Welcome to the Athlon Rookie Report, where each week David Smith will evaluate the deepest crop of new NASCAR Sprint Cup Series talent since 2006. The Report will include twice-monthly rankings, in-depth analysis, Q&A sessions with the drivers, and more.
Today, David openly questions how the title of “Rookie of the Year” is awarded.
The Pac-12 has long been considered an offensive football conference.
With a rich history of elite quarterbacks, offensive playmakers and innovative coaching staffs, it’s not too difficult to back that claim up with facts. Bill Walsh, Don James, Jim Harbaugh and Pete Carroll set the bar for offensive advancement over the years while new faces like Rich Rodriguez, Mike Leach and Todd Graham continue to elevate this league’s standing nationally.
Arkansas had the worst football season in its existence in 2013.
And that was after firing an extremely popular and successful coach for getting caught illegally hiring his young mistress into the athletic department and finishing 4-8 under John L. Smith.
Needless to say, it’s been a rough few years for Razorbacks fans. In the toughest division in football, the uphill climb back to SEC respectability - much less the Sugar Bowl - appears to be extremely treacherous.
The concept of a mid-major may be out of date thanks to the last few seasons.
Think about it: Butler and VCU have routinely put up high-major program results. Wichita State invests in its program in ways some programs in major conferences do not. Creighton and Xavier now share the Big East banner.
March Madness is supposed to apply to this week’s NCAA Basketball Tournament, not NASCAR, which endured an eight-hour, marathon of a race for the second time in less than a month Sunday. Mother Nature wreaked havoc at Bristol Motor Speedway, causing two rain delays and finally ending the event prematurely when caution lights malfunctioned for inexplicable reasons.
Texas A&M was supposed to be the team that could step into the SEC and compete right away. And after a Heisman Trophy for the Aggies and seven losses for Missouri in their first trip through the league, it appeared that basic sentiment was correct.
That all changed last season, however, as Mizzou won the SEC East and 12 games in impressive fashion in just their second year in the SEC. Many will point to a chip-on-the-shoulder attitude that permeated Tigers camp last spring as the foundation for the run at an SEC championship.