Cavalcade of Whimsy
Part 2, Sept. 3, 2013
Follow me ...
Sept. 3 - Enter Jameis Winston
The C.O.W. airing of the grievances followed by the feats of strength
Ten stupid predictions of things that have absolutely no chance whatsoever of happening - but I'll take full credit when they do …
10. Alabama will lose at least two games.
I love Alabama. You love Alabama. We all love Alabama. However, the program is due for a mini-clunker, and the conditions are ripe for it to happen this season. Remember – and I feel like I'm repeating this line ten times a day – last year's team was better and it still lost a game, should've lost to LSU and almost lost to Georgia. The difference between being an 11-1 SEC team that plays for the conference title and the national title and a 10-2 squad that hangs around in the Capital One is paper thin. This Tide team is going to take a step back on the offensive line, there's no Dee Milliner-caliber corner in a secondary that was shaky when pushed, and the backup quarterback situation is a concern if AJ McCarron gets dinged. Also, Ole Miss, Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi State and Auburn are all improved, and don't simply assume the Tide will get by LSU or Texas A&M – although I think the Aggies are going to get absolutely drilled.
9. USC will be just fine.
Everything is pointing towards a second straight mediocre season for the Trojans. The quarterback situation is still up in the air; Marqise Lee is already hurt; and the big storyline is whether or not Lane Kiffin will still be the head coach next season. The 2011 team wasn't nearly as good as the hype, and the 2012 team wasn't as bad as things seemed, at least when healthy. These Trojans are going to be far more aggressive defensively and far more effective running the ball on offense. It's taking a while, but the depth is starting to build up after the NCAA sanction years, and despite the quarterback drama, there's enough talent to get by Washington State, Boston College and Utah State for a 4-0 start before going to Arizona State. With wins over Utah, Cal and Colorado, there's seven wins before assuming at least two wins, probably three against ASU, Arizona, Notre Dame, Oregon State, Stanford and UCLA.
8. TCU QB Casey Pachall will grow into a star as the season goes on
It wasn't like E.J. Manuel came out of nowhere last year, and any comparisons to RG3 are a little off, but every year there's a quarterback who rises up in a big hurry in the pro scouting ranks and turns into a key prospect in the process. If the off-the-field issues can be spun into a changed-man-now positive, Pachall has the talent and the potential to become a gamechanger throughout the season. Trevone Boykin got the key reps against LSU, but Pachall wasn't exactly turned loose completing 9-of-16 passes for 75 yards and a pick. Watch for him to quickly rebound and become one of the top three quarterbacks taken in the 2014 NFL Draft.
7. Logan Thomas didn't hurt his pro stock against Alabama
Stay with me. No, really, stay with me. It's next to impossible to have a worse day than Thomas had against Alabama, completing just 5-of-26 passes for 59 yards and a pick-six. However, the interception wasn't his fault – the receiver quit on the route – and he got absolutely no help whatsoever from the supporting offensive cast. Even with the miserable performance, he showed improved mechanics, decent patience as he waited in desperate hope for receivers to pop open, and he kept his head up and he kept firing. Players with his size and his arm and his upside are rare, and while he'll have to prove himself all over again in the next several weeks – he'd better light up East Carolina and Marshall like a Christmas tree – there's still a lot there to work with. You can never judge anything by what happens against a fully-focused Alabama.
6. When Florida State figures it out, look out
Florida State has fallen into the Mack Brown-Texas category. Yes, everything has been in place to be national title good over the last few years, but few have done less with more than Jimbo Fisher. The ACC championship and Orange Bowl win were nice, but the talent and ability have been there to do more. It's a two game season against Clemson and Florida, and they're both on the road. However, the showdown against the Tigers doesn't come until October 19th, and the clash with the Gators is at the end of the regular season. The young Noles will be fully matured to work around Jameis Winston, who's already being handed the Heisman.
5. The five biggest college football job openings next year at this time will be …
5. Illinois – Tim Beckman probably would've been gone last year if Dave Doeren didn't take the NC State job. The program will be deep in the Bobby Petrino sweepstakes unless it loses out to …
4. UCLA – Jim Mora, Jr. will come up with a whale of a year, and then he's off to the NFL along with …
3. Texas A&M – Kevin Sumlin. He might be creating a powerhouse with his recruiting classes, but the pros will come calling with twice his salary.
2. South Carolina – Steve Spurrier will be 69 next April. There's lots of golf out there to be played.
1. Notre Dame – It could've easily been Brian instead of Chip as Philadelphia's new Kelly. Pat Fitzgerald will take over and become a legend. Kelly will go out on a high note because …
4. Tommy Rees will be better than Everett Golson
So far, so good, but we've seen Touchdown Tommy turn into Turnover Tommy before. He was calm, cool and effective against Temple, completing 16-of-23 passes for 346 yards and three touchdowns, and while he won't add any lick of a rushing element, and he won't be explosive like Golson was, he'll be exactly what Brian Kelly needs for the Irish attack.
3. Fresno State will get into the BCS
The train was almost derailed before it could get on the track. Fresno State needed a humongous game from Derek Carr to get by Rutgers in overtime, but that might be the last realistic shot at a loss unless Colorado – coming up on September 14th – is the real deal. The Bulldogs are deep, talented and explosive, and after the way the Mountain West tanked in Week One, all of a sudden the world is wide open for a trip to the BCS.
2. Kansas State will bounce back. Fast.
People, this is Kansas State. You know how it rolls. Two years ago the Wildcats should've lost to Eastern Kentucky in the opener, squeaking by with a 10-7 victory. They went on to go 10-2 in the regular season before losing to Arkansas in the Cotton Bowl. In 2009 they battled to get past UMass 21-17 in the opener, didn't show up against Louisiana-Lafayette or UCLA over the next two games, and finished out winning five of the final nine games. North Dakota State did everything absolutely perfectly. The blocking in the second half was textbook, and the lack of big mistakes out-Kansas Stated, Kansas State. The Wildcats will roll through their next two games against Louisiana-Lafayette and UMass, and then they'll split their road games against Texas and Oklahoma State to be right back in the Big 12 championship hunt. That's what Kansas State does.
1. Georgia will still win the BCS championship
Realizing that this call might have a shelf life of roughly 120 hours, it's my call and I'm sticking with it. Relax, Georgia fans. Losing to Clemson is irrelevant. However, there's no margin for error now the rest of the way (duh), and it's almost a good thing to get right back on the horse with South Carolina coming up next. Even without Malcolm Mitchell, and even though the young defense has some proving to do, Georgia can beat the Gamecocks and LSU at home over the next few weeks. It's a better team than Florida, and while Missouri, Tennessee and Vanderbilt could be fights, any team worthy of thinking about playing for the national title should roll through those three. It took a botched snap on a field goal against an amped up team in an insane road setting for Georgia to lose by three; that could've gone either way. The Bulldogs will run the table, win the SEC championship, and Aaron Murray and Mark Richt will get the really, really big game gorillas of their backs.
Random Acts of Nutty … Provocative musings and tidbits to make every woman want you and every man want to be you (or vice versa) a.k.a. things I didn't feel like writing bigger blurbs for.
- I'm now officially annoyed by Ohio State's wide receivers. There's a Corey Brown, a Devin Smith, and now comes JUCO transfer Corey Smith. One of them is a blazer who works more as a possession receiver, one of them hits home runs on a regular basis, and one of them has yet to see the field. I'm not smart enough to figure it out.
- Has anyone ever blown out a knee leaping/running down Clemson's massive hill into the stadium and on the field?
- Tom Brady's biggest honor was being named a captain at Michigan? Go back to 21-year-old Tom Brady and ask him if can have one or another, and he can't have both. Michigan captain or three Super Bowl wins, the NFL Hall of Fame and Gisele Bündchen.
- Lou Holtz would get all the credit in the world for making the call of North Dakota State over Kansas State if he didn't call the Bison the two-time defending BCS champs.
C.O.W. shameless gimmick item … The weekly five Overrated/Underrated aspects of the world
1) Overrated: The bottom half of the Pac-12 … Underrated: The bottom half of the SEC
2) Overrated: Love It or List It … Underrated: Love It or List It Too
3) Overrated: "Could .. go … all … the … way." ... Underrated: "Could … get … out of … the …way."
4) Overrated: 2012 Northern Illinois ... Underrated: 2013 Northern Illinois
5) Overrated: SEC defenses other than Alabama's ... Underrated: Florida's offense
Clark: "What can I do with five dollars?" Dealer: "Gee, I don't know. Buy a bullet and rent a gun?"
Supersized since I missed last week …
1) Florida -3 over Miami
2) Wake Forest +3 over Boston College
3) Oregon -21.5 over Virginia
4) Oklahoma State -26 over UTSA
5) Cincinnati -8 over Illinois
6) Tulane -6 over South Alabama
7) San Diego State +28 over Ohio State
8) Bowling Green -7.5 over Kent State
- Record So Far: 0-0 SU, 0-0 ATS
Sorry this column sucked, it wasn't my fault … I'm out for the season after I blew out my knee celebrating Todd Gurley's touchdown run.
Sept. 3 - Enter Jameis Winston