For the first time in history, college football’s last two Heisman Trophy winners return to the gridiron. Tim Tebow, who won the Heisman in 2007, and Sam Bradford, who brought home college football’s most prestigious trophy in 2008, are just two of the reasons why this year’s college football season looks to be very similar to the last.
Many of the teams who finished in the top 10 last year find themselves starting off the season among the nation’s elite. The Florida Gators, who won took the National Championship last year, are once again ranked number one headed into 2009. That’s because the Gators, who were extremely hard to beat in 2008, are returning all 11 of their defensive starters. Also, as mentioned earlier, they have their most crucial weapon returning on offense – 2007 Heisman Trophy winner Tebow. Unfortunately for everyone outside of Florida, it looks as if the Gators may be even harder to beat this year, and therefore poised for another run at the BCS championship. Another team from the SEC starting off high this year who finished high last year is Alabama, who is ranked sixth this year. Last year, the Crimson Tide finished fifth and were undefeated after the regular season.
Two Big 12 powerhouses, Texas and Oklahoma, who finished last year fourth and fifth respectively, also find themselves in the top five headed into this season. This is the case because Texas (ranked second) and Oklahoma (ranked third) are returning their star quarterbacks from last season. Oklahoma returns Sam Bradford, who won the Heisman last year and who many predict would have been a top five pick had he decided to enter April’s NFL draft. Meanwhile, Texas returns Colt McCoy, who came in second in last year’s Heisman voting and led college football with a pass completion percentage of 77.6. With these two players coming back, it looks as if Texas and Oklahoma will once again dominate the Big 12.
It also appears that the SEC will once again dominate college football.. During the last three years, the SEC has ruled college football. The last three national champions hail from the SEC, and the conference have a very good bowl record. This season, the SEC has five teams in the top thirteen, Florida (1), Alabama (5), LSU (9), Ole Miss (10), and Georgia (13). Ole Miss and Georgia could even climb higher as the season goes on. Ole Miss has arguably the second best quarterback in the SEC in Jevan Snead and returns almost all of their starters from last year. Also, they play most of their tough opponents, namely LSU and Alabama, at home. Meanwhile, Georgia has two great players to replace last year’s starts, Matthew Stafford and Knowshon Moreno. Joe Cox will replace Stafford at quarterback. Cox broke many North Carolina high-school records and will be throwing to talented receivers at Georgia, such as A.J. Green. Meanwhile, Caleb King will replace Knowshon Moreno at RB. King ran for an average of just over four yards per carry last year, an astounding number for a freshman.
The fact that the outcome of this year’s college football season may be similar to the outcome of last year’s season actually makes this year’s season special. Ever since, Herschel Walker left Georgia as a junior in 1982 for the NFL draft, college football’s best players have been leaving early. However, with the best players from last year are staying in college this year, so expect to see some of the best football you will ever see in a college stadium.