Bohls: Texas, Herman among college football’s elite? Ask Swinney, Saban


While I got ya, here are nine things and one crazy prediction:

1. “Greatness is for everyone,” Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said Tuesday morning after winning the school’s first national title since 1981. “It’s not just for the Alabamas and Ohio States and Notre Dames and Texases.” Texas hopes it’s for the Longhorns again soon, and new coach Tom Herman has a great relationship with the Clemson staff and co-offensive coordinator Jeff Scott, who has visited Herman the past three offseasons. And Nick Saban raved about Herman when I asked him at media day, calling him “one of the finest coaches in college football. Great personality and fine offensive mind.” … The Tigers sure have the correct blueprint, and it starts with a great quarterback. Who’s next after Deshaun Watson leaves for the NFL this spring? Maybe four-star redshirt freshman Zerrick Cooper, a pocket passer, or incoming five-star freshman Hunter Johnson. Clemson may have as many as 14 starters return, seven on each side of the ball. “It won’t be 35 years before Clemson does this again,” Swinney said. “It’s built to last.”

2. Don’t expect any expansion of the College Football Playoff any time soon. If you’re like me and would savor a six- or eight-team playoff, CFP executive director Bill Hancock told me the look-in at the CFP’s 12-year contract comes in three years. But he said, “I’ve seen no groundswell calling for change” among college presidents and athletic directors for increasing the number of teams. The look-in involves only decisions by the Cotton, Fiesta and Peach bowls about whether they want to remain among the six locations that host the CFP finals and semifinals. “They could expand, but that’d be based on the leadership wanting to change the current format,” Hancock said. “There’s no language in the contract that allows for other changes, and I don’t see any movement for change. The leadership is very pleased with the way it is now.” Besides, Hancock said, protection of the regular-season significance remains first and foremost. “One thing about going to eight teams, what would that do to the Ohio State-Michigan game? It’d still be a great game, but both would have been in the playoff this year (with eight teams),” he said. “We don’t want to do anything to diminish the regular season. The focus on that is unwavering. Also, the disappointment Team 5 for being left out would be the same disappointment Team 9 would feel.” … Three members of the CFP selection committee rotate off, including Condoleezza Rice and Barry Alvarez. I’d love to see Steve Spurrier and Peyton Manning on the committee.

3. Hancock said San Antonio is still very much interested in joining the list of venues as host sites for the CFP final, but the Alamodome doesn’t have the same infrastructure that a lot of the new stadiums have. Hancock said the CFP folks will look into the next group of three hosts probably next September. “I would expect we’d announce at least three,” he said. Atlanta with its new stadium hosts next season’s final with Santa Clara, Calif., and New Orleans to follow to put the first six title sites in six different states.

4. Don’t feel too sorry for Oklahoma, which loses both running backs Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon to the NFL. In addition to a pair of four-star tailbacks who have committed and Marcelias Sutton, the No. 19 nationally ranked junior college player from Lackawanna College in Pennsylvania, Bob Stoops is likely to look to current true freshman Abdul Adams and redshirt freshman Rodney Anderson, who hurt his neck last summer.

5. Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby was glowing about his league’s performance in the bowl games after a 4-2 record and near-victories by TCU over Georgia. “Oklahoma State’s win was really big,” Bowlsby said, “and I don’t know if anyone saw the Baylor win coming.” The ACC took top honors with a 9-3 bowl record while the SEC limped home at 6-7.

6. Love Swinney’s sense of humor. When asked to describe the days when he walked on as a receiver for Alabama, the Clemson coach said, “I was a crawl-on. That was a notch below walk-ons. I had to crawl my way onto the field.” … Put Clemson receiver Hunter Renfrow in the Hall of Fame of Walk-ons after the former walk-on scored the winning touchdown, his fourth score in two games against Alabama. But remember Renfrow also had the tackle of the night, bringing down Tide linebacker Ryan Anderson after he stripped Deshaun Watson of the ball and was close to running it back for a possible 21-7 Alabama lead. “One of the hidden plays of the game,” Swinney said.

7. Interesting media party in Tampa. The hosts brought in local pro stars, so I got to talk Yankees with former New York first baseman Tino Martinez, who has a daughter attending Texas; play table tennis with retired tennis star Mardy Fish; threw footballs with Bucs receiver Vincent Jackson; and sank a long putt that circled the cup twice to show off in front of Chris DiMarco, who lost a Masters once when some upstart named Tiger sank a miracle chip shot on No. 16. By the way, DiMarco said of Woods’ remarkable shot, “I wasn’t surprised it went in. I was expecting the unexpected.”

8. College football season is over. But I’ve got Aug. 26 circled when the 2017 season kicks off with Charlie Strong’s South Florida Bulls traveling to play San Jose State, a Texas opponent next year as well.

9. Completely mesmerized by “Snowden,” the thriller with strong jobs by lead actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt and his movie wife, Shailene Woodley. May be too slow for some people, but the real practicalities of the story about Edward Snowden, who exposed illegal surveillance activities by the NSA and remains in Moscow, make it a must-see film in my mind. Gave it seven ducks.

10. Crazy prediction: Bob Stoops retires after one more season and is replaced by Lincoln Riley.



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