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Random Thoughts From Around the Country: Turn the Page

Another wild and crazy year of College Football is in the books.

The last Crystal Football.
The last Crystal Football.
Kevork Djansezian


To date the following SEC underclassmen have chosen to forgo their remaining eligibility to enter for NFL draft:

*Johnny Manziel and Texas A&M teammate Cedric Ogbuehi (OT) have not officially declared as of yet. No Alabama or Auburn players have declared as of post time. January 15 is the deadline.

Others of interest (not a complete list):

A few planning to return to school:



2013 was "The Year of the Quarterback" in the SEC. So many high-profile signal-callers lit up the highlight reels and many of them will be leaving. The conference will look much different in 2014:

Team 2013 2014
Alabama AJ McCarron ?
Arkansas Brandon Allen Brandon Allen
Auburn Nick Marshall Nick Marshall
Florida Tyler Murphy/Jeff Driskel/Skyler Mornhinweg ?
Georgia Aaron Murray Hutson Mason
Kentucky Maxwell Smith/Jalen Whitlow Maxwell Smith/Jalen Whitlow
LSU Zach Mettenberger Anthony Jennings?
Miss St Dak Prescott Dak Prescott
Missouri James Franklin Maty Mauk
Ole Miss Bo Wallace Bo Wallace
S Carolina Connor Shaw Dylan Thompson
Tennessee Joshua Dobbs/Justin Worley Joshua Dobbs/Justin Worley
Texas A&M Johnny Manziel Matt Joeckel
Vanderbilt Austyn Carta-Samuels Patton Robinette




Wednesday, January 8, 2014 is the first day of classes at the Capstone for the spring semester. Incoming freshmen Cameron Robinson, Cameron Sims, David Cornwell, Tony Brown, Shaun Dion Hamilton, and Laurence Jones are expected to be enrolled. Juco transfers D.J. Pettway and Jarran Reed are already signed and should be there as well.


"Candlesticks always make a nice gift..." (Ron Chenoy-US PRESSWIRE)


With all the talk about concussions and the 2010 paralysis of Rutgers player Eric LeGrand still fresh on the everyone's minds, the NCAA took another step towards turning college football into touch football with the creation of the much-maligned targeting penalty.

The intention was to cut down on injuries but it is too vague and open to interpretation. In several instances this season, we saw the penalty called when it clearly was not a foul including this play from Ha Ha Clinton-Dix in the Alabama-Texas A&M game.



Thankfully, the play can be reviewed and if the act is deemed to not be targeting as it was in the instance above, the player is allowed to stay in the game. However, the 15-yard personal foul penalty remains - even if the replay clearly shows a clean hit. If Clinton-Dix's ejection had stood, it would've been a big blow for the Crimson Tide in that game.

In some instances, even with an overruled ejection, the 15-yard walk-off still adversely affected the outcome of the game. No more so than in the Georgia-Vanderbilt game. With the Bulldogs up 27-14 in the 4th quarter, a targeting penalty was called on Ramik Wilson on a 4th down incompletion (see below and imagine it at full speed). Wilson was ejected and the 15 yards gave Vandy a first down which led to a touchdown that sparked their comeback.


In the early weeks of the season, referees were handing out targeting ejections like candy on Halloween. But as the season progressed both players and referees seemed to adjust and the calls dropped significantly.

Obviously, the NCAA will look to fine-tune this rule and articulate more clearly what a targeting call should be.



R.I.P. B.C.S.

It is the end of an era as the Bowl Championship Series takes its final bow. Over its 16 year life, the BCS has been often criticized (mostly by the Big Ten) but it was a vast improvement over the old bowl & poll systems. Additionally, more times then not, it got it right in the end.

For several decades, it was always every man for himself. Teams would go to bowl games and wait for the newspapers to come out on January 2 to declare the poll winner. This resulted in many split national championships including a pair as recent as 1990 Colorado (11–1–1) & Georgia Tech (11–0–1) and 1991 with Miami (12–0) & Washington (12–0).

The Bowl Alliance (1995-1997) and Bowl Coalition (1992-1994) tried their best to pit #1 versus #2. Yet, the backwards-thinking Big Ten and Pac-10 refused to join in preferring to play the Rose Bowl regardless of rankings.

Finally, the rest of the college football world had to drag the Big Ten into the modern day and the BCS was born.

As you all know, next season will usher in the era of the College Football Playoff which will attempt to match up the top four teams with #1 playing #4, #2 versus #3, and the winners facing off in the Championship Game. This format would've made many Crimson Tide fans happy (and made many others howl like baboons) this season.

However, there is one humongous flaw in the CFP system: the NCAA will have a 13-person committee select the four teams. This is a disaster waiting to happen. At least with the BCS, you had the USA Today Coaches' Poll, Harris Interactive Poll of media, former players and coaches, and the average of six participating computer rankings. This bright idea of a committee means that we are going from hundreds of votes down to just thirteen. It has been quite a while since I took Statistics 310 in Bidgood Hall but it seems to me that the more votes there are, the less chance of favoritism and for margin of error.

(Please don't try to compare the CFP Selection Committee with the NCAA Basketball Committee. It is NOT the same. For the Big Dance, the committee is basically just selecting bubble teams that don't make it very far anyway.)

1998 Tennessee
1999 Florida State
2000 Oklahoma
2001 Miami (FL)
2002 Ohio State
2003 LSU
2004 USC (Vacated)
2005 Texas
2006 Florida
2007 LSU
2008 Florida
2009 Alabama
2010 Auburn
2011 Alabama
2012 Alabama
2013 Florida State

SEC (9-2): Alabama (3), Florida (2), LSU (2), Auburn, Tennessee
Big 12 (2-5): Oklahoma, Texas
ACC (2-2): Florida State
Big East (1-2): Miami (FL)
Big Ten (1-2): Ohio State
Pac-12 (1-2): Southern Cal
Independent (0-1): none



AP Top 25 USA Today Poll
1 Florida State 14-0 1 Florida State 14-0
2 Auburn 12/2 2 Auburn 12/2
3 Michigan State 13-1 3 Michigan State 13-1
4 South Carolina 11/2 4 South Carolina 11/2
5 Missouri 12/2 5 Missouri 12/2
6 Oklahoma 11/2 6 Oklahoma 11/2
7 Alabama 11/2 7 Clemson 11/2
8 Clemson 11/2 8 Alabama 11/2
9 Oregon 11/2 9 Oregon 11/2
10 UCF 12/1 10 Ohio State 12/2
11 Stanford 11/3 10 Stanford 11/3
12 Ohio State 12/2 12 UCF 12/1
13 Baylor 11/2 13 Baylor 11/2
14 LSU 10/3 14 LSU 10/3
15 Louisville 12/1 15 Louisville 12/1
16 UCLA 10/3 16 UCLA 10/3
17 Oklahoma State 10/3 17 Oklahoma State 10/3
18 Texas A&M 9/4 18 Texas A&M 9/4
19 USC 10/4 19 USC 10/4
20 Notre Dame 9/4 20 Arizona State 10/4
21 Arizona State 10/4 21 Wisconsin 9/4
22 Wisconsin 9/4 22 Duke 10/4
23 Duke 10/4 23 Vanderbilt 9/4
24 Vanderbilt 9/4 24 Notre Dame 9/4
25 Washington 9/4 25 Nebraska 9/4