The Auburn Tigers came one drive shy of winning the 2013 season’s BCS championship, and my, wouldn’t some of the offseason narratives about the strength of the SEC be different if this was the first year sans title after an eight-year run?
Well, if Ralph D. Russo’s bowl projections for the Associated Press come to fruition, Auburn will have the opportunity to complete the championship that eluded it two seasons, and restore the SEC’s dominance at the same time.
Of course, Auburn — like the rest of college football — must go through Ohio State. And indeed, Russo has the defending champion Buckeyes playing in the College Football Playoff title game after seeing Baylor in the semifinal.
If Auburn is to compete for the College Football Playoff, and by extensive the SEC, the Tigers need a monster year from wide receiver Ricardo Louis. Not to put on pressure on the young man, something Louis addressed to Ryan Black of the Ledger-Inquirer:
“Pressure to me is like I have to do it. … I don’t want to put that on myself because I know I’m a great player,” he said. “If I just go out and play and have fun, that way it won’t be no pressure.”
Louis knows something about making plays under pressure, preserving Auburn’s 2013 title pursuit with this miraculous catch vs. Georgia:
I employed an irrefutable and scientific method to rank the uniforms of the Pac-12 Conference, from No. 12 down to No. 1.
While you’re perusing Athlon Sports, be sure to check out my look at Stanford quarterback Kevin Hogan. Hogan is the most tenured quarterback in the conference, entering his fourth season as a starter, and the Cardinal need him to finally show the consistency expected of a senior leader.
Darnell Dickson, Daily Herald
NCAA regulations preventing coaches from having direct practice contact with players requires some innovation to continue building on the progress of spring. At BYU, offensive line coach Garret Tujague has a “feedback” system, getting input from the Cougars strength and conditioning staff to evaluate strengths and weaknesses headed into fall camp.
“It’s a five-star rating system telling us how guys did in their position groups,” Tujague said. “I’ve drawn up a bunch of blitz cards and given them some learning tools to have throughout the summer. They have worksheets they go over based on video clips that we’ve gotten to them. The physical aspect of training to be a football player and the mental study and preparation that goes along with being a football player, those are the things I expect.”
Ross Dellenger, The Advocate
Jim Hawthorne’s retirement as Voice of the LSU Tigers opened a competition as heated as any for a premier head coaching vacancy. And according to The Advocate, one contender to replace Hawthorne is an outsider.
Ross Dellenger writes sources close to the search say LSU is interviewing Chris Blair, the lead broadcaster for Georgia Southern for the last decade. Blair is the only candidate from outside the state of Louisiana.
Should Blair land the gig, the following is music to Tiger fans’ ears: Chris Blair calling the final plays of a defeat of the Florida Gators:
Below are some Hawthorne calls from the LSU gridiron: