Every year, when the branches grip on leaves begin to loosen and the mercury in thermometers begins pooling at the bottom, college football ramps back up
Accompanying the crunching of tacklers and ballcarriers or galloping echoes of cleats, colliding muscles and bones is the rising volume from the chirping voices of prognosticators and college football greenhorns alike.
Heisman candidates are the 100 proof superstars that everyone gets buzzed about.
The Todd Gurleys, Marcus Mariotas, Jameis Winstons and Melvin Gordons need no introduction.
There are the young players on the cusp of becoming household names such as LSU’s young colt in the backfield, Leonard Fournette.
Mizzou’s sophomore quarterback Maty Mauk is a diminutive firecracker that could be the gunpower that fires the Tiger offense like a bullet ripping through their meaty SEC schedule and back into the conference championship game.
However, on the flip side of hype is the disappointment of unmet expectations.
Dreams can get dashed quicker than 4.3 40s can be completed. Just ask members of the Virginia Tech Hokie clan.
Last season, Logan Thomas bowed out at Virginia Tech after tanking his NFL Draft stock with an absolutely abysmal senior season.
He looked more like the former tight end than a guy touted as a Heisman darkhorse before the season. If anything, Thomas played the part of the ultimate anthesis to a Heisman Trophy candidate.
A fresh fall season brings a new batch of highly visible stars that will eventually fizzle out and fade away underneath the bright lights.
At Florida, there’s renewed faith that Jeff Driskell can finally live up to the reputation he carried into Gainesville four years ago.
Four years, ago he and ex-UGA running back Isaiah Crowell were predicted by Sports Illustrated to be invitees to the Heisman ceremony.
In 2010, SI predicted former Dawg Isaiah Crowell would be runner up to UF's Jeff Driskell for the 2014 Heisman Trophy pic.twitter.com/TVsmIwhWSu— UGA Football News (@UGAfootballLive) February 19, 2014
Crowell had a fantastic true freshman season, but was dismissed by UGA after his freshman season. Unfortunately, his mobility hasn’t been enough to account for his faulty throwing mechanics and erratic reads on passing downs.
So what’s changed for Driskell that has reinvigorated hope?
First, Will Muschamp’s desperation has put the Gators in win or click reset situation. And the first thing that would be reset is Driskell.
Secondly, Kurt Roper, who is Muschamp’s third offensive coordinator in four years should finally wrap an offensive system around Driskell that will take advantage of his dual threat abilities.
Roper's up-tempo spread offense is more conducive to Driskell's strenghts than the pro-style system he was squeezed into for his first three years on campus.
Playing quarterback at Notre Dame is like being born on third base. However, in the Brian Kelly era, his quarterbacks have rarely been more than honorary game managers.
Instead of turning water into wine, Everett Golson will be relied upon to turn an offense that stalls far too often in the redzone and turn three points into seven.
Unfortunately, the idea that Everett Golson is going to thrust the Fighting Irish onto his shoulders and redeem himself as an elite quarterback is the stuff Win-of dreams are made of. Those expectations are going to dissipate like the legend of Lennay Kekua once the hangover ends and sobriety kicks in.
The last time we saw Golson, he was nothing more than pedestrian. Fortunately, he flew first class on the backs of a defense that ranked near the top of most statistical categories and boasted a Heisman Trophy finalist at the nougat of its nutcracking defense.
Te’o’s absence was evident once Michigan was done hanging 41 on them in the second weekend of the season.
Now defensive tackles Stephon Tuitt and Louis Nix have also departed for that big professional football league in the sky.
The offense needs to wake up like Tom Cruise in Vanilla Sky, but once Golson steps out there, there’s nothing to suggest that he’ll live up to those picturesque pipe dream scenarios.
His final games of 2012 (72 of 116, 1033 yards, six touchdowns, two interceptions) are cited as a reason to have faith in Golson, but end of season spurts sound too much like Dr. Oz’s magical weight loss pills after a while. I don’t believe it, he need more people.
Trevor Knight benefitted from what Scottie Pippen and Charles Barkley would call a short-term memory well beyond his years.
After spending last season on the bench after losing his job to Blake Bell, who is now a tight end, it only took one game for Knight to carve out a new narrative for his Sooner legacy.
It was Bell that spelled Knight and led the Sooners on a game-winning drive to beat Oklahoma State in the regular season finale.
Knight caught Saban and the ‘Bama defense off guard with Knight's speed, but until he can prove it was more than just a fluke,
Last season, the Ohio State Buckeyes were our Al-Lennay Kekua All-Star team and they didn’t disappoint by waiting until the Big Ten title game to take a leak and leave a pungent, yellow stain on the field.
Sophomore running back Dontre Wilson is being touted as a symbol for the SEC-ification of Ohio State as the offense’s starting slot receiver. It was a role Percy Harvin excelled in at Florida and one Ohio State believes it can replicate with Wilson.
The sophomore’s hype machine is working at maximum capacity, but before we begin putting him in the same breath as Harvin and Reggie Bush, a much larger sample size of per game touches is needed.
The season is nearly upon us. The days on he calendar are being moving quicker than an SEC-SWAC “money game” beat down and the tension in the air is palatable. Media Days set the stage, but the time to stop flapping them gums and begin churning those legs or settling into three-point stances is upon us.
However, before buying into more volatile Fantex stock on unproven stars or teams, heed these warnings before your fandom falls head over heels into a pit of despair.