Thursday, August 31, 2006

The greatest sport in the world is back

Starting the clock at kickoff? Letting it run before the first snap on a change of possession? Cutting halftime to 15 minutes? The NCAA has done its best to put a damper on my college football craving by senselessly tinkering with rules, but I still remain jacked up for this season, which starts in earnest tonight with South Carolina's visit to Mississippi State.

The national championship picture seems a little muddier this year than it often is. Last year's top contenders, Texas and USC, are back in the hunt, with Auburn, Notre Dame, and Ohio State also mentioned in the same breath. But all of those teams face major uncertainties: Texas and USC have some serious rebuilding to do in the backfield, Auburn has a history of crumpling under great expectations, and both Notre Dame and Ohio State have serious question marks on defense. West Virginia is in a lot of people's top five, but the Mountaineers' schedule is so soft that they can't afford to drop a game and may not be tested enough during the year to win a huge showdown even if they make it there. Quite simply, things are wide, wide open nationally.

Auburn is the widely acknowledged favorite in the SEC, but again, I just don't think the Tigers will live up to the hype. I also think LSU has the best talent in the conference. If I had to make a title game prediction, I'd go with the Bayou Bengals over Florida in a nail-biter. As for my beloved Crimson Tide, I'd love to see a 13th national championship to make up for the one we were robbed of 40 years ago, but realistically, I expect something like a 9-4 record and an appearance in the Cotton Bowl or Peach Bowl. At worst, the nonconference schedule is soft enough that anything below 7-5 would be cause for major alarm.

Kickoff is at hand. Enjoy the season, and Roll Tide to all.


Anonymous Dan said...

Be there or be square. I can't wait!

7:52 PM  
Blogger Alabamian said...

Amen to that. I might need to revise my statement about the opening of the season, though, considering that, in all good conscience, I shouldn't try to classify whatever Mississippi State and South Carolina did on that field Thursday night as "football."

11:35 AM  
Blogger Sheila said...

Our son and his wife are coming from Chicagoland to visit us. However, I think the real reason is to see the game on Saturday. It will be the first Bama game for him even though he spent the first two years of his life in Tuscaloosa.

Roll Tide!

2:46 PM  
Blogger Bruce -- Harper Blue said...

How can you call it "football" when (a) you don't play with the feet; and (b) the "ball" doesn't roll, but wobbles like a Weeble?

Looking forward to the next World Cup (grin)....

1:01 PM  

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