Sport Daily Five: Why You’re Going To Love The 2018 College Football Season

22:41  14 february  2018
22:41  14 february  2018 Source:   collegefootballnews.com

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The Valentine's Day edition of the Daily Five: Why You're Going To Love The 2018 College Football Season:

5. The Pac-12 South

The Pac-12 has become college football's version of White Castle. There are parts of it that don't make you feel so good, and for most of the country, it's way too hard to find. But when it's right, and you stumble upon it at the right time … yum.

And, for a large portion of the world - because when the games are played - both are often consumed by the Harold and Kumar types.

That whole #Pac12AfterDark thing is sort of cool, but it also eliminates every casual fan in a reasonable time zone. Being on the Pac-12 Network isn't helping the cause, either.

However, now the Pac-12 should be front-and-center in the national consciousness, mainly because the South has just kicked it in big-time when it comes to coaching personalities.

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These five teams have the best chance of being the Group of Five darling this coming year. Odds are UCF is going to have an adjustment period, and in a conference that's proven to be the strongest of the G 5 s in recent years, that could prove fatal. It's time to reevaluate what we thought we knew about the 2018 college football season . Bryce Love 's status is still unknown because of an ankle injury.

Utah's faster more diverse offense should be better in Year Two of the change, Colorado will be improved, and USC is USC, but it's the other three schools that will make the South a thing.

If nothing else, Herm Edwards is going to give the best press conferences. The Arizona State experiment should make for fascinating theater.

Kevin Sumlin was a fantastic get for Arizona - the program might have fallen up out of the Rich Rodriguez debacle. The Sumlin offense and style didn't quite fly in the SEC, but you can win big in the Pac-12 with a lot of offense and mediocre D.

And then there's UCLA. If Chip Kelly can do for the Bruins what he did at Oregon, then all of a sudden, Los Angeles might just turn into the center of the college football world.

Throw in another year of Khalil Tate at Arizona, and this is going to be fun.

4. The SEC coaches are good again

The SEC was in a holding pattern last season.

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Forgetting that it was an all-SEC national title game, it was a miserable year for the conference, mostly because almost half of the league was dealing with a massive coaching issue.

It wasn't even a pressure-packed season for a lot of them - it was just obvious.

Florida was a coaching powder keg ready to blow, Tennessee and Arkansas were destined for a change, and so was Texas A&M after gagging away the opener against UCLA.

That Matt Luke survived at Ole Miss and Barry Odom is still around at Missouri is a good thing. It doesn't mean they can have bad years, but at least they established that there's hope for a big improvement.

And now the SEC coaching landscape is fantastic.

Of course, that guy in Tuscaloosa is still the top dog, but after last year's run and a few epic recruiting classes, Kirby Smart is doing massive things at Georgia.

Gus Malzahn and Ed Orgeron are always one loss away from being on a flaming hot seat, but they're relatively made guys now. Will Muschamp had a strong year at South Carolina, and Mark Stoops got Kentucky back to a bowl game.

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And now the rest of the conference is about to kick it in with the coaches.

Jimbo Fisher at least has the security to build up Texas A&M into a next-level power now. There are four current college football head coaches with a national championship on the resume, and the Aggies have one of them.

Jeremy Pruitt might not be another Smart, but he's not going to be all that far off as the right guy hire that Tennessee finally stumbled into.

Dan Mullen and Florida were destined to be together, Joe Moorhead will make Mississippi State a whole lot of fun with his offense, and Arkansas is about to wing it all around the yard under Chad Morris.

And it's the SEC. Someone has to lose, there's going to be pressure on everyone, and yes, your SEC might be great again.

3. There's no absolute and true No. 1

Alabama was the preseason No. 1 team going into 2017, just because.

There was a great case to be made for Florida State to be in the top spot based on talent, an reasonable one for Ohio State, and a dopey one for Clemson in the "champion until lose" theory. But it was Alabama by default.

This year, there is no wrong answer among the top teams in the hunt.

Of course Alabama is probably going to be the preseason top team, because it's the best team again. But it's hardly a mortal lock.

Clemson's defensive line is going to be the best in the nation and could creep into all-time great territory. As long as the quarterback situation is settled, and a few playmakers emerge, you're not wrong to put the Tigers No. 1.

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Georgia loses a ton of talent, but it also appears to be at the point where it simply restocks the shelves. There are more good linebackers, there are more great running backs, and sort of like 2016 Clemson, there's going to be a full-season "we JUST missed" focus and attitude.

Oklahoma is going to be fabulous again - Kyler Murray will be more than fine in plays of the Baker.

Ohio State is going to be Big Ten-title good again - and this time, there probably won't be an Iowa clunker.

Wisconsin gets just about everyone back on offense, Miami will be better offensively, Texas is rising up fast, Auburn isn't taking any sort of a step back, Washington is loaded, USC will be great once it gets its quarterback situation settled, and Penn State will be every bit as good, even without Saquon Barkley.

It's going to be a big season among the big boys.

2. A more interesting Heisman race

Everyone wanted to fight me on it, but the 2017 Heisman race was over in the middle of September.

As soon as Baker Mayfield did that in Columbus in the win over Ohio State, it was his Heisman, even though Saquon Barkley was magnificent, Bryce Love was dynamic, and others had their moments.

By the time November came around, the Heisman discussion was boring.

Of course, there are no guarantees this year - anyone can run away and hide with the honor with one massive early performance - but the chase can't be any less dry than the last two when Mayfield and Lamar Jackson owned the voting.

No matter who the quarterback is at Alabama and Georgia, the Heisman spotlight will be on from the start - being the top guy on the top team always puts a player in the hunt.

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Loving football isn't just about the game. It's about the social aspect and so much more. I’ve never been on a football team—although I did offer once to go undercover on a women’s tackle football team (that’s So here’s why I love football and why you should love it, too. I love the potential at the beginning of each season and each game. When the clock starts running, anything is possible.

Can Kyler Murray be Baker Mayfield with better rushing stats?

Will Jonathan Taylor hit the 2,000-yard mark with everyone returning to the Wisconsin offensive line?

Can Khalil Tate put up astronomical numbers with a few big wins for Arizona under Kevin Sumlin? Will Florida State's quarterback be a killer under Willie Taggart? Can Jake Browning be too efficient to ignore for Washington?

It'll likely be a full-season discussion about the Heisman again, and if it's not, it means we're about to see something otherworldly from …

1. Bryce Love … of course

It's becoming an annoying talking point, but it happens to be absolutely true.

Imagine if Bryce Love didn't suffer a bad high ankle sprain midway through last year.

As is, he ran for 2,118 yards and 19 touchdowns with an eight yard-per-carry average despite missing a game and struggling through parts of the rest of the season.

Of course, there's no guarantee that he'll stay in one piece throughout this year - he's not exactly built to take a pounding - but if he does, the numbers are going to be astronomical, he's going to be the featured guy on every highlight reel, and he's going to be the signature star of the 2018 college football season.

Considering the Pac-12 might not always be appointment viewing because of the time zone, and even though Stanford doesn't exactly have a national following - it struggles to get a Northern California following - having a player of his caliber and his excitement matters.


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