College Football Preview 2012

Last year, I previewed the college football season with a bunch of made-up questions from fictitious readers mailbag. This season, I’m taking a different approach, bringing you up to speed on all the biggest offseason news and making fearless predictions for the opening weekend. Fasten your seat belts, fans, this is going to be as bumpy as a Bobby Petrino motorcycle ride.

Well endowed

Which one of the following college football headlines did not appear in The Onion?

  1. Texas A&M Fans Celebrate 1999 Alamo Bowl Victory Over Penn State
  2. NCAA Abandons BCS, Implements New Argument-Based System for Determining College Football Rankings
  3. Stanford Renames Coordinator Position Title ‘Andrew Luck Directorship of Offense’

 The answer is the Stanford headline, as some wealthy donor decided it would be hilarious to put his money towards an endowment in honor of the school’s all-time leading passer. We can only hope announcers and other media folks will refer to Pep Hamilton as Stanford’s Andrew Luck Director of Offense. He is listed as such on the Stanford athletics website. My dream is that there’s a wealthy, disgruntled Kansas alum who will rename the Jayhawks’ offensive coordinator position the Charlie Weis Directorship of Decided Schematic Advantages. Maybe we can get a Kickstarter fund going. Count me in for $20.

He doesn’t have to be the second Robert Griffin the Third, just the first Nick Florence the First

Stanford is just one school that has to replace a legendary quarterback. Baylor, post-RG3, and Boise State are two others that come to mind. After nine great years in Boise, Kellen Moore decided to retire after yet another one-loss season. In all seriousness, the two-time All-American, who went 50-3 (!) as a starter and was a Heisman finalist as a junior, graduated. I can’t imagine how he felt on NFL Draft day, when none of the 253 picks were used to select him. Meanwhile, the Dolphins spent the eighth overall pick on a guy who spent the majority of his college career as a wide receiver. Kudos, NFL scouts!

In Stillwater, Oklahoma State does something no other college has ever done before (probably): in one season, they shaved 10 years off their starting quarterback’s age. Brandon Weeden, last year’s starter, is gone to the NFL, where he’s already a veteran as far as age (he’s older than Aaron Rodgers). He is replaced by Wes Lunt, an 18-year-old fresh out of high school.

Sign of the Apocalypse: real colleges implementing Pro Combat

Two tradition-rich programs, Notre Dame and Michigan, reveled new uniforms for select games last season. Michigan’s were more garish than ND’s, in my opinion. During the summer, it’s as if Notre Dame’s athletic department said, “Hey, Michigan, you think you can spit on your tradition better than we can? We’ll show you!” And so the Irish took some cloth from Maryland’s wardrobe. I sound old when I complain about these crazy new uniforms the kids are wearing when they should be GETTING OFF MY LAWN, but come on.

Notre Dame visits its mascot roots

Speaking of Notre Dame, the Fighting Irish play Navy in Dublin, Ireland on Saturday. What does it say about our society that if I had told you a few years ago that 35,000 Americans would be travelling to Ireland in September, you would have correctly guessed it was for a football game? The Irish economy is expecting a major boom from all the football fans.

Dublin’s airport welcomes Americans, ND fans, and Navy fans. (Credit: Tony Kahn)

A few ND players won’t be making the trip, however. Two were punished months ago, when Dublin was not fresh in their minds—completely understandable. But I question how the other two could be dumb enough to get suspended within a week of such a unique experience. Maybe they couldn’t find their passports and were too embarrassed to tell the coaching staff, so they misbehaved on purpose. I’m just spit-balling here.

Hope you have an unlimited plan

John L. Smith takes over on an interim basis for Arkansas following the firing of Bobby “Hot Rod” Petrino. He comes from Weber State after serving as head coach for four months and coaching his alma mater a total of 0 games. Can Weber take back his diploma? At least Holly Rowe’s interviews should be more interesting this season.

A few good years at Tulsa got Todd Graham the head coaching gig at Pittsburgh, where he led the Panthers to a disappointing 6-6 season in 2011. Arizona State was impressed enough to not only interview Graham without Pitt’s permission, but to actually hire the guy. Graham informed the Pitt players of his move via text message during his flight out west: “I have resigned my position at Pitt in the best interest of my family to pursue the head coaching position at Arizona State. Coaching there has always been a dream of ours and we have family there. The timing of the circumstances have prohibited me from telling you this directly. I now am on my way to Tempe to continue those discussions. God Bless. Coach Graham.” Any player with a different cell provider than Graham would have received this as three or four different messages, making the communication not only classless but annoying and costly as well.

Conference realignment makes total sense…to idiots!

This offseason’s conference realignment made what happened last offseason seem like kids trading baseball cards (or pogs, or Magic: The Gathering cards; whatever it is kids trade these days). West Virginia will play in the Big 12 this season, as will TCU; the Horned Frogs left the Big East before ever playing there, which makes complete sense in today’s college football landscape. Boise State and San Diego State and like 15 other schools will join the Big East next year, stretching the conference across four time zones. If you ask me, the conference leaders are focusing on the “Big” more than the “East.”

Syracuse: New York’s team!

Speaking of the East, we all know the Northeast is not a hotbed for football talent. Actually, there are plenty of good players, especially in New Jersey, but most of them leave the state. (Wouldn’t you? Ha, just kidding, Jerseyans). I was reminded of this fact when I got the Sports Illustrated college football preview issue. They went with regional covers for their Heisman favorites, and my cover here in New York was Geno Smith, West Virginia’s quarterback. I thought to myself, is West Virginia the closest school with a Heisman contender? Yes, and it’s also the closest school that is good at football. Even if we count the Buffalo Bills, they would only be a decent college football team.

75 is the new 85

Something rubs me the wrong way with USC’s preseason No. 1 ranking. All those sanctions, and in their first year of bowl eligibility they are a favorite to win the national championship? The Trojans are No. 1 in the writers’ poll but the not the coaches’, where Lane Kiffin, in his first year as a poll participant, voted his own team No. 1, sort of lied about it, and eventually opted to withdraw his ballot going forward. His time as pollster lasted just a bit longer than his head coaching tenure at Tennessee. Kiffin did make a good point during the ordeal—coaches are not qualified to vote on teams all over the country. I think we can all agree that voting should be turned over to one man: Lou Holtz, M.D.

Enjoy the 2012 season as well as my awards and predictions for Week 1.

Upset Pick: Boise State over Michigan State

Underrated Matchup: Clemson vs. Auburn

ESPN’s College Football Final “Final Verdict” Winner: Lou Holtz, M.D.

Onion-Flavored Headline: Penn State won’t use song with ‘touching me, touching you’

Actual Onion Headline: Penn State Bans The Who’s ‘Fiddle About’ During Games

Kahn Family Smiles (one smile for each projected win between Michigan and Notre Dame this week): 🙂

Urban Meyer’s Family First Moment: My parents, brothers, cousin, aunt, and sister-in-law are travelling to Dublin for the Notre Dame-Navy game. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: sports bring people together.

Where’s Andrew J. Kahn? I’ll be watching the games this weekend at my parents’ house in New Rochelle, NY. Friends, including fellow Michigan alum Julez, will join Megan, Mutsy, and me for the Michigan game on Saturday night. Mutsy will probably bark when Corso puts on the elephant head.

Pet Fan of the Week: Ella, a nine-year-old long-haired miniature dachshund, shows off her Michigan allegiance. Feel free to email a photo of your pet to me at andrewjkahn@gmail.com.

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