College Football: Intriguing Storylines of the 2011 Season
Can you hear that rumbling? That sonorous, 90,000+ tympanic building?
Can you smell that sizzling? That smoky, charbroiled, slice of early summer's end frying on fall's impending arrival?
You can taste it, can't you? Icy keg beer washing down breakfast of grilled anything, with a tinge of glory?
See that evil death glare from your significant other as you attempt to catch a fourth straight hour of "College Football Preview Show."
Yes, people, yes. College Football season is nearly upon us.
Here are my favorite, most intriguing, national storylines for the upcoming football season. I'll be delving into the intriguing Big Twenve (*Author's note: my proposed new name for the conference) storylines as well as dissecting the Huskers in further posts, but for now we'll stick big picture.
This time of year the alleged Heisman contenders lists are Twenve deep. Three of the four Heisman finalists from last year return, highlighted by Stanford's Andrew Luck, who turned down millions in order to return to school and LaMichael James, who is the most electric player in the most electric offense. Electric. Had to say it one more time.
One of the lead horses in the race, and I do mean horse, is Boise State's Kellen Moore. With a grill that's more horseface than Heisman and with a fat stack of money in his pockets after spending the summer working in Disney's Secretariat as a stunt double for the title character, Moore could be a beast next year.
Even with Luck's team losing a good deal of talent and their fiery head coach, and with James' team in the NCAA investigators' crosshairs, you would have to think that those two are the favorites with Moore trailing a length behind.
As past year's have shown us, don't discount a first time Heisman ceremony invitee, either. After all, this time last year Cam Newton was simply a professional athlete and amateur computer thief. Keep your eyes on Alabama's Trent Richardson, Oklahoma's duo of Ryan Broyles and Landry Jones, or even an Oklahoma State Cowboy like Brandon Weeden or Justin Blackmon to have big years.
National Title Hunt:
The chances of an Auburn title burned down further than a James Franco blunt when Cam Newton announced he'd be taking a pay cut and heading to the NFL. The SEC, always one of the strongest conferences in the country, looks to be loaded with contenders again. Alabama, under the tutelage of the man I believe is the best coach in the country, should be an insanely tough matchup. (*Author's note: in all fairness, I firmly told anyone who would listen this exact same thing last year, predicting an undefeated run, and Saban's squad somehow managed to inexplicably lose three games)
However, the SEC has turned into a football version of Rocky II, where all the teams just surrealistically beat the hell out of each other until someone staggers to their feet, throws their arms in the air and bleeds all over the title belt. We'll have to see if someone can make it out of the brutal in-conference schedule but if they do, the term "battle-tested" will be far overused but, essentially, the best way to describe the situation.
The aforementioned Sooners have weighty expectations as well. Offensively, they're loaded. Defensively, they'll be very good. Stoops' defenses rarely play around. The trouble with Oklahoma and fellow Big Twen (*Author's note: my proposed name for the disintegrating catastrophe that was the Big 12) school Texas A&M that also finds itself ranked very highly, is that they usually fold like origami paper when they find themselves at or near the top of the polls.
Wisconsin, Florida State, Virginia Tech, and LSU are certainly all intriguing teams but, as in the Heisman race, this year's race to the National Championship is pretty open.
Cheater, Cheaters, and Cheating
An unfortunately tired topic, and to think the season hasn't even started yet, has been the fact that seemingly everyone has decided to cheat their asses off.
North Carolina's program seems dirtier than the sheets in the bedroom of Jersey Shore: Season 4, Miami's program essentially let their players live their lives like it was Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (*Author's note: You just know someone in Hollywood has already started writing the newest installment in the Bad Boys franchise, with an overly ripped Will Smith and an overly screechy and nearing 50-year-old Martin Lawrence chasing after Nevin Shapiro's limousine full of hookers, high quality coke, and the entire starting 22 for the University of Miami).
Ohio State let their players sell trophies for tats in a modern, thugged up version of the barter system, and I feel relatively certain that every single coach in America would run from Yahoo! Sports' investigative reporting team like a freshman frat boy dipping on the police from his first college kegger.
College football is almost here. You can taste the 9 a.m. beers. You can hear the guy four rows back swearing up and down that the other team has been sleeping with the line judge's wife. You can smell the tailgating, unless you've been snorting down Columbia's finest with the Miami squad and it's time to sit back and enjoy.
You know I will.
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