Confusing Times for College Football: A Guidebook

What kind of a world is this where a Lane Kiffin-coached team is the #1 team in the country and the popular pick to take home the BCS title? Of course the same geniuses predicting confetti for Kiffycakes and his band of probationeers are also calling for Florida State to get back to the top… again. I guess one of these years they have to be right… right? Last year, I walked you through a primer for all your off-the-field activities surrounding the game we love. On the eve of this year’s kickoff to the 2012 college football season, there are many things that don’t feel quite right. And so I’m here this time to ease your pain and help with the transition. Here are five things that are off in our world but that can be put right once again.

1 – Lane Kiffin is a good football coach

The proof will be in the pudding. USC has navigated the treacherous road of probation and reduced scholarships better than any program in college football history. They have a deep and talented bunch with a chip on their shoulders. They have a very easy schedule (it is the Pac-12 after all) with the only two games against ranked teams and one against a team inside the preseason top 20. And that game, Oregon, is at the Coliseum. But Kiffin is still Kiffin. He’ll still go for two after touchdowns based on it being there “because of how the other team lined up”. His hubris will sabotage his play calling. And SC will be tripped up at Stanford, at Washington or at Utah. Count on it.

2 – Erin Andrews has left the Worldwide Leader

Mass panic will set in during GameDay on Saturday when millions of young (and old) males tune in and don’t see E.A. hosting the first hour or reporting from the crowd. But that panic shouldn’t last. Andrews is the centerpiece of FOX’s foray into regular season college football. She’ll be front and center for the big FOX games and we’ll still get our fix. And for those of you worried about mixing FOX with college football, get over it. Gus Johnson is doing the play by play and E.A. is hosting the studio. Lethal combination.

3 – A recent quote from Steve Spurrier: “If we can’t throw it very well, we’re not going to try”

What seemed like 10 years of Stephen Garcia has sucked the genius and madness out of the Ol’ Ball Coach. Yes, he can still run his mouth with the best of them. Yes he has a swagger about him this year with a stacked South Carolina poised to repeat as S.E.C. East champs. But the Cocks were 95th in passing last year and may not be much better this year. Still, if Spurrier had arrived at Florida three years earlier when Emmitt Smith did, the Fun N’ Gun may never have been.

4 – [NAME REDACTED]

That term used to apply former Gators coach Ron Zook. But the Zooker took a bad rap for his time in Gainesville and is now a harmless hermit in the middle of nowhere in Central Florida. I propose the moniker shift to the man who took Zook’s place in Gainesville. Feel differently, wait until you see him on the sidelines in red and white on Saturday. Still nothing? Wait until you see him hoisting a trophy over his head within the next five years. Especially if #5 on this list continues…

5 – The Florida Gators are 11-11 in their past 22 games

These are dark times in Gainesville. [NEW NAMED REDACTED] left a barren cupboard and a broken program. Florida is coming off what was certainly its worst season since 1979 and arguably the worst ever given the standards of the past two decades. As tough as the conference is and as inexperienced as the Gators are at key positions on offense, there are many reasons to expect similar results again this year. But there are also reasons to see things differently. The defense, that wonderful, magical, electric group of talented playmakers will be even better this year. Second-year coaches tend to have a little magic in them (see Meyer at Florida, Saban at Alabama, Chizik at Auburn). And the schedule doesn’t include Alabama, Arkansas or Auburn.

Change can be confusing and scary. But it takes a lot more than confusion and fear to turn us off the game we love. We’ll be ready come Saturday Thursday. Let the bourbon beer flow. Here’s our annual, yet inaugural “Our Two Bits Top 25″, expertly compiled by our crack staff with a 1987 Phil Steele preseason magazine, five shots of Johnny Walker Black Label and a mixed tape of The Pixies greatest hits.

1. USC
2. Oklahoma
3. Michigan
4. Alabama
5. Arkansas
6. Oregon
7. West Virginia
8. LSU
9. South Carolina
10. Florida State
11. Clemson
12. Nebraska
13. Georgia
14. Wisconsin
15. Michigan State
16. Virginia Tech
17. TCU
18. Florida
19. Texas
20. Stanford
21. Ohio State
22. Oklahoma State
23. Boise State
24. Louisville
25. Auburn

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