Q: Do you really think Steve Spurrier and Charlie Weis will stay away from calling plays this season?
— M.W. from Texas
A: Color me skeptical, M.W. Obviously, Spurrier and Weis have made careers out of knowing what plays to call (and when to call them). It’s hard to see them walking away, cold-turkey, from that top-gun aspect of the game.
Then again, things didn’t work especially well last season, did they?
Spurrier’s Gamecocks were 6-1, looking like they had turned a major corner in the SEC, before a revealing five-game losing streak that South Carolina really wasn’t back, after all. And Notre Dame’s offense was in historically bad form, especially early on in the forgettable 3-9 season.
Spurrier said his son, Steve Jr., will take the reins. Weis, saying he wants to improve at other aspects of being a head coach, promises Mike Haywood will call ND’s plays.
There’s something to be said for delegation. But at the top of their games, Spurrier and Weis proved to be genuine difference-makers at manipulating a game plan. If things go poorly, look for Spurrier and Weis to start making, um, suggestions. Even Florida State’s Bobby Bowden, who morphed from riverboat gambler to figurehead a while back, can’t resist reaching for headset at crunch time.
Q: Toughest and easiest schedules this season?
— Trevor Hallin from Brooklyn Park, Minn.
A: Schedules can be relative. What looks easy in May could prove to be difficult in September.
That being said, here are some 2008 schedules that caught my eye:
The Tough Stuff
It’s a murderous road for the Bulldogs, who have designs on a national championship. There’s a trip to Arizona State, plus SEC road games against South Carolina and LSU, not to mention consecutive home dates against Alabama and Tennessee. And the annual hate-fest with Florida in Jacksonville. Plus a finale with Georgia Tech. If Georgia gets to the BCS Championship Game in Miami, it will earn the trip.
Very respectable non-conference foes in Oklahoma and Brigham Young, plus Pac-10 road games against USC, Oregon and California.
The Trojans go on the road against Virginia, then host Ohio State in a non-conference mega-game.
1) Florida State
The Seminoles have eight home games, including meetings with non-conference opponents Western Carolina and Chattanooga. It’s kind of sad, considering that Bobby Bowden’s program once made a name for itself by playing any team, anywhere, any time.
Non-conference games against Western Kentucky, Murray State, Ball State and Central Michigan. On the Big Ten schedule, the Hoosiers dodge Ohio State AND Michigan.
3) Texas Tech
The non-conference slate includes Eastern Washington, Southern Methodist and Massachusetts.
Q: Two more bowl games this season? Think we’ve finally reached the maximum number on how many bowls there can be?
— Fred from Harrisburg, Pa.
A: Fred, I think we passed that number a few seasons back, when 6-6 teams began showing up in bowl games. I suppose it’s whatever the market will bear, but it’s hard to see bowl-game expansion working well, especially in this economy. Sixty-eight programs will now go bowling. Sixty-eight!
It was especially fascinating to see the addition of two new bowls (Washington and St. Petersburg, Fla.) juxtaposed with conference commissioners deciding to keep status quo in the BCS. Long-time followers know I’ve been talking up the “plus-one’’ format for a while now. It’s so easy. Just one extra game. In fact, that game (BCS title game) already has been invented. One more level, and you solve 90 percent of the controversy.
We stay the same.
Oh, except for two more largely meaningless bowl games.
In that other sport — college basketball — there’s a perfect word for this.
DPS: Alabama head coach Nick Saban was recently trash-talked by colleagues, and he tells Dan Patrick he wishes he was spoken to in private prior to the insults.
Take visual tour of LSU's victory over Ohio State.
Video: Football from NBC Sports
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DPS: Alabama head coach Nick Saban was recently trash-talked by colleagues, and he tells Dan Patrick what he think of these comments.
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