Who’ll win it all?
Can Johnny Football do it again?
Where will Texas end up?
The college football season is about to kick off. American-Statesman columnists Kirk Bohls and Cedric Golden weigh in on several hot-button topics:
Who’ll win the national championship?
Bohls: Ohio State will run the table for the second straight year. The only difference is the Buckeyes are eligible for parting gifts this season. A combination of great talent, solid experience, a veteran quarterback and a favorable schedule make the Buckeyes my favorite. I’m calling it Ohio State over Stanford, which has the Pac-12’s best defense and a returning starter at quarterback.
Golden: Alabama, over Ohio State. The Buckeyes have a dynamic quarterback and a defense that should be better, but the Crimson Tide will prevail. Quarterback A.J. McCarron has evolved from game manager to difference maker, and Nick Saban coaches the toughest-minded bunch in college football.
Any dark horses that can contend for a national title?
Bohls: Louisville, although I’m not sure just how dark a horse the Cardinals are, given their athletic quarterback and a soft American Athletic Conference schedule. Who on the schedule is going to beat ‘em? FIU? Rutgers?
Golden: Texas. The Longhorns will ride or die with quarterback David Ash, who doesn’t count consistency as a strong suit, but the schedule is favorable and no Big 12 team is really a world beater. The opportunity is there.
Will Johnny Manziel repeat as the Heisman winner?
Bohls: He can, but he won’t. Way, way, way too much drama to overcome, even if he does escape the NCAA police. It was going to be hard enough to duplicate his amazing first season, and, assuming he’s eligible, he’s got such a target on his back and defenses have something of a blueprint to use against him. Of course, not that many teams have Florida’s and LSU’s material on defense to implement.
Golden: He can, but he won’t. The firestorm over him likely will lead several voters to look elsewhere, even if he puts up great numbers. Voters are human, and even if nothing is proven regarding Autograph Gate, the perception will remain that Manziel took cash to sign.
Who’ll be the surprise team of the Big 12?
Bohls: Texas Tech. Kliff Kingsbury’s magic and a tougher defense, led by the team’s fifth coordinator in five years, could mean seven or eight wins.
Golden: Kansas State. Even in what’s supposed to be a down year, Bill Snyder will have his team ready to play disciplined football.
Which prominent head coach will get fired?
Bohls: Lane Kiffin’s got to go some time, doesn’t he? NCAA sanction-killing depth, a lack of a proven quarterback and an early injury to stud receiver Marquise Lee spells danger for college football’s flim-flam man at USC.
Golden: Iowa’s Kirk Ferentz. The Hawkeyes are 19-19 over the last three years, including 10-14 in conference play. Ferentz has yet to deliver and may run out of time.
When will Texas and Texas A&M play again?
Bohls: Assuming DeLoss Dodds retires sometime this century, I predict the Longhorns and Aggies will renew their rivalry during the regular season of 2020.
Golden: Book Jerry World for the 2015 Cotton Bowl. That place would be nuts.
What conference has the best chance of snapping the SEC’s title run?
Bohls: The Big Ten, although Stanford and Oregon are potential king killers too.
Golden: The Pac-12. Oregon and Stanford are more than capable of winning a national championship.
Which Longhorn has the best shot of being an All-American?
Bohls: Jackson Jeffcoat. I’d like to say junior linebacker Jordan Hicks, but Texas’ defensive end has shown more and looks poised to have a breakout season as a senior.
Golden: Jeffcoat, if he can be “pec-tacular” this year. He’s torn each pectoral muscle dating back to the spring of 2011, so hopefully the injury problems are behind him.
How would Texas A&M fare without Manziel?
Bohls: Without him, the Aggies go 8-4. Maybe. There may not be a lot of faith yet in Matt Joeckel or Matt Davis, but a solid offensive line, spectacular running backs and good receivers are still in place to overcome any defensive shortcomings and perhaps a Manziel absence.
Golden: They’d go 6-6. Kevin Sumlin is a great coach and there are some good players on this offense, but the fallout from a season without the best player in college football would be too much to fully overcome.
Who’ll win the Big 12?
Bohls: TCU, because of a great defense and a solid quarterback in Casey Pachall. A tough schedule sends the Frogs to Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Kansas State and Texas Tech and brings LSU to Arlington in Week 1, but they’ve got a year in the Big 12 under their belt and Gary Patterson’s as good a coach as there is.
Golden: TCU.Pachall’s back, plus that defense should be stout.
Which college quarterback is the best NFL prospect?
Bohls: If not for the beast known as Jadeveon Clowney, Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater might be the first player taken in next spring’s draft. He’s big (6-3, 220), accurate (only eight interceptions and 68.5-percent accuracy) and mobile. A lot to like.
Who’s the Big 12’s best lineman?
Bohls: Baylor guard Cyril Richardson gets the nod over Oklahoma center Gabe Ikard.
Golden: Richardson. He resembles one of those houses on wheels that take up two lanes on the interstate. Only he moves a lot better.
Should players be compensated for their likenesses being on video games?
Bohls: Yes, although I’m not certain how it could be monitored or controlled to avoid well-heeled boosters from entering the picture. The Ed O’Bannon lawsuit to acquire compensation for college athletics will be a landmark case, as big as when Oklahoma and Georgia sued for schools to own their own TV rights in 1984.
Golden: Heck yeah, because those games wouldn’t sell without the personalities on the cover. It’s robbery of the legal order.
What does Baylor’s Lache Seastrunk have to do to win the Heisman?
Bohls: He has to rush for more than 1,500 yards, maybe return a kickoff or catch a pass, but even more, the Bears have to win 10 games or more to show voters they’re relevant again.
Golden: Avoid all male autograph seekers over 30 years of age, and run for 1,800 yards and 25 touchdowns.
Ohio State over Stanford;BCS title game;Alabama over Ohio State
TCU-Florida State;Fiesta Bowl;TCU-Oregon
Alabama-Boise State;Sugar Bowl;South Carolina-Louisville
Louisville-Texas A&M;Orange Bowl;Clemson-Boise State
10-2, Cotton Bowl;Texas?;10-2, Cotton Bowl
TCU;Big 12 champion;TCU