5 Bold Predictions for the 2014 College Football Season
5 Bold Predictions for 2014
Much like Nick Saban’s new $6.9 million annual salary, you can take these prognostications to the bank
Marcus Mariota will win the Heisman Trophy
It’s been a bad run for preseason Heisman Trophy favorites lately. Sorry, Matt Barkley, Andrew Luck, Beanie Wells, et al. The most recent winners have been Las Vegas longshots heading into their respective award-worthy season — including back-to-back freshmen in Jameis Winston (2013) and Johnny Manziel (2012). But this season will be different. Oregon dual-threat quarterback Marcus Mariota will parlay his laid-back Hawaiian persona, old-fashioned student-athlete work ethic and the Ducks’ neon-blur offense to go wire-to-wire from preseason Heisman Trophy favorite to hardware-winner.
The SEC will not be the country’s best conference
Three years after a controversial all-SEC national title game between Alabama and LSU, the new college football playoff will only be one representative from the conference that has claimed seven of the last eight national championships. A wave of new quarterbacks are set to replace proven winners like Manziel, AJ McCarron, Aaron Murray, Connor Shaw and Zach Mettenberger. The SEC may eventually take over the four-team playoff, but not in Year 1.
First-year coaches will dominate immediately
Texas’ Charlie Strong, Penn State’s James Franklin and USC’s Steve Sarkisian stole the spotlight this offseason, taking over once-proud programs that have fallen on tough times by their own standards. But those three won’t be the only new coaches of note this year. Washington’s Chris Petersen, Louisville’s Bobby Petrino and a few lower-profile leaders should also make noise in their first season with a new job.
An undefeated team will miss the playoff
College football’s new four-team playoff format is an improvement over the old Bowl Championship Series. But it is a long way from college basketball’s “March Madness” — a 68-team field with Cinderella upset potential, thanks to the inclusion of both traditional powers and mid-majors. The college football playoff, however, will be comprised of only the sport’s big dogs. The Marshall Thundering Herd will go 13–0, only to see their playoff bubble burst.
Florida's coach will spontaneously combust
Coaches on the hot seat are the ultimate wild card. Hot heads like Florida’s Muschamp, Nebraska’s Bo Pelini and West Virginia’s Dana Holgorsen are under the heat lamp heading into the 2014 season. With short tempers and even shorter leashes, big-time coaches could provide even more on-field meltdowns and postgame rants this season.