Five Things in College Football We Didn’t See Coming
It wouldn’t have been difficult to predict in September that Florida and Alabama would both find themselves in the hunt for a national title. Guessing that Iowa and Cincinnati would be undefeated and nipping at the heels of the big boys through eight weeks: A far more challenging feat. For the most part, the season has been nothing short of unpredictable. With only six weeks left on the slate, let’s look at the biggest surprises to date.
1. Sam Bradford, Tim Tebow, Colt McCoy Go Bust
Anyone know anything about these guys? Me neither, never heard of them. You know the stories by now. Sam Bradford will be a surefire NFL star. Tim Tebow loves God. Colt McCoy grew a mustache and has a smokin’ hot girlfriend. You get the point. The media can’t get enough of these three and most fans can’t change the channel fast enough. Some of the attention was partially earned as the trio made up last season’s Heisman finalists (which went to Bradford) and were pegged the favorites to make a return to Times Square this year.
But a funny thing happened along the way: All three are struggling to follow up their act. Not to say they are duds, but they haven’t exactly lived up to the preseason hype. Bradford was injured during the first half of the season’s first game and despite attempting to come back against Texas, was never fully healed. He is expected to undergo shoulder surgery and forgo his two remaining years of eligibility and enter the NFL Draft. Tebow has dealt with an injury of his own after getting his bell rung against Kentucky. He still doesn’t appear to be the same Tim Tebow of before and as a result, the Gators aren’t the overwhelming favorite to repeat. Is Tebow trying too hard to prove that he isn’t a glorified fullback disguised as a quarterback? It’s not out of the question. McCoy hasn’t been affected by the injury bug, just the mediocre bug. He has a dangerous team around him, yet hasn’t been able to repeat last season’s success, when he completed 76 percent of his passes. It can be argued that these three are the most talented quarterbacks to play in the same season in ages, yet not one is meeting expectations.
2. Case Keenum, Mark Ingram, and Jimmy Clausen Are Contenders
Meet your three Heisman favorites. We all know that voting for the award is more political than anything, meaning that Tebow and McCoy still have a shot at winning it even though neither has distinguished themselves enough to earn it. Instead, this new trio has played their way to the front of the pack.
Keenum is the best quarterback in the nation and one of the most unrecognizable, at that. All he has done is pass for 2,734 yards and 20 touchdowns against four interceptions in seven games and has 6-1 Houston nationally ranked. Ingram burst onto the scene as a freshman a year ago, stealing carries from Glen Coffee, who is currently with the 49ers. With an inexperienced quarterback at the helm, Ingram is the reason that Alabama is in a prime position to make it to the BCS title game. He has already reached the 1,000-yard plateau and punched it in eight times. Clausen is the most publicized of the bunch, dating back to his high school football days. In his third year at the helm, the kid is putting it all together. He has made Notre Dame not only relevant again, but also enjoyable to watch for the first time in a few years. If Clausen keeps on winning and continues to keep his turnovers down, he very well could be holding the Heisman come December.
3. Could Texas Christian Go Undefeated?
Every year there is a team poised to burst the BCS bubble. One day a team from a non-major conference is going to be playing in the title game and critics of the current system are going to have a field day. This year, the lucky potential team is the Horned Frogs. They are 7-0, with wins over Virginia, Clemson, and BYU and are ranked No. 6 in the latest BCS poll, ahead of another BCS-buster, Boise State. The Horned Frogs have done it with a strong rushing offense and even better defense. They won’t blow you away with pure speed or power, but they will find a way to nickel and dime the opposition. If they run the table as, say, one of only two unbeatens, should they find themselves in the title game?
4. Terrelle Pryor Should Have Gone to Michigan
Did Pryor pick the wrong school for his skill set or are his skills not what everyone thought they’d be coming into college as a Michael Vick-type quarterback? Pryor has similar athleticism to Vick and was supposed be a superior pocket passer. That hasn’t happened. While Pryor has shown glimpses of being special, he has failed to put it all together at Ohio State, whose system prefers its passers to be able to drop back and make downfield throws. Meanwhile, Michigan, the school who some expected that Pryor would and should attend, is running its spread offense with great results behind a lightly-recruited freshman, Tate Forcier. Imagine if Pryor had the freedom to hike the ball and take off sprinting at a moment’s notice. The guy would be all the rage, a future first-round pick for sure. Instead, he is being blasted by his critics for failing to be the next great thing. In reality, it’s the Buckeyes’ system that’s holding him back.
5. Florida State Supporters Get Rowdy
With the backlash surrounding Bobby Bowden, you’d think that the guy were a serial killer. Quick, somebody call Dexter. The college’s board of trustees is calling for his head, insisting that the legendary coach step down immediately. Never mind that Bowden has spent 33 years making the program what it is today. So the Seminoles aren’t that great this year, sitting at 3-4 overall, but Bowden hasn’t exactly quit on his squad. The university owes it to their coach to let him walk away when he deems fit. Only a handful of coaches have earned that right, and most assuredly Bowden is one of them. “