On Saturday the long wait was finally over for this college football writer. A copy of Phil Steele’s College Football Preview had made its way to the mailbox, ending weeks of anticipation. While many will take a good book to the beach for a day of sun in the sand, a copy of Phil Steele’s preview magazine is likely to accompany the hardcore college fans. As you might expect this season, Florida State and quarterback Jameis Winston are getting some good exposure and hype from all angles.
The game has changed over the years with the coveted covers of preview magazines. Instead of featuring one top player or school on the cover for all, regional covers give something for all fans to look forward to. Landing on the cover still carries some meaning for some, but the national bragging rights and the reward for appearing on a cover are slightly diminished. Even Sports Illustrated has realized this over the years with their various regional covers for preview editions for all sports. Winston appears on two separate regional covers of the national previews published by Athlon Sports. The national edition published by Lindy’s has Winston on just one regional cover. Sporting News also only has one regional cover featuring Winston. Steele’s preview cover also features Winston, along with Alabama’s Amari Cooper, Oklahoma’s Trevor Knight and Ohio State’s Braxton Miller.
It really should come as no surprise the defending national champions, led by a sophomore quarterback who just so happens to be the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, get such exposure on the covers of these preview magazines. The question is, will Florida State be able to make a run at a repeat in the first year under the College Football Playoff model?
Athlon Sports, Lindy’s, Sporting News and Phil Steele each have made Florida State, Alabama and Oklahoma consensus CFB Playoff favorites. Athlon Sports and Steele have predicted Ohio State to be the fourth team in the playoff mix, while Sporting News and Lindy’s believe Oregon will emerge for the other playoff spot. Whatever the case, the playoff picture seems to have a pretty established set of favorites for this upcoming season’s playoff push, and none predict multiple SEC teams to appear in the playoffs.
Which four teams do you think will be playing for it all at the end of the 2014 season?
If this is the last game Randy Edsall coaches at Maryland, at least he is making it count. Maryland may be down at the half, but the overmatched Terrapins are giving No. 1 Ohio State all it can handle it would seem. Ohio State holds a 21-14 lead on Maryland at the half, with big plays being the key.
Maryland struck first when Perry Hills connected to an open D.J. Moore down the middle of the field for a 52-yard touchdown and a 7-0 lead. Ohio State would battle back, switching up the quarterbacks between Cardale Jones and J.T. Barrett along the way. The Buckeyes ripped off three touchdowns, with Barrett and Ezekiel Elliott each running for one and Jones throwing for the third, to Braxton Miller. Up 21-7, all seemed to return to normal for the Buckeyes, but Maryland cut the lead to seven late in the first half.
Hills broke free for a 75-yard run from the Maryland 22-yard line all the way down to the Ohio State three, and he finsihed off the quick touchdown on the next play with a short touchdown run. So Maryland continues to linger, which appears to be a theme with Ohio State’s opponents this season.
Jones has completed 15 of 20 pass attempts for 195 yards and a touchdown for Ohio State. Barrett attempted just one pass, which was good for a 20-yard gain. Elliott has just 25 rushing yards on 11 attempts at the half.
Nobody could have seen this coming, even after throwing out the records. A week after being ambushed by TCU, Charlie Strong and his Texas Longhorns looked like a completely different team in the first quarter against No. 10 Oklahoma in the old Cotton Bowl. Texas holds a surprising 14-3 lead at the half.
Jerrod Heard completed a 24-yard touchdown pass to Marcus Johnson midway through the first quarter. The Longhorns made it 14-0 when a break went their way. Lorenzo Joe recovered a fumble in the end zone for a score to make it 14-0 after Oklahoma had fumbled away the ensuing kickoff after the first score.
Texas outgained Oklahoma in the first quarter, 133 yards to just 15, and at the half (169 yards to just 85). Oklahoma went three-and-out on each of its two drives, and the Sooners had to punt four times before being able to put a dent on the scoreboard with a short 21-yard field goal by Austin Seibert after a 12-play drive stalled at the Texas four-yard line. Meanwhile, Texas was building a double-digit lead.
Without a doubt, the first half of this game was the best half we have seen from Texas in a while. Can they keep it going and score what would be a significant upset to get our day started?