There’s a cyclical nature to the college football season.
Tradition is one thing. Stale, predictable and boring are quite another.
Instead of the same ol’, same ol’ Groundhog routine, here are 10 things I hope we don’t see again in 2018.
1. Quarterbacks injured
We don’t want to see anybody injured — even holders — but almost half of the SEC starting quarterbacks missed considerable parts of 2017 because of injuries: Jacob Eason, Austin Allen, Luke Del Rio, Shea Patterson, Nick Fitzgerald and Nick Starkel. The backups, for the most part, played admirably and a couple played spectacularly. But that’s no way to lose your job (or keep a head coach). Here’s hoping the OLs keep the QB1s upright and clean in 2018.
2. Multiple coaches fired
It’s unrealistic to expect the SEC to go an entire year without firing anybody, but maybe we can stick to one or two coaching changes in 2018 instead of six again?
3. Trash cans on sidelines
I think it’s a pretty safe bet we won’t see that again in 2018 … or ever.
4. Mid-majors beating SEC teams
In 2013, Georgia Southern shocked Florida. In 2014, Temple tamed Vanderbilt. In 2015, Toledo took out Arkansas and The Citadel shocked South Carolina. In 2016, Southern Miss beat Kentucky. In 2017, Troy toppled LSU.
You know it’s going to happen again in 2018. Just don’t let it happen to you.
5. Losing record in bowl games
Critics hammered the top-heavy SEC all season. It’s all good. Critics also watched two SEC teams win their Playoff semifinal and play for the national title. Championship confetti fell on an SEC team for the ninth time in past 12 years.
But the rest of the league needs to pick it up a notch. The SEC went 2-5 in bowl games that didn’t involve Alabama or Georgia. Frankly, that’s a little Big Ten-ish.
6. GameDay’s Big Ten bias
Kirk Herbstreit walked off the set after Alabama was announced as the final team in the Playoff. My reaction? That’s a start … keep walking. GameDay, which started as a really cool, fun, thorough way to kick off Saturdays, has morphed into an unwatchable Big Ten love-fest. We already have a Big Ten Network. We don’t need another. I think Herbstreit is very good on most things, particularly as a color analyst. But it’s increasingly difficult to take him or Joey Galloway seriously any time either starts talking about the Big Ten or SEC, most obviously when it involves their beloved Ohio State.
7. Florida and Tennessee at the bottom of the SEC in scoring
The Gators scored 243 points last season. Steve Spurrier scored that many before Halloween most years. Tennessee couldn’t even do that, and the Vols had one more game than the Gators, too.
Tennessee’s scoring dropped almost 50 percent in one year, from 473 points to 238. But y’all keep insisting that Josh Dobbs wasn’t any good. The Gators will be better in 2018. I’m not nearly as convinced about the Vols.
8. Another low-scoring Alabama-LSU game
Come on, Tigers. You have more athletes than anybody. Other teams score 30 on Alabama. The more creative ones reach 40. And those teams still don’t put as many offensive skill players in the NFL as you do.
I’m over the defensive draws. The last time Alabama and LSU both reached 20 points was 2010 — a 24-21 LSU victory.
The only time both reached 30? In 2007, the original Saban Bowl, which LSU won 41-34 in the highest scoring game in series history.
Since that game, Alabama has given up 30 points 14 times, but never again to the Tigers.
What was a cute marketing ploy to celebrate a sensational season quickly grew annoying and out of control. I get it. Since Day 1 of the Playoff era, I’ve campaigned for 8 teams. The 4-team math never worked and there is no way two Power 5 champions are staying home to make room for a Group of 5 team. No way. Never. So I applaud UCF for bringing attention to the mid-majors’ plight. They don’t have access to the Playoff, never will, and it’s blatantly unfair.
But enough, already. You didn’t win anything other than an AAC title and Peach Bowl.
Last week I saw something about the Knights also bringing back their “Heisman finalist quarterback.”
That’s made up, too. McKenzie Milton finished eighth in Heisman voting. He was fantastic, but he was not one of the three Heisman finalists.
It’s hard to tell fact from fiction any more regarding the Knights.
Wonder if that applies to students, too? Is everybody now on the Dean’s list?
10. Kentucky losing to Florida
Oh, who am I kidding. Nothing screams Groundhog Day more than this one-sided streak, which reached 31 last year in the craziest way imaginable.