Talking Points Around College Football

Sooners

To the surprise of many, including myself, Oklahoma captured the Sugar Bowl by beating Alabama.

To the surprise of yours truly and certainly many others across the country, the Oklahoma Sooners put a Sugar Bowl whooping on Alabama last night winning 45-31. I was not only surprised by the outcome but also that Sooners’ coach Bob Stoops went with Trevor Knight at QB and the freshman did not disappoint. All he did was throw for 348 yards and four touchdowns.

Nick Saban is not 5-2 in his Alabama bowl career with both losses coming in the Sugar Bowl. While I’m sure Tide fans would be more than happy to keep those three national titles in lieu of the Sugar Bowl wins, those losses still can’t sit well in Tuscaloosa.

To the surprise of very little, Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater announced that he will forego his senior season and will enter the National Football League Draft. As it stands right now, Bridgewater is the top-rated passer coming out of college but I expect that to change slightly as the winter wears on. That isn’t a knock on Bridgewater; it’s just that draft gurus and pundits typically talk up other guys so much that the top guy can often get pushed to the back row.

Manziel

Where will Johnny Football fit into the NFL Draft? It's hard to tell just yet.

Chances are good that Johnny Manziel or Blake Bortles (should he come out) will garner loads of attention. Whether or not teams elevate them over Bridgewater remains to be seen. Either way, Bridgewater should go in the top five or ten in the May draft.

And to the surprise of absolutely no one, South Carolina’s Jadeveon Clowney made formal what everyone else knew and that is that he’s entering the NFL Draft. Clowney will have a lot to prove because this past season was not a great one for him. If you recall, he discussed the possibility of sitting out this year in order to keep himself safe from injury ahead of the draft.

He then turned in a very average season despite having exceptional physical skills. There are two questions that Clowney will face. First, can he play in a 3-4 system as an outside linebacker and secondly, just how great is his motor? Coaches will not look fondly at his past season because they’ll see laziness at times and that isn’t acceptable in the NFL.

Still, Clowney will go in the top ten and deservedly so. He could be a difference-maker for just about any team’s defense in the league.

Since former Michigan running back Mike Hart dubbed rival Michigan State “little brother,” things have gone far better for the Spartans than they have the “big brother” in Ann Arbor. Michigan State has turned the tables and is now the clear leader in what was once a never-questionable rivalry.

MSU capped off their greatest season ever with a 24-20 win over Stanford in the Rose Bowl to finish 13-1. Michigan flopped in their Buffalo Wild Wings appearance losing 31-14 to Kansas State to finish 7-6. Under Brady Hoke, the Wolverines are a combined 2-4 against Michigan State and Ohio State and that does not sit well with the maize and blue faithful. I have to believe another sub-par season will result in Hoke losing his dream job.

Down in Austin, the latest name to pop-up is Jim Mora, Jr. The current UCLA head coach would be an interesting ‘get’ for the University but is he really what they want? Mora would do well with the cameras that the Longhorn Network will provide but would he be able to recruit in a state where there is so much talent?

I’m still not ready to count out Saban or another high-profile guy who appears to be comfortable in his current gig. Could that mean Art Briles or Mark Dantonio? There’s a lot of pride in Austin so they better get it right.

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