Ok, so I’ll be the first to admit that it’s been awhile since wrote anything in this space. Combine some big life changes with a brief stop in Vegas, and well, all I can tell you is that it’s been a solid two weeks since I got more than four hours of sleep. Don’t judge. After all, it’s no worse than what Dana Holgorsen has been doing over the last week himself.
But as I woke up this morning, I also realized one thing: We are really close to the start of college football season. Like overwhelmingly, awesomely, stupidly close to the start of the season. I’m not sure how it happened, or where the off-season went (wasn’t I just writing a way-too-early Top 10 yesterday?), but the season is just about here. And I for one couldn’t be any more excited about it.
And it’s that excitement which is why I decided to break out my annual “50 Reasons to Be Excited For the Start of College Football Season” list. The way I see it, over the next few weeks you’re going to be inundated with hardcore analysis, conference previews and National Championship picks from all over, so why not start off with something a little goofier and lighter today? After all, this is college football and is supposed to be fun. Who knows, maybe you’ll even laugh once or twice while reading.
Regardless, college football is right around the corner, and it’s time to break out the list. I also hope that you’ll share some of your reasons for being excited in the comments section below, or on Twitter @Aaron_Torres.
Enjoy this list, and enjoy the next month. The season is coming up fast!
1. Alabama-Michigan on September 1: Want to know the biggest difference between August 1and September 1? On both days you were going to ignore your wife and kids anyway. The difference is that come September 1 you actually have an excuse.
In all seriousness though, what better way to start off the season than by seeing two of college football’s proudest programs and best teams kick things off in Jerry’s World? Nothing I tell ya.
2. LSU’s Tyrann Mathieu: Admit it, your life has felt just a tiny bit empty without the Honey Badger around these last few months, hasn’t it?
3. Urban Meyer is Back!: And so too is Ohio State. I fully expect them to be competing for National Championships within the next couple years.
4. New Arizona State head coach Todd Graham: Who, I’m pretty sure will hold the title of “New Texas Tech/Boston College/Saskatchewan Rough Riders head coach Todd Graham” when I put together this list next year.
5. The Georgia Bulldogs: A club which could win the SEC East, or could run out of enough eligible players to field a team by Week 1 of the season. As always, things are plenty interesting in Athens.
6. Manti Te’o: Admittedly, it feels like Te’o committed to Charlie Weis and Notre Dame about 25 years ago. That doesn’t mean I’m ready to see the best linebacker in college football leave campus any time soon either.
7. Verne Lundquist: Sure he’s not the best play-by-play guy in the business. Or the most knowledgeable. Or the most sober, either. But myyyyyyyyy goodness do I love old Verne. And as long as I make these lists, he will remain on them.
8. Derek Dooley’s Orange Pants: Also known as “The gift that keeps on giving.”
9. Texas defensive coordinator Manny Diaz: Who is not only the biggest up and coming rock star in the college football coaching business, but also the man who will soon win the award for “Guy whose name is most associated with any and all off-season coaching searches next December.” Folks, you’ve been warned.
10. The Return of Matt Barkley to ‘SC: There’s no joke to make here. College football is simply a better place with Barkley back for another season.
11. The Return of Charlie Weis to the head coaching ranks: College football is also a better place with Charlie Weis back in head coaching circles. As for the jokes? Well, they’ll be coming all season long. Trust me on that one.
12. Year 2 of the David Shaw Era at Stanford: Also known as “The year we find out if this David Shaw guy can actually coach.”
13. Temple’s Unceremonious Return to the Big East: What’s that? You forgot that Temple was returning to the Big East?
You forgot they were ever in the Big East to begin with?
You forgot that Temple even fielded a football team?
Honestly, I feel like there’s a good Steve Adazzio joke to make here somewhere. I’m just not totally sure what it is.
14. Chip Kelly: I mean at this point, Kelly is basically just walking on water, right?
Speaking of Kelly’s club, don’t forget about…
15. Oregon back-up quarterback Marcus Mariota: Listen to Ducks fans talk about Mariota and they’ll have you convinced that Mariota runs a 4.15 40, can throw the ball 80 yards on a fly and saves small children from burning buildings in his down time.
I can neither confirm nor deny if any of that is true, but if Mariota is half as good as his hype, Oregon- and college football fans as a whole- will be in for a wild ride this season.
16. Florida State cornerback Greg Rei---: Woops, sorry Seminoles fans. Too soon?
17. The WACky WAC: Seriously, $100 goes to anyone who can name all the teams playing football in this conference without looking it up first. No honestly, go ahead. I dare you to try.
18. Michael Dyer: Who, as best I can tell, might be spending his 2012 season playing in the California Penal League.
19. The Virginia Tech Hokies: A team you just know you can count on for 10 wins, an ACC Coastal Championship, and exactly zero memorable moments over the course of an entire season. Virginia Tech football… can you feel the excitement!
20. Cal’s Zach Maynard and Keenan Allen: Two guys who are half-brothers, one of the most dynamic pass-catch combos in college football, and the one, single reason to actually pay attention to Cal football this season.
21. November 3: Oregon-USC and Alabama-LSU on the same day? Are you kidding me? Simply put, if you haven’t already marked off your calendar and told your wife to leave town on the first Saturday in November, well, you’re doing it all wrong.
22. TCU quarterback Casey Pachall: Also known as the broiest bro to hit college football since Stephen Garcia first arrived on the scene at South Carolina half a decade ago.
23. The Old Ball-Coach: Who, after all these years, is still taking cheap shots at opponents and drinking beers with his shirt off. And honestly, I couldn’t love him any more for it.
24. ESPN Announcer Sean McDonough: Who is not only the most underrated play-by-play guy in the sport, but a man who must be a genuine saint given how many of Matt Millen's awful jokes he's laughed at through the years.
25. Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio: Sure, the guy has the demeanor of a mortician, but has anyone done a more underrated coaching job these last few years than Dantonio? No one I can think of.
26. The Alabama Crimson Tide: Honestly, I didn’t know exactly how to incorporate them on this list. But at the same time, how could I include the defending BCS National Champs somewhere, right?
27. Kevin Sumlin: Also known as “The single greatest thing to happen to Texas A&M since the school first began admitting females back in 1963.”
28. Dana Holgorsen: Also known as “The single greatest thing to happen to the West Virginia football program (not to mention stock in Red Bull) in a long time.”
29. Washington’s Brutal Schedule: For those of you who haven’t been paying attention, U-Dub has a five game stretch where they play at LSU, then follow it up two weeks later with back-to-back-to-back games against Stanford, Oregon and USC.
So yeah, good luck with that.
30. Kentucky’s New-Look Offense: Which, at the very least can’t be any worse than the Wildcats offense last year. Right?
31. Paul Rhoads: All I can say is… “I am so proud of youuuuuuuuuuuuuuu.”
32. New Northwestern wide receiver Kyle Prater: Who, with one swipe of the transfer pen from USC became the single most fascinating Northwestern player of my lifetime. You do understand that this guy was ranked ahead of Robert Woods coming out of high school, right? Sure he’s injury prone, but the Wildcats have never had anyone like him.
33. One more year of Denard Robinson: Sure, he was a little shaky in the past. And sure, his NFL future is a little shaky as well. Still, is anyone complaining that Robinson has one more year on Michigan’s campus? I’m certainly not.
34. Lane Kiffin, good guy: Man, the narrative sure has changed on Kiffin these last few months, huh? Let the record show that I’ve loved Lane Kiffin since long before it was cool to do so. Just saying.
35. New LSU quarterback Rob Bolden: At this point Bolden is basically Jordan Jefferson without all the extra pairs of sneakers, right?
36. The Start of the Tim Beckham Era at Illinois: Granted, I know nothing about Beckham. Not a damn thing. But if the Penn State transfer fiasco is an indicator of what’s to come, it’s going to be an interesting few years in Champaign with him at the helm.
Speaking of interesting, how about…
37. New Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze: Who might not win more games than Houston Nutt did last year, but has already won over every single Ole Miss fan on the planet. Not to mention me as well. I’m simply fascinated by the guy.
38. Notre Dame’s Tommy Ree---: Bahahahahahahahahahahaha. Sorry, Irish fans. I couldn’t help myself.
39. Healthy SEC running backs: There’s no joke to make here. It’s just great to see Knile Davis and Marcus Lattimore back on the field (instead of on the sidelines) this fall.
40. Joe Southwick: Also known as “That poor soul who has to replace Kellen Moore at Boise State.” Good luck, man.
41. The last year of the Landry Jones era at Oklahoma: Which I’m totally cool with, by the way.
42. Will Muschamp: Admit it, you have never met Muschamp, and probably never will. But the man sure is terrifying, isn’t he?
43. Boston College coach Frank Spaziani: Look, I’m not saying that Spaziani should absolutely, positively start updating his resume and sending out feelers for assistant coaching jobs next year. I’m also not saying he shouldn’t either. If you know what I’m saying.
44. Auburn’s Onterio McCalebb: I’m just going to admit it: Even after four years at Auburn, I still have no idea how to spell McCalebb’s name without Googling it first.
45. Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson: Swoon.
That is all.
46. The Louisville Cardinals: Save the jokes about the Big East and about Charlie Strong’s hoodless sweatshirts for another day. This team can ball.
47. The new Pac-12 Network: Which launches August 15, and is just further proof of my long-standing theory that Larry Scott is an evil genius set to take over the world.
48. Rich Rodriguez at Arizona: I’m not a smart man, but what I do know is that what happened with Rich Rod at Michigan was an aberration, not a trend. I’m not saying Rodriguez will turn around the Arizona program in one year, but it will eventually happen.
49. Silas Redd: USC’s offense was already scary good. Now they’re just unfairly, disgustingly, overwhelmingly good.
50. Alabama, LSU, Oregon and USC: If I were a betting man, I’d guess that two of these four teams will play for a title January 7 in New Orleans.
Which two teams will they be? Frankly, it’s going to be an awful lot of fun finding out.
(Love the article? Hate it? Disagree with something Aaron said? Let him know by commenting below, or e-mailing at ATorres00@gmail.com.
Also for his continued take on all things sports, and updates on his articles, podcasts and giveaways, be sure to follow Aaron on Twitter @Aaron_Torres, Facebook.com/AaronTorresSports or by downloading the Aaron Torres Sports App for FREE for your iPhone or Android Phones)
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