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Who will contend for College Football Playoff?

The BCS is dead. Finally!

We’ve been complaining about it for years, and now we finally have a playoff system, so all of the debate around who is the best team in college football can at least be expanded to the four best teams who should play in the playoff. All of the debate on ESPN and other outlets will still be annoying, but at least the end result is somewhat more rational. Hopefully this will be a precursor to at least an eight-team playoff, but we can live with this for now.

With that in mind, now that the NFL Draft is over, people are starting to talk college football again, and you can have some fun looking over the college football futures as you contemplate who you like going into the 2014 season. There are plenty of teams that will give Florida State a run for the title, with Alabama, Ohio State, Auburn, Oregon leading the way. Then you have upstarts like Baylor who became a media and fan darling last season until they got smacked silly 52-42 by UCF in a huge Fiesta Bowl upset.

College football can be very unpredictable, and lately with all the new spread and hurry-up offenses things change very quickly. But we still see many of the regular names at the top.

One name that will get plenty of attention as usual is Ohio State, the team that many around the country love to hate. Urban Meyer has brought the program back after the brief hiccup during the Luke Fickell season, but the team has a ways to go before actually winning a national championship. You should keep your eyes on two critical factors: Braxton Miller and the defense.

You’ll see Miller in the futures as well, as he is again a legitimate threat to contend for the Heisman Trophy. Yet he is still an enigma, as he’s very injury prone and also very inconsistent. He’s an incredible runner out of the pocket. Frankly, at the next level, he should probably be a tailback. The reason has to do with his passing, which is still very mediocre. This year he’ll have some great receiving weapons, and he’ll also have some young backs who should do a nice job replacing Carlos Hyde. But the offensive line is very young, so this team likely will not be able to maul defenses with their running game like last year. Miller needs to step up and mature as a quarterback for the Buckeyes to have a chance at the playoff.

Then there’s the defense, which has been an embarrassment since Jim Tressel left Ohio State. Sure, they’ve had injuries, but the pass defense was a joke last season. Urban Meyer has pledged to fix it, and this year he promises to showcase press coverage from his young secondary. The key will be a dominating defensive line led by super-sophomore Joey Bosa. If the line lives up to the billing, then maybe the Buckeyes can finally get back to playing real defense again.

But the Buckeyes show how hard it can be to predict college football, so do your homework!

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @TheScoresReport. You can also follow TSR editor Gerardo Orlando @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom, and you can follow TSR editor Anthony Stalter @AnthonyStalter.

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Switzer on Manziel

Johhny Manziel is a polarizing figure, as is Barry Switzer. So when you get Switzer sharing his opinions on Mr. Manziel, you should expect some fireworks. He started by totally ripping him:

“I’m gonna tell you. I said Johnny Manziel is … I don’t like his antics. I think he’s an arrogant little prick,” Switzer said. “I’ve said that and I’ll say it again. He’s a privileged kid, he’s embarrassed himself, he’s embarrassed his teammates, his program. He’s embarrassed his coach. And they’ll all have to defend him because they have to coach. I know that. I spent 40 years in the damn game so I know how it works.”

But true to Swtizer form, you get the other side as well, as he goes on to say, “He’s the best I’ve seen. I’ve never seen a quarterback in college football take control of a game like he does and put up the numbers he does. It’s fantastic what he’s done against good competition. Game after game after game the numbers he puts up are staggering” SWitzer addresses all of the on-field magic that Manziel is able to create.

So in his own way, Switzer sums up the big arguments around Manziel. There are personal concerns, and then there’s the performance on the field. He finishes by saying, “He’s the most dominant, most dynamic college quarterback I’ve ever seen.”

But that still begs the question of how good he can be in the NFL. There are tons of great college quarterbacks who don’t translate to the NFL. The key with Manziel is his ability to make qick decisions and throws in the pockets, and his ability to improvise. They other key is that in the NFL he’ll have to pull back on the running, as he can get crushed out there. Predicting what he will do in the NFL is about as easy as predicting the outcome of an NFL bingo game or Butlersbingo as he has so much talent but now will be facing much tougher defenses.

One key will be where he goes. We’ve seen coaches and the system have a big impact on the success of a quarterback. If you get a coach that can harness his quick decision-making and convince him to be careful in how often he runs with the ball as opposed to scrambling, we might have a superstar on our hands.

UCF stuns Baylor

This should not have been a shock. Baylor has had an incredible season, but the hype surrounding this team’s offense and Art Briles has become ridiculous. There were even people suggesting Briles should be considered as an NFL coach, which is just absurd. Presumably even Texas is taking a hard look, which is more appropriate, but Texas doesn’t need a gimmick offense to be a power. I susect they’re much better off with a different coach.

Plenty of people watched the game last night more interested in watching UFC’s Blake Bortles as an NFL quarterback prospect for the NFL draft. His performance was up and down, but he seems to have all the tools that will make NFL scouts drool.

But back to the game, Baylor certainly had its moments on offense as they have very dynamic players, but good defense can really disrupt this offense, whcih makes all of their gaudy stats meaningless. I would have loved to see Baylor play a team like Michigan State as I think they would be overpowered based on this performance.

UFC was a huge underdog but they outplayed Baylor for most of the evening. It was a fun game if you don’t care about defense. Both teams have no idea how to tackle, particulary in the secondary. But at least UCF managed a pass rush, and that really affected Baylor.

In the end, both programs are on the rise, so we’ll be seeing plenty more of them in the years to come.

Michigan State overpowers Stanford

All year long we had to listen to media experts insist that no Big Ten team could play with a physical Stanford team that won the allegedly far superior PAC 12. Well, Stanford and its vaunted running game ran into a green wall of reality last night as Michigan State out-muscled them over and over again in the trenches.

Say what you want about the Big Ten and its recent troubles, but the better Big Ten teams know how to play physical football, unlike most Pac 12 teams. Watching Stanford run through defenses like Oregon tells you nothing about how they will fare against Michigan State’s top-ranked defense.

Of course, it didn’t help that alleged “genius” David Shaw showed zero immagination with his play calls. Running Tyler Gaffney up the middle on fourth and three against this defense was just silly, as everyone knew what was comming and the Spartans slammed him for a three yard loss.

Meanwhile, Sparty and Mark Dantonio did the best immitation of Tresselball we’ve seen in years. They were tough on defense and resiliant on offense. This team also didn’t give up after a brutal pick-six before the half and responded with a quick touchdown to stay in the game.

It was a great win for Michigan State and the Big Ten, so perhaps we can be spared some of the smack talk about the PAC 12 for at least a year.

Who will be the new Texas Longhorns coach?

Now that Mack Brown has faced reality and resigned, there’s plenty of speculation as to who will be targeted by the Texas Longhorns. Here are the currrent odds:

Who will be the next Head Coach of the Texas Longhorns?

Charlie Strong 2/1
Art Briles 9/2
James Franklin 5/1
Mike Gundy 7/1
Bill O’Brien 15/2
Chip Kelly 10/1
David Shaw 10/1
Jim Mora 10/1
Jimbo Fisher 15/1
Jim Harbaugh 20/1
Mike Tomlin 20/1

Click here if you think you know who is going to win and want to cash in on your knowledge.

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