Countdown to Football

33 Days

The 10 Most Interesting Questions of the 2011 Season

10. Does the media argue that the SEC does not deserve a spot in the BCS championship game if that SEC team has one loss?  

Thanks to NCAA investigations, sanctions, and doom hammers, numerous teams will struggle to put together a competitive team this year.  The Pac 10 was once ruled by USC.  The Big 10 was once ruled by Ohio State.  Those two teams are most likely done.  Oregon is facing serious NCAA investigations which may surface during the season.  If they do, expect Oregon to falter.

That leaves the door open for a very good Stanford team to win the Pac 12.  Not to mention, Wisconsin returns numerous starters from a team that almost went undefeated last year, so their path to the Big 10(+2) championship is relatively easy.

If Stanford, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, and/or someone else to be named later go undefeated, will the media argue against the SEC despite the tremendously high level of competition in the conference?

9.  Who emerges from the ACC?  

I’m not one that believes the ACC sucks just because it’s the ACC.  Virginia Tech, Florida State, and Miami have all in the last 15 years proven to be national powerhouse programs.

It’s not a stretch to see one of them return to the national spotlight.

My bet is on Florida State.

8.  How many coaching vacancies will their be after this season?

Coaching changes are always a hot topic in December and January.

But this season is a whole new level of heat.

Already (if February begins the new year of college football), we have seen Jim Tressell, Butch Davis, and Bill Stewart let go from their head coaching positions.

All three were involved in serious controversies involving the NCAA, and all three were familiar, important faces in college football.

Also on the chopping block – Chip Kelly at Oregon.

Throw in the typical hot seats for not performing (Mark Richt, Paul Wulff, Greg Schiano, Rick Neuheisal) and you have a very large field of open positions at FBS programs.

Not to mention, who knows who will take off to the NFL or who else the NCAA finds to be unfit for their rulebook.

7.  How good will Florida be?

Make no mistake about it.  Florida’s struggles last season were not indicative of their talent.

They have dominated recruiting for years, and they still have numerous NFL prospects all over the field.

Will Muschamp may be in over his head, but what if he’s not?

Since 1990, Florida has had four seasons of poor performances.  Three of those was due to an inept coach.

The point is that Florida knows how to win.  They rarely make bad hires, and Muschamp doesn’t face the issue of coming from Spurrier’s or Meyer’s staff.  The expectations on him are not like Ron Zook who was expected to continue on Spurrier’s program.

6.  What’s up with Texas?

Texas markets itself as the biggest name in college football.

Ask any Texas fan about recruiting.  They have need to cheat because Texas players who are vastly more talented (their opinion) than any other state’s are lining up to be a Longhorn.  They cherry pick recruits.

They have the nicest facilities.  They’ve recently expanded their stadium to accomodate over one hundred thousand people, and they reside in one of the nicest cities in the country.

They didn’t make a bowl game last year.

Texas fans place higher expectations on their program than anyone else, and Mack Brown has always been a controversial topic.  He has had consistent success with few down years, but fans have for a long time said he’s unfit for the job.  Many have credited his BCS championship to Vince Young who miraculously pulled out the victory in numerous games that season.

So what’s up with Texas?  Especially if they struggle again while making a push to go independent with their own television network.

5.  How much more fun will the first Saturday in December be?  

A few years ago, there was the SEC championship and the Big 12 championship.

Recently, the ACC added a championship game after their expansion.

And now, we have the Pac 12 championship and the Big 10 (+1) championship.

Although we lost the Big 12 championship game, it will be interesting to see new faces and new locations on December 3rd.

4.  How important was Nebraska to the Big 12, and what do they do for the Big 10(+2)?

Nebraska made the Big 12 championship game 6 times (second most in the conference’s history) and was an annual rivalry game for most teams.

They dominated the mid 90s and seem to be getting back on track to be a national team to deal with.

How much will their departure hurt the Big 12?  And how much will they help the Big 10?

3.  Does Lee Corso come back to College Gameday?  

Admit it.  You love College Gameday on Saturday mornings.  You even love hearing “Coming to Your City” played over and over again throughout the broadcast.

You love Kirk’s elitism, Fowler’s smugness, and Corso’s antics.

You even have grown to love Desmond Howard’s analyses.

This show has been a constant for a very long time.  It signals the start of college football, and while its talking points may be juvenile or ignorant, nothing else creates the atmosphere of a college campus like College Gameday.

And one of College Gameday’s most important elements is Lee Corso.

Picking the mascot at the end.  “Not so fast my friend!”  “Yo!”  The pencil in the ear.

Love him or hate him, Corso is familiar, sentimental face for Saturday mornings.

Last year, at the college football awards, Corso was presented with an oddly timed lifetime achievement award.  Most football fans were choked up to see Corso’s speech.  After a recent stroke, Corso has struggled with articulation and has been rather absent minded.

Many have speculated that he may not be returning.

What a sad day that will be if he really isn’t on campus come September 3rd.

2.  Will bloggers, message boards, and the NCAA ruin the season?  

I covered this more in depth a few days ago, but I feel like it’s an important question going in.

I shouldn’t blame the NCAA or bloggers or message boards.

But once the season starts, I really don’t care about NCAA infractions.  I don’t care who’s been cheating.  I don’t care about lawyers, Paul Finebaum’s opinion, or Danny Sheridan’s predictions.

I just want football.  I want to see preseason predictions come true or fail.  I want to watch all of the hyped up players meet expectations or fail.  I want to discuss the world of football with my friends while drinking a beer on a Wednesday night – pretty much the only night you can’t find some kind of football on.

What else will happen with rumors, innuendos, and the NCAA?  We all saw what happened in the nation with the Cam Newton allegations.  Nothing concrete ever came from that.  Yet everyone but Auburn fans have a sour taste in their mouth because of it.

Let’s hope that doesn’t happen again to any team in football.

1.  Who will put together the best team in football? 

It’s the number 1 question every year.  Who has the talent, the coaching, the will, the determination, and the preparation to be the champion?

We have our preseason predictions.  They rarely come true.

So who will it be?

It’s the most interesting question of the 2011 season.

33 Days

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