Wake up everybody , it’s NFL and College Football time
Well , week one of the College Football season has past us by with the number one ranked Florida State Seminoles coming off a rather close victory over Oklahoma State in the first contest of their season schedule . Seminoles’ head coach Jimbo Fisher knows his team will be under a microscope, while quarterback and reigning Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston will have a great deal to live up to after an exhilarating season for the team in 2013. Within the ACC , I do believe Florida State will once again be the team to beat , with their being very few challengers within the conference about their dominance. In week two the Seminoles will face off against the Citadel in a game to be played at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, Florida this upcoming Saturday when there will be a slew of games on the schedule.
Elsewhere within the Collegiate Football landscape, erstwhile SEC powerhouses , Florida (Gators) , Alabama , Auburn and LSU (Tigers) will be looking to rebound while seeking to prove the ACC’s ascent will be nothing more than a passing fad. In six of the past seven seasons it has been an SEC program which has been anointed the national champion at the FBS Level in College Football. Nick Saban and his Crimson Tide team are seeking to put in the past a rather demonstrative 2013 season , where they fell apart at the seams in more ways than one. . That disappointment will have disappeared , with Saban coming into this season with a fresh crop of rookies , as well have holdovers in his sophomore , juniors and seniors, as the program seeks to add another illustrious chapter to their well-chronicled history.
Alabama’s pounding of West Virginia with a 33-23 romp was something of a cruise, but the team’s schedule is likely to become a great more difficult in the upcoming weeks. The second game of their season will see them host Florida Atlantic at the Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa , Alabama on the 6th September ,2014. However , their week five showdown against SEC rivals , Wil Muschamp’s Florida Gators will provide fans nationwide as well of the program with the chance to see how far the team will have progressed in their season.
Nick Saban, as he seeks to re-energize Alabama’s standing within College Football and will have to no doubt relieve the memories of last season’s six-point 34-28 loss to Auburn, only to then further compound the lackluster effort with another defeat suffered at the hands of Oklahoma Sooners in the Allstate Sugar Bowl , one of the now meaningless end of season postseason games, which the NCAA and the BCS believes benefits College Football as well as the fans. Well , if adding tens of millions of dollars in revenues to the programs , with very little finding its way benefiting the student athlete , then I am sure College Football does indeed benefit from that type of largesse on a grand scale. The fact of the matter remains, the NCAA’S finances , that of the BCS and major programs are not always opened up for public scrutiny , in spite of claims to the contrary being made by proponents of the present system.
For Wil Muschamp and the Florida Gators, this will be a season where the coach and his staff will have to prove to their fans and the nation at large , the program remains among the elite within the college game. Last season however, was something of a nightmare on all fronts as the players failed to respond on the field , ending the season with a rather lackluster record (4-8) and a poor national ranking at year-end. . Florida will enter into week two , when they will square off against Eastern Michigan in a game that neither side can really afford to lose. Ben Hill Griffin Stadium will be the venue for this contest which will be seen nationwide. Tyler Murphy and Mack Brown will be looking to provide the impetus for the Gators’ offense in this game as their opponents will have Reginald Bell , Bronson Hill and Tyreese Russell looking to get the Eagles up and running from an offensive standpoint , while their defense seeks to quell the offense of the Gators.
Perhaps it is me , but I have always felt once the truth became known about how callous, conniving and widespread the cheating had become within the USC Trojans’ program . The rats would begin to desert the vessel, like a sinking ship amidst a turbulent storm in the middle of the ocean . Pete Carroll’s feet barely touched the ground , as he left the football program , but that may well have had more to do with the five-year $35 million offer from the Seattle Seahawks , rather than his seeking to stick around to answer any questions from the NCAA and investigators from the Infractions Committee . Reggie Bush’s Heisman was more tainted than a Petri dish filled with bacterial microbes and former AD Mike Garrett seem to be always nonplussed when asked to explain what was going on within the program he presided over as the athletics director. Carroll’s successor , Lane Kiffin proved to be as effective a head coach as sponge would be in aiding a crew on a capsizing vessel at sea with his record at USC speaking volumes about why the football program almost sank without a trace.
Mike Garrett’s departure brought in Pat Haden to oversee the athletics’ program and to steer it back onto the right path , but it has to be said in the first few months of his tenure Haden allowed Kiffin to run amok in violating several of the NCAA’s rules , but there are some under the impression his reputation is one above reproach and makes him a great candidate to be now seated on the panel, which will bring about changes in College Football and a playoff format in deciding a national champion at the FBS Level . The system is likely to have initial teething problems just like anything else , but it will continue to have its detractors within and outside of the game , because anything which brings about change of this size leading to some programs and conferences getting even less of the revenue pie will ultimately lead to a revolt. Barack Obama in 2008, went behind of the mantra “ change is good” , yet six years later the changes he envisioned have not led to the betterment of the country overall. Can and will the same be said of the proposed changes for College Football?
USC in recent years have fallen upon lean times in terms of success and have not been part of the national championship picture in several years . Last season was an abysmal year all round with Lane Kiffin and his players falling short of the general expectations while the Pac-12 title and championship was never within their grasp. This season and it has been left to Steve Sarkisian to take over the reins as the head coach of the football team along with an experienced coaching staff to assist him in his endeavors . The USC Trojans kicked off their 2014 season schedule with a 52-13 trouncing of Fresno State in a contest that was hardly competitive for Sarkisian’s players. Their week contest will be against the eleventh ranked Stanford Cardinals coached by David Shaw , in a game likely to prove to be one of the highlights of the Pac 12 schedule for the day and the season .
Away from the spotlight of the Trojans’ season, have been the off the field issues concerning two members Steve Sarkisian’s roster , with the ugliness of lies , deception and claims of racial bias among the coaches. Josh Shaw , has been suspended indefinitely for lying about an injury sustained when he claims , he rescued a seven-year old relative from drowning . When pressed to provide further details of the rescue attempt and his alleged bravery , Shaw admitted he lied about the incident and the injuries to both of his ankles , which were sustained during a dare, when he jumped from a second story balcony into a pool below at a motel. As to Josh Shaw’s reasoning behind the subterfuge, I can only surmise the level of education being provided at USC is on the decline and being a member of the football team has nothing at all to do with honesty or intelligence ! Allegations of racism cannot be overlooked, but when it comes from a player, who levels those accusations against coaches as well as the educational establishment , one has to delve deeper to make sure there are no underlying issues or any veracity to those claims. Anthony Brown , one of a bevy of running backs on the USC Trojans’ team has leveled those allegations against the program. Brown’s claims are troubling and the coach has refuted the claims defending himself vehemently against the accusations of racism. Brown has left the program, but it does make you wonder what the hell must be going on at an educational establishment and renowned collegiate sports’ institution still trying erase the memories of their most recent scandals touching the basketball and football programs.
Hard to believe it has been a mere six months since the NFL season ended with the lopsided victory of the Seattle Seahawks over the Denver Broncos in the Superbowl . Peyton Manning’s season came to a crashing end, when he and his teammates fell apart at the seams in the NFL postseason finale. Jon Fox and the Broncos will be looking to put that mishap in their rear view mirror, but it will be hard to do so , as they will enter the regular season without the aid of Wes Welker through the first four games of the season. Welker’s four-game suspension for the use of a banned substance (MDMA), amphetamines comes as something of a shock , but his explanation about how he might well have ingested the substance is laughable to say the least. The wide receiver believes his drink was “spiked” , while attending a horse racing event with friends. Having failed the test, it should be noted Wes Welker suffered a concussion in a preseason game while playing for the Broncos. It was the third concussion the player has suffered over the past eighteen months and the tenth of his NFL career.
Officially , the 2014 regular season schedule opens up on Thursday night when the Superbowl champions, the Seattle Seahawks begin the defense of their title against the Green Bay Packers , led by Aaron Rodgers . The Packers’ quarterback will be the guests in the boisterous atmosphere of Century Link Field in Seattle, Washington, and this could be seen as a contest of two of the NFC’s heavyweight titans. If the off-season moves and the draft class of Mike McCarthy and his coaching staff are anything to go by, then the Packers are likely to be seen as one of the favorites within the conference and a possible Superbowl contender. Green Bay I believe are good enough to win the NFC North with considerable ease, because I do not believe any of their divisional rivals have the talent to challenge this Green Bay Packers’ team over the course of the season ! The defense and offense re likely to be considerably better than witnessed last season.
It would be fair to suggest the Atlanta Falcons have proven to be a major disappointment in 2012 and 2013 , with the franchise failing miserably in each of the seasons in question when it came to the postseason. Matt Ryan proved to be vulnerable and questions arose as to leadership skills and the money vested in one of the NFL’s highest paid players and quarterbacks in the league. Mike Smith and the coaching staff , will be hoping to rebound from the team’s 4-12 showing last season when the play of the Falcons was a monumental disaster. With a new stadium on the horizon, I seriously doubt team owner , Arthur Blank and the front office would like to see this team fall even further into the depths of mediocrity .
The woes of the Atlanta Falcons were on full display in 2013 and one can only hope their showing for 2014 will be a great deal better than last year. A fresh influx of free agents and a rookie draft class should provide Mike Smith with the tools needed , while Matt Ryan will certainly have to show he is not simply a good regular season quarterback who gets derailed during the postseason. Ryan will have to prove he is capable leading a team deep into the postseason and try to justify the claims he is one of the best quarterbacks to have been drafted in the NFL over the past seven years .
Atlanta will open their regular season schedule with an all divisional contest against the New Orleans Saints when Drew Brees and his teammates will be the guests at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta , Georgia ,. The Saints have not been the NFC South champions since 2011, a season in which the team would make it to the postseason , only to fall in the divisional playoffs. Since then , it has been the Saints as franchise , with one of the league’s most explosive teams in terms of offense. All four teams within the NFC South this season, are likely to be seen as viable candidates as a potential divisional champion, but I believe there will be three teams likely to make the division competitive in the NFL . Those three teams are the Carolina Panthers , New Orleans Saints , Tampa Bay Buccaneers and a toss-up between the Atlanta Falcons and the Buccaneers as to which of the duo will be filling in the final position within the NFC South.
Week one of the regular season of the NFL will merely provide us an appetizer and entrée for the remainder of the season . I would like to think the fans will be satisfied with what is on view and we are thoroughly entertained, after-all it is what we have now come to expect of the NFL over the years .
What if anything, are you hoping to see out of the College Football season and within the NFL? Your comments are welcomed, so by all means chime in with your thoughts as you see fit.
Picture and slideshow gallery details.
(1) Jameis Winston (5) of the Florida State Seminoles directs the offense against the Oklahoma State Cowboys in the first half of the Advocare Cowboys Classic at AT&T Stadium on August 30, 2014 in Arlington, Texas. Getty Images North America / Ronald Martinez …
(2) Jameis Winston (5) of the Florida State Seminoles passes against the Oklahoma State Cowboys in the first half of the Advocare Cowboys Classic at AT&T Stadium on August 30, 2014 in Arlington, Texas. Getty Images / Ronald Martinez …
(3) Head coach Will Muschamp of the Florida Gators signals to the team to head back to the locker rooms after it was announced that there has been a lightning strike near the stadium and players must return inside after the kickoff of the game against the Idaho Vandals on August 30, 2014 in Gainesville, Florida. The game was then terminated for weather and unsafe playing conditions. Getty Images / Rob Foldy ….
(4) Nick Saban, head coach of the University of Alabama football team . Saban will be looking to make the Crimson Tide once again one of the elite teams within the SEC , as well as back on the national stage, with a view to winning the national title . AP Photo/ Chris Murray …
(5) USC President C.L. Max Nikias (L) , Steve Sarkisian (C) , and USC Athletic Director Pat Haden pose for photos at a press conference introducing Sarkisian as the new USC head football coach at the John McKay Center at the University of Southern California on December 3, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. Stephen Dunn / Getty Images …
(6) USC Trojans’ running back Anthony Brown , whose allegations of the team’s head coach Steve Sarkisian and members of his coaching staff has raised more than a few eyebrows concerning the program this season Sarkisian has refuted the player in essence calling them groundless . Brown has since left the football team of his own volition . LA Times / Hector Ramirez …
(7) Josh Shaw , pictured here was formerly a corner-back with the USC Trojans before being suspended indefinitely by Steve Sarkisian for lying about an injury sustained prior to the start of the team’s season . Courtesy of the LA Times…
(8) Wes Welker , wide receiver with the Denver Broncos and quite possibly the most high-profiled player to have been suspended by the NFL: over the past two seasons to have been suspended for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. Welker tested positive for the use of MDMA (‘Molly’) an amphetamine based PED banned by the NFL, which the player claims was “spiked” into his drink taken, when visiting a sports’ event with friends. The Denver Broncos will be without the wide receiver for the first four games of their regular season schedule before he returns in week five for a game against the Arizona Cardinals . AP Photo / Matthew Hurd …
(9) Matt Ryan , right , quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons is seen here with teammate, wide receiver Julio Jones . If the duo are to provide an effective tandem, then it is imperative Jones stays healthy and Ryan performs consistently at a very high level this upcoming season . Getty Images / Paul Matthews …
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