Nebraska in the Big Ten. It still seems odd. For a sport so grounded in history, so dependent on legacy, this truly is a historical development in college football. Only with Arkansas' switch from the SWC to the SEC did a program with a similar legacy in one conference switch to another, and after 20 years it still almost seems as if Arkansas should be paired with Texas and Texas A&M as much as LSU and Ole Miss. Though last year's conference realignment drama have have hinted at even larger change, the shifts we did get (Nebraska to Big Ten, Colorado and Utah to Pac-12) were still rather tectonic for this sport. And the feeling-out process has only begun.From Rivalry And The Nebraska Cornhuskers
I think USF's a year away. In this year's publication, Phil Steele picked the Bulls to surprise and finish tied for first in the Big East, but I just can't really see it. They had some fumbles luck, and their YPP margin suggests they were a bit lucky in regard to efficiency. They do not return a lofty level of experience, especially on offense, and ... I just don't see it. I see a young offense lacking in receiving threats and a confusing front seven on defense, but I see a seventh consecutive bowl game, seven or eight wins and a wonderfully experienced team that heads into 2012 with big expectations.From Power Vacuums, Nineties Hip Hop And The South Florida Bulls. "Going Back to Cali," FTW.
The schedule is, to say the least, trying. The 'Canes open on Labor Day at Maryland, then host Ohio State and Kansas State before the ACC schedule truly gets rolling. Their divisional fate will be decided by trips to Virginia Tech and North Carolina in mid-October, and by the time they reach the @FlaSt-USF-BC portion of their schedule, they could be anywhere between about 8-1 and 3-6. I've talked myself into this team to a certain degree, and I see them winning at least eight games when all is said and done, but 'potential' is the watchword. If we're still talking about potential, and not production, in November, then something went awry.Potential, Production And The Miami Hurricanes
Peter at Burnt Orange Nation takes a look at the new Texas defensive coordinator, who honestly seems like he was produced through some stat nerd's spreadsheets. "My Master Coordinator 2000 model digs into stats like I would as a coach, only he is built to relate to football players and acts like a real coach, so as not to scare other coaches."
In terms of Def. F/+, the Boston College defense has improved, at least slightly, in each of the last three years. Unfortunately, the offense has regressed at a steeper rate than the defense has progressed. It is easy to see the steady fall as a sign that Frank Spaziani fits into the "A great assistant coach who, when promoted to head coach, proved himself to be a great assistant coach" model, and who knows, you might not be wrong. We'll begin to find out this year, with a new hand leading the offense. If Kevin Rogers can breathe some life into a dying offense, then things could rather quickly turn around. The offense doesn't have to be good; it just has to be average for B.C. to succeed.The Boston College Eagles And The Excitement Gap
A late-season collapse in 2010 wilted some petals in Arizona's cactus blossoms, and even though Mike Stoops has brought a level of success to Tucson that Wildcat fans hadn't seen in over a decade, fans of every stripe bore quickly of any type of plateau, even good ones. (You can spot the "can't take us to the next level" complaint coming from 200 miles away.) It would behoove Stoops to figure out another step forward soon, and in a wide-open Pac-12 South, opportunity awaits. Unfortunately for the Wildcats in 2011, "opportunity" does not typically respond well to a complete and total lack of starting experience in the trenches.Mesas And The Arizona Wildcats
I almost went with "The BYU Cougars, Those Motherf*****s" as the title (due to the anecdote in the intro) but decided that would, uh, be rather untoward.