Gridiron Gesticulations: 2012 Expectations

by John Griffin

Like a tidal wave of sweaty, manly, American goodness, college football season descends upon us, determined to sweep us away in a torrent of fandom, hype, and greasy stadium nachos. Before the season officially kicks off this Thursday , here are a few things to expect this year:

1. The Jayhawks will be improved.  Don’t expect any miraculous turnarounds, but Charlie Weis should be a great hire for KU. The talent and knowledge of the system will take time to solidify, but the Jayhawks’ scoring attack should be reinvigorated under Weis, who has a track record of success with almost every offense he’s run.

2. Steve Spurrier will throw things. Spurrier throwing his visor and/or headset in a fit of rage is inevitable, like the Gamecocks being the 5th best team in the SEC.

3. Fear Alabama.  Yes, the Crimson Tide lost a lot of star power, including Heisman finalist and all around freak of nature, Trent Richardson.  But make no mistake, Nick Saban will still be able to beat almost any team so hard they’ll cry a little bit.  Four of five starters on Bama’s offensive line return, so expect Eddie Lacy, the new starting RB, to explode through holes so big that even Romeo Crennel ought to waddle through them for a gain of 5. The Tide defense also lost a good deal of starters to the NFL, but you know who’s gonna replace all of those draft picks?  Just some more future NFL’ers.

4. Expect ESPN to cover Stanford a lot. The Cardinal will get more exposure than any #21 team ever, solely because of the fact that Andrew Luck and his neck-beard don’t play there anymore.

5. USC is primed for a title.  Give credit to Lane Kiffin:  though the man runs his mouth, he backs it up. With scholarship reductions looming, the Trojans had better make the most of their #1 preseason ranking before the depth chart crashes and burns in the coming years. They return senior QB and Heisman front-runner Matt Barkley, as well as a dynamic receiving corps featuring junior Robert Woods and sophomore Marqise Lee. With a fairly easy schedule (they only play 2 teams in the preseason top 25) USC is the popular choice to snap the streak of six-straight SEC champions.

6. Florida State is back? I’ll believe it when I see it.  I don’t doubt the Seminoles’ talent with 18 returning starters, but they’ve done nothing in my eyes to earn a top-10 ranking right off the bat. The Seminoles began at #6 in the polls last year, and they went on to an underwhelming 9-4 campaign, in which they didn’t beat a single ranked team. A 9-4 campaign in which they lost to Wake Forest, a team that went 6-7 yet finished ahead of FSU in conference standings. But the Seminoles beat Notre Dame in the Champs Sports Bowl by 4 points, so hey, why not put them at #7?

So, KU nation, brace yourselves. Recline back in your chairs, and don’t worry about the crumbs and globs of cheese sauce that will dot your stomach like tiny lakes of diabetes, it’s football season. Nothing else matters.