Before I get started, congratulations to Phillips’ sister and baby-daddy (I kid, I kid) Eric on the birth of their daughter. I don’t get to do my Luca Brasi impression until her wedding, I guess, but in any case congratulations to everyone.
Now on with the college football-related wrongheadedness.
1. Colin Kaepernick will get at least one Heisman vote.
Dude is productive as hell (2008 stats: 2,849 passing yards, 1,130 rushing yards, 39 total TD, 7 INT, 0 fumbles) and might just be the best individual player in the WAC. He’ll always be overshadowed in that conference by Boise State, Fresno State, and even Hawai’i whenever their quarterback is good. And it’s still Nevada, so they’re not going to set the world on fire, but they run the hell out of the Pistol offense and that’s largely due to Kaepernick.
The only thing keeping him from being an actual Heisman finalist is that the WAC isn’t exactly what anyone would call a “defensive” league. If he manages to go big against Boise this year, it’ll go a long way to establishing the junior quarterback as a real candidate in 2010. He’s gonna need to set all kinds of records because Nevada ain’t very good.
2. Rappin’ Josh Jarboe is going to tear sh*t up for Troy.
You may remember Josh from last August, when his YouTube rap got him kicked off Oklahoma’s football team. Oh, right, it was really because Stoopsy got caught recruiting and signing a kid who brought a gun to his high school. Still, Jarboe managed to get into OU anyway, so you can bet he doesn’t suck at the football. Add that with Troy’s usually stellar offense, and you have yourself a playmaking freshman. Now stay off the computer for f*ck’s sake, Josh!
3. Virginia Tech will not win the ACC.
Losing Darren Evans was a huge loss, and though they’re deep-ish at running back, they lost a kid who is an irreplaceable workhorse back. His high-school backfield-mate, Jewel Hampton who’s at Iowa, doesn’t suck either by the way. But no dynamic running game for Tech spells doom for that offense whether Tyrod Taylor really is the new Mike Vick or not.
What, you mean I have to predict who will unseat the Hokies? Fine. Hmmm. How about Georgia Tech rising up and taking optionn football to the next level despite their suspect defense? They and UNC are ready to explode and jump over Virginia Tech. Stop looking at your screen like that. It could happen.
4. Dan LeFevour will rekindle my man-crush.
Speaking of dual-threat quarterbacks, you’re looking at this year’s MAC player of the year. It’s going to be a contest between LeFevour (which is French for “the fevour,” I think) and Western Michigan quarterback Tony Hiller. LeFevour was injured for a lot of 2008, and even missed some time (like the team’s 37-34 win at Indiana…Guh), which caused Central to just slightly underachieve at 8-5. That said, they were 7-2 before going 1-3 in their last four games, and I don’t think a freak loss to Eastern Michigan is going to happen again this year. Opening games against Arizona and Michigan State will show the nation just how bright the MAC’s Tim Tebow can shine. Like Kaepernick, his numbers aren’t going to get the credit they deserve because he’s not in a major conference, but let’s be realistic. Both LeFevour and Kaepernick would be stars in any of the conferences. Don’t pretend like LeFevour wouldn’t be a stud at, say, Oregon or Florida, or even in Auburn’s new system.
5. Oklahoma State will beat Texas, but lose to Houston, Baylor, or Colorado.
The expectations are way, way too high for this team because everyone wanted to say something other than “Texas and Oklahoma are going to battle it out for the Big XII again.” To be fair to the Cowboys, they showed quite a bit of ability, skill, and scariness last year. But this is the Big XII, the land of the shoot out. There hasn’t been a conference this loaded down with offensive talent and helpless defenses since the WAC back in the 1990’s.
Too often have we over-rated teams because of their offensive prowess and forgotten that their defense f*cking sucks. OSU is one of those teams that can end up in a 56-54 last-second loss in almost every game they play. And everyone knows about their triplets, so who is going to step up when defenses take away one or two of them?
6. Indiana will beat Purdue this year
And by “beat,” I mean “come within four touchdowns of winning the game.”
The coverage of IU’s preseason has constantly mentioned the season-ending 62-10 loss to Purdue, but the most embarrassing part wasn’t the score so much as it was losing by 52 to the worst Purdue team of the last ten years. That was a truly atrocious football team, worse than the Hoosiers, even, but IU’s players are so mentally f*cked that they couldn’t overcome the Boiler emotion for Joe Tiller’s last game.
Beating Virginia is probably a much more realistic goal for IU this year, but I just can’t see this team winning a road game even if it is against an opponent who’s just as weak as they are. Basically, I’m prepared for anything out of this team. Two wins. Seven wins and a bowl. Anything is possible.
7. USC will kick the sh*t out of some one other than a Big Ten team in a BCS bowl game.
I’m not saying they’re playing for a national championship in January. I’m just saying…you know?
If this were any other team, all the experts would be running from them like Travis Henry from child support. But such is the faith everyone has in Pete Carroll that no one is really worried that the Trojans could very easily go 9-3 if that inexperienced roster doesn’t get their sh*t together before the Ohio State game. Believe me, Ohio State isn’t very good, but new starters could screw that game up coming off a blowout of San Jose State.
Also, I like Aaron Corp. He’s really talented, and probably the most physically gifted quarterback USC has had during Carroll’s tenure. But even before he got hurt, he was having some issues distancing himself from Matt Barkley, who’s just a true freshman. I realize Barkley is the new Jimmy Clausen and everything, but a kid who’s been in the program for three years and is getting pushed by a frosh makes me nervous. Sh*t, Corp could be great this year and Barkley could still win the job in 2010. No pressure, buddy.
8. Les Miles will still be an idiot, but Keiland Williams will finally break out as the robo-back he’s always been.
Les Miles still thinks it’s 1976. He just can’t deal with not having a plodding, three yards and a cloud of dust-type back. Miles has no idea what to do with a gifted, dynamic back like Keiland Williams, who also happens to be around 220 pounds. First, Williams sat behind glorified fullback Jacob Hester, who is now a glorified fullback for the Chargers. Now it’s yet another glorified fullback in Charles Scott and everyone is making a big deal about him because he ran for 1,174 yards as the feature back on a team that couldn’t pass. REAL f*cking impressive.
For the past two years, I’ve run my “Free Keiland Williams” campaign great guns during the entire season. But this year, I’m appealing to Miles to use Williams as the backup again. Why the change of heart? Easy. I want the Chargers to get him in the fifth or sixth round instead of having everyone figure out how good Williams is and use a second-rounder on a backup from LSU. So f*ck you, Les Miles. Sit Keiland Williams!
9. Hiring Gus Malzahn was both ironic and genius, but Auburn’s offense will still suck.
Turns out Gene Chizik has already made some good coaching moves before Auburn has even played a game under him. Hiring Malzahn to be the offensive coordinator is a hilarious slap in the face to the departed Tuberville regime. Honestly, who has ever heard of coaches rebelling just so they can keep their old system that obviously didn’t work? Tony Franklin got the shaft even though he kind of shafted himself by taking the job in the first place.
Anyway, Malzahn’s offenses at Tulsa have been the kind of scary good that made the major conference teams refuse to play the Golden Hurricane. Even better for the arch-conservative members of the staff and fan base, the offense was very balanced between run and pass. It’s not like it’s “the spread” and suddenly the shotgun will change everything for Auburn. It’s the temp0 of Malzahn’s offense that makes it great.
Can something be “very” balanced? Doesn’t “very” emphasize an extreme to one side or the other? Um, anyway, the hurry-up spread really has come to The Plains, and all it took was a total purge of the coaching staff to make it happen. Auburn still sucks and has no talent, but now they’ve got a system that can actually use talent, should they ever manage to recruit any. Quarterback would be a good place to start.