Teams that won’t live up to the hype in 2016

by Travis Normand

(Originally posted on September 1, 2016 – Updated on September 7, 2016)

Before the start of every season I try to sort through the pre-season hype and pick a few teams that are receiving so much undeserved excitement that there is no way they can live up to it. Here are my 2016 selections.  For the sake of these teams, I hope I am wrong.

  1. Michigan:  Do people really have them picked to make the CFP Playoff?  I will believe it when I see it.  I think Harbaugh will get things working for the Wolverines, but I need to see “something” tangible before I start claiming that they are about to win a national title.
  2. Tennessee: I put Tennessee on this list before their first game of the 2016 season, and then they almost lost to Appalachian State (and needed OT to secure the victory . . . at home).
  3. Washington: Coach Chris Petersen is probably the right guy for Washington and 2016 is a great time for Washington to finally get their feet under them (The Pac-12 North is primed for a Washington “rising” as Oregon is not as great as they have been recently and Stanford is good but is also looking for a new QB).  However, the amount of hype surrounding their 2016 season is a little too much for them to live up too.

Baylor’s troubles

by Travis Normand

Amid all the discussions, commentary, and reporting concerning Baylor’s sexual assault scandal, I have heard some say that they are shocked that something like this could happen at Baylor.

For this reason I feel it is necessary to remind others (and inform those who may not know) that Baylor is the same school that is only about 13 years removed from the “Dave Bliss scandal.”

You can read a fairly decent synopsis of the “Dave Bliss scandal” HERE.

Johnny Lattner, Notre Dame Heisman Winner, Dies at 83

by Travis Normand

HWA 2008 Barton Springs TX - Johnny Latner

Me and Johnny Lattner (1953 Heisman Trophy Winner for Notre Dame) at the Heisman Winners Association dinner in 2008.

College football lost a great man today when Johnny Lattner passed away at age 83.  I had the privilege of meeting Johnny Lattner in 2007 at the Heisman Winner’s Association dinner in Austin Texas.  I attended three of those dinners (2007, 2008, and 2009) and I was able to visit with Lattner each time.  He was a great guy and was always a pleasure to visit with.

He will be missed.

Here is a Chicago Tribune article about Johnny Lattner, giving a short overview of his life, family, and playing career.  I highly recommend it.

Joel Klatt interview

by Travis Normand

Joel Klatt always has a unique perspective on the game of college football.  In a recent interview of Klatt on the Solid Verbal (on 8/28/2015), he pointed out something that I had never quite thought of before.

In response to a question about why don’t coaches try to do a better job at matching their offensive/defensive system with the talent they have on campus (especially when they may be at a recruiting disadvantage), Klatt had this to say:

[Of the 128 +/- FBS programs] . . . all but 30, maybe even less, all but 20 of those schools have coaches that are just trying to not rock the boat.  They just don’t want to get fired.  Because they know they probably aren’t going to win the national championship that year, they probably aren’t going to win their conference championship, so they are trying not to get beat 60 to 3, they are trying not to embarrass themselves, they are just trying to be respectable and go to a bowl game . . . and when that happens, your safe.  And if you go outside of the box, I think what you are doing is putting a bulls-eye on it, because you are proclaiming that this is going to fix ‘it,’ and that you are going to be great because of this switch . . . and if you are not great, you are going to be fired.  And I think coaches are afraid of that . . . and that is the dirty secret in college football, its that not everybody is trying to win championships . . . there is a lot of people just coaching for their paycheck.

I thought his response was fascinating.  You can listen to the entire interview here, or just the part mentioned above by skipping ahead to about the 1:04:30 mark.

*Note: Neither the question written above, nor Klatt’s response (as typed here) are perfect/exact quotes.  I was trying to paraphrase the question asked, and loosely transcribed Klatt’s response above.

Pre-Season 2015 Hype

by Travis Normand

Here are a couple of teams that received a lot of pre-season hype.  As of right now, I am not buying into the excitement . . . but that could change.

  1. Tennessee:  I hope the Vols do well this season, but I will believe it when I see it.
  2. Arizona State:  I think ASU could be a good team but I don’t understand why they started out with a top 15 ranking.
  3. Baylor:  I think Baylor will be a playoff contender, but with their current schedule, I just can’t take them seriously.  Maybe I will start believing once they defeat a quality opponent in a bowl game.
  4. Notre Dame:  They looked very good against the Longhorns in their first game of the season, but that isn’t saying much.  I hope they do well, but am not yet sold that they will make a run at the playoff.  I could be wrong.
  5. Auburn:  With the loss of so many key players from 2014, an 8-5 (4-4) record last year, and a mediocre opening 2015 game against Louisville, I just don’t understand all the hype.