Column: Roll, Tide, Roll
If you are like me, these last couple of weeks have been excruciatingly long. College football was in the not-so-distant future, but it still seemed like the games would never get started.
Finally, this past weekend a few games were played. Southern California went to New Jersey to take on the vaunted Penn State Nittany Lions and their controversial signal-caller Rashard Casey. Preseason No. 2 Florida State stayed relatively close to home and faced Brigham Young in Jacksonville.
Both Penn State and FSU were heavily favored to win their respective games. Only one delivered the seemingly predetermined outcome.
The Seminoles gave a very lackluster 29-3 win, while PSU received a serious drubbing at the hands of the Trojans, 29-5.
What does this all mean? That even the so-called experts don’t have any clue about the 2000-01 college football season.
So, I’d thought that I’d throw my two-cents in.
First off all, being part of the West Coast media, I’m tired of hearing about how the Pacific-10 Conference has lost it’s aura or has turned into the “Pathetic-10.”
As far as I’m concerned, it doesn’t matter how teams do against the other conferences – maybe that is just my allegiance to the Oregon Ducks coming through. After all, the Ducks were the only Pac-10 team that won a Bowl game last year.
As for my picks this season, I have to stray from the crowd on some of the forecasts. Many of the ESPN (the final word, as far as I’m concerned, on college pigskins) experts picked either Kansas State, Nebraska, or FSU to win it all.
Most of them have counted last year’s runner-up Virginia Tech out of the title race. And rightfully so. The Hokies lost most of their defense to the NFL, as did the Nittany Lions.
Nebraska is the odds-on favorite as the Cornhuskers return both a strong offense and defense and play in a relatively easy Big XII Conference, with the exception of K-State and Texas. The ‘Huskers can run through patsies like Baylor, Texas Tech and Iowa State.
Many have said that the real National Championship game will be in the Big XII title game, when the Longhorns hook up with the Cornhuskers.
I agree with that conception to a certain extent, both Texas and Nebraska can easily be in top-5 by the time the title game rolls around.
OK, I hear all you Wildcat supporters out there screaming, “What about K-State?”
Well, after the mediocre performance against a pitiful Iowa team, the Wildcats can only hope for third and an at-large bid for a big-time bowl.
Now, back to the Big XII title game, the only way the National Championship will be decided there, is if teams like FSU, Miami and Alabama falter somewhere during the fall. That probably won’t happen.
My darkhourse Miami, by far, has the toughest schedule. The Hurricanes head to Seattle next weekend to face the Huskies, who will, as much as I hate to admit this, more than likely win the Pac-10, and in Husky Stadium, a very, very tough place to win.
Miami also hosts the ‘Noles on Oct. 7 and Michael Vick (I mean the Hokies) on Nov. 4, which is better than heading to Blacksburg, Va., and Tallahassee.
There are a lot of things that impress me about Miami. Number one, they seem to have that swagger about them for the first time since the early 1990’s when they won a couple of national titles. Also, there is only one quarterback this season, which will help with continuity in the offense. And finally, they have Santana Moss, who is on the verge of breaking numerous records at U of M.
Ultimately, however, I think the schedule will be too much for the ‘Canes and Butch Davis will soon be returning to playing teams like Louisana Tech, East Carolina and New Mexico again to cruise through a season undefeated.
Davis will learn soon enough what Jimmy Johnson and Dennis Erickson did perfectly in the past.
If you tied me down and forced me to make a prediction for the championship game, it would be: Florida State against Alabama, with the Crimson Tide getting it’s first title since 1992.
And as for the Heisman Trophy, everyone says it a foregone conclusion with Michael Vick, but I’m going with Drew Brees of Purdue. Granted, he’ll throw the ball about 60 times a game, but the Boilermakers are in a tough Big 10 and will fare pretty well, so the coveted trophy will end up in his hands.
So, take it or leave it, those are my picks.
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INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — Incline Village has played in two consecutive state championship basketball games, winning once, but entering this season the Highlanders have just one player with any varsity experience.