One of the major stories in College Football this year deals with how Brian Kelly, the former University of Cincinnati Head Coach, handles the pressure of leading the charge in South Bend.
Tonight, another College Football season kicks off with 18 different games around the country. Let the BCS Madness begin baby. Here are the main storylines for the year in my eyes.
– Can Alabama “roll” to a 2nd consecutive National Title?
Though Alabama is returning nearly their entire offense, which features future NFL players like Mark Ingram, Trent Richardson, and Julio Jones, the SEC is a conference that teams live and die on their defensive units. Bama is returning just 2 starters from their vaunted defensive squad of a year ago. In the end, I feel like this team will have a great year, but come up just short due to a lack of experience on the defensive side of the ball. Also realize that no team has ever repeated as National Champion in the 12 year BCS era. It is no easy task.
– Can Terrelle Pryor live up to the hype and bring home the first Heisman to Columbus since Troy Smith, in 2006?
This storyline will also be very key in determining if the Buckeyes can bring home their first National Title since 2002. They have the defense to do it. It is all a matter of if Terrelle Pryor can lead the offense to playing at a National Championship level. There is no rhyme or reason why I or anyone else in America believes in this guy. His stats in his two-year stint in Columbus have been nowhere near a Heisman level. In actuality, they have been quite less than flattering. But the “swagger” of Terrelle Pryor has led me to believe that he can vault to a Heisman Trophy level of play and lead the Buckeyes to the BCS National Title Game.
– Can Boise State be the first non BCS Conference team to bring home a BCS National Title?
First of all, this team went undefeated a year ago. They are returning every starter on both sides of the ball except graduated cornerback, Kyle Wilson. Kellen Moore, who threw for over 3500 yards and had a TD to Interception ratio of 39 to 3 is back. This team is the real deal. And with the non conference schedule they have put together, “if” they go undefeated, they deserve a shot to play for the National Championship as much as anyone. But also realize that they are opening up with the Virginia Tech Hokies. Led by legendary coach Frank Beamer, the Hokies feature perhaps the best rushing attack in the country. Sadly for Boise, I see them losing in Week 1, but this team is definitely the real deal and has a definite chance to play in Arizona for the National Championship if they go undefeated.
– Coaching in South Bend is like coaching the Yankees in Major League Baseball. The pressure is at an all time high every day. The media and fan base are unforgiving and cold. Can Brian Kelly handle the heat better than some of his predecessors?
Brian Kelly is perhaps the most charismatic coach in America. He is a phenomenal salesman and says all the right things. If you have ever heard the expression, “You talk like a man with a paper asshole,” though I am not 100 percent sure what this means, I think it would be the perfect away to describe BK. Brian Kelly not only is smooth off the field though, he produces on the field. This guy won two National Titles at Grand Valley State. He completely turned around an abysmal Central Michigan program and captured a MAC Championship. Then he went to Cincinnati and made the city believers in Bearcat football. During his three-year reign, he won 10 or more games all three years (had not won 10 games in a season in Cincinnati since 1951), two Big East Championships, and sent them to two BCS Bowl games. Coach Kelly has always been known as a mastermind of the spread offense. He will provide fireworks in South Bend with a high-flying, aerial spread attack. But also realize that his partner in crime and his right hand man for nearly 20 years, Jeff Quinn, is now the head coach at Buffalo University. Can BK still put together an offense that puts up 40 plus points a game without his old running mate? Well I will tell you this, Notre Dame has probably their easiest schedule in the past 10 years. These guys could rise back to prominence real fast. Do not be surprised to see a 9 or 10 win season.
– Will an SEC team bring home a 5th consecutive BCS National Championship?
In my eyes, it is a no brainer that this is the best and most elite conference in College Football yet again. No conference really can touch the coaches, the talent, and the overall speed that this conference demonstrates top to bottom. There is a reason why the SEC generally plucks players from the Southeast region, with the vast majority of 4 and 5 star recruits coming from this talent rich region. Why wonder away from home? But I will state this. I believe this is the year that a non SEC school wins the National Title. I feel it is time for the Buckeyes to break through in a National Championship game. It is a gut feeling, but still expect this conference to be the best in the land again.
– Herbies vs the Forde Dash?
Kirk Herbstreit and Pat Forde are both fantastic at what they do. They are well-known analysts for ESPN who do an absolutely outstanding job. They both recently released some of their big thoughts on this upcoming College Football season. Kirk Herbstreit put out the Herbies while Pat Forde put out the Forde Dash. The edge in my eyes goes to the Herbies. Though the Forde Dash is a cool name, the Herbies was easier to follow and I agreed with more of the predictions. But it was a very tough call.
Welcome to College Football folks.
Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.