Everyone and their brother (and their brother’s blog) is posting lists these days.
Five of this, 10 of that, Top 20s, Top 30s, etc., etc.
Well, I want to get in on the list action.
So here’s my list of 10 things I’m eager to see this fall...in no particular order.
1. Tim Tebow
Many NFL analysts believe Florida’s quarterback isn’t a good fit for the pro game. I’m one of those who thinks he’s an unbelievable talent and will thrive. The man has thrown for 67 touchdowns and only 11 interceptions in his career. A two-to-one ratio is considered “good.”
But will Scott Loeffler’s work on Tebow’s mechanics make him a better pro prospect? Or will they foul up a good thing that was already working very well on the college level?
2. Stephen Garcia
This is a make or break year for Carolina’s oft-troubled quarterback. Garcia has the best résumé of any signal caller Steve Spurrier has been able to lure to Columbia. Getting that talent to translate into on-the-field success has been the issue.
This spring, his teammates spoke of a new level of leadership and seriousness from the QB. Does that mean he’ll finally be ready to put an end to USC’s quarterback carousel?
3. Bryce Brown
He was the nation’s No. 1 recruit, and out of nowhere he signed with Tennessee. Lane Kiffin has already compared his potential to that of Reggie Bush. Around the UT campus, coaches are saying that he already knows the Vols’ playbook as well as players currently on the squad.
They’ve also said privately that they hope the NFL doesn’t change their rules and allow players to start leaving college after their sophomore years.
Sounds great, but does UT have anyone who can block for him?
4. Dan Mullen’s Offense
The former Florida offensive coordinator has installed a version of the Urban Meyer spread at Mississippi State. The question is: What version? Without explosive playmakers, Mullen will have to make due with what he has—lots of tight ends and a solid running back in Anthony Dixon.
Last year I was eager to see what Houston Nutt and Kent Austin could cook up design-wise...now I want to see what the guy on the other side of the state can do.
5. Gus Malzahn’s Offense
Malzahn was supposedly stifled for a year at Arkansas. Then he turned Tulsa into a scoring machine. The eye-popping numbers his squad put up last year landed him the Auburn gig just a few months removed from Tony Franklin—another spread guy—being canned at midseason.
Quarterbacks Kodi Burns and Neil Caudle haven’t shown that they can run the spread...yet. If they can’t and things get off to a slow start, will there be any negative carry-over from fans who didn’t like the spread last year? (You betcha.)
6. John Chavis’ Defense
At Tennessee, Chavis was known as a solid tactician and expert motivator. Not an ace recruiter, “Chief” is an old-time football coach, hard-nosed and loved by his players. Now he’ll take over an LSU defense that has more talent than his last few Volunteer squads.
But he’ll not only have to install his aggressive system, he’ll also have to instill some confidence in a unit that stumbled badly last year. So the question remains: What will LSU get when they combine great talent with a much-respected D coordinator?
7. Alabama Fans’ Reaction...
To the Tide taking a step back this year. In many respects, Alabama overachieved last year. That’s not a knock; they have one of the country’s top three coaches. But I believe it will be difficult for a team with a new quarterback and a rebuilt offensive line to duplicate a 12-2 season in 2009.
Which means Tide fans will be disappointed. How will they react to a probable tiny step backwards? We shall see.
8. Jevan Snead
NFL draft analyst Mike Detillier has Snead ranked as the No. 1 pro prospect in next year’s draft. He’s being featured everywhere from magazines to SportsCenter. Last year he proved to be an excellent team leader who got better and better as the season wore on. So what can he do for a follow-up?
Like Ole Miss in general, I have a fear that the hype cart might be just a hair in front of the horse right now.
9. Lane Kiffin’s Mouth
If Tennessee’s coach can generate this much media coverage and this much bad blood during football’s offseason, what will he be able to accomplish during the season? There’s no telling what he might say in the heat of a post-game interview or on an SEC conference call leading up to gameday.
So go ahead and change the title of this list...these are nine things I want to SEE and one thing that I want to HEAR.
10. Georgia’s “Team”
With Matthew Stafford and Knowshon Moreno on the roster, the Bulldogs were picked by the national media as last year’s preseason national title favorites. Three losses later and not so much as a conference title, and Athens was left with quite a few grumblers.