With the 2008 college football season now behind us, one has to wonder what is in store for 2009.
Some speculate that 2009 will be even better. I, for one, agree with that sentiment. Therefore, I give you my top four reasons for the 2009 college football season to trump all the glory and greatness that was 2008.
4. The use of younger players.
Right about now you are probably scratching your head and wondering, “How can younger players be mature enough and know the game well enough to give us a better season in 2009?”
To counter that statement, I give you prime examples one, two, and three: 1) Julio Jones, 2) A.J. Green, and 3) Travis Lewis.
Jones led the Crimson Tide in receptions, yardage, and receiving touchdowns. Green led UGA in receiving yards, with nearly 1,000, and added an astounding eight touchdowns. Lewis led the national champion contender Oklahoma Sooners in tackles with 136, including 12 for loss, and four interceptions.
All three accomplished great things in just their freshman campaigns. Do you not think that the game will begin to see more and more young guys step up, especially with many players bypassing the ends of their college careers to enter the NFL Draft?
At one time freshman players were not even allowed to play with upperclassmen. Now they are making some of the loudest noise you will see in the game.
Look for such players as D.J. Fluker, 6’7” 350-lb. OT, Reuben Randle, 6’3” 195-lb. WR, and Devon Kennard, 6’3” 257-lb. DE, to make an impact on the college game from the time they step onto campus in 2009.
3. The unanswered questions will be answered.
Several questions have come forth following the 2008 season.
First, can Florida repeat?
They have all the tools in place, including a Heisman trophy winner, a two-time national championship coach at the helm, and a team of seniors that have already won the title twice.
Winning three championships in four years would place Florida as one of the premier dynasties among college football history, and certainly the best team over the past 20 seasons. Somewhere, there should be Gators praising Steve Spurrier like no one’s business.
Second, can Big Game Bob actually win a big game?
Chants of OSWho have now been simplified to OWho, as Oklahoma has replaced Ohio State as being the team everyone wishes to receive as a foe come BCS bowl time.
With a great returning squad and a coach who has won a national championship already, the only thing remaining is to get that monkey off the back and bring respect back to Norman. I believe the championship is not out of reach, but sooner than later they must take hold of it.
Third, can Charlie Weis continue to bring Notre Dame out of the depths of ruin?
As mentioned in my previous article, having Notre Dame succeed is a benefit to college football as a whole. Whether you like the Irish or not, having them succeed helps college football succeed.
Winning their first bowl game since the early '90s, Weis has slowly but surely restored some hope within the Fighting Irish family. Can he improve upon last year’s success, or was it simply a flash in the pan and a teaser of yesteryear’s glory?
Will Bobby Bowden surpass JoePa? Will Mark Richt finally win the SEC? Will Pete Carroll finally make it through Pac-10 play unscathed, or will USC’s season be spoiled at the hands of another underdog?
There are many more questions surrounding the impending season, but time will not allow for all of them. Having so much to anticipate will leave us drooling all summer long and impatiently twitching until these questions are answered.
2. The competitiveness and acknowledgment of coaches.
Don’t get me wrong, coaches have always held a high profile position. However, it seems that the game is producing better coaches with each passing year, and those coaches are gaining an increase in recognition.
Urban Meyer has cemented his name into the historical greatness of college football coaches by winning his second national title.
Nick Saban’s process has revived a team from the mediocrity of college football to a team that once again has hope and determination to be more than just average.
Georgia Tech’s Paul Johnson is at work himself, waking what could be a sleeping giant.
In addition, no team can afford to overlook the effectiveness Houston Nutt has had at taking a team from 0-8 in conference play to a real contender in just his first season in Oxford.
Pete Carroll continues to bring one of the best teams to play, year-in and year-out.
Mack Brown has solidified his spot by continued success at Texas, and a record that does not lie. The man has never won fewer than nine games in a single season since taking over the reins in Austin.
As a whole, there are currently 12 head coaches with national championship rings to sport. Moreover, many current head coaches have won titles as assistants, and a few coaches have even led their team to undefeated seasons. When you add it all up, that makes for a competitive field.
1. The return of two Heisman Memorial Trophy winners.
Who can tell me the last time there were two Heisman Trophy winners playing in the same season? Anyone?
Unless my calculations are incorrect, there have never been two in the game at the same time.
Tim Tebow won the award as a sophomore, becoming the first to ever accomplish that feat. Sam Bradford also won the award as a sophomore. Both will be forgoing the NFL draft to make this the first occurrence in the history of the game.
All previous winners were either a junior or a senior, thus eliminating the possibility of playing the next season with a previous winner.
I believe this is a very significant occurrence and something we may become more accustomed to if the impact of younger players leads to the commencement of winning the award as a sophomore and electing to remain in college until graduation.
Will one of these two win the Heisman again? Their chances are both good.
One thing is for sure, though. Tebow and Bradford will both fight to lead their teams to play in Pasadena in January 2010.
A rematch, perhaps? One could only hope to see these two meet again somewhere before it is all said and done.
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