What to watch for
By Terry Bowden, Yahoo Sports
August 4, 2005
Watch for: Instant Replay
After a highly successful year in the Big Ten, instant replay will be used by almost every Division I-A conference. I think you are going to love it. I was very skeptical heading into last season because I thought it would drag out the game much longer. But observing instant replay firsthand from the booth several times last season showed me that the procedure is quick, doesn't involve the coaches, and is limited to specific types of plays.
Basically, you won't have to worry nearly as much about the outcome of a game coming down to a questionable officiating call.
Watch for: Changes in the BCS
As usual, the BCS selection process has changed. The Associated Press poll backed out, forcing the BCS to come up with a new poll. Now we have the Harris poll, consisting of a new group of football experts.
But basically, nothing much has changed. It still is a three-pronged selection process consisting of two human polls and one set of computer rankings, with each carrying a third of the weight. If we end up with three undefeated or three one-loss teams at the end of the season, we likely still will end up with a controversial championship.
When the ACC raided the Big East a couple of years ago, it started a chain reaction that led to 18 teams changing conferences this year alone. With Boston College's arrival, the ACC now has 12 teams, two divisions, and a conference championship game that should rival the SEC and the Big 12. The Big East added Cincinnati, Louisville and South Florida but still will have a difficult time maintaining its status as a major BCS conference.
The other changes occurred in the mid-major conferences. Although they should offer more security to some teams, they will have nothing to do with the national championship picture.
Watch for: USC Three-peat
No team has won the national championship three years in a row since the AP began crowning a champ in 1936. However, with Southern California pretty much a consensus preseason No. 1 and playing a schedule in which it will be favored in every game, the countdown to football immortality will play out every Saturday of the regular season. The biggest obstacle for the Trojans is that a football is oblong, not round – it never bounces the same way twice. Eventually, there's going to come a game when the ball just doesn't bounce their way.
Watch for: New head coaches under the microscope
Urban Meyer, Florida
Charlie Weis, Notre Dame
Steve Spurrier, South Carolina
Les Miles, LSU
Watch for: Players who could get their teams to the Rose Bowl
1. QB Matt Leinart, USC
Watch for: Must-see games in September
Terry Bowden is Yahoo! Sports' college football analyst. For more information about Terry, visit his official web site.
Updated on Thursday, Aug 4, 2005 8:59 pm, EDT