Pleased to be back. For those of you who have just found BON, we actually have two writers. In my summer absence, PB has taken the reigns solo and done an outstanding job. I have been enjoying his posts just as much as you have. But my work days are less intense now and I should be able to post with a much greater frequency. And the season starts in just four days.
So, here are my top five wishes for this season. Obviously, we want Texas to go undefeated and win another national championship, but these are more geared toward college football nationally.
1. The Texas--Ohio State game lives up to expectations.
There has not been a bigger home game in my lifetime. September 9th will be exponentially bigger than even last year's matchup. In 2005 neither team was ranked #1 in the country nor was either team the defending national champion. There has already been volumes written about this matchup with tons more to come and rightfully so. Let's just hope the game turns out to be the second best college football game ever played.
2. The focus this season will be back on the game and not on the scandals of this off season.
My memory is not that good but I can't remember a single off season with as many off the field distractions. From Reggie Bush's House Gate and Dwayne Jarrett's living situation to Adrian Peterson's free Lexus and Rhett Bomar's underserved paychecks to the more recent suspensions and near suspensions at Auburn, Miami, Notre Dame, etc, (I'm sure I am missing some), the past eight months have been littered with stories highlighting all the wrong things. Let's all hope the media's tune is changed as the season kicks off this week. I want to hear about the kid who survived Katrina to make it back on the football field or watch the walk-on place kicker nail the game winner or cheer on the coach who finally claims his first conference or national championship.
3. The Heisman trophy will be decided by play on the field and not by a predetermined media love fest.
We were all front row spectators to the USC media love fest last season. That drama has been well chronicled at BON. As easy as it is for the MSM to promote a team for the national crown, the gravitational pull toward a single player is even stronger, (especially if that player plays for a national power with its own TV network). Who was the last Notre Dame player to win the Heisman? Tim Brown 1987. Nearly twenty years is way too long some would say. Let's hope that Brady Quinn, Adrian Peterson, Marshawn Lynch, Troy Smith, Chris Leak, Pat White, and all the rest of the best players in the country receive a legitimate and equal shot to win the Heisman this season.
4. That the fifth BCS bowl does nothing to help determine a clear national champion.
Why is there a fifth BCS bowl? Yeah, I don't know either. Who wants TCU or Toledo to play in the Fiesta Bowl? If we have room in the schedule for a fifth bowl (and somehow still don't have room for a playoff), why didn't we go to a plus-one system? The powers that be are still failing the fans. Last year we got lucky: the two undefeated teams were clearly the two best and rightfully determined the champion on the field. We won't be that lucky this year. There are no great teams and too many good teams. Let's hope there are four undefeated teams or seven teams with just a single loss. Let's hope that anarchy reigns at the end of the season. I don't think anything less could shake the status quo (and that may not even be enough).
5. The nation is introduced to Jamaal Charles in a big way.
JC is ready. As a freshman, he gained 878 yards on just 119 carries (7.4 ypc) while battling a high ankle sprain for the second half of the season. Charles is not even the starter and will be splitting time in the backfield with Selvin, but his upside is too high to ignore. JC is a patient, smart, strong, elusive back with break away speed who always seems to get two or three yards more than he should. A 1,500+ yard season is easily attainable. The love fest will continue all season at BON. Stick around to enjoy and participate. Let's hope Jamaal is known as the best running back in college football at season's end not just its fastest.