Time to start process of prognostication


If the Seminoles finish off a perfect season, redshirt freshman quarterback Jameis Winston is in line for the Heisman Trophy. (AP Photo)

Published: Thursday, November 7, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, November 6, 2013 at 7:19 p.m.

I've never been a big fan of watch lists or preseason polls. I get why we have them and I do not agree with people who think the polls shouldn't come out until October.

They're harmless. Don't let them upset you. Just don't take them too seriously.

And I understand why schools publicize that one of their players is on a watch list. If someone living in his mom's basement starts an award for “Sweetest iPod Playlist” and distributes a release saying Todd Gurley, Johnny Manziel and Christian Provancha are on the watch list, those schools are going to send out breathless releases of their own because that's what they are supposed to do.

I ignore them and you should, too. At least until we get to this point.

Now, with only a month left in the season, opinions matter. The Heisman Trophy ballots will be emailed out soon. Trophies will be pulled out of the storage closets. Engravers have been put on ready.

And soon, the people who decide not only who will play for the crystal, but also the other bowl trophies will decide who will play where.

So it's time to pay attention to everything about college football, even if some of it is just clutter.

And it's time for Dr. Football, who has been on a roll with The Picks, to make the “Two-Thirds Picks.” That's how far we are through a season that has been less eventful than most, but intriguing all the same.

BCS CHAMPIONSHIP GAME: Florida State vs. Ohio State.

Say what? I've just got a feeling Alabama and Oregon are each going to lose a game. Doesn't everything always work out for Urban Meyer? And don't we always have a couple of those amazing November upsets that change everything?

There will be debate about a one-loss Alabama team against an Ohio State team that beat nobody. But there will also be a lot of anti-SEC backlash.

The big question — if Urban Meyer beats FSU, do Gator fans forgive him?

HEISMAN TROPHY: Jameis Winston, FSU.

There are a lot of voters out there who are looking for an excuse not to vote for Johnny Manziel, even if he's been better this season than he was a year ago. Winston is that reason.

If he goes 13-0 with the stats and the poise he has displayed, we know that age and class is no longer an issue. And in a three-horse race, zero losses is better than one (Marcus Mariota and Oregon will drop a game) or two (Texas A&M).

I have to be careful here with what I say about my Heisman vote because I am one of those people who received a letter last year for revealing my vote ahead of time. ESPN was apparently tired of the announcement being a foregone conclusion.

But right now, my mental ballot is still a blank. November (and perhaps early December) will make up my mind.

COACH OF THE YEAR: There are some obvious choices like Jimbo Fisher and Urban Meyer and there are about 6,000 coach of the year awards. What about Nick Saban? Are we supposed to ignore him because he came into the season ranked No. 1?

I'm going with Baylor's Art Briles for one reason. I've been to Waco.

COACH OF THE YEAR, SEC: OK, so the same logic that applies to Saban nationally has to apply to him when we're talking about conference coach of the year, right?

But we all know better. We know that it will go to a coach who did something that was surprising and by that I don't mean Carl Pelini.

Just think about Auburn in 2012. I know that it was one of those negative snowballs that just kept getting bigger and bigger until it overwhelmed Gene Chizik. But it's not like the Tigers were loaded coming into this season.

Gus Malzahn has done it with a defensive back at quarterback. He's my pick.

BILETNIKOFF AWARD: I include this award and not all of the other position awards (Bednarik, Guy, etc.) because I vote on this one. Right now, my pick is Brandin Cooks of Oregon State. The guy is putting up sick numbers, including 14 touchdown receptions, which is roughly two-and-a-half seasons for Florida.

GATORS ON ALL-SEC: In the preseason, Dominique Easley, Loucheiz Purifoy and Kyle Christy were on the first team as selected by the media. Easley's hurt, Christy is benched and Purifoy has been inconsistent.

I think Dante Fowler Jr. and Solomon Patton have had All-SEC years, but when you look at the competition, first team isn't happening unless Jon Halapio or Jon Harrison sneak on there.

So the answer is zero.

SEC BOWL TEAMS: I have Alabama in the Sugar Bowl, Missouri in the Cap One, Texas A&M in the Outback, Auburn in the Chick-fil-A, LSU in the Cotton, South Carolina in the Gator (and not happy about it), Ole Miss in the Music City, Georgia in the Liberty, Florida in the BBVA Compass and Tennessee in the Independence.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it. For this week anyway.

DOOLEY AWARD: This is a special award I am giving out and it will be shared by all of the people responsible for making tonight happen. Oklahoma-Baylor and Oregon-Stanford on a Thursday night when there is no school Friday and I don't have to get up with Kelsey?

From the bottom of my heart, I thank you. I might even well up.

Contact Pat Dooley at 352-374-5053 or at dooleyp@gvillesun.com. And follow at Twitter.com/Pat_Dooley.

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