Spring practice is just around the corner and with it comes a bevy of questions and concerns going into the 2013 college football season. Here are five storylines to follow as we get set to kick off spring practice.
Next wave of college coaches ready to shine
The Buzz: This offseason was one of the most active in recent memory when it came to coaching moves as thirty head coaching positions were filled along with a plethora of assistant coaching hires as well. The Southeastern Conference, normally known for its coaching stability, saw four changes including the hiring of Bret Bielema at Arkansas and Gus Malzahn at Auburn. The average age of the new hires is 43 years old and the average number of years of experience is three years. In fact, 14 of the coaches hired have no previous head coaching experience whatsoever.
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The Buzz: Thanks to the ever-changing face of the college landscape, 18 schools will be making the move this offseason with two of those – Idaho and New Mexico State – going independent after the Western Athletic Conference decided to drop FBS football. The Big East picks up four new schools – UCF, SMU, Houston and Memphis – while Conference USA gets a whole new look thanks to the addition of FIU, FAU, Louisiana Tech, Middle Tennessee State, North Texas, and UTSA. Old Dominion and Charlotte join CUSA full-time in the coming years. The ACC will welcome the addition of Syracuse and Pittsburgh as well.
Will anyone threaten the SEC’s dominance?
The Buzz: Alabama’s emphatic win over Notre Dame in the BCS national championship put an exclamation point on another national title won by a team from the Southeastern Conference. That now makes it seven straight BCS titles won by an SEC team and there doesn’t appear to be anyone who can step up and stop the league’s overall dominance. Alabama, which has won three of the past four titles, appears to be the favorite going into next season especially with the return of quarterback AJ McCarron.
Can Johnny Football make it two in a row?
The Buzz: Johnny Manziel became the first freshman to capture the Heisman Trophy when the Texas A&M quarterback walked away with the coveted award in December. With the possibility of three seasons left, all the offseason talk will turn to whether or not the talented signal-caller can make it back-to-back Heisman’s. A feat that has only been accomplished one other time when Ohio State’s Archie Griffin won the award in 1974 and 1975. The Aggies play in the SEC now, will that help or hinder his chances for a repeat?
Will Ohio State contend for a national championship?
The Buzz: It didn’t take Urban Meyer long to right the ship at Ohio State. The Buckeyes went from a six-win team in 2011 to perfection in 2012. The only problem was the school was faced to sit out under an NCAA-sanction postseason ban or else the Buckeyes could have been playing for a national title. With the ban out of the way, can we hope to see a repeat from Meyer and the Buckeyes? Meyer was his first national championship in his second season at Florida so the timing could be just right.
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