Friday, August 16, 2013

Crystal Football says... (part one)

It's the first look into this thing. We'll see how things turn out and how accurate it is before we commit to making it a yearly deal. Today let's use a national scope.

Head coach most likely to need a job come December
"Now my QB is beat up 
AND I'm drunj ."
Has to be Gary Pinkel. He reminds me of that kid that is having a great time with a substitute teacher and then gets moved into a class where there's actual authority. Now all he can do is feel sorry for himself. The talk among Mizzou fans I met on the road last year was that he's been skating on thin ice for awhile. Now the on field results aren't going to hold him any longer. Ice breaks after Thanksgiving.

Honorable mention - Lane Kiffin. USC isn't a dumpster fire, yet. But the smoke has been billowing more and more since a colossal collapse in 2012 culminating in a Sun Bowl loss to Georgia Tech. Now that he can no longer blame lack of scholarships or his own father, I expect KiffyBaby to last the season. But not through Christmas.

The 2013 Heisman Award winner is...
We'll look at the true SEC contenders in part two. On a national scale I see Tajh Boyd, Oregon running back De'Anthony Thomas, their quarterback Marcus Mariota and Ohio State's Braxton Miller as true non-SEC contenders for Heisman ceremony invites. Boyd would need to put up big numbers against Georgia (which he likely will) and South Carolina as well as beat both (which I don't think his team can do).

Additional considerations for August: can anyone beat Ohio State? If not, Miller will get enough attention and spotlight to win the award.

Surprise team
Unfortunately I don't waste spend a lot of time on anything outside of the SEC, unless they are also a Georgia opponent. But I always like a team such as TCU. They play great defense year in and year out. And if they can get by LSU in the opener, that might make things easier for a team that plays both Oklahoma and Oklahoma State on the road. Take care of home business against Texas and a rebuilding West Virginia and the season finale at home against Baylor could be pretty interesting.

Honorable mention - Baylor, because they are another "Big 12" team that plays disciplined football. And also Northwestern. (stop laughing, it could happen) I know they're a B1G team, but two of their hardest games are at home (Ohio State and Michigan). If they hold court in a manageable September and beat the Buckeyes in early October, a win in Madison and in Lincoln are definitely conceivable and are the only road tests.

Ahhh...the good ol' days.
Biggest fall from grace
I want to put Ohio State here, but it's going to be hard for them to lose even once against their schedule. And a "fall from grace" would mean something 2012 USC Trojanesque. An easier gamble would be Texas A&M. (I know they're an SEC team, but I'm reserving another SEC fall from grace for tomorrow.) Even before the Manziel mess started surfacing, they had definite holes and were going to get pummeled by Bama in week three regardless of who started under center. There are questions along the defense, and although I believe Sumlin to be a damn good coach, the loss of offensive coordinator Kliff Klingsbury is not to be overlooked. Outside of Bama and LSU, the schedule is manageable by SEC standards. But a lot of those same teams could be chomping at the bit to knock the Aggies down a notch.

Honorable mention - Stanford. They're a good team and get their hardest games are at home. But, those games are all lined up back to back: Oregon State, UCLA and then Oregon. The first two should be wins. But if the Beavers naw enough on that pine tree (or whatever it is), one loss could easily turn into a three or four game skid. Also, Clemson. You know, because of all the Clemsoning.

Who will be the very last of the BCS champions
Gonna end on this as it is the last year for the much maligned, often altered and overall fairly successful formula. This is a tough one for sure. And it really hinges on two questions (while we're in August at least): can Ohio State/Oregon run the table, and can an SEC team finish the season with no more than one loss.

Barring any major injuries, the odds seem good that the Buckeyes can handle their end of the business. The road for the Ducks includes a visit to Stanford while they get UCLA and Oregon State at home. Of course, Chip Kelly is gone, but that system in Eugene should prove more than functional without him. Obviously Alabama controls its own destiny, but can an undefeated Georgia or South Carolina jump the Ducks and/or Buckeyes?

I'd like to think so. But it's not too far of a stretch to think see that the national media is sick of the SEC and will work to build up the weaker B1G and Pac-12 schedules. Still, until someone knocks the Crimson Tide off the dynasty, its safe to put them as the next champion.

Other misc.
Hot Coaching Name - Nod for Louisville's Charlie Strong again. He really seems cemented in, but what if a USC called? Also, Mike Gundy because who else will go so far as to save an Athletic Director on cab fare from the airport?

Trending seasonal meme - Officials inability to keep up with the targeting rule will one day take over for Manziel Disease. Rest (uneasily) assured. And of course the nation's boredom with dominant football in the southeast.

Tell me where I guessed wrong, or what I might have missed.