Have you ever wondered what you would say if you walked down the aisle in an airplane and suddenly discovered that you were fortuitously sitting next to one of college football’s top stars?
Yes, what if you dragged your carry-on down the aisle of fate and found out that Johnny Manziel or Jadeveon Clowney was the 6B to your 6A on the 6:45 to Dallas?
After exchanging niceties, finding your seat belt under Aaron Murray’s butt and helping Teddy Bridgewater shove his backpack under the seat in front of him, what would you say?
Yes friend, you are about to get one hour and 45 minutes with one of the biggest names in the game, so what’s the game plan in terms of conversation with your seat buddy?
The following slideshow makes this easy—should the situation arise—by offering up a single provocative question for 14 of college football’s biggest stars for 2013.
Think of it as a gentle guide, a beacon of glowing light and a helpful friend in a time of need.
“How much pressure do you feel to carry the Buckeyes' offense?”
If you wind up sitting next to Ohio State’s Braxton Miller on the way to Cleveland, you may want to ask him how he feels about being the guy responsible for 65 percent of the Buckeyes' offense.
Yes, Braxton Miller’s 2,039 yards passing combined with his 1,271 rushing in 2012 amounted to a full 65 percent of Ohio State’s 5,085 total yards last season.
So perhaps between the peanuts and drink service you might want to ask Braxton how it feels to have the weight of Buckeye nation on his broad shoulders.
Especially coming into a season when Ohio State is set to be heralded as the No. 1 team in the nation.
“Are you really, really, really the starting QB at Texas in 2013…seriously?"
Since the last time Texas had a named starter at QB coming into the season was in 2009 when Colt McCoy laced it up for his final campaign, it seems fair to ask David Ash if he’s really the guy in 2013.
Yes, David, will Mack Brown seriously stick with one guy or will he flip flop and will his wandering eye look provocatively in Case McCoy’s direction?
Maybe you should hand Ash the air-sick bag when you serve up this delightful query…
“Since Louisville’s schedule is easier in its final year as a member of the Big East/American Athletic than say a Big 12/Pac-12 or SEC slate can you really argue that your team deserves a shot at the BCS title if you go undefeated?”
Though you might want to make sure you’re in the aisle seat with a clear exit strategy to the lavatory, wouldn’t it be interesting to get Louisville QB Teddy Bridgewater’s take on the Cardinals final slate before moving to the ACC?
Yes, wouldn’t it be fascinating to see what Teddy says about a potential scenario that has the 2013 season ending with three undefeated teams?
Indeed, let’s say that Georgia goes undefeated and wins the SEC, Ohio State closes out a Big Ten title and a perfect run and Louisville cleans its slate as well.
Well, Teddy, who goes to the BCS championship?
Is it Georgia who Phil Steele—in his epic preseason magazine for 2013—says will play the No. 23-ranked schedule in terms of difficulty? Is it Ohio State which has a slate that ranks No. 67? Or is it Louisville which earns a No. 98 ranking as per Senior Steele?
“Do you really think a DE from South Carolina has a shot in hell at winning the Heisman trophy? And, if not what will take for another defender to win the Heisman without posting any offensive yards?”
“Ummm…excuse me, Mr. Clowney, but, well, do think you can really win the Heisman…and aren’t you a bit misled by the fact that, given the importance of defense, that there is only one true defender in history to win the prize?”
Really, this one is fairly self-explanatory.
Pass the peanuts, please…
"You're such a tool...but I like what you got going on with your hair..."
“Have you ever seen Nick Saban do his hair?”
I’m not going to lie to you, Alabama’s Nick Saban has a sweet little poufy business going on with his hair.
Yes friend, how does he do it?
Well, who better to ask than Crimson Tide QB AJ McCarron? The signal caller surely has seen Saban whip up his coiffure at least once in the Alabama locker room.
“Now that Chip Kelly is gone and the future of Oregon football is in question, do you resent not getting more touches as a freshman and sophomore?”
Though Thomas will likely be the go-to guy at Oregon this season in terms of the slot-back position, looking back at his career thus far it’s pretty easy to see that he hasn’t been over-utilized.
Yes, in 2012 Kenjon Barner got the ball 279 times while Thomas was handed the pill a paltry 92 times.
To put this further into perspective, QB Marcus Mariota ran the ball 106 times and freshman Byron Marshall got 87 touches last season.
With the way that Thomas’s name was thrown around the Heisman conversation last year, and is part of the preseason lists this season, you have to wonder if he is just 100 carries shy of a legit campaign for the bronze statue?
“How many of the first six games of the 2013 season do you think you need to win to keep the starting job at Oklahoma?”
Though you’ve got to figure that QB Blake Bell will be the starter coming into the season for Oklahoma, what’s yet to be seen is how precarious his position will be if the Sooners get off to a poor start this year.
Yes, keep in mind that Bell will lead a team that ranks No. 98 nationally in terms of returning starters and No. 110 in experience in Phil Steele’s comprehensive preseason magazine.
The truth of the matter is this is a young team which will either make Bell look like a hero or a villain.
And based on the Sooner’s schedule, it won’t take long to find out which role he’ll play in the 2013 Oklahoma football drama.
The Sooners opening salvo includes games vs. ULM, West Virginia, Tulsa, at Notre Dame, vs. TCU and then vs. Texas in Dallas.
It’s seems pretty safe to say after the first six games of the season we’ll know if Bell is under center to stay or instead if he relegated back to being the “Bell dozer” in short-yardage situations near the opponent’s end zone.
This is another question where the aisle seat might come in handy.
“Have you ever been to El Paso?”
Hidden somewhere among the recent storylines of Johnny Manziel’s potential suspension before the 2012 season and his subsequent transfer aspirations is the fact that Johnny Football wasn’t even the starter at Texas A&M until a couple of weeks before the opening kickoff.
Yes, according to the student paper at Texas A&M, the Battalion, Manziel wasn’t named the starter until Aug. 15, 2012 which was just over two weeks before the Aggies were set to start the season.
Even more interesting is the fact that the guy he beat out, Jameill Showers—who according to the same article led the race to become the starter after spring football in 2012—wound up transferring.
Where is Showers now?
Well, according to an article posted on SI.com this past February, Showers is on his way to UTEP.
So, if Manziel loses out to Showers, or if he winds up suspended, Showers is the starter and gone are the first-ever Heisman by a freshman and potentially the 6-2 SEC finish along with the epic win over Alabama.
Where does that leave Johnny Football?
Well, perhaps at UTEP…
“Do you wish you would have signed with Ohio State instead of Clemson?”
Even though Tajh Boyd has done magnificently during his two seasons as the starting QB at Clemson, have you ever wondered where he would be right now if he had chosen to go a different direction?
Yes, according to Rivals.com Boyd had his fair share of offers coming into the college ranks, a cornucopia which included Kansas State, Oregon, Penn State, Virginia Tech and Ohio State.
Though there are plenty of questions to ask Boyd based on the variety of programs listed, it would be intriguing to investigate how Boyd’s back-to-back 3,800 passing yards seasons would have looked at Ohio State.
Yes, where would Boyd be now if he had posted the same numbers at Ohio State, the program tied with Notre Dame for the most Heisman trophies in history?
I’m not saying, Tajh, I’m just saying...
“With 1,929 yards rushing as a sophomore in 2012, why weren’t you even on the Heisman radar?”
It’s almost unreal that a guy could reel off almost 2,000 rushing yards as a sophomore, at a BCS school, and be completely off the Heisman radar.
But, Arizona’s Ka’deem Carey is that guy.
Carey’s 1,929 yards made him the most productive carrier in the nation in 2012 and his yards-per-game figure of 148.38 was also tops in the FBS ranks.
To put Carey’s achievement into historical perspective, the all-time record for most rushing yards in a single season came back in 1988 when Oklahoma State’s Barry Sanders racked up 2,628 yards.
The difference between the two stellar performances is that where Carey carried the ball 303 times, Sanders got it done with 344, a full 41 more touches.
So, Carey, what’s it gonna take to get your name out there…2,300 yards?
“Why does it seem like you’ve been at Nebraska for eight years?”
Even though 2013 represents what is QB Taylor Martinez’s legit senior season at Nebraska, is it just me or does it seem like he’s been there since the late 1980s?
Seriously, it would be interesting to see if Martinez feels like his four years as a Cornhusker are as long as they seem to some of the rest of us.
“Would Florida have won the SEC last season if you would have signed with the Gators?”
With the No. 5-ranked scoring defense in the nation in 2012 vs. the No. 78-ranked scoring offense, it’s pretty safe to say that Florida’s issue last season concerned putting points on the board.
To put a finer point on things, the Gators O finished 2012 ranked No. 118 in passing yards vs. No. 39 in rushing making the aerial attack the real deficit in the offensive mix.
So, what does Georgia QB Aaron Murray have to do with Florida’s offensive woes last season?
Well, along with the offer to sign with Georgia back when Murray came out of Plant High School in Tampa, Fla. in 2009, as per Rivals.com, was an offer to play for the Gators.
This leads us to wonder how Murray, who was the No. 2-ranked passer in the entire FBS last season, would have done with the Gators, especially in 2012.
“Is Lane Kiffin the right guy at USC?”
This is the question that begs to be answered at USC, and it is the question that will likely be asked and answered if the Trojans don’t manage nine or 10 wins in 2013.
So, why not ask USC speedster Marqise Lee—who finished the 2012 season third in the nation in all-purpose yards as a sophomore—what he thinks about Kiffin?
Honestly, Lee’s individual triumphs at the college level might depend on how successful Kiffin is at righting the ship at USC.
“Do you think the FBS should be split into two subdivisions?”
In case you forgot, QB Jordan Lynch was the super stud who led Northern Illinois to a MAC title and an unbelievable run to the BCS Orange Bowl in 2012.
It was the first time a MAC team had ever ascended to a BCS bowl.
Lynch’s 3,138 yards passing and 1,815 yards rushing as a junior in 2012 made him more productive than Ohio State’s Braxton Miller last season and just 163 yards shy of Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel's total output.
But, what was this kid playing for other than a MAC title and the desperate hope, against all hopes, for a nod from the elitist BCS?
Seriously, wouldn’t you love to ask a guy like Jordan Lynch—who would have won the Heisman if he had been at a BCS school last season—what he thinks about potentially splitting the FBS into two separate but equal subdivisions?
Yes, then he and other guys like him could legitimately play for a national title instead of pretending the current system offers an equal shot for all 126 teams theoretically competing for the crystal football.