The BCS is dead. Finally!
We've been complaining about it for years, and now we finally have a playoff system, so all of the debate around who is the best team in college football can at least be expanded to the four best teams who should play in the playoff. All of the debate on ESPN and other outlets will still be annoying, but at least the end result is somewhat more rational. Hopefully this will be a precursor to at least an eight-team playoff, but we can live with this for now.
With that in mind, now that the NFL Draft is over, people are starting to talk college football again, and you can have some fun looking over the as you contemplate who you like going into the 2014 season. There are plenty of teams that will give Florida State a run for the title, with Alabama, Ohio State, Auburn, Oregon leading the way. Then you have upstarts like Baylor who became a media and fan darling last season until they got smacked silly 52-42 by UCF in a huge Fiesta Bowl upset.
College football can be very unpredictable, and lately with all the new spread and hurry-up offenses things change very quickly. But we still see many of the regular names at the top.
One name that will get plenty of attention as usual is Ohio State, the team that many around the country love to hate. Urban Meyer has brought the program back after the brief hiccup during the Luke Fickell season, but the team has a ways to go before actually winning a national championship. You should keep your eyes on two critical factors: Braxton Miller and the defense.
You'll see Miller in the futures as well, as he is again a legitimate threat to contend for the Heisman Trophy. Yet he is still an enigma, as he's very injury prone and also very inconsistent. He's an incredible runner out of the pocket. Frankly, at the next level, he should probably be a tailback. The reason has to do with his passing, which is still very mediocre. This year he'll have some great receiving weapons, and he'll also have some young backs who should do a nice job replacing Carlos Hyde. But the offensive line is very young, so this team likely will not be able to maul defenses with their running game like last year. Miller needs to step up and mature as a quarterback for the Buckeyes to have a chance at the playoff.
Then there's the defense, which has been an embarrassment since Jim Tressel left Ohio State. Sure, they've had injuries, but the pass defense was a joke last season. Urban Meyer has pledged to fix it, and this year he promises to showcase press coverage from his young secondary. The key will be a dominating defensive line led by super-sophomore Joey Bosa. If the line lives up to the billing, then maybe the Buckeyes can finally get back to playing real defense again.
But the Buckeyes show how hard it can be to predict college football, so do your homework!