "this is the year." "They" were, for once, right about something. It may be unlikely that, had FSU been in the SEC (and why are they not?)that they would have reached the final game. They would have been tripped up a time or two likely.

Again we were informed that Notre Dame would be back in contention for national honors. They had a respectable season but a top 10 type program they are not and likely will not be in the near future. A program that while not be in decline is certainly not upwardly mobile.

It was nice to see Duke have some a good season. It would have been nice had they held on in their bowl outing. Kudos to the players and staff.

We certainly learned that one "Johnny Football" is a great college QB. His style (and his punk like act) will not serve him well in the big time. There are too many great college QBs of his caliber that just don't pan out. JM certainly has talent but there is a huge learning curve he will have to negotiate before he is NFL material. His clocked will be cleaned a few times before his short career is done would be my wager...

In the college ranks a coaching staff can make all the difference in the world, much more so than the pro ranks. Case in point: Kiffin gets the axe and USC begins to heal and play the ball they were certainly capable of and just take a look at Auburn. Now that was one remarkable turn around with more or less the same players.

Mizzou had a great season and were just a stones throw away from contending for all the marbles in both the SEC and nationally.

Texas honks have finally gotten their wish and Coach Brown is "retired." Question is, who would be a good replacement? They have chosen a quality coach in Charlie Strong but is he really the man to lead a major program like what they have in Austin? Time will tell. I remember when the faithful in Knoxville could not wait to say goodbye to Phil Fulmer. See how well that turned out? Gotta be careful what you wish for some folks say.

Still hearing the screeching for Les Miles' head. Again. Who would you replace him with? Top level college coaches are not a dime a dozen. Someone who is comfortable winning with a smaller program may find that they have bitten off more than they can chew with one of the major (ie high dollar) programs. (See above observation on TN and Phil Fulmer).....

How long will the Nebraska faithful put up with teams that are just a step above mediocre? Remember the Huskers moved to a conference so they could compete. Any other reasons the administration gave is just PR nonsense and horse hockey. They want to win and could not do it in a southern dominated conference. Pelini better step it up or he will find himself looking.

No one, including yours truly, gave much thought to Michigan State. After there one inexplicable loss it was easy to write them off. That was a mistake. This year's Spartan squad may well be the true best team in the country.

Ohio State should have competed but just didn't. Not sure what the problem was really. They certainly have the talent but it seems like they just rolled over late. That is a coaching problem. I, for one, have never compared Urban to Nick. Good coach but just not in the same league.

It is still hard to take the west coast brand of ball seriously even though there are some good teams out that way. There may well be a rude awakening next season when USC, Stanford, Oregon and perhaps UCLA all have teams that may challenge for top spot. Watch and see......

The Big Ten was again the Big Ten. With the lone exception of Michigan State, the rest of the conference really did not amount to a whole lot. Decent teams but no one that stood out. As earlier noted the folks in Columbus should be nothing short of angry with their team and staff. That Buckeye squad should have been right there.

The SEC was down this year in that one of them did not win the national title. Of course the SEC was at least represented in the final and will likely be for years to come.

Big Twelve football is hard to figure. A step above the Big Ten likely but just not quite what they should be. Next year Oklahoma will be the team to beat obviously and it will be difficult for anyone else to catch them. But the Sooners being the Sooners will find a way to fall just short. Bob is not the man likely but, like at Texas, who you gonna call?

It is baffling when a successful coach with a major program leaves to resurrect a foundering program somewhere else. Take Franklin at Vanderbilt. Granted Vandy is not a school that can usually compete for top spot in the SEC but they can certainly have good seasons, and the prestige of knocking off a Georgia, LSU, Auburn, etc. is something. His move to PSU is strange. PSU, while another storied program, plays their ball in a lessor (let us be honest) conference. It is more prestigious to go 8-4 at Vanderbilt than to do the same in Happy Valley. But perhaps it is just about the money.....

It was nice to see the Sun Belt win both bowl games and show some folk that this southern dominated conference can play a pretty good brand of ball. For a while there the Cajuns were ranked and a couple of other schools had some pretty successful seasons. Of course the HC at Arkansas State has moved on. The last two head men at that school have achieved success in the SEC. (It is interesting to note that the Red Wolves have for the last few years been a better program than they have had in Fayetteville).  Wonder if the latest HC to jump the ASU ship will do well in his new digs.
At any rate, some folks have learned the hard way that scheduling a school from this conference will result in embarrassment for the major program. That trend will continue.

The MAC is the MAC. Interesting football played up that way but, for the most part, it is just a step above most (but not all) FCS ball. Of course once in a while one of those schools will knock off a big time opponent. This year NIU was the team to beat and some folks predicted that the Huskies would again be a BCS buster. They fizzled a bit down the stretch but still a good team that could be dangerous to a lot of folk on a good day.

The Mountain West was just not really ready for prime time. The "premier" team had a mediocre season and of course the HC split for "greener pastures" (as if U of W is greener) before he had two "bad" years in a row. His stock would not be so high then one supposes. Fresno State tried for a while to convince us that they were worthy of breaking into the big time but I never bought into it. I bet they miss old walrus looking Pat Hill over there in the Valley. I always liked him.

Why is that programs continue to hire proven scumbags like Petrino and Graham? Oh yes. They win. It is not like a college is there to try to teach integrity to young folk or anything. Graham and Petrino, while they are not Sandusky, are a bit ethically challenged. To say the least.

I can certainly understand someone hiring big Mark Mangino for a major role with a major program but how on earth can anyone give Kiffin any play calling authority whatsoever. Major program or no, if I were in the sports admin dept of any school of any size anywhere, I would shy away from this dude. A program destroyer. They may have gotten rid of him just in time down USC way. They are still trying to recover from his brief tenure in Knoxville. It may be a long road.

I could go on and on I suppose but time has come to wind it up. It was a fun season and one to remember.

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