Blake Sims Throw Alabama August 2014

Another season of college football is weeks away from kicking off!

As you prepare your couches/armchairs/seat cushions for hours of gameday viewing, here are some story lines that you should be paying attention to this season.

James Franklin in Penn State

James Franklin August 2014

Bill O’Brien took over a Penn State program that was in a state of turmoil and disgrace in 2012. Despite all of the sanctions and transfers, he was able to lead the Nittany Lions to a 15-9 combined record during his two seasons as coach.

Now that he has found a home in the NFL with the Houston Texans, it will be up to James Franklin to maintain this success.

During his three seasons at Vanderbilt, Franklin led the Commodores to a 24-15 record, including two nine win campaigns. The Commodores made three bowl games in that time, and they won two of them.

If Franklin can do that with Vanderbilt’s talent in a very tough SEC, one can only imagine what can happen when he has Penn State’s talent to work with.

The Heat on Will Muschamp’s Seat

Will Muschamp August 2014

If there is one thing that football fans in Gainesville are not accustomed to, it would be losing seasons. As a matter of fact, before last year, the last time the Gators finished with a below-.500 record was when Charley Pell coached the team in 1979.

With this history and a 4-8 (3-5 in the SEC) record in 2013, there is a lot of talk surrounding coach Will Muschamp’s future in the swamp.

It is safe to say that because of his success in 2011 and 2012, Muschamp was given the benefit of the doubt headed in to this season. However, that grace may not be extended if 2014 is anything close to 2013.

Improvements to the Florida offense may be enough to turn things around. They only averaged a little more than 18 points per game last season (114th in the country). The defense, who ranked 15th in the country in points allowed, did its part and should do it again this season.

Alabama’s QB Competition

Blake Sims August 2014

After three years of having A.J. McCarron at the helm, head coach Nick Saban must now find a new quarterback to lead his Crimson Tide.

Saban could go with Blake Sims. The backup QB in 2012 and 2013, Sims can use his feet as well as his arm to make plays. In fact, Sims actually served as a running back in 2011 because of his speed.

Sims saw the majority of his snaps last season in the Tide’s blowout win versus Georgia State. In the game, Sims played well completing 14-of-18 passes for 130 yards and one touchdown.

The other option, and presumed favorite to win the job, is transfer Jacob Coker. Last season, while at Florida State, Coker battled for the starting QB job. He would end up losing to Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston.

With Winston and the ‘Noles dominating the competition, Coker sparingly got time on the field. In limited action, Coker went 18-of-36 for 250 yards and an interception.

Coker seems to be fully recovered from the knee surgery he had that cost him the last five games of last season. After seeing what he can do, many think that he will be named the starter. This notion became even more accepted after Sims struggled in the Spring Game.

However, Saban has not handed the job over to him or Sims yet. Whoever ends up getting the job will have to perform in practice and earn it.

Heat on Dana Holgerson’s Seat

Dana Holgorsen August 2014

Holgerson’s trouble actually began mid-way through the 2012 season. After starting off 5-0, the Mountaineers were ranked No. 5 in the polls seemed primed to be challenger for the Big 12 title in their inaugural season there. This is when it all broke down.

The Mountaineers would lose five straight and get knocked out of the top 25. Luckily, they were able to win their final two games to become bowl eligible. They would play in Pinstripe Bowl, but lose to their old Big East rival in the Syracuse Orange.

Just when the folks in Morgantown thought the worst was over, 2013 happened. With inexperience at quarterback and a host of other problems, WVU finished 4-8 (2-7 in the Big 12).

The low point of the season came on September 21 versus the rival Maryland Terrapins, a team that WVU usually had no trouble with disposing of. In this contest, Randy Edsall’s Terrapins embarrassed WVU at M&T Bank Stadium to the tune of a 38-0 beat down.

If Holgerson wants to keep his job, his defense will have to step it up a notch. He must also get more production out of his quarterback(s). The use of many QBs was not effective in 2013, and Holgerson knows.

Clint Trickett will start the season versus Alabama. His play early on could effect what happens to his coach.


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