Happy Mondays are happier when you start early. So, here are six cold, clear and refreshing college football stories from around the country.
The Gators are going to the Allstate Sugar Bowl and will face one of their former defensive coordinators on Jan. 2 in New Orleans. However, it’s not Oklahoma and head coach Bob Stoops as most projected entering the weekend. Instead, the No. 4-ranked Gators (11-1) will face Louisville and Charlie Strong.
Despite all of the pass-happy, fast-paced fun, those atop the BCS standings paint a far different picture of what it takes to be successful. Notre Dame, Alabama and Florida are Nos. 1, 2 and 3 in the BCS standings, and they also fall into that same order in another category — points allowed.
The penultimate Bowl Championship Series gave college football a national championship matchup low on controversy and loaded with star power.
Less than a week from the news conference when Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs announced the firing of Chizik following a 3-9 season which Jacobs called “unacceptable,” Auburn took off-the-wall literally, removing several pictures of Chizik from the Auburn Athletic Center.
After missing out on an at-large BCS bid, Big 12 co-champion Oklahoma will have to settle for a matchup against Heisman-hopeful Johnny Manziel and the 10th-ranked Texas A&M Aggies in the Cotton Bowl at Dallas Cowboys Stadium on Jan. 4.
Alabama will be installed as the favorite for a reason. But that hardly guarantees a Tide victory.
We'll have the next five weeks to further dissect the matchup, but in reality, that's a fruitless exercise. As we've seen year after year, the teams in the drawn-out BCS championship game often bear little resemblance to those that played in the first 12 or 13 games. There are too many variables to account for with such a long layoff. Coaches change jobs. Players go home for Christmas and eat junk food; others get distracted by agent and looming draft deadline decisions. Injured players get healthy and vice versa.
The only things we can be certain about with Notre Dame-Alabama are that a whole lot of people are going to watch it, and that a whole lot of those same people will be conflicted throughout. Here's one thing they can probably all agree on: After so many recent title-game clunkers, it would be fantastic if the Tide and Irish produced the type of classic that fans of so many previous generations enjoyed.