College Football Teams We Wish Could Do Hard Knocks in 2016

David KenyonFeatured ColumnistMay 13, 2016

College Football Teams We Wish Could Do Hard Knocks in 2016

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    Cameramen chase Jim Harbaugh and Urban Meyer after games, but we'd like to follow the coaches in fall camp, too.
    Cameramen chase Jim Harbaugh and Urban Meyer after games, but we'd like to follow the coaches in fall camp, too.Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

    HBO's Hard Knocks is must-watch television for football fans, but it's also enjoyable to people who hardly have an interest in the sport. We'd love for the series to dip into the college ranks and track one of several interesting programs.

    College football does have a bit of experience with a similar show. Last year, Showtime presented A Season with Notre Dame Football.

    Per Scott DeCamp of MLive, Notre Dame offensive coordinator Mike Sanford said that the series revealed "an authenticity of our program and the human side of our program and I think that really helped us to tell the story in a positive way."

    Watching some of the nation's best leaders interact with the team would help football fans see the coaches as humans instead of icons.

    The following eight schools are the programs we'd most like to observe before the 2016 season.

Western Michigan Broncos

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    P.J. Fleck is a ceaselessly spirited coach, always displaying his emotions on the sideline and encouraging players. A series following Fleck at Western Michigan would never be boring.

    "Energy," quarterback Zach Terrell said when describing Fleck, Perry A. Farrell of the Detroit Free Press notes. "Constant energy."

    Terrell went on to say about Fleck:

    I think you see that in everybody else because we feed off him. I've never, ever seen him down. Never with a lack of energy. Never ever seen him remotely tired. You know he is. He's constantly working and he's always go, go, go.

    One of college football's rising stars in the headset, Fleck took over an average program in 2013. The Broncos finished just 1-11 then, but they've recorded back-to-back eight-win campaigns and earned the school's first bowl victory last season.

UCLA Bruins

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    Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images

    The UCLA Bruins must replace a couple of top receivers and offensive linemen, but quarterback Josh Rosen is entering his second year. Last fall, head coach Jim Mora didn't take it easy on the 5-star.

    "You can't hit an open receiver down field with no defense," the head coach said, per Chris Foster of the Los Angeles Times.

    "The 'Anointed One,'" Mora mocked. "Go back to Bosco and beat some more [bad] teams," he said, later advising reporters to "tell your readers that is why [he] has not been named the starter."

    Rosen eventually earned the starting nod, but the freshman threw seven of his 11 interceptions during the Bruins' five losses. Mora will certainly be expecting immense progression from the Anointed One since three of UCLA's top four receivers are gone.

Ole Miss Rebels

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    Sean Gardner/Getty Images

    The Rebels will be a tough team in 2016, but the program will also be battling a pesky opponent of its own: the NCAA.

    In late March, per Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports, head coach Hugh Freeze invited anyone who doubted that Ole Miss' ascent was NCAA-compliant to "Come and see. Open invitation." Former Rebels left tackle Laremy Tunsil soon admitted to accepting extra benefits while in Oxford.

    Now, we're not here to judge a 20-year-old college student for accepting money to reportedly pay for his mother's bills. That's not a high horse worth riding.

    Nevertheless, NCAA investigations dominate the headlines. This time, viewers could receive an inside look at the process.

Texas Longhorns

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    Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports

    Head coach Charlie Strong is trying to drag a former powerhouse out of mediocrity. The 2016 season could be the turning point of his tenure.

    Or the demise.

    Following a 6-7 debut and 1-4 opening to the 2015 campaign, Strong saved his job with a stunning 24-17 victory over the rival Oklahoma Sooners in the Red River Shootout Rivalry Showdown.

    Strong has signed Nos. 16, 10 and 11 recruiting classes during his three respective cycles. It's imperative that youth develops into a formidable unit because—fair or notpatience is running thin in Austin.

    The Longhorns likely must upset any one of the following teams: the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Oklahoma State Cowboys or Oklahoma during the opening five games, lest Strong become the best coach available in December.

Clemson Tigers

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    Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

    Last season, the Clemson Tigers tallied 38.5 points on 514.5 yards per game. The offense should be even better in 2016.

    Headlined by dual-threat quarterback and top NFL draft prospect Deshaun Watson, the Tigers return a ridiculous amount of talent. Wayne Gallman set the school's single-season rushing record last year. Artavis Scott had 93 receptions. Jordan Leggett caught eight scores.

    Mike Williams missed 2015 but topped 1,000 yards as a sophomore. Hunter Renfrow surged during the College Football Playoff, reeling in 11 passes for 147 yards and three touchdowns.

    Additionally, Clemson has to rebuild its defense. What better way to learn than to oppose one of the nation's most explosive attacks?

Ohio State Buckeyes

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    Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

    No program had a larger exodus of talent than the Ohio State Buckeyes. Under the guidance of head coach Urban Meyer though, the Buckeyes remain a top contender for the CFP National Championship.

    While the transition to young talent would be fascinating to watch, another important storyline is observing the leadership abilities of J.T. Barrett, Pat Elflein and Raekwon McMillan.

    Less than a week after the 2015 campaign ended, Meyer named the trio captains for 2016.

    Ohio State coaches did a tremendous job bringing top recruiting classes to Columbus, but the quarterback, center and middle linebacker play pivotal roles in progressing their surrounding starters. They'll be in charge of positioning everyone on the field.

Alabama Crimson Tide

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    Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

    Alabama is like the biggest house in the neighborhood; You know there's cool stuff, but you're curious to see what's inside.

    However, we already know about the talent. We know practices are intense. What would be captivating is seeing head coach Nick Saban conducting meetings, particularly with coaches about recruiting.

    The NCAA allows coaches to directly mention prospects who have signed financial-aid agreements. Since players can finalize those papers on Aug. 1, the series could use Saban and Co. discussing specific prospects and not create (silly) secondary recruiting violations.

    Plus, watching Lane Kiffin run around the stadium looking for an open gate because he got locked out again would make it worthwhile.

Michigan Wolverines

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    Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

    See? Even head coach Jim Harbaugh is excited about being included.

    For all the national attention he receives for offseason events though, it would be fascinating to observe Harbaugh in action.

    Last season, Michigan—who was commonly projected to finish around 7-5 or 8-4went into a "submarine" for fall camp. The Wolverines emerged as a breakout team, ripping off a 10-2 regular season that was a botched punt away from 11-1.

    Love him or hate him, there's no denying that Harbaugh and his coaching staff are tremendous at what they do. Insight into how they develop players would be beneficial for coaches at every level in any sport.


    All recruiting information via 247Sports. Stats from cfbstats.com or B/R research. Quotes obtained firsthand, unless otherwise noted. Follow Bleacher Report CFB Writer David Kenyon on Twitter @Kenyon19_BR.