College football's future is bright but also perplexing. The sport has grown exponentially since the
The major bowls no longer are obstacles to determining a national champion. In the new, four-team playoff, the major bowls are now semifinal portals to a last,
The playoff did not, as some feared, dilute what many people consider the best regular season in sports. Victories are still precious and defeats are near-death experiences. Two worthy one-loss teams,
What makes college football cutthroat and Darwinian also makes it precarious. The college game is unfair, or at least unbalanced. The
The sport is fraught with paradoxes and contradictions. Public schools must compete with private schools on fields that are anything but even. Some players unite for the rah-rah love of their team. Others prefer unionization.
So it's onward to 2015, with a few questions and answers, some heavier than others.
What will happen to weaker football institutions?
Some will shut down. We've seen it already with the shuttering of football at
What happens in the playoff next year?
The College Football Playoff contract with
Next season, the Cotton and Orange bowls play host to the semifinal games Dec. 31, with the championship game at University of Phoenix Stadium. The
The Rose Bowl will be a semifinal game again Jan.1, 2018.
Will there be tweaks to the playoff selection process?
Maybe, but nothing like the annual adjustments we had in the 16-year history of the BCS. The four-team playoff format appears set. The 13 selection committee members are scheduled to be back. That includes Archie Manning, who had to withdraw this year to deal with a nagging knee injury.
There is some talk already the committee may not want to release its weekly ranking. While it adds interests, it can also compromise the committee's integrity. The panel took heat this year for dropping Texas Christian from third to sixth on the final weekend after a 55-3 victory.
Don't discount the influence of ESPN. The network funds the College Football Playoff and uses the weekly rankings to promote programming.
Will there be an eight-team playoff soon?
Commissioners probably won't cave on the four-team playoff for at least six years, if at all. Even though there was controversy this year, the general consensus is the committee picked the right four teams.
Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said that going to eight teams could devalue the meaning of the regular season.
"I'd be surprised if it's something that gets discussed within the next few years," Scott said. "But I know there will be a lot of public pressure for it."
So long as Cody Kessler is the quarterback, the Trojans have chance to be solid in 2015. USC is finally emerging from the fog of NCAA probation and can start creeping back to the 85-man scholarship limit. Next year's schedule is also favorable. USC plays a nonconference slate any SEC school would be proud of:
There is an opportunity window in 2015. In 2016, USC plays Alabama and
Is there life at
Hundley's excellent college career is only tainted by the fact he couldn't get UCLA past Oregon and Stanford. He did beat USC three times, which used to count for plenty.
Hundley's departure clears a path for a heralded incoming freshman, Josh Rosen of St. John Bosco High. Rosen is considered the best quarterback prospect in the country. He is 6 feet 5 and a pinpoint passer. He's not the runner Hundley is, so it will be interesting to see how coordinator Noel Mazzone tweaks the spread offense to take advantage of Rosen's skills.