Sunday, December 9, 2012

Morning Six Pack: December 9, 2012

Sad Sunday is made a little brighter when you start early, so here are six college football stories from around the country.

Heisman Trophy: Can Johnny Manziel Go 2-0 in the Race for College Football's Greatest Honor?

The first Heisman Trophy win by a freshman brings up the same question as the first Heisman Trophy win by a sophomore did when Tim Tebow claimed the award, and the question that has followed every junior winner who's decided not to enter the NFL Draft: Can he do it again?

Cincinnati introduces new coach Tommy Tuberville

The most bizarre coaching hire of the season came earlier today when it was announced that Texas Tech coach Tommy Tuberville would be leaving “smack-dab” (so to speak) in the middle of bowl preparation for the same job at Cincinnati.

Eight key Auburn questions into ‘a new day’: Rhett, Yox, Jay, Ellis, Kodi, Jay, Aubie and Bo

Boy. That escalated quickly. I mean, that really got out of hand fast. Don’t blink, or you’ll miss Gus Malzahn either acquiring a new assistant coach or dismissing somebody from the Gene Chizik’s dominion.

Looking back on Notre Dame's path to the BCS National Championship game

A thorough breakdown of how and why Notre Dame is playing for the BCS National Championship.

HURT: Coaches don't need SEC experience - Alabama

The annual coaching carousel hasn't quite stopped - there are still vacancies at Colorado and Texas Tech among the big schools, and those hires may create yet more holes at other places. Still, the Southeastern Conference seems to have done well, pursuing the best coaches no matter where they were from and landing them.


Clearly, voters were more impressed with Manziel's 4,600 yards of total offense than they were concerned about his age. Plus, the entire freshman conversation was silly for a couple of reasons. First, Manziel was a redshirt freshman. He was at the same point in college that Florida's Tim Tebow and Alabama's Mark Ingram were when they won the Heisman. Next month, Manziel -- who skipped his final semester of high school to enroll at Texas A&M in January 2011 -- will have been in college for two years. Academically, he'll be a junior. Second, class designation doesn't matter. A player is either the most outstanding or he isn't. In 2012, Manziel was the most outstanding.

Consider this: Sumlin and offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury didn't even know what they had until after the Aggies opened the season against Florida on Sept. 8. At practice, defensive players aren't allowed to tackle the quarterback. So Texas A&M went through spring practice and preseason camp judging Manziel's mobility based on Sumlin's quick calls of "Saaaaaaaaack!" every time a defender got close enough to breathe on Manziel. After they realized they had one of the most elusive quarterbacks in college football history on their side, Sumlin and Kingsbury began to tweak an offense that had previously been designed for Houston's Case Keenum. But the season is no time to overhaul an offense. Now, the Aggies have 10 months to build a scheme perfectly suited for Manziel. "To have an offseason to kind of mess with things and work with it," Kingsbury said, "I expect it to keep evolving and play to his strengths."

Now comes the hard part. In today's on-to-the-next-thing media culture, Manziel can probably never be perceived as better than he is now, even if he does improve. Tebow, Ingram or Oklahoma's Sam Bradford can explain how difficult it is to follow a Heisman season. In Tebow's case, he led his team to a national title the year after he won the Heisman, but he wasn't considered the most outstanding player again. "There will be a bullseye on his chest now," Kingsbury said. "It's going to be a little bit of a different story. He's got to rise to the occasion."

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