Key questions: the 2013 college football season
I’m a man with diverse interests. When College Football kicks off, I will be at Dragon*Con in Atlanta, catching the games on TV in between panels and other events. Even though my team, Alabama, is in the kickoff game here, I won’t be in the stands.
But I’ll be watching.
Last year I was dressed as The Dude from “The Big Lebowski.” I drank white Russians at the hotel bar as I watched Alabama dismantle Michigan. The Tide Abides.
Another Alabama fan was huddled in front of the TV. I asked him if he was at the con with someone else.
“No, I come to Dragon*Con every year,” he said. He pointed at the TV like a caveman who has discovered fire. “But, football. Football.”
Indeed. This auspicious moment of concussion-generating spectacle has arrived. No more mindless off-field drama. No more pretending I care about baseball.
Here are the questions I have about the upcoming season.
1) Will Bama meet its own ridiculous expectations?
Two back-to-back national championships. Three in four years.
Bama fans are not satisfied. We expect our teams to wake up in the morning and piss excellence.
The problem with expectations is they’re easier to manage than they are to meet. Nick Saban’s brain washing of the entire Bama nation (oh praises unto you, Short Cranky Overlord) pretty much sets the tone for how we follow our football team. Nothing is ever good enough. Nothing. If that’s the way you view everything you do, you’ll never be satisfied.
But how can any team, no matter how brainwashed, resist the comforting temptation of complacency after that much success? What else is there to accomplish when you’ve set the bar so high that it may well be generations before someone sets it higher?
2) Will this be Georgia’s breakthrough year?
Georgia’s football team has what I like to call Bulldog Syndrome, or BS for short. They’ve had good years under Mark Richt, who I hear is a super-duper swell Ned Flanders sort of guy, but not quite good enough. The talent is there. The fans are passionate. But the football program does not get along with expectations.
While Alabama thrives on expectations, Georgia’s teams at times seem haunted by them. There is no logical reason South Carolina should be able to ring up Georgia’s number like it’s on speed dial. They’ve finally managed to get over their Florida hangup, which is great because I don’t much care for Florida.
Georgia came this close to beating us last year. I honestly thought they would. I think they can do it this year, should the opportunity arise. Will they finally break their mental block and win it all?
3) Will the SEC close out the controversial BCS era with its final championship?
Seven straight. Even when you concede the absolute ridiculousness of letting a machine pick a championship match up, that’s still an impressive feat. There will always be controversy in college football championships because there are so many teams in weaker conferences going undefeated who are politicking for a right to be there. The BCS goes away in 2014, replaced by a four team play off.
Will the SEC prove that it ultimately owned the BCS era?
4) Will Texas finally get rid of Mack Brown?
I love the Mack Brown Wikipedia page, because it stops recounting the seasons after 2008. He took that loss to Bama pretty hard in 2009. A lot of Texas fans did. The coach is the man responsible for getting his team mentally prepared and that involves sucking it up and moving on. It’s not like Texas is hurting for recruits or exposure. The only problem that I see with that program right now is the man at the top.
If he craps the bed again this year, does he still deserve to be called the head coach?
5) Will Verne Lundquist find a way to be even more obnoxious than he already is?
OK, that’s not a legit question. He always finds a way.
6) Will USC give Lane Kiffin the contract extension he so clearly deserves?
I can think of no program more deserving of the honor.
7) Will Auburn actually improve under Gus Malzahn?
Malzahn clearly has a head for the game, but I’m not sure if he’s got a team talented enough to accomplish anything more than a consolation bowl trip. After the last few years, I’m sure Auburn fans will be grateful if he beats Vanderbilt.
8) Will my TV remain intact if I can’t find the remote and have to hear that godawful NAPA Auto Parts commercial with that guy singing about spark plugs?
BONUS QUESTION: Was Johnny Football getting a Johnny Paycheck for his John Hancock?
If he was, I hope he hasn’t cashed it yet, because he might need it for the foreseeable future.