We are approaching the different college football media days for the Power Five conferences, the SEC’s stretches out over four days and the others crammed into windows so short you’d think they were trying to get nine holes in.
The members of the media in all five cities will be asked to vote on the winners of each division, which is always newsworthy and irrelevant.
There are three kinds of votes (actually four because someone will vote for Vandy to win the East in Hoover).
- The safe bet. Why shake things up? You already know who is going to win the division. On to the title game.
- The shiny object. The longer the summer goes, the more you see it sparkling there under water, begging you to bite.
- The gritty vote. You know it sounds crazy and you are going out on a limb, but too much of a limb. You pat yourself on the back and start lining up radio show appearances.
That said, here they are for the five conferences:
The safe bet: Alabama, of course. Is there any question?
The shiny object: LSU looks well-scrubbed and rejuvenated.
The gritty vote: Auburn. As George Michael sang, “Because I gotta have faith, faith, faith.”
The safe bet: Georgia. Unless Kirby Smart gets to call for fake kicks.
The shiny object: Florida. The Gators have depth issues, but just look at the receivers.
The gritty vote: Missouri. There is a lot to like about this team and a once-toxic culture.
The safe bet: Is there really a safe one? It may be the closest balloting, but bet on Miami.
The shiny object: Virginia Tech is ready to rumble, right?
The gritty vote: North Carolina. Mack Brown. You’re going to need a chisel to register the vote.
The safe bet: Clemson, the defending national champs and probable home of the next Heisman Trophy winner.
The shiny object: Syracuse. Nobody has played Clemson tougher recently.
The gritty vote: FSU. Who would have thought we’d have ever said that?
Big Ten East
The safe bet: Ohio State. Even sans Urban Meyer, this is a really talented team.
The shiny object: Michigan. I mean, they have to beat the Buckeyes eventually, right?
The gritty vote: Penn State. You can see a path to the title game, but you have to squint.
Big Ten West
The safe bet: Wisconsin, because Wiscy has gone to the title game more than any other Big Ten school.
The shiny object: Nebraska. The media love for the Huskers as a PLAYOFF TEAM is out of control.
The gritty vote: Purdue got coach Jeff Brohm to stay and the division is pretty wide open.
The safe bet: Oregon. Veteran quarterback and strong recruiting usually add up to good things.
The shiny object: Washington. Hey, QB Jacob Eason is back and ready to go.
The gritty vote: Stanford. Isn’t Stanford always the gritty vote?
The safe bet: Utah. Dark horse playoff candidate? Sure.
The shiny object: USC. For those who believe Clay Helton shoots down the Urban-to-USC possibility.
The gritty vote: UCLA. Hey, why not? It can’t be worse than last year for Chip Kelly. Maybe he got their attention.
The safe bet: Oklahoma. The Sooners have built the rarest thing of all — a program that can dominate even with a coaching change.
The shiny object: Texas. The quarterback said the Longhorns are back. That should be enough to convince everybody.
The gritty vote: TCU. Coach Gary Patterson seems to have an every-other-year thing going and the Froggies were 7-6 last season.
Contact Pat Dooley at 352-374-5053 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. And follow at Twitter.com/Pat_Dooley.