Still waxing nostalgic for last season. We’ve quit cold-tukey for two weeks now. Spring ball can’t get here quick enough. I’ve seen a few lists hyping what we can expect from the upcoming season but I’m curious in retrospect what was hyped to us back in 2013-both over-hyped and under-hyped–in a variety of categories. Here’s the list: player, coach, team, trend, predicament, and prediction. Let’s go!
PLAYER: Jadaveon Clowney was the most over-hyped. After the hit of the decade against that Michigan back in the Gator Bowl, we expected a season of dominance from the South Carolina defensive end. What we got instead was an out of shape, overly cautious, play-it-safe, non-motivated player merely going through the motions to punch his ticket for the next round into the NFL. Sadly, this might be the trend to come for future high round picks–do NOTHING to jeopardize your future lottery lot, namely, becoming injured. While I can’t say I blame him, it does squat to enhance the view from the college fans’ perspective.
Nick Marshall was easily the most under-hyped player. Exactly no one expected the cornerback transfer from Georgia to be a SEC quality QB–much less to lead the team to a SEC championship and BCS appearance. He certainly showed up former teammate Aaron Murray and proved that a pure athlete can overcome other shortcomings in the Gus Malzahn offense. Better yet, Auburn gets him back again next year, something rare for the Tigers in the last decade.
TEAM: Florida was easily the most over-hyped team going into 2013. After a promising 2012 and a Sugar Bowl appearance under 2nd year coach Will Muschamp, The Gators wheels came off mid-season, culminating in seven straight losses to end their streak of non-losing seasons going back to 1979. While Florida was expected to contend in the east along with Georgia and Carolina, they instead took a cue from Auburn’s 2012 season and crash-landed.
Easy one. Auburn, coming off said 2012 debacle, was decidedly the most under-hyped of all the SEC teams. Picked to finish sixth in the west and garnering absolutely NO preseason poll votes, the Tigers came as close as any team coming off a similar situation to winning a BCS national championship. Pretty sure they’ll be on the radar for 2014 though.
COACH: While Jay might be thinking Saban here, I believe Will Muschamp is the most over-hyped coach because of the aforementioned reasons above. While I don’t think Muschamp is head coach material, most of the Gator nation still does but their patience is wearing thin. He wasn’t the immediate savior in 2011, and 2012 had the humiliating bowl game loss to Louisville to snuff out any warm fuzzies for 2013. Honestly, I didn’t think Muschamp would make it through December, but Foley is giving him a reprieve. I get the feeling the Gators will be in the market for a new coach come next bowl season, and Charlie Strong is NOT going to be available then.
While many of you might be thinking Gus Malzahn as most under-hyped, if you know anything about Gus, 2013 wasn’t a complete surprise. My pick is James Franklin, who’s back-to-back 9-win seasons at Vandy and subsequent hiring by Penn State showed the world that he’s a winner. Some thought 2012 was a fluke for the Commodores, but Franklin had them back at it last year and had every needy college team plus some from the pros considering him. If you think about how close Malzahn came to taking the Vanderbilt job in 2011, you can’t help but to wonder if the Gus Bus would now be barreling north to Happy Valley.
TREND: Poor, poor, pitiful SEC defenses were the most over-hyped trend of last season. Always renowned for that side of the ball, SEC defenses were being maligned by those such as Big Game Bob Stoops in the media before the season began, to Auburn and Missouri themselves on the field in the SEC title game with over 100 points in a basketball score. Other marquee games such as Alabama-Texas A&M, Mizzou-Georgia, and Auburn-A&M were score-fests, too. Suddenly the conference was looking more like the Big 12 than the Southeastern. The horror.
New conference addition Missouri immediately competing for the SEC crown was the most under-hyped trend of the year. Like Auburn, nobody was looking for the third Tigers to make it to Atlanta. No 1992 addition or later team has yet to win a conference title in divisional play, and neither has any of four historical teams for that matter. I hope Mizzou doesn’t think it’s that easy though. Long a Big 8 and Big 12 doormat, Mizzou was acquired more for their TV markets than football prominence. Welcome to jabs southern-style, Tigers!
PREDICAMENT: Alabama’s non-BCS title game bowl motivation is the most over-hyped of 2013. Long thought to have shaken off the cobwebs of no motivation following an ass-handing from Utah in the 2008 season Sugar Bowl, The Tide most recently beat down Michigan State in the 2010 Capital One Bowl 49-7 to apparently exorcise those demons. Faced with another non-national championship game in another Sugar Bowl against Oklahoma–perhaps the worst bowl team of the BCS era– Bama laid yet another post season egg. Perhaps Saban neglected to install enough “Never Again” posters around the locker room, or maybe it’s because he’s the only one on his staff that can remember that previous debacle. Sorry, Saban. I see a trend here.
The SEC’s 10 bowl teams in 2013 was the most under-hyped predicament. A NCAA record, no one from outside the SEC would talk about anything other than how many of those bowl games the conference lost. Haters. Imagine how many we’d have if we didn’t have to play each other. Oops. I guess we wouldn’t be a conference then if that was the case.
PREDICTION: I’ll throw the rest of college football a bone here. The most over-hyped prediction was the SEC’s streak of seven natties going to eight in a row–but only because it didn’t. Granted, many SEC doubters would still argue that it would have been over-hyped even if Auburn hadn’t laid an egg in the second half of a game for the first time that season. That’s because they were absolutley sick of it. Anyway, the streak is over and CFB won’t have it flaunted in their face anymore until the next streak. With perhaps double the chances of landing two of our teams in the title game for the foreseeable future, it’s something might consider getting used to.
The most under-hyped prediction was that Johnny Manziel would be as good in 2013 as his Heisman winning 2012 season. I admit, I thought 2012 was a fluke. Granted, I’d never seen a QB as elusive as he is, but I thought that all the luck from completed passes after throwing it off his back foot or throwing it up for grabs in traffic would finally come to an end. It didn’t. Statistically, he had an even btter year than the previous one. You weren’t going to stop him. The only way to beat Manziel was to outscore him, and it took four teams ranked in the top 14 in the final poll to do that. Hat tip, Johnny Football. Your game will be missed.
Who you got on your lists?
Tags: Alabama football, BCS National Championship game, james Franklin, Johnny Manziel, missouri, new BCS 4-team playoff, Nick Marshall, nick saban, Oklahoma Sooners, SEC Championship game, SEC conference schedules, War Eagle Atlanta