Final BCS season should be wild ride - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Final BCS season should be wild ride

Posted: Updated:
Nick Saban and the two-time defending national champion Crimson Tide are top-ranked in The Associated Press preseason college football poll released Aug. 17, 2013, as they try to become the first team to win 3 straight BCS titles. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee) Nick Saban and the two-time defending national champion Crimson Tide are top-ranked in The Associated Press preseason college football poll released Aug. 17, 2013, as they try to become the first team to win 3 straight BCS titles. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

The BCS farewell tour is about to begin.

Love it or hate it — we're guessing there are far more in the hating camp — the system for determining college football's national champion will be mothballed after this season, replaced by the new, aptly-named College Football Playoff.

As farewells go, this one has a chance to be a memorable one, filled with intriguing story lines, great players and great teams, led by two-time defending national champion Alabama.

And, because this is the BCS, we can probably expect plenty of debate about what team should be where in the rankings.

This final go-round starts on Thursday, so here's a few things to look for:

___

TOP TEAMS

Alabama. All those future pros, an unflappable quarterback, one of the game's all-time great coaches — hard to pick against the Crimson Tide making it three straight titles.

Ohio State. The Buckeyes went 12-0 in their first season under Urban Meyer, but were tattooed out of the national title game because of NCAA sanctions. They're still loaded with talented players.

Oregon. Don't expect any drop-off under Mark Helfrich. Chip Kelly left the cupboard plenty full before leaving for the Philadelphia Eagles.

Stanford. The defending Rose Bowl champions are eyeing the big prize this season.

Texas A&M. Johnny Manziel is good to go after the NCAA looked into whether he was paid for signing autographs.

Georgia. The Bulldogs have to replace a few players on defense, but their offense is loaded with playmakers, led by QB Aaron Murray.

___

TOP PLAYERS

Manziel, QB, Texas A&M. The first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy, Johnny Football may still have something to prove this year after a difficult offseason.

Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina. The most disruptive force in college football could become the first full-time defensive player to win the Heisman.

AJ McCarron, QB, Alabama. He has as many national titles (two) as losses. 'Nuff said.

Marqise Lee, WR, Southern California. One of those threat-to-score-on-every-touch guys.

Ka'Deem Carey, RB, Arizona. Nation's leading rusher should continue to thrive in Rich Rodriguez's snap-before-they're-ready offense.

De'Anthony Thomas, RB, Oregon. Possibly the most dynamic player in the country.

___

BEST GAMES

Alabama at Texas A&M, Sept 14. Manziel had the signature game for his Heisman resume by handing Alabama its only loss of the season. The Crimson Tide want payback — in a bad way.

Oregon at Stanford, Nov. 7. The ultimate in contrasting styles could have a huge impact on the national championship race again this year.

LSU at Alabama, Nov. 9. Another Game of the Century? Maybe, but will have national championship implications and fun to watch no matter what.

Georgia at Clemson, Saturday. The No. 5 Bulldogs and No. 8 Tigers have two of the nation's best quarterbacks in Murray and Tajh Boyd. The marquee game of the opening weekend should provide plenty of fireworks in Death Valley.

Notre Dame at Stanford, Nov. 30. The Fighting Irish won last year's game in overtime on a goal-line stand and went on to the national title game. The Cardinal had to "settle" for the Rose Bowl and will be looking for payback at home.

Wisconsin at Arizona State, Sept. 14. The Badgers' speed vs. the Sun Devils' power in an early-season test for teams that have BCS bowl aspirations.

___

HOT SEATS

A handful of coaches head into the season needing to win a few games or they could be looking for a new job. Here's a few:

Randy Edsall, Maryland. He's won three conference games in two seasons since taking over for popular Ralph Friedgen and it won't get any easier with the Terps headed to the Big Ten after this season.

Lane Kiffin, USC. He's been hamstrung through a postseason ban and limited scholarships from the Reggie Bush-related sanctions, but excuses have a limited shelf life in the land of Troy, particularly after last season's flameout.

Mack Brown, Texas. The Longhorns are 11-15 in the Big 12 since playing for a national title in 2009 and have been ripped by rival Oklahoma three straight years. That won't fly in Austin for very long.

Bobby Hauck, UNLV. A highly-successful coach at Montana, he's struggled in the move up to the FBS, winning three games in each of his three seasons.

Gary Pinkel, Missouri. A move to the SEC could be Pinkel's undoing if the Tigers don't start winning in their new league soon.

___

BEST NAMES

Run through college football rosters across the country and you'll find some interesting names. Here's some of the coolest we could find:

Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Alabama defensive back.

Taco Charlton, Michigan defensive end.

Spiffy Evans, Boston College receiver.

Cassanova McKinzy, Auburn linebacker.

Thor Jozwiak, South Florida offensive lineman.

Silverberry Mouhon, Cincinnati defensive lineman.

Munchie Legaux, Cincinnati quarterback.

Pharoah McKever, North Carolina State receiver.

___

Follow John Marshall at www.Twitter.com/jmarshallap

  • Latest StoriesMore>>

  • ABI investigate shooting

    ABI investigate shooting

    Sunday, April 20 2014 9:11 PM EDT2014-04-21 01:11:58 GMT
    Officers investigate a shooting in the parking lot of Papa Sias Sports Grille. Helena and Pelham police were on the scene around 8:30 Saturday. More >>
    Officers investigate a shooting in the parking lot of Papa Sias Sports Grille. Helena and Pelham police were on the scene around 8:30 Saturday. More >>
  • Fairfield police: burned body dumped at house, crime committed elsewhere

    Fairfield police: burned body dumped at house, crime committed elsewhere

    Sunday, April 20 2014 8:02 PM EDT2014-04-21 00:02:53 GMT
    The burned body found in a the backyard of a Fairfield house has not been identified. But police say it was a woman. They also believe there is another crime scene.More >>
    The burned body found in a the backyard of a Fairfield house has not been identified. But police say it was a woman. They also believe there is another crime scene.More >>
  • Local mom ready for Boston Marathon

    Local mom ready for Boston Marathon

    Sunday, April 20 2014 7:57 PM EDT2014-04-20 23:57:02 GMT
    Birmingham - Runners are gearing up for the Boston Marathon Monday. Despite last year's bombings, there was a surge in entries for this year's race. ABC 33/40 caught up with a mother of four leaving Sunday to fulfill her dream. The images we won't forget. "It was just complete shock and just sadness that someone would use that platform to be destructive." Lisa Booher will be running in this year's Boston Marathon hoping to carry on a message that so many others also want to share. Booher says...More >>
    Birmingham - Runners are gearing up for the Boston Marathon Monday. Despite last year's bombings, there was a surge in entries for this year's race. ABC 33/40 caught up with a mother of four leaving Sunday to fulfill her dream. The images we won't forget. "It was just complete shock and just sadness that someone would use that platform to be destructive." Lisa Booher will be running in this year's Boston Marathon hoping to carry on a message that so many others also want to share. Booher says...More >>
  • Police believe former student is behind threat at UNA

    Police believe former student is behind threat at UNA

    Sunday, April 20 2014 7:56 PM EDT2014-04-20 23:56:20 GMT
    University of North Alabama police say that 22-year-old Brian Mitchell of Madison, Alabama surrendered to police on Friday. Police say Mitchell is behind a message posted on social media site, Yik Yak,More >>
    University of North Alabama police say that 22-year-old from of Madison, Alabama surrendered to police on Friday.More >>
  • Civil War movie "Union" filming in Montevallo

    Civil War movie "Union" filming in Montevallo

    Sunday, April 20 2014 7:54 PM EDT2014-04-20 23:54:35 GMT
    An independent film crew is in Montevallo this weekend to shoot scenes for an upcoming feature.The movie is titled "Union" and is about a "female" confederate soldier in the civil war.Whitney Hamilton wrote the screenplay. She said she wrote a play about a decade ago that told the story of Joan of Arc, and wanted to write another script about some female combatants from the United States.She researched the subject and learned more than 400 women disguised themselves as men during the Civil Wa...More >>
    An independent film crew is in Montevallo this weekend to shoot scenes for an upcoming feature.The movie is titled "Union" and is about a "female" confederate soldier in the civil war.Whitney Hamilton wrote the screenplay. She said she wrote a play about a decade ago that told the story of Joan of Arc, and wanted to write another script about some female combatants from the United States.She researched the subject and learned more than 400 women disguised themselves as men during the Civil Wa...More >>
  • UNA social media threat suspect turns himself in

    UNA social media threat suspect turns himself in

    Sunday, April 20 2014 7:54 PM EDT2014-04-20 23:54:13 GMT
    One student turns himself into the University of North Alabama police after a threat on the social media app “yik yak”. Police say the online threat was aimed at the University.Brian Mitchell, 22, turned himself in and now faces terrorist threat charges. Police say Mitchell posted that he was going to "shoot up UNA". Police worked with "yik yak" to track Mitchell down, that's when he admitted that he posted the threat and stated he would turn himself in. Mitchell will now have to face the uni...More >>
    One student turns himself into the University of North Alabama police after a threat on the social media app “yik yak”. Police say the online threat was aimed at the University.Brian Mitchell, 22, turned himself in and now faces terrorist threat charges. Police say Mitchell posted that he was going to "shoot up UNA". Police worked with "yik yak" to track Mitchell down, that's when he admitted that he posted the threat and stated he would turn himself in. Mitchell will now have to face the uni...More >>
  • Police shoot and wound a man outside a Helena restaurant

    Police shoot and wound a man outside a Helena restaurant

    Sunday, April 20 2014 7:53 PM EDT2014-04-20 23:53:20 GMT
    Helena police shot and wounded a man last night in the parking lot of Papa Saia's Sports Grille. Officers were called to the restaurant after receiving reports of a man brandishing a gun. Helena Detective Sgt. Chris Rollan says no one in the restaurant was in any danger. The incident apparently began as a domestic dispute and escalated when officers arrived. Pelham police also responded to assist. The suspect was taken to the hospital for treatment. The investigation has been turned over to t...More >>
    Helena police shot and wounded a man last night in the parking lot of Papa Saia's Sports Grille. Officers were called to the restaurant after receiving reports of a man brandishing a gun. Helena Detective Sgt. Chris Rollan says no one in the restaurant was in any danger. The incident apparently began as a domestic dispute and escalated when officers arrived. Pelham police also responded to assist. The suspect was taken to the hospital for treatment. The investigation has been turned over to t...More >>
  • Burned Body Found In Fairfield

    Burned Body Found In Fairfield

    Sunday, April 20 2014 7:52 PM EDT2014-04-20 23:52:58 GMT
    Police are conducting a death investigation after a burned body was found in the 500 block of 40th St. in Fairfield.Witnesses say the body was found in the backyard of a vacant home. There was a burned area in one spot of the grass behind the house and the back door was open. Police have yet to identify the cause of death. The investigation is ongoing.More >>
    Police are conducting a death investigation after a burned body was found in the 500 block of 40th St. in Fairfield.Witnesses say the body was found in the backyard of a vacant home. There was a burned area in one spot of the grass behind the house and the back door was open. Police have yet to identify the cause of death. The investigation is ongoing.More >>