Friday, May 12, 2017

E-mails, Texts, and Tweets

So a lot of you make contact with me and I wish there was a way to start a convo board on the blog so people could more easily share with the rest of the collective.  I like hearing others opinions on stuff and the insight educates us all and makes us better sports fans….er, slappies!!!

A couple of recent E-mails:

Can you believe Bama is going to pay Nick Satan $11M ANNUALLY for the next 7 years?  Is that INSANE?  Is ANY COACH worth that much?  I mean, how much is Belechik making anyway?  This is crazy.  Do you see Michigan or ANYONE ELSE keeping up with that???

If there’s one thing the Ole MMQ has learned in life and business:  Anyone is worth whatever another person or group of people are willing to pay to have that individual around.  You can’t blame Satan.  He’s happy to take that cash, trust me.  In the case of Bama Football and their never ending desire for National Titles, the Bama collective seems to believe that Satan’s $11M annual price tag is a bargain. Even though I don’t think anyone was lining up to match that offer to lure Satan away from Bama. And I really don’t think Nick will last another 7 seasons.  He’s going to want to enjoy some of that cash and he’s perfect for TV.  So it looks like he’s getting an “Early Retirement” bonus from Bama.  And Bama just likes screwing with everyone else in the SEC to keep things interesting….
But, to put it into some sort of context:  That’s $733,333.33 per GAME assuming Bama makes the CFP Title Game (that’s 12 regular season, SEC Championship, CFP Semi and Title Game for a total of 15 games).  If Bama only plays 13 games (assuming the regular season and a bowl game) it’s $846,153.  Given that more than HALF of the D1 Football coaches out there don’t make that much in a SINGLE SEASON is more or less enough evidence that Bama is paying quite a premium to keep Nicky Satan around.  And Belechick is only making $8M annually and coaches a boatload more games.  So, yeah, Bama is paying a hefty price that I don’t think they need to pay as I can’t think of anyone else that could even begin to approach that number…with the exception of maybe the Domers if they’d actually have Satan as a coach.

Go Figure….

And no, I don’t think Michigan will increase Jimmy’s salary to keep him around.  This fan wouldn’t like that and the ticket prices are high enough as it is.  And Jimmy hasn’t won a national title yet, either.  Start bringing home some hardware, any hardware, and we’ll talk.
Another observation:  IS this the beginning of the end of the College football peak?  When you start seeing salaries like that, it’s a logical question to ask.  Things can only go up so high until they come down.  That’s a fact.  I have to believe most Universities Presidents and Board of Regents are looking at that and saying, “Enough!!  College Athletics don’t warrant those kinds of salaries.”

35 underclassmen didn’t get drafted after opting out of their final season of college.  Why doesn’t football do the same thing as hoops and let the kids back for their last year of eligibility?  And what if these kids don’t sign?  CFL time?

Good question.  And once again, the NCAA and the NFL could care less about the individual and only care about making money.  Essentially, you have to declare in January for the NFL draft, the longest “declaration period” of any of the sports.  Basketball and college Baseball can declare, not get drafted, and as long as you haven’t signed with an agent, you keep your amateur status and can go back to your team.  I actually think you can get drafted in baseball, elect not to sign with the team that drafted you, and still play college baseball.  In football, because National Signing Day is after the day you declare for the draft but before the NFL draft – the student athlete is more or less screwed.  Coaches have signed the players spot away with new recruits and they couldn’t go back even if they wanted to.

As far as kids not signing:  If they don’t sign with an NFL team, the CFL and NFL Europe are waiting.  I’ve also read about and seen debates on an NFL Development League that would start 2 or 3 weeks right after the draft.  The NFL would own all the teams and each city with an NFL franchise today gets a development team.  The Kicker is they are set up like AAU Football:  7 on 7 with no pads or helmets.  Less chance of injury as a result.  The league would pay players a minimum and pay bonuses for team victories. The league would have games right up to the middle – end of July when NFL pre-season begins.  It would be a way for teams to see some of the talent that might be available and also let talent in that couldn’t, for whatever reason, play in college. Why this isn’t happening is that the NFL is afraid they would lose money with this type of arrangement.  I’m thinking the head of NFL marketing and finance don’t have a brain between them as this would be a watchable LIVE product on the NFL Network that has too many talking heads and too many re-runs of boring NFL games. 

I agree with you about Jake Butt being an example of not playing in the bowl, especially if it doesn’t mean anything.  Look at Peppers.  Didn’t play and went in the 1st Round!  Do you think more coaches will sit their starters in meaningless bowl games as a way to show future recruits that they care about their NFL futures?

That’s actually an interesting observation.  In meaningless bowls, where a coach would probably like to get a read on their underclassmen anyway, it could make a lot of sense for coaches to bench their High-Potential Early Round Draft players in favor of playing younger players.  And future recruits would take notice and think, “Hey, this dude doesn’t care about his bowl record or his bowl bonus as much as he cares about the players he’s coached for 4 years.  That’s a statement!”  But the question remains:  Is it fair to your team mates to sit out of a game they’d like to win?  If I was on the team with a high potential playing in a meaningless game, I wouldn’t have a problem with the High-Pot sitting.  Just saying.  I, personally, would feel a lot worse for Jake Butt losing all that dough and losing the game, too.

CBS Sports Top 25 - Thoughts on Harbaugh @ #5?  Why isn’t fleck on here?!?!

Here’s the link to the article….
CBS ranked all 65 Power 5 Football coaches and I’ve listed them here through 35 (to answer the PJ Fleck Question): 
1.     Nick Saban
2.    Urban Mayer
3.    Dabo Swinnney
4.    Jimbo Fisher
5.    Jim Harbaugh
6.    Bob Stoops
7.    Chris Petersen
8.    David Shaw
9.    Bill Snyder
10.  Gary Patterson
11. Mark Dantonio
12. Mike Gundy
13. Bobby Petrino
14.  Kyle Wittingham
15. Mark Richt
16. Pat Fitzgerald
17. David Cutcliffe
18.  James Franklin
19.  Gus Malzhan
20.  Kirk Ferentz
21. Dan Mullen
22. Brian Kelly
23. Jim McElwain
24. Paul Johnson
25. Mike Leach
26. Larry Fedora
27. Brett Bielema
28. Tom Herman
29. Paul Chryst
30. Mike MacIntyre
31. Wille Taggart
32. Bronco Mendenhall
33. Hugh Freeze
34. Justin Fuente
35.  PJ Fleck

My thoughts on Harbaugh at #5 are that he’s ranked right about where he should be ranked, for now.  Let’s face reality:  Harbaugh hasn’t won anything yet.  That’s a fact that comes up in every discussion.  In fact, 3rd place East is about the best Michigan has done under Jimmy.  Granted, he’s only in his 3rd season and some claim there was a lot of re-building to be done, but I feel he had the necessary tools in his hands last season (and even 2015) to at least win the B1G.  And I think some noise could have been made last year in the CFP, also.  The Agonizing Facts:  Michigan was 5 lousy points (and two 1st Downs) away from an undefeated season (assuming they win the B1G Title in Indy) and a CFP berth.  That’s gotta’ be worth something.

With respect to other names on the list, Why don’t we have the MMQ Rank them as HE sees it and then perhaps a short discussion as to why I move anyone up or down.  I’ll state now that my criteria will be

1.  Success. 
2.  Potential for success. 
3.  Longevity  
4.  POTENTIAL for Longevity. 
5.  Anything else I make up as I go along…

The MMQ’s Top 35 Football Coaches in Power 5 Conferences:

1.    Saban - Urban Mayer  (tie)
2.    Dabo Swinnney
3.    Jim Harbaugh (5)
4.    Jimbo Fisher
5.    Chris Petersen
6.    David Shaw
7.    Gary Patterson
8.    Mike Gundy
9.    Bobby Petrino
10. Bob Stoops (6) – I’d rather have anyone below Stoops at 6 to this point right here
11. Jim McElwain (23) – I’d much rather have him over everyone up to Stoops
12.  Kyle Wittingham
13. James Franklin (18)
14. PJ Fleck (35) – This is how highly I regard PJ Fleck.  But he could drop from here.
15. Tom Herman (28) - Ditto
16. Mark Richt (15)
17. Pat Fitzgerald (16)
18. Paul Chryst (29) – Considered moving him up a little higher as I think Wiscy is going to be back…
19. Kirk Ferentz
20. Justin Fuente (35)
21. Mark Dantonio (10)
22. Dan Mullen
23. Wille Taggart (31)
24. David Cutcliffe (17)
25. Hugh Freeze (33)
26. Bill Snyder (9)
27. Brian Kelly (22)
28. Paul Johnson
29. Mike Leach
30. Larry Fedora
31. Brett Bielema
32. Gus Malzhan (19)
33. Mike MacIntyre
34. Bronco Mendenhall

So, there’s my ranking for 2017.  Again, this could change after a couple of seasons.  Quick observations:  It should be clear, if I was an AD for any team besides Michigan,  that I’d take a healthy Urban Mayer or Satan if you put a gun to my head – I wouldn’t like it very much, mind you, but yes, I guess I’d have to take them.  Dabo I left in the next spot as he’s been doing it for a couple of seasons and won a NC, so yeah, I might look long and hard at taking Dabo, but ONLY KNOWING WHAT I KNOW NOW!  I hope that makes sense.  At the same point in their careers, I would take Harbaugh over Swinney.  Harbaugh can easily surpass Swinney if he’d just win…well, anything.  Division, Conference, NC.  Whatever.  And it would appear that I hate old guys (Bill Snyder being highest ranked old guy that dropped from 9 on the CBS list to 26 on my list) and I hate primarily run-oriented coaches.  Surprise, surprise.  I’d much rather have a youthful ability and a future to look forward to rather than have a guy around for a few more years knowing that I’m going to be looking for a head coach soon.  My highest move was PJ Fleck, who moved up from 35 to 14.  And for good reason.  I think he’s the real deal.  Time of course will tell, but again, I’d rather have Fleck over everyone BELOW HIM.  One of the larger drop downs, for good reason, was Dantonio.  Questionable team and player character coupled with a disaster 3-9 season will, I think, become more of the norm in East Lansing at this point with the true Power Schools in the B1G East getting measurably better Head Coaches (Harbaugh, Mayer, Franklin, Durkin).  Dantonio will keep sliding down this list for awhile. Ditto for Malzhan.  I have Gus on the Hot Seat in Auburn and with Les Miles waiting in the wings with his knowledge of the SEC, well, that’s going to be a fun story to watch unfold.   I wanted to drop B. Kelly further, but when I got to the Johnson – Leach – Fedora trio, I found it difficult.  I wanted to move Fedora up, but I literally got as far as the Pirate (Leach) and figure I’d rather have him than Fedora.  Harbaugh disciple Taggart is a logical move up and will probably continue to climb up on the list.  I will review from time to time for relative ranking. 

Biggest surprise not in the Top 35?  Kirby Smart….Gotta be.  That’s kind of a shocker, but after what he’s done in Georgia (nothing) I’m starting to think there’s just clones of Satan running around doing everyone’s job…

Some Texts

The Bears are idiots…
Totally agree.  Trading up to the two spot had to be the dumbest move in the NFL draft this season.  There’s been worse blunders, but that one takes the cake.  Drafting a QB that played a total of 1 season in college and thinking you’re going to turn him into a starter in the NFL has to be some form of insanity.  I’m not sure what happens in those draft war rooms and what kind of group think begins…but clearly it happens.

Didn’t see Taco going that high (in the draft)!!!
I kind of did, but didn’t.  What I thought was that Charlton was probably a GREAT 2nd or 3rd round value pick and I was really hoping the Lions would have a shot at him with their 2nd round pick.   Regardless, Dallas was smart grabbing him in the 1st.  Upside potential all the way with Taco….

Lot’s of Michigan guys going high in the draft.  I didn’t think that would happen…
Then you haven’t been paying attention.  The NFL knows that both Satan and Harbaugh have been to the Show and know what it takes to develop a kid and get them ready for that level.  There’s value in having an NFL coach back at the collegiate level working with guys for 4 years.  I truly believe that plays into it.  Not to mention that there’s probably some background communication happening on some of these guys….

Tweets and Social Media

This is one more reason why you shouldn’t drink:

That’s a Michigan Man and loyal reader wearing the WRONG COLORS.  Booze will do strange things to people….Maybe stop with the two fisted drinking?  

Monday, May 1, 2017

The Draft

If you’re an NFL fan, I’m sure everything I’m posting today with even more information that I haven’t captured here is known to you.   If you’re not an NFL fan but would like to know how the Wolverines did on Thursday, Friday and Saturday:
With a little help from
This year's figure: 11 players selected from the University of Michigan led all schools and stands as the 12th most in draft history and is the third-highest total since the draft was reduced to seven rounds.  As recently as last season, OSU had 12 players drafted.  Michigan is tied at 11 with multiple schools.
The Big Ten had 35 total selections with Michigan accounting for 31 percent of the picks. Ohio State had seven selections and Iowa followed with four.
1.    Safety/linebacker Jabrill Peppers (Cleveland, 25th overall) and defensive end Taco Charlton (Dallas, 28th overall) were selected in the first round, giving U-M multiple selections in the opening round for the eighth time in draft history and the first time since 2005.
2.    Michigan had four players selected in the third round with defensive end Chris Wormley (Baltimore, 74th overall, and to brother of Michigan Head Coach Harbaugh), cornerback Jourdan Lewis (Dallas, 92nd overall), safety Delano Hill (Seattle, 95th overall) and wide receiver Amara Darboh (Seattle, 106th overall) earning calls.
3.    On the final day of the draft, linebacker Ben Gedeon (Minnesota, 120th overall), defensive tackle Ryan Glasgow (Cincinnati, 138th overall) and wide receiver Jehu Chesson (Kansas City, 139th overall, Kansas City) were selected in the fourth round, while Jake Butt was the first selection of the fifth round (Denver, 145th overall). Cornerback Jeremy Clarkwas the final player selected with his call coming in the sixth round (197th overall) by the New York Jets.
4.    Peppers became the 14th Wolverine drafted by the Browns all-time and 16th U-M player selected by a Cleveland organization (Cleveland Rams). Peppers is the first U-M player selected by the Browns in the first round since Braylon Edwards in 2005 (first round, third overall).
5.    Charlton and Lewis became the sixth and seventh Wolverines, respectively, drafted by the Cowboys all-time and first since 1991 (Tony Boles). Charlton is the first U-M player selected by the Cowboys in the first round since 1985 (Kevin Brooks, 17th overall).
6.    Wormley became the third Wolverine drafted by the Ravens all-time and first since 2016 (Willie Henry). Hill and Darboh became the first U-M players selected by Seattle since Frank Clark in 2015 (63rd overall).
7.    Glasgow is the 13th draft selection by Cincinnati and the first U-M pick since Morgan Trent in 2009 (179th overall).
8.     Chesson is the eighth draft selection by Kansas City and first since 2012 when Junior Hemingway was picked in the seventh round (238th overall).
9.    Butt is the 10th U-M player chosen by Denver and first since Michael Schofield in 2014 (95th overall).
10. Michigan currently has 21 players in the NFL.  This brings the total to a potential 32.
Sheesh….Shouldn’t they have won more games in 2017???

Here’s and interesting chart:  Schools with the most ever players drafted:

I cut the list off at 200....

Observations:  Again, when that much talent is seen or discovered and then taken by the NFL, I’m looking at the coaching staff and wondering what gives?  You know what else I’m looking at?  A lot of these players were Hoke’s legacy.  Very impressive, Coach Hoke.  Very impressive.  If you would have only had an O-Coordinator and a D-Coordinator when you were here.

Further, the Cleveland Browns and Dallas Cowboys (yuck) are now teams I have to, kind of, well….I guess I will find time to watch and pull for those guys when I’m not rooting for the Lions.  Who REALLY PISSED ME OFF when they took a Toledo Tight End vs. Jake Butt (who went 5 or 7 picks later).  Dumb-ass Lions will never, ever win a Super Bowl in my lifetime, assuming I live to 100.  Maybe even two lifetimes…

Oh, and Butt dropping to the 5th round from that ACL injury (he had been a consensus 2nd round pick and around 4th TE overall) even with the insurance policy, probably cost himself at least $2M in the process.  For one lousy game that didn’t count that Michigan lost.  Think the end of the bowls aren’t coming when more and more seniors (and most likely juniors) start opting out or meaningless bowls?  Think again!  That will escalate quickly and schools will try to counter with if you’re an underclassmen, you’re playing!!!  Which sends an I don’t care about you or your future in the NFL.  Yeah…  Let’s see how far that goes…

Back to the draft:  I’ll give the Lions a C+ as they addressed needs but they DIDN’T DRAFT A RUNNING BACK which, don’t they desperately need one of those?
What else:  The Jets got a steal when they grabbed Jeremy Clark.  Before he went down to injury, he was the semi-equivalent to Jourdan Lewis on the other side of the field, defensively.  A lot of Michigan guys have signed as undrafted free agents and I’d be willing to bet several of them make pro rosters. 

Overall a fun three days if you were a Michigan Fan and that kind of success on draft day will translate into recruiting.  Always does.  

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Spring Game Wrap - 12 Expectations/Observations/Predictions for 2017

Spring – the time of college football renewal!  That spring rite of passage that’s similar to the Masters and lets you know that the snow shovels can be put away and we can safely take the shorts out of winter storage. Also the time when you get the E-mail that you only have until April 28th to renew your Season Tickets!!!  
Also makes me wonder why they can’t do a “scrimmage” against other local teams in the area, but then I guess things would get a little too out of hand…so scratch that.  Why risk injury any more than they already are.  Urban Meyer charged suckeye fans to $5 to watch OSU play a game of two-hand touch….
No – I didn’t make the Spring game.  Simply too much to do around the house.  55,000 fans did attend, however.  I have seen it twice on the BTN at this point and if you haven’t seen it, I think there’s a couple of things you need to know:
1.     I’m not saying there’s a QB controversy brewing in A2, but I will say that Speight was fortunate to lead one of the best offenses last season both in terms of efficiency and points scored.  He didn’t look very good on Saturday and Brandon Peters looked like a seasoned veteran.  In other words, if Speight gets a boo-boo, Michigan should be in capable hands under center.
2.    While I get that defenses get a chance to see the same players day in – day out, week after week in the spring and can “plan” things ahead of time, I was surprised that the defenses looked “as good” as they did.  The defensive line will be fine this season and I’m not sure how much Peppers will be missed with a couple of different players looking effective in the SAM position. 
3.    Evans got 3 carries and was yanked because, well, we know who the starting tailback will be.
4.    Did I mention that Speight didn’t look great?
5.    Brandon Peters’ passing performance was especially remarkable as the announcers mentioned the wind swirling several times.
6.    The CB play wasn’t great, but I saw things I liked.  Over-pursuit (read:  SPEED) was apparent and once these guys learn their assignments, I don’t think we’re gonna’ miss Stribling or Lewis….

And I guess that’s about it….

I never get overly excited about the Spring Game, even though it’s nice to see Michigan actually back to having a Spring Game vs. a spring practice where everyone just runs around in practice mode.  

Now it’s off to Rome to see the sights.  

12 Expectations/Observations/Predictions for Michigan and College Football in 2017

I hate to get ahead of myself, because I like to leave a little something for the Pre-Season Spectacular, but what are the expectations of the Wolverines and other teams for 2017?
In no particular order:
1.    I expect Coach Harbaugh to coach better in close games and come up with plays/scenarios so when you NEED a first down, you GET a first down.  Review the Iowa and Suckeye games that were very winnable with a first down and running out the clock.  As good as he seems to coach in most games, Jimmy and OC Drevno sometimes get a little group-think going on between them in tight games.  Drevno needs to step up and be a little more creative or stand up to Jimmy when the time comes to deliver the last nail in the coffin or the knife to the jugular – whichever analogy you prefer.  They need, together, to develop a “tight game killer instinct”. 
2.    A quick review of the Michigan schedule: 
a.    @Florida – SEC East Champ in Arlington, Texas
b.    Cincinnati – Luke Fickell revenge for that loss when he was interim?
c.    Air Force – Always a nightmare with that offense
d.    @ Purdue – the New Cocktail Patio will be OPEN!  Road Trip?
e.    Sparty – Rivalry game…
f.     @ Indiana – New Head Coach….
g.    @ Penn State – REVENGE for Embarrassment…Night Whites, too..
h.    Rutgers – Yawn…Hanging 80 on them last season makes me yawn
i.      Minnesota – The uppity Gophers will be rowing the boat to A2
j.      @Maryland – I hate that Michigan plays Maryland so late in the season
k.    @Wiscy – Classic Trap game.  After emotional Terp game aginst Derkin and before
l.      OSU – glad this is home this season. 
With a lot of the tough games at home (OSU, Minnesota and MSU) not that the latter should be all that hard, but rivalry to them, a share of the B1G Title, barring horrendous injury, of course, should be the floor.  There are some tough road games and Penn State has announced the Night White Out Game and will want a lot of revenge for the 50 they got hung on them in Ann Arbor (Jim – Word of advice – Bring back the Maize Pants for that Road Game – PLEASE!!!).  Not to mention that Wiscy is always a tough place to play and is the trap game right after Maryland and right before the Suckeyes.  It’s Jimmy’s 3rd season, he’s been close, and there’s no more excuses.  Not that he was making any last season.  Well, maybe a couple that were justified from the OSU game, but still…  In review, last year was a great opportunity squandered.  And I do believe the Wolverines would have at least scored on Clemson unlike the suckeyes completely and utterly embarrassing themselves….
3.    Speaking of which:  the CFP, logically, is kind of a must, also.  I would say that it’s a given if you win the B1G, but when you look at what happened to Penn State last season (winning the B1G with 2 losses) and the huge loss up in Ann Arbor resulting in them getting overlooked for the CFP after beating the suckeye team that DID GET IN, well, you can understand now how it’s possible to have one without the other.  And that’s frustrating and I get PSU-Fan and why they were so angry last year.  Conference Championships should mean SOMETHING!!!!
4.    Which means the ceiling for Michigan is (at least) getting to the National Title Game with the floor being an either/or with the B1G Championship/CFP spot..  Now, I know that’s asking a lot.  But, Michigan is paying the guy to win B1G Championships and National Titles.  So, please go do it. 
5.    Who will be in the title hunt this season?  Well, Bama, for sure, as they didn’t lose anyone (relatively speaking) and the SEC is undeniably weak at this point.  The SEC East will probably have a 3rd year champion in Florida as I don’t see anyone else in the East figuring out how to beat McElwain’s Defense.  I’m not falling into the Tennessee hype or the Georgia hype.  They both lost key players and will be re-building.  So, that leaves Bama and nobody else from the SEC.  From the ACC I kind of like Clemson or Miami, but I’m not sure either of them goes through this season unscathed meaning that there could be a 2-loss ACC champion on the outside looking in.  FSU lost a lot of talent last season so while they’ll be an odds on favorite, look for them to be more of a spoiler in the ACC.  I like/love USC coming out of the Pac12, even though Washington will be right there.  The BigiiX will eat their own and miss the CFP altogether, leaving the potential for two qualified B1G teams to crash the CFP party.  Don’t be surprised…it’ll happen sooner rather than later and two conferences will get left out of the CFP party whilst one conference reaps the spoils…
6.    How does the B1G play out?  Great question.  The Champion, once again, should come out of the East Division.  The West, while improving, just isn’t there yet.  I know, I know, PJ Fleck in Gopherland, Purdue getting Jeff Brohm, not to mention that the Huskers should be feeling the 3rd year vibe of Riley.  And Wiscy is Wiscy.  Kind of like Iowa.  But none of them are “dominating” yet.  Noticed I said yet. But they aren’t sitting still, either…that much is clear.   I truly believe Michigan finally breaks the cherry for Jim, but they’re might be a blemish on the record.   
7.    Can Michigan win the whole thing?  Answer:  Why not?  The Odds as of February 6th:
  The Analysis:  I’m not sure from where or why FSU is getting such love in Vegas as they lost a lot of personnel.  And Michigan nearly beat them in the bowl game.  I would have FSU closer to 15 or 20 to 1.  Oklahoma won’t go undefeated, eliminating them from the discussion with a weaker SOS due to Big iiX malaise.  Yes, the suckeyes.  They need to be defeated, but Michigan has them at homeUSC is going to be interesting and if they do make it, I’d rather not have to play the Trojans in the semi-final and rather see them play Bama.  Which, leaves us with Michigan.  So, yes.  The Vegas Final 4 projection (with assumptions that Michigan wins B1G regular season) is:  Bama, FSU, USC and Michigan.  Kind of like I said in point number 5….but without FSU and maybe a B1G runner up….suckeyes – Michigan Rematch????
8.    Is there another darkhorse in the NCAA we’re not seeing right now?  Maybe…And Michigan plays one of them.  Florida will be better this season and will present a VERY DIFFICULT opening game challenge.  There will be a lot of talk about both of those teams and how far the winner can go.  UCLA will be in the 2nd year of their new, revamped offense and could be a thorn in everyone’s side in the Pac12, but I sort of say that every season about UCLA and I have lost some faith in Coach Mora ever getting it done.  2nd season coach Fuente at Va-Tech may make noise in the ACC with close to a full roster returning.  I also refuse to leave Washington out of any discussion as I believe Petersen will win a National Title while he’s coaching there, and don’t forget that Washington made the CFP Last season.   Miami has players coming back and Richt will be in season 2 as well, but I see Miami as spoilers and not ready for Prime time…yet.  So, yeah, there’s some dark and not so darkhorses that could make things interesting.
9.    Will the Domers and Sparty recover from embarrassing seasons?  In a word: NOBut when has the MMQ ever stopped at just a word?  The Domers probably should have won (and would have won if Kelly wasn’t so bull-headedly stubborn/stupid – you decide or use both) 7 games last season vs. just 4.  And they simply have too much talent coming back and coming into the program to not win 9 games (floor). But in Domerland, that still a disaster and no CFP berth.  Sparty, OTOH, is a disaster and you’re probably not going to find too many Sparty fans that are going to argue with you.  They’d all rather talk about basketball for Bridges reasons.  Football:  Depleted roster.  Unexpected players leaving the team and Sexual Assualt Title IX investigations may further deplete the depth chart.  Sparty could repeat at 3-9 or maybe get to 4-8/5-7 and it wouldn’t surprise me.  That’s not bouncing back…That’s getting ready for Basketball season early.
10. Who will be “The Greatest Coaching Hire Ever” that everyone is talking about at the end of the 2017 season?  Texas should be better this season as Charlie Strong didn’t leave a bare cupboard.  The question is:  Will Hermann pay attention to the defense and make them better?  I already mentioned PJ Fleck rowing the boat in Minneapolis, and the Gophers are only 2 seasons removed from winning 10 games under former coach Kill.  Fleck should be able to take a non-disaster situation and surprise some people this season and at least make a decent bowl game.  If Willie Taggart gets Oregon back to 9-10 wins, or even somehow beats Washington and gets to the Pac 12 Championship, that hire will look brilliant. Conference USA has two big names both coaching Florida schools in Butch Davis (FIU) and Lane Kiffin (FAU) that may be able to mix it up early with the powers in that conference. 
11. And because you can’t have one without the other, what hires are we going to look at and say, “Meh….Coulda’ done better myself”?  I still can’t figure out the Brohm hire at Purdue.  He might work out, but I think that’s a disaster and it’ll take someone special to fix Purdue football.  Tom Allen hiring Mike DeBord at Indiana convinced me that Allen might not know what he’s doing either…or what he has to work with from a personnel standpoint.  That’s an offense built for speed and DeBord is a manball kind of coach.  IMHO, Matt Rhule landing at Baylor is going to be an unmitigated disaster.  Baylor is Texas, Briles was Texas….Rhule isn’t a fit.  Plus who knows what pending Title IX disasters await. 
12. Hottest of the Hottest Seats starting out this season?  Without question, Sumlin has worn out his welcome at Texas A&M.  Butch Jones at Tennessee desperately needs to do something in the SEC East.  Rich Rod has Arizona diehards pulling their hair out with lack of defense…sound familiar?  Kelly will need at least 9 wins or he and $warbuck$ will both be in a very precarious position. Malzhan is living on grace time at Auburn and the winningest LSU Head Coach EVER is still looking for a job  - Les Miles.   

I know – what’ll be left for the Pre-Season Spectacular, right?  I’ll find something to write about!!!!