Far too often, the college football season is taken hostage by coaches. Or rather, it’s co-opted by the obsessive attention devoted to coaches — to Urban Meyer and where he’s going next; to Mike Gundy and his rants about manhood; to Charlie Weis, even though he’s coming off a 3-9 season; to lying Nick Saban, who preaches mental toughness even though he bailed because he couldn’t cut it in the NFL; even to Joe Paterno and whether he’ll retire. It’s all coaches all the time, players be damned, which besides the Bowl Championship Series is the primary problem with the college game.
But not this season, which kicks off tomorrow night and begins in earnest Saturday. There are too many great players in the college game this fall to get sidetracked with coaches and their mini-dramas. The Heisman Trophy race could be 10 deep in legit candidates. How many times does a season begin with a Heisman winner returning as a junior? The answer is . . . it’s never happened.
But Tim Tebow is back for his junior season, again a threat to run and throw for more than 20 touchdowns each, as he did last season for Florida. It might be the first time since the early 1980s, when the college ranks were populated by the likes of Herschel Walker, John Elway and Dan Marino, that there’s so much experienced talent returning.