It’s the fall semester, which means new students, new classes and new goals. While these things occur every year, they aren’t the only things we can rely on to return when the leaves begin to change.
There’s another constant that we can trust. This sacred, long-awaited time is often so desired that it’s talked about even when it isn’t here. It’s been known to stretch hope across the far corners of America. It has the ability to make grown men cry, while on the same day make even the least involved shout for joy. It can divide families, yet bring together an entire region of the country. It’s college football, and it’s that time again.
This new season brings hope for many, especially to the numerous fans whose teams were affected by the many offseason sanctions handed down by the NCAA. It is now known as the most scandalous offseason in college football history.
It saw legendary Ohio State coach Jim Tressel removed, and the highly decorated Miami Hurricane program hit with a scheme which has named at least a dozen players who received benefits from a former booster.
The scandals haven’t provided the only shake-up in the college football world; changing conferences appeared to be a popular thing to do as well.
We saw both Colorado and Nebraska leave the Big 12 Conference; Colorado and Utah joined the Pacific-10, which is now known as the Pacific-12.
Texas powerhouse TCU will join the Big East next year, which makes no sense geographically, but will give them tougher competition. Often overlooked but annually strong Boise St. moved from the Western Athletic Conference to the Mountain West.
The Southeastern Conference was one of the few conferences that saw no change, despite a request from Texas A&M to join.
While there have been many NCAA investigations and teams on the move, I’m convinced that nothing short of the season being cancelled entirely would kill the anticipation that so many people experience on Saturday morning as their team suits up and prepares to face their opponent.
Because of the anticipation, everyone likes thinking they know what’s going to happen each year, and I am no exception.
Preseason number one Oklahoma is coming off a 12-2 season in which they won the Big 12 title and dominated a good UConn team in the Fiesta Bowl. They also boast two Heisman Trophy candidates: quarterback Landry Jones and receiver Ryan Broyles.
The Oregon Ducks remain a very good team this year despite losing to Auburn in the National Championship last season. Running back LaMicheal James was a Heisman candidate last year, and I see no reason why that would not be the case this year. Since they play in the Pacific-12, the Ducks have a more favorable schedule than other National Championship hopefuls such as Alabama, who plays in the Southeastern Conference.
The last five national champions have come out of the Southeastern Conference, so I think whichever team wins that conference will play in the title game. I believe it will be Alabama versus South Carolina.
The Gamecocks boast two Heisman hopefuls themselves: receiver Alshon Jeffery and running back Marcus Lattimore. They also landed the number one recruit in the country, Jadeveon Clowney.
Though the Gamecocks have many things going for them, I can’t bring myself to pick them to play in the title game, simply based on their past. Recently they have just not performed that well in major games.
I think preseason number seven Stanford will challenge Oregon in the North division of the Pac-12. Look for Heisman favorite Andrew Luck to shine as quarterback for Stanford and beat Oregon on their way to the national championship game.
Who will Stanford face in January for the title of best team in the land? Alabama. It’s come to be that if you lose even once in the regular season, you probably won’t play in the title game.
Though it’s hard to find a sure loss on Oklahoma’s schedule, I think their one loss this season will come at the hands of Missouri, which would be a repeat of last year. Oregon will lose to Stanford.
Alabama does play in the tough SEC West, but I think they’re slightly better than their division rival LSU and will run the table straight through to face Stanford in the title game.
When the Heisman winner is announced around mid-December, I believe it will be Andrew Luck. He came close last year, and with no Cam Newton to compete against, he’s the best college player in the country, and most likely the number one pick in next year’s NFL Draft.
This is why I love college football, because it’s fun to guess what will happen. Each school, no matter what size, carries a fan base behind it that will defend their team to the end, making it a true passion of our country!