Thursday, April 17, 2014
By JOHN MARSHALL/The Associated Press
The BCS farewell tour is about to begin.
South Carolina’s Jadeveon Clowney could be the first full-time defensive player to win the Heisman Trophy.
The Associated Press
Love it or hate it -- we're guessing there are far more in the hating camp -- the system for determining college football's national champion will be mothballed after this season, replaced by the new, aptly-named College Football Playoff.
As farewells go, this one has a chance to be a memorable one, filled with intriguing story lines, great players and great teams, led by two-time defending national champion Alabama.
And, because this is the BCS, we can probably expect plenty of debate about what team should be where in the rankings.
This final go-round starts on Thursday, so here's a few things to look for:
• Alabama. All those future pros, an unflappable quarterback, one of the game's all-time great coaches -- hard to pick against the Crimson Tide making it three straight titles.
• Ohio State. The Buckeyes went 12-0 in their first season under Urban Meyer, but were tattooed out of the national title game because of NCAA sanctions. They're still loaded with talented players.
• Oregon. Don't expect any drop-off under Mark Helfrich. Chip Kelly left the cupboard plenty full before leaving for the Philadelphia Eagles.
• Stanford. The defending Rose Bowl champions are eyeing the big prize this season.
• Texas A&M. Johnny Manziel is good to go after the NCAA looked into whether he was paid for signing autographs.
• Georgia. The Bulldogs have to replace a few players on defense, but their offense is loaded with playmakers led by QB Aaron Murray.
• Manziel, QB, Texas A&M. The first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy, Johnny Football may still have something to prove this year after a difficult offseason.
• Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina. The most disruptive force in college football could become the first full-time defensive player to win the Heisman.
• AJ McCarron, QB, Alabama. He has as many national titles (two) as losses. 'Nuff said.
• Marqise Lee, WR, Southern California. One of those threat-to-score-on-every-touch guys.
• Ka'Deem Carey, RB, Arizona. Nation's leading rusher should continue to thrive in Rich Rodriguez's snap-before-they're-ready offense.
• De'Anthony Thomas, RB, Oregon. Possibly the most dynamic player in the country.
• Alabama at Texas A&M, Sept 14. Manziel had the signature game for his Heisman resume by handing Alabama its only loss of the season. The Crimson Tide want payback -- in a bad way.
• Oregon at Stanford, Nov. 7. The ultimate in contrasting styles could have a huge impact on the national championship race again this year.
• LSU at Alabama, Nov. 9. Another Game of the Century? Maybe, but will have national championship implications and fun to watch no matter what.
• Georgia at Clemson, Saturday. The No. 5 Bulldogs and No. 8 Tigers have two of the nation's best quarterbacks in Murray and Tajh Boyd. The marquee game of the opening weekend should provide plenty of fireworks in Death Valley.
• Notre Dame at Stanford, Nov. 30. The Fighting Irish won last year's game in overtime on a goal-line stand and went on to the national title game. The Cardinal had to "settle" for the Rose Bowl and will be looking for payback at home.
• Wisconsin at Arizona State, Sept. 14. The Badgers' speed vs. the Sun Devils' power in an early-season test for teams that have BCS bowl aspirations.
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