As the 2012 college footballseason approaches, Rant Sports continues a roundtable discussion with four college football writers covering various conferences and regions. Each writer tackles some of the biggest storylines and questions entering the opening weekend. This is part two of our two part discussion.
3. A plus 1 model is coming in 2014. Good? Bad? Ugly?
Justine: The plus one format is either a compromise or a cop-out, depending on your perspective. It does a little, but not enough, to appease those who lobbied for a playoff without giving up the current bowl system. It’s a step towards a more fair method of determining a national champion, but expect it to continue to expand into a full playoff.
Shannon: The plus 1 is a start and I think it is a great idea. I think the SEC probably gets the short end of the stick because any of the top 5 teams in the SEC could hold their own and defeat any other top 5 team from any conference. But it gives us fans and the sponsors what they want to generate more revenue especially for TV. Because we all know it’s about money and not about football.
Warren: Plus one is better than what we have.
4. We know the ugly story around Penn State. Will the program recover? If so, how long will it take?
Justine: Penn State will definitely recover, but it’ll take awhile. The PSU community is one of the strongest in the nation; attending Penn State, and playing for the Nittany Lions, is still considered an honor and a privilege, even in the wake of the scandal. The Nittany Lions might not be a legitimate Big 10 contender for 7-10 years, but if Bill O’Brien can keep the players he still has and continue to draw recruits, they’ll definitely get there.
David: I think it will recover quickly as long as the remaining players and incoming players play hard and show the country that they are still a quality football program. The sanctions are obviously going to hurt them short term but they will find players who WANT to play for Penn State and then they should be fine.
Shannon: I think it will take anywhere from 5-15 years for Penn State to be relevant again. I referenced in an article last week about the ripple affect across all of college football. Penn State will be under a microscope for a long time and how good or bad they handle the post Sandusky era will be taught in marketing and PR classes for generations to come.
Warren: Yes, the program will recover once fans, football guys, and media types stop making excuses for Paterno and the University. Accept the atrocity, move on, and focus on the fact that despite what people seem to believe, it’s PLAYERS and FANS, not the head coach, that win football games on Saturdays.
5. What team is under the radar that we should be talking about this season?
Justine: Washington State. Mike Leach is bringing his bear-fighting pirate skills to Pullman and college football will be more exciting for it. He’s one of the most creative coaches out there, and he has the quarterbacks and receivers to build another high-powered offense at Washington State.
Shannon: Well, I’m an ACC guy and I know our place in college football, which is talk to me in a month when basketball starts, but I think folks need to watch out for Georgia Tech, NC State and North Carolina. All three have a lot to play for for a lot of different reasons.
Warren: North Texas. Coach McCarney has the facilities and recruiting base to turn that program into a consistent winner. He’s got a great reputation, has put together a nice staff, and quietly has grabbed some under the radar recruits that will turn heads.
6. What team is getting too much attention and is overrated?
Justine: LSU. The defense will be a force even without Tyrann Mathieu, but they’ve had a questionable offense for a few seasons now and I don’t see that changing now that Zach Mettenberger is the QB. I think they’ll have another really good season, but I don’t think they get through the SEC to make it back to the title game.
David: Ohio State. It’s going to be a question of motivation for the Buckeyes in 2012 since they are bowl ineligible. Even though Urban Meyer is now the coach they still have issues at quarterback. Braxton Miller wasn’t a good passer last year and with all of the coaching change it’s hard to think he progressed much during the off-season.
Shannon: Let’s just say Notre Dame and be done with it. I’m still interested to see just how good USC is. I think they have amazing talent, but I don’t trust their coaching at all. But I cannot wait for the rivalry that will be the divas in Jim Mora Jr versus Lane Kiffin. It will be a 3-ring circus.
Warren: Oklahoma. Far too many injuries and suspensions for them to be a top 10 program this season, despite how well they are coached.
7. Your favorite college football moment?
Justine: So far, my favorite moment was being at the Coliseum when USC put up 50 on UCLA in what everyone thought was Matt Barkley’s last college game. Hoping there’s a
moment that tops it this season!
David: Favorite college football moment was Colorado’s 62-36 destruction of #1 Nebraska in 2001 when Chris Brown ran for 198 yards and a school record 6 TDs. Anytime CU beat Nebraska it was a great day, but ringing up 62 points on the vaunted “black shirt” defense was one of my favorite moments.
Shannon: This is a tough one. Live it has to be Florida State v. Clemson in 1993. It was a night game and one of the greatest atmospheres ever. Clemson played outstanding, but FSU QB Charlie Ward took the ball with under 2 minutes to go, drove the field and scored a touchdown to win.
Warren: Hands down was the final minutes of Boise State’s epic upset of Oklahoma a few years ago. That was magical.
To read part one of our discussion please click here.
James Gomez is a Pac-12 and Mountain West columnist for Rant Sports and member of the Football Writers Association of America
You can follow James on Twitter as well.