The arrival of the conference media days means that the college football season is within stadium binoculars view. It’s a lot closer than USC or UCLA is to Columbus, West Lafayette or New Brunswick, that’s for sure.
This is a different kind of look at what to expect for the 2022 season. While others focus on players, transfers and games, the Prognosticator is looking at the bigger picture. And so let’s kick off this thing!
Coaches Will Continue To Say They Are In Favor Playoff Expansion
Of course they will; after all, it gives them a better chance to make the playoffs – duh! You won’t hear Nick Saban or probably Kirby Smart saying it, maybe not even Ryan Day. But others (and Jimbo, I’m looking at you!) know that no matter how much they are getting paid they can’t stay employed forever if they don’t make the playoffs. So yeah you’ll continue to hear several coaches continue to say “I’m in favor of playoff expansion.” Heck Mike Leach actually said at SEC Media Days he wants all 160-something teams in the playoffs. Of course he does; he coaches at Mississippi State; what other chance do the Bulldogs ever have of making the playoffs?
Nick vs. Jimbo
The fact the game is played in Tuscaloosa actually makes this a minor issue, tho the salivating Southern media will be covering it like pouring BBQ sauce on Dreamland ribs. Bama fans will give Jimbo a hard time but A&M fans are so nice the Tiders will rib them in the Tuscaloosa bars and during the tailgate a bit but that’s about it. Once the game starts it won’t be a factor. It would be a different story in College Station, tho it’s hard to fathom the 12th Men could be more fired up than they were for the Bama game last year when their team got off the mat and played like national champions for three hours. Then they finished a pedestrian 8-4. And the Cadets still don’t have a quarterback for this season.
Alabama Playing Texas At 10 a.m., Central Time
Tide fans are crimson hot at FOX for being afraid to go against the college football TV big boys on what is by far the biggest game on the Week 2 schedule. Unless you’re more into Arkansas State at Ohio State or Samford (not Stanford, mind you) at Georgia. The way-too-early start actually gives the Sarks somewhat of a chance, at least until Saban awakens the Sleeping Giants.
USC Won’t Suddenly Turn Into The Pete Carroll Juggernaut
I laugh at the “Get Ready For USC” headlines so prominent on sports websites this summer.The Troys will certainly be better than they were under the hapless Clay Helton-Skelter but the team still has issues on the offensive line, the defense must learn how to tackle and Caleb Williams seems to be spending too much of his time hiring a PR agency to get as much NIL money as can possibly be extracted from the Los Angeles market than applying himself to his craft in a completely different environment. At some point he’s going to have to avoid chasing defensive linemen and complete a few passes. That being said, playing in that cushy Pac-12 schedule is easily worth nine to 10 wins.
More Headline Chuckles: UCLA IS NOT On The Rise
Every “USC and UCLA To The Big 10” article I read stated that UCLA is “on the rise.” Oh really? The Bruins did not beat a team with a winning record last year. That included a loss to Fresno State.
Clemson Will Rebound In 2022
Dabo is too good of a coach and recruiter to be written off, as some media outlets did as early as last year. Plus, the Orange Stripes can’t help but rebound with a schedule that really only has one potentially tough opponent, Notre Dame. They will be back in the playoff conversation, tho it seems a bit unfair considering what Alabama and Georgia have to face in the SEC and even Ohio State in the Big 10.
Miami Isn’t Back But At Least Will Stop Going Backward
Looking into the Cristo-ball, it’s easy to see that his recruiting prowess will significantly upgrade the talent in Coral Gables. But we must examine his shortcomings at Oregon before declaring the Canes back. His teams were not physical or athletic enough to even stay close against Utah and he had the maddening trait of playing not to lose in the second half, thereby losing a lot of games in the second half. Until – or if – he solves those two things, “the U” in Miami will continue to stand for “underdog.”
Coaches On The Hot Seat
Bryan Harsin (then again, the coach at Auburn is ALWAYS on the hot seat), Willie Taggert, Scott Frost and Herm Edwards (tho nobody outside of Mill Ave., is likely to notice). An outside possibility is Jim Harbaugh. There won’t be many coaches of big-name programs on the hot seat but that’s not because they don’t deserve to have sizzling britches. It’s because so many are at new schools after last season and others – James Franklin at Penn State being the cover boy for this – have incredible bloated long-term contracts that make it financially impossible to fire them for at least a few years.
In The End It Will Be Alabama And…
The real test of Kirby Smart’s coaching acumen is how Georgia performs this year. Will the Dawgs get complacent and stumble? Can they replace what they lost even tho they have recruited as an elite Saban level the past several years? Will the SEC East pave the way to the league championship game without much of a challenge (but hey, watch out for Florida because it seems as if the Chompers finally have a guy there who is not in over his head)? Can Stenson Bennett possibly have another game as good as the one against Alabama in the championship? Look for Ohio State to crush the Big 10 like a beer can and get to the playoffs. Oklahoma? Nah. Notre Dame? Possibly, if it gets the luck ‘o the Irish. Heck maybe the voters and committee will be sympathetic to the Pac-12 and if USC doesn’t stumble too bad maybe it – unready as it would be – will get a shot at it.