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What We Learned From the 2008 College Football Season

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Not since the decision to yank Family Guy for That '80s Show (among others) has a broadcasting company made such a mockery of its programming. Not only does the network not cover college football on a regular basis (save the small talk around the couches on Sunday afternoons to discuss the BCS standings with the NFL crew), but the hit parade of play-by-play and color commentators was terrible. The camera work was awkward, the graphics were cheesy, and the commentary was subpar for the (alleged) elite games of the college football season. Fox should stick to ruining shows like 24 and American (Sham) Idol. Just leave college football to the other networks. Except CBS – you suck, too!

Florida’s Run Is far From Over
Percy Harvin and Brandon Spikes are probably gone. Phil Trautwein and Jason Watkins on the offensive line are gone. However, the Gators return a bunch of the defensive starters and a group of younger guys began to assert their influence on the offensive side late in the season. Dan Mullen, offensive coordinator who will take over head coaching at Mississippi State, is a loss, but Meyer has proven he can put the right assistants in place to make that machine work. Charlie Strong (defensive coordinator) is coming back. In his month of prep time, he dismantled a much ballyhooed Oklahoma offense, proving once again how valuable he can be. Plus that Tim Tebow guy is solid, I think. *wink wink, nudge nudge

Pete Carroll and Southern California=Bridesmaids More than Brides
Pete Carroll and USC may go down in history as the best almost team ever. No other team gets the love from the pundits only to not finish number 1. No doubt that the SC defense is loaded with potential NFL talent. The offense, while up and down some this season, has a backfield with more stars than the latest Paramount Pictures release. However, with the notable exceptions of 2004 and 2005 (with a win in ’04 and a close loss in ’05 championship games), USC can be counted on to blow a game to the middle of the road team each year. Until the Pac-10 expands or brings in better teams (Utah would be a good start), USC may be on the outside looking in for a while. I am also beginning to think Pete Carroll may never go back to the NFL and I cannot say I blame him.

6-6 vs. 7-5 is BORING!
Sorry, but there is nothing interesting about these games played all over the map in late December. Outside of the local area of the schools, no one cares nationally either. And the money is not even that great on lesser bowls, so I still challenge the worthwhile of such games and matchups.

David Is Killing Goliath on a Regular Basis
We all remember that epic Fiesta Bowl between Boise State and Oklahoma. We all remember that big West Virginia win against the Sooners as well. (What’s up with you in the BCS, Bob Stoops?) This year we got Utah over Alabama. While this is fun (especially for fans of the David team), it is also as played out as flannel board lesson plans. I can also argue that Oregon State over Southern California is another example, except Oregon State is a little bigger deal than Utah – for now. Point is, the “big boys” of college football should make some room at the table for smaller programs who are consistently in your face and putting up impressive wins and seasons.

Youth is No Excuse for Not Winning
Florida won a BCS Championship with a load of freshmen and sophomores. Alabama won 12 games playing a bunch of freshmen. Notre Dame, Auburn, and many others blame problems on youth, inexperience, and lack of depth. Give me a break! It is simply a matter of coaches who can, well, coach! It also says if a team consistently brings in top talent, they will be successful fast. I believe the days of bringing in talent that needs to be coached up without a few stars in the mix are pretty much over. As I wrote in a previous entry, successful teams recruit some serious star players to go along with the other guys to fill out the roster. They also coach extremely well when it matters most.

Coaches Be Warned – Institutions Are Not Playing Around
In the best We’re Not Gonna Take It moment of 2008, Boston College Athletic Director Gene De Filippo fired Head Coach Jeff Jagodzinski for looking at greener pastures (if that is what you can call the NY Jets) and violating a clause in his contract. In December 2007, West Virginia sued former coach Rich Rodriguez laying the precedent for this move by Boston College. BC and AD Filippo’s move was met with a lot of support. That gives me hope for the country; maybe we have not completely lost our minds by having our higher education institutions hold employees to their word and contract. What a concept!

Though this year was not the most exciting and ended with a bit of a fizzle in the bowls, college football continues to grow its fan base and is certainly worth watching to see what the 2009 season holds.

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About J. Newcastle


    I thought Ohio State is the “elephant” of ALMOST of any D-1 in recent memory. Twice to the NC and sucked big time. At least SC won 2….what has Ohio State done lately – nothing

  • Good point, Steve. I give The Sweater credit for going with Pryor this year even though he clearly wasn’t ready for it.

  • I think that OSU is one of the best, but not THE best. Any team that keeps making it into the BCS is good, even if they lose. Remember, last year we were never meant to be in the BCS, we were placed in it because other teams lost

  • Ohio State and Southern California share something in common: both play in conferences that are winnable every year.

    Neither the Big 10 nor the PAC 10 is the meat grinder of the SEC or the offensive juggernaut of the Big 12.

  • How does a conference that beats itself up any better then one that has a clear topdog?

  • “How does a conference that beats itself up any better then one that has a clear topdog?”

    Two reasons:
    1)The clear top dog in the PAC 10 and the Big 10 is usually light years ahead of the rest of the conference. While in the SEC or Big 12, there are generally 3-5 teams at the top of the crop. I’ll give you Miss. St., Kentucky, and Vandy are usually cellar dwellers.

    2)Five BCS Championships out of 10 is a pretty strong statement.

    Thanks, Robert. You have given me a great idea for a future write up about each of the conferences.

  • 1) Pac 10 occasionally has another party, but they are mostly USC.
    The big 10, however, usually has three or four top dogs, this year, with a new coach at UM, it was only two.
    OSU, PSU, and UM are always high, NW, W, and MS are often ranked. Big ten is strong, but never with a large number of teams in the top 10. But we had two teams in BCS games, same as SEC and big12

    2) As is 3 in 7 years of coaching like tres has done. Urban (sp) is far better then tres, but OSU deserves to be up there too.

  • “But we had two teams in BCS games, same as SEC and big12.”

    Being there is one thing. Winning is another. Only the PAC 10 can claim the sweep this year. Thanks a lot Alabama!

  • Also, Tres for all his great coaching can’t overcome deficiencies of his team against superior speed.

  • @8
    I disagree, seeing as OSU barely lost when they were a MAJOR underdog. The Pac-10 had ONE team in the BCS, the big 10 had TWO, as did the SEC and BIG 12. That means that the Big 12, SEC, and Big 10 are BETTER CONFERENCES then the Pac 10.

    I think the players are superior at OSU (cept for Tebow, i love that guy)… The main problem is that Tress is far to risky, and until he is willing to gamble and run up the score, we will lose

  • Ohio State, USC and Oklahoma have all been to a record seven BCS games.

    USC: 6-1 (loss to Texas in the NCG)
    Ohio State: 4-3 (lost their last three)
    Oklahoma: 2-5 (lost their last five)

    The SEC has clearly killed in BCS games, save for Alabama.

    More fun stats:

    • Virginia Tech’s win in the Sugar Bowl was the ACC’s first BCS win in nine years.
    • Pac 10 teams not named USC have a 3-3 record in BCS games, and those six games were played by six different teams. So while 20 teams have gone to at least two BCS games, USC’s the only one from the Pac 10 that’s done so. (Oregon State would have been the second)
    • Ohio State hasn’t been to the Rose Bowl in 12 years. Not even a national championship game in Pasadena. Nothing.

  • Thank you, Matt. That will carry a lot more weight with you writing it than me.

    Robert, saying OSU has better athletes than Florida is just wrong, man.

  • I really see little good in most of your players over those at OSU, they are basically eaqual
    Tebow, however, is a god

  • bingbong

    I want to respond to the bit youth is no excuse for not winning. LSU as far as the qb spot goes had nothing in Lee, a redshirted freshman. This I think they finished with a 7-5 record was detrimental. Remember that team went into the season as defending national champs. Essentially, a lack of experience as well as foresight meant only losses this season. Though, around Baton Rouge, I will say, I’ve heard rumors about Coach Miles’s true chops . . .