Three Things That Could Reshape College Football in 2015
The college football offseason is a time for teams to rebuild. Teams will lose key players to the NFL, some will transfer, and the seniors will graduate. On the other hand, teams will be able to rebuild through players transferring, players coming back from injuries, and new incoming freshmen.
For us fans, the offseason is a time to say "what if?". Here are three "what if?" situations for the 2015 season that may, actually, come true:
1. Braxton Miller Transfers to LSU
Braxton Miller watched his starting job slip away twice in 2014 (via nfl.com)
When you add the pieces up, this idea makes a whole lot of sense.
After Ohio State found out that Braxton Miller would miss the entire 2014 season, they just so-happened to strike gold at the quarterback position, as they now have three Heisman contenders in Miller, JT Barrett, and Cardale Jones. On top of that, they will have incoming freshman Torrance Gibson, a five-star quarterback/athlete.
On the other hand, LSU is one piece away from completing the puzzle. Current quarterback Anthony Jennings has clearly not been the answer. In 2014, he was statistically the worst quarterback in the SEC (next to Florida’s Jeff Driskel). He finished the year throwing for 1460 yards, only ten touchdowns, and a 48.8 completion percentage (which was also third to last in the nation). It is clear that something needs to change. I can’t think of a better option than adding one of the most explosive players in the nation.
In 2014, LSU was able to find a whole lot of success on the ground, particularly with Leonard Fournette. With running backs Kenny Hilliard and Terrence Magee graduating this spring, Fournette will become the feature back in 2015.
Miller will have an important choice to make this offseason: whether to stay at Ohio State and risk his last year of college sitting on the bench, or to transfer to another contending school for one last run at a national championship.
Now I’m not saying that Braxton and LSU would create fireworks right off the bat, I’m not even saying that he’ll actually transfer, but if this hypothetical comes true, LSU’s championship odds increase significantly.
The quarterback position constantly held LSU back in 2014. With a solid run game and defense, the Tigers are one Buckeye away from a possible championship run.
2. Texas A&M Figures it Out
Aggies Head Coach Kevin Sumlin is hoping for a more successful term in 2015 (via goodbullhunting.com)
Take one look at Texas A&M’s roster for 2015 and try to tell me that they don’t have a 10+ win season in their future.
Other than the left side of the offensive live, the Aggies will have a lot of talent returning for their 2015 season. Along with returning talent, they also struck some gold during National Signing Day.
Four-star recruit Christian Kirk will be able to add onto an already explosive receiving group. Current freshmen Ricky Seals-Jones and Speedy Noil showed flashes of potential during their first years, but neither was able to break out.
One reason for the struggles at the receiver position was the inconsistent quarterback play. Neither Kenny Hill nor Kyle Allen was able to find great success last season. Hopefully incoming freshman Kyler Murray will be the answer. Murray, the five-star recruit (13th overall according to ESPN) has been hailed as the greatest quarterback in recent Texas high school football history.
If this young offense is able to get going, the Aggies will be a force to be reckoned with in the SEC. With a combination of speed and size at the receiver position, an experienced running back in Tra Carson, and a dangerous dual-threat quarterback in Murray, A&M should have one of the best offenses in the conference.
Add in the 6th overall recruit, defensive lineman Daylon Mack, and the Aggies will have arguably the best defensive line combo in the nation. Current freshman Myles Garrett finished 2014 with 12 sacks (tied for 7th in the nation). If Mack can play like he did in the UnderArmour All-American game, then A&M will be dominant on both sides of the ball.
There are a lot of ifs with the Aggies at the moment. If those if’s turn into results, Texas A&M should be in championship contention.
3. Taysom Hill Fully Recovers
Remember this guy? It’s been a while hasn’t it?
After suffering a broken leg in a game against Utah State on October 3rd, Hill is expected to return for the Cougars’ 2015 opener against Nebraska. The quarterback’s recovery process has been very quiet as of now; only Head Coach Bronco Mendenhall and Hill himself have spoken about the injury.
Mendenhall has stated that, “it was two hours’ worth of surgery, one plate, eight screws, every major ligament shredded…I don’t have any of the exact procedural details, other than they knew it was bad, but when they got in, it was worse” (isportsweb).
On the other hand, Hill seemed to have played it off, “Everything is good…Everything is on time, everything looks really good…I broke the bone and had a little ligament damage” (isportsweb).
Prior to the injury, Hill led his Cougars to an impressive 4-0 start. At the time, he was tied for first in the country in rushing touchdowns for a quarterback and third in rushing yards for a quarterback. In 4½ games, Hill accounted for 15 touchdowns and 1435 total yards, while posting a rating of 141.7. He had Heisman finalist in his future, as he was arguably the best dual-threat quarterback in the country behind Marcus Mariota.
The chance that Taysom Hill fully recovers to his explosive self from 2014 is slim to none. However, if he is able to reach at least 60-70% of that, BYU should be able to have a successful year and possibly shake things up in the rankings with early potential upsets against Nebraska, Boise State, UCLA, and Michigan.