Each week, college football writer — and AP Top 25 & Heisman voter — BOB ASMUSSEN breaks down the game he loves
Teams of the Week
Georgia and Clemson
Here is an insane concept: a pair of Top 10 teams actually meeting in the season opener. Bitter rivals, the Bulldogs and Tigers play Saturday in Clemson. The atmosphere will be bowl-like. And the intensity will be felt across the country. College football needs more quality matchups like this, but the guess is teams will become reluctant to load up their schedules for fear they will blow their chance at a title berth.
Team of the Weak
Bill Snyder and the Wildcats are back to their old scheduling tricks, opening at home against North Dakota State. No offense to the folks in Grand Forks (or is it Bismarck?) but their team should not be visiting the Wildcats. Unless they are playing hockey. Snyder rebuilt the Kansas State program by dumbing down the schedule. It became a college football joke and also the blueprint for other lost teams. The Wildcats are good enough now that they should routinely take on nonconference challenges. So there. Later, they play UMass. Blech.
1. Ohio State
So, none of the other AP voters felt the Buckeyes were worthy of a No. 1 vote. Are you kidding me? Didn’t they see how Urban Meyer coaxed them to a perfect season in 2012, without the carrot of a bowl? Amazing work. The guy deserves a medal. Or a whole lot more money. Got a feeling he will win a title — or nine — during his stay in Columbus. Might as well sign him up for the College Football Hall of Fame now.
Nothing crankier than Crimson Tide fans after you tell them their team isn’t the best. Remind me, did Alabama win all of its games last season? Didn’t think so. It will be tested in the opener against Virginia Tech and later in the season against LSU and Texas A&M. It will take a bad game by Ohio State to move Alabama up a spot on this ballot.
3. South Carolina
Are you going to tell Jadeveon Clowney he can’t play if he signed autographs? Somebody at the NCAA is going to need hazard pay for that job. For now, enjoy one of the best defensive players in years. While you still can.
The problem with the opener against Clemson is that somebody is going to have to lose. Aaron Murray and buds know how important the game is to their season. They will give max effort.
Lose the superstar coach to the NFL? No big deal. It is the next guy up for the Ducks, who — as always — are loaded at the skill positions. Opening against Nicholls State sounds like a good chance to score 80. They will have to play better in the third week against Tennessee.
The Cardinal isn’t going to impress anybody by beating up on San Jose State in the opener. Or the second game against Army. The fun comes after the leaves turn and the sun finally goes away. Until then, Stanford is locked into the Top 10.
Quick, name the conference the Cardinals play in. We couldn’t, either. Until it moves permanently to the ACC, Louisville plays in something called the American Conference. Somewhere George W. Bush is smiling.
Way back when, Danny Ford, Perry Tuttle and William Perry led the Tigers to the national title. The talent is in place to do it again. Tajh Boyd can push the team to a bunch of wins. The game against Georgia would be a good place to start.
Les Miles keeps piling up wins in Baton Rouge. And please don’t ask him about returning to Michigan. That ship has sailed around the world. Twice. The opener against TCU won’t be easy.
What the Gators want more than anything: a game to play so they will stop being asked about Aaron Hernandez. It could be worse. At least A-Rod didn’t play at the school. Will Muschamp’s team opens against Toledo. Tim Beckman will check on his former team later.
125. Georgia State
Between Tech and Georgia, isn’t the state a little heavy with Division I programs? Heck, the fans don’t even support the Braves, and they win all the time. Maybe it can work here, too. Don’t bet on it.
This is not the team being coached by former Illini offensive coordinator Paul Petrino. That is Idaho State.
Speaking of states with too many football programs, Texas tops the chart. Of course, everything is bigger in Texas, including the egos.
122. Florida International
Welcome back to college football, Ron Turner. After all that time in the NFL, the first year is going to be a pain. But this isn’t Turner’s first rodeo. Give him three or four years and he will win. Then, he will move up in the college ranks. Turner can talk about Illinois in the opener against Maryland and former Illini offensive coordinator Mike Locksley. Should be fun.
The Warriors move off the naughty list if they stay within 50 in the opener against Southern Cal. The Mountain West is too difficult for Hawaii. You will see huge scores posted from the islands each week. But, it is a great place to visit.
2. Big Ten
4. Big 12
6. Mountain West
10. Sun Belt
1. Braxton Miller, Ohio State. Put up big numbers in the opener against Buffalo and he moves way up everybody’s list. Meyer has shown he likes to showcase his Heisman candidates. Maybe he enjoys the free trip to New York. And the Broadway shows. Is “Cats” still playing?
2. Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M. At this point, his only crime is acting his age. If he plays like he did against Alabama more often than not, he will get a long look from all of the voters.
3. Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville. The quarterback is about to turn basketball into the second sport at his school. Yes, he is the third QB on the list. And there are two others who deserve consideration, too. Got to think he will be the first quarterback taken in next year’s NFL draft. Over Johnny Football.
Wisconsin and LSU will open the 2014 season in a neutral-site game in Houston. It is a good move for the schools and even better for the Big Ten and the SEC. We will get to compare the progress of the programs while watching a game that could have playoff implications. Don’t forget, the BCS goes away next season.
To honor the 100th anniversary of the game, the folks in charge of the Rose Bowl are putting together an all-time team. Got to think there will be several former Illini on the list, led by Dick Butkus. Here’s hoping he will be joined by others with C-U ties. The team can’t be just about California.
As the guy from DirecTV updates our system, it becomes clear that the college football package is unnecessary. Why? Not because we don’t love the sport. But because it is already over-covered by all of the sports networks. The latest to jump in is Fox Sports 1, which will air college games during the season. At this point, I need a bank of TVs lined up against the wall to watch everything. It is overwhelming. A long way from the two games per week we got when we were kids.
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