Michigan- So the free press comes out claiming that Michigan is going over the allotted amount of time for NCAA workouts. Well color me surprised. You're telling me playing football at an extremely high level involves a significant amount of time commitment? Here's the first thing, we really need to examine the terms mandatory and voluntary. From personal experience on a Sunday (for example) after a game once you combine the training room, workouts, film, training table, and more film, I could see how these "mandatory" hours pile up. As they say, these things are not mandatory, but neither is playing time. Which brings me to my rage filled point. You're a division I football player at one of the most storied programs in American football. Meaning, you have your education paid for IN FULL, and you are typically afforded conveniences not seen by the general student population. So spare me the pity party. If you don't like it, quit. Truth be told I think this goes on at any major CFB program.
Ok, now on to the fun part
Several sleeper teams, I'll keep it brief.
Georgia Tech- 10 returners on offense and 8 on the Defense, plus they still have Dwyer and Nesbit. The other thing you have to realize that PJ had about 40% of his offense installed. Again, I encourage you to look at what he was doing at Georgia Southern. (here is O-line coach Mike Sewak's version) Long story short, a better grasp of the offense plus the cluster F known as the ACC, and it's easy to see GT challenging for a conference title. Did I mention the flexbone?
LSU- I honestly don't know what to think about the Bayou Bengals. On one hand they are a sleeper, on the other they are overrated. I still think they are a year or two away from being MNC contenders Seven returners on offense, and the defense is going to be nasty, Cajun nasty. In the end I think F-ing some shit up for other SEC teams mainly because they are a premiere program in the country. (Miles is...dare I say...underrated). Perhaps that Oct. 10th game against the Florida Tebows in Baton Rouge is more than we think? The QB situation is the thing holding them back, but who knows if that Shepard kid steps up and fulfills the hype. Either way they have a center named T-bob, and a Tackle with the last name of Barksdale. These are things not to be overlooked.
Arkansas- Just a gut feeling, they have a lot of guys coming back. I think Mallet is one of the better, QB's in the country, (BEST pro prospect) and although he's a dickhead, Petrino is a good coach. They won't win anything of significance because their SEC schedule is criminal, but it will be interesting to see how they play.
ND-Schedule. But to be fair, ND has had a rough go in terms of schedules in past years.
Mid majors- BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall recently claimed "BYU would be competitive week in and week out in the Pac-10 Big 10 (11)" Agreed Bronco, but you know who else is competitive? Purdue, Cal, Iowa, and Arizona State. We have Boise, BYU, TCU....and ok fine, Southern Miss as threats to become BCS busters this year. The only problem is that being competitive isn't enough, there is a reason those conferences have auto bids. Now, I was on the Boise bandwagon before anyone else, the mid majors have done extremely well in BCS games, but I wonder if they end up in BCS bowls if they had to play a major conference schedule? I don't know. I mean if Boise wins tonight they have a straight shot to going undefeated this year, but again when the fighting highlighters is your premiere game something is wrong. Basically this is a roundabout way of saying I hate the BCS.
SEC- On Saturday the SEC will defend it's crown of resident CFB ass-kickers. I called them out, and it's time for me to pay the fiddler. I'm pretty sure Bama and UGA will win both games, and we'll all get to hear about it. Maybe, UGA is overrated and maybe VT completes a pass, but I just have a bad feeling. My main point in this is that think for a second if we had a playoff system and conference schedules took precedence. We might see more traditional match ups of conferences. Big 12 south vs. SEC west? ACC Vs. SEC? Big 12 North vs. Big 10 (11)
The "spread"- Once you get over how you actually define spread (ranging from Florida's single wing flavor, Michigan/Oregon's option sauce, Texas Tech's modern West Coast deal, and the last bastion of the run n' shoot SMU) it's an interesting dynamic to look at. trotting out 4wr's used to be reserved for the likes of Kentucky, Purdue, and Texas Tech in order to compensate for personnel deficiencies. Now everyone runs some form of it, hell even tOSU is blaspheming in the house of Woody. It seems that the spread has moved from a talent equalizer to a talent maximizer.
Football history tells us that DC's will figure it out and the offenses will evolve again. The only question is where it will head. Some argue that the game will become more spread. I tend to disagree. Football is the ultimate chess match more than any other game, well except for chess. The one thing about football is that while there is room for a great amount of creativity, one is handcuffed by certain limitations. Teams can only have a certain amount of eligible receivers (6) vertical threats (5, leaving you with one runner) certain ways to receive a snap (physics) and men on the LOS (7). At some point the laws and doctrines of defensive fronts and coverages become apparent and the defense will simply stop spreading with you, at this point the defense WILL have a numbers advantage at the point of the snap, and the offense better have a war daddy back there in order to make things go.
In order to see these trends we all need to disregard the USC's tOSU's and ND's of the world. No we have to look at teams who are perennial bottom dwellers and need to compensate for a lack of recruiting. My prediction is that at some point some coach will see those 6 DB type players trotting on the field and raise them the old buck/belly series. (although it will most likely be the cooler, sexier Jet/fly series...look at what Oregon State and Wake Forest are doing) Watch out if PJ has some success at GT, the veer may make a huge comeback. (hoping for the split back variety) We have to deal with this on a weekly basis in high school, but at some point some OC is going to look at all these bastardized fronts/coverages and figure out how to smoke them. Point is I don't know, and neither does anyone else. That's the great thing about football (ON TONIGHT!!!) We can have a beer...ok several....fine, like six....ok starting at 10 am.. and enjoy everything that is good in life.