It’s August, and there are only 27 more days until the first college football kickoff between Abilene Christian and Georgia State. With the 2014-2015 season upon us, many of those warm, fuzzy sentiments about the sport will descend upon our emotions and remind us that yes, Saturdays in the fall are the best. Yet, tradition in college football is not without its strange bedfellow of chaos. There are certain notable tweaks to the structure of naming a champion, as well as who is coaching where. In an effort to get you, dear reader, ready for the season, I have rounded up all the nuggets that I have deemed important. If you’re into preseason statistical analysis about your rooting interests’ chances at glory, please read SBNation’s Bill Connelly. Otherwise, welcome to my roundup of necessary college football information.
The 2014-2015 champion will be decided by a four-team playoff. This was hammered out before the 2013-2014 season and dictated that a round robin of all the traditional BCS bowls host the first two games. A neutral site will play host to the the national championship game. This year’s bowl sites for the semi-finals will be the Sugar and Rose Bowls. The national championship will be hosted in Jerry Jones’ Pleasure Dome in Arlington, TX.
The Coaches Trophy has been replaced. The crystal football that you’ve watched Jameis Winston jokingly “drop” last year will no longer be the prize for being college football’s national champion. Instead, a large, gold and silver phallic symbol that looks like a college welding project will be your symbol of football excellence. Do not fear though – the crystal ball will be around but it will be for a lesser game and sponsored by a pseudo-pyramid scheme.
Your Amway Top 25 is here. Amway is also sponsoring the Coaches’ Poll Top 25 which was released earlier this week. There are no surprises at the top with Florida State looking down at everyone else who was objectively ranked by coaches from other programs.
Bitcoin is sponsoring a bowl game! Buffalo Wild Wing decided to pull their name away from the bowl game in St. Petersburg. It is now being sponsored by that whacky Crypto-Currency That Could, Bitcoin. Now, when you think of holiday bowls, you will weigh the pros and cons of whether or not you should buy some internet created cash.
The College Football Hall of Fame is an ATLien. The old HoF, which was located in South Bend, IN, is now in Atlanta. This is the last step in the confirmation process that the world of college football in our modern age revolves around the Southeast. Consider it a Galileo moment.
“Nutrition is the new frontier.” That is a quote from Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio who was referring to the NCAA’s offseason lift on the amount of food that student-athletes were able to consume via their scholarships at Big Ten Media Days. This ruling from the NCAA came after hoopy ball star Shabazz Napier commented on going hungry every night. I would argue with Dantonio that nutrition is a muddled wasteland filled with Doritos Tacos Locos and OH MY GOD HOW CAN YOU EAT THAT.
These logos look different. Yes, they do. If you’re a Florida State fan, you were probably weirded out that Nike has decided to collaborate with Urban Outfitters as well as Kajagoogoo to create the most post-modern outfits and logos to date. Florida State is too cool to care about what you think about their logo – they get it.
New Era, new regimes. This year, several high profile programs received new head coaches. USC is now navigated by former Washington coach “Seven win” Steve Sarkisian. Washington is under the helm of one of the most successful mid-major coaches in Chris Petersen. Charlie Strong left Louisville to coach the money pit known as the University of Texas. Bobby Petrino returned to Louisville (yes, you read that correctly). Derek Mason left his coordinator position at Stanford to oversee Vanderbilt which was vacated by James Franklin who is now coaching at Penn State. And this isn’t even the tip of the iceberg.
The Last Spoils of the Conference Arms Race. Due to the imperialist-like expansion of all the major conferences in 2012, several programs will now be playing in different leagues this year. This includes the most notable scramble to the east by the Big Ten Conference, who will welcome both Maryland and Rutgers. There is also Louisville, who just joined the ACC.
Wait, where did the Tess Effect go? Besides coaches and teams jumping ship, some of your favorite college football personalities have been re-shuffled into different slots, networks, and publications. Joe Tessitore will now be working on ESPN’s SEC Network. Stewart Mandel from Sports Illustrated will now be at Fox Sports along with CBS Sports’ Bruce Feldman. Erin Andrews will no longer be manning the desk for college football as she will now be main sideline reporter for Fox Sports’ NFL broadcasts. Tony Barnhart and Tim Brando have both left CBS Sports for the SEC Network and Fox Sports, respectively. Chris Fowler will now be joining Kirk Herbstreit in the booth during Saturday Night Football on ABC along with heading College Gameday . Just in case you’re wondering, Tim Tebow will have a job as an analyst for SEC Network so there’s that as well.
“Don’t come to Texas telling me how to do my business.” This is a quote from Baylor University head coach Art Briles at Big 12 Media Days, who was responding to Jimbo Fisher about the legitimacy of conferences who do not play in conference championship games. There has been a lot of jockeying and shade thrown at each conference’s media days concerning who deserves to be let in to the four team playoff since a selection committee will have the final say rather than some absurd formula. This has led to coaches like Nick Saban and Jimbo Fisher to call out conferences like the Big 12 indirectly to which both Bob Stoops and Art Briles have made audible fart noises.
Late Pass – There’s an official rapper of the Big Ten. The Big Ten Network has a rapper and, to Mark Dantonio’s chagrin, it is not Rich Homie Quan. Earlier in 2013, the Big Ten Network inked a deal with Ohio State alum/former player/rapper Mekka Don, who has released several songs to coincide with major Big Ten events. He was on hand at Big Ten Media Days in Chicago to remind you that the Big Ten Network could not afford Chief Keef, Lil’ Durk, Freddie Gibbs, or King L.
Les Miles watched the World Cup and FIFA. Les Miles learned a thing or two this summer about soccer. Man, what a game. Soccer and balls and football and FIFA! Wow – World Cup! Speaking of soccer, look at Will Muschamp! Inspired by all that FIFA! So was Dan Mullen!