The 20 Big Questions - No. 9
The 2008 Big Spring Questions
No. 20 - Top 40
No. 16-19 - BCS Busters,
Rule Changes & More
No. 15 -
No. 14 -
Who Could Be This
(breaking through big after a bad year)
No. 13 - 5 Teams That Could
No. 12 -
Who Could Be This Year's
(going from good to special)
No. 11 - Ten Coaches Who
Need Big Seasons
No. 10 - The New Superstar
9. Everyone will be complaining about ...
Get ready for the inevitable backlash. The media (with CFN leading
the parade) will likely overgush about how amazing the SEC is and about how the league's champion probably deserves to play in the
national title game no matter what. Judging from the message boards,
e-mails to us, and the general mood from non-SEC fans, the rest of the
conferences are tired of being Jan Brady, and more than anything
else, they're tired of the SEC not exactly extending itself when it
comes to non-conference games and leaving the southeast part of the country to play.
(SEC fans, I'm just going off the perception and the correspondence from
non-SEC fans. Don't worry, I'll get to the reality next in the "Everyone
Will Be In Love With" portion of the program).
The SEC is loaded again, but it's
top-heavy, so with several teams (like Auburn, Arkansas and Tennessee)
undergoing a bit of a change and probably needing a year to get back to
normal, Alabama and South Carolina good, but hardly elite, and other
teams (like Mississippi State, Kentucky, Ole Miss and Vanderbilt) just
fine, but nothing special, watch how quickly the non-SEC
fans jump all over any opening to fire on the 400-pound gorilla in the
room. While few outside of Los Angeles are questioning whether or not
LSU was the best team in America at the end of last year, other leagues
are going to want the same breaks soon for their two-loss star teams
when it comes to the BCS and the national championship game.
No, Ohio State isn't the Buffalo Bills of the early 1990s, it actually
won a national title a few years ago, a fact that gets lost on just
about everyone, but after two straight national championship game
clunkers, the college football world is going to let out a year-long
collective groan over any success in Columbus.
Reason for the OSU haters
to worry: on talent and returning experience, this is the best team in
America. Sorry, but it is. No one, when it comes to NFL potential,
touches OSU's starting lineup after James Laurinaitis, Alex Boone and
Malcolm Jenkins, all first round draft picks had they left early, chose
Reason for the OSU haters to rejoice: the September 13th trip
to Los Angeles could end the national title dream before it has a chance
to get started. OSU isn't getting any benefit of the doubt this year,
but if it's only loss is a close one to a top three-ranked USC early in
the season, the anti-Buckeye contingent might still need another loss to
make sure Jim Tressel's boys don't end up in Miami.
The BCS ...
But the complaining isn't all going to come from the fans; it's
going to also come from some of the major conferences.
Realizing just how much money is being thrown around in these BCS games,
some the beancounters in the ACC, Big East, and Pac 10 are going to
start wanting a bigger piece of the pie, and why? Recent history.
The little guy now has its chance to go for the multi-million dollar
suitcase with Hawaii, Boise State and Utah getting in over the last four
years (while TCU would've gotten in a few years ago under the current
rules). The non-BCS leagues are appeased ... for the moment. However, in
the ten years since the Rose Bowl, specifically the Big Ten and Pac 10,
joined the BCS party, the Big Ten has sent 16 teams to BCS games getting
in two teams in six of the ten seasons. The SEC has gotten 15 invites,
the Big 12 14, the Pac 10 12, and the ACC and the Big East have received
the minimum of ten automatic BCS berths. In other words, the ACC and Big
East haven't gotten a second team in, and the Pac 10 hasn't sent a
second team to the money show since 2002.
While it's not like the ACC and Big East have been screwed out of a
second BCS slot, since there haven't been any worthy ones to get in, and
the Pac 10 hasn't exactly gone lights out in the Holiday Bowl, the
league's first runner-up prize, that's not the point. The BCS leagues,
all of them, want as much money as they can get, and with the Big East
and Pac 10 not generating the revenue from a conference championship
game, they're going to want more BCS coin.
Enter Jerry Jones.
In 2009, Jones is going to have the world's greatest sports complex when
the $1 billion Cowboys Stadium opens up, and the Cotton Bowl will come
on over playing its first game there in 2010. Jones and Cotton Bowl
bigwigs are going to push hard to make this a fifth BCS bowl game, to go
along with the BCS Championship Game, which will open up two more slots.
Forgetting that it'll mean two above-average teams will play in a
mediocre extra BCS matchup (this year it would've been Arizona State vs.
Boston College), it'll mean two more openings for BCS conferences to get
their teams in, and it'll mean lots and lots of extra money as college
football continues to do everything possible to generate revenue outside
of an obvious playoff system.
The Penn State head coaching situation
Joe Paterno can't be kicked out the door fast enough by the Penn State
higher-ups who realize the transition of power just isn't going to be
smooth. Succession plans are all the rage nowadays, like at Florida State
where Bobby Bowden is turning the reins over to Jimbo
Fisher while still serving as the head of state, but Penn State is in an
uncomfortable situation of trying to figure out its future while still
respecting the past, and even the present.
Paterno has been resistant,
to put it mildly, to giving up the program he made into one of the
models of college athletics, and now there's a problem. How much say
does Paterno get in finding his successor when his bosses would love
nothing more than to start clean, sort of like Michigan did with the
Rich Rodriguez hire? Penn State will be decent again this season, but a
recent slip in recruiting doesn't paint a rosy picture for the immediate future.
USC and the NCAA
For some reason, USC hasn't been nailed with anything regarding the
Reggie Bush situation, and while that time may soon come, it's taking
time. A lonnnnnng time. Meanwhile, the program is just as strong as ever
with loaded recruiting class after loading recruiting class ensuring the
will be in the national title chase for the next several seasons. For
fans of Oklahoma, Alabama, and others who've recently had to deal with NCAA
justice, it seems like the Trojans are getting away with things that
others would be steamrolled for. Whether or not you agree with the NCAA
rules and the violations, if all the Bush allegations are true and USC
is given a mere slap on the wrist, watch for the fan bases of 118 other
programs to go ballistic.
The 2009 NFL quarterback prospects
Curtis Painter, Hunter Cantwell, Cullen Harper, Todd Boeckman, Chase
Daniel, Chase Holbrook, Graham Harrell, Rudy Carpenter. Solid college
passer all, but that sound you'll hear is a big collective yawn coming
from the NFL scouts desperate to restock their league with quarterbacks
who can play. If Tim Tebow and Matthew Stafford choose to return for
their senior seasons, 2009 could be one of the ugliest quarterback
drafts in a long, long time.