NFL | NCAA Football

Can Two Jims Save the College Football Season?

In a college football season that looks as level a field since a two-loss LSU team won the national title back in 2007, why can’t both Florida and Michigan be considered serious contenders to play in the College Football Playoff?

As two of the nation’s top programs over the years, both schools know about hard times – the ones they would soon like to forget. The Gators struggling through the Will Muschamp era, which ended a year too late and should have died a painful death in 2013. Now, there is a new sheriff in town names Jim McElwain, who is restoring faith in Gator Nation one day at a time and a 6-0 record to start the season in Gainesville.

Even with the news that starting quarterback Will Greer has been suspended for the season for violating NCAA rules, this is a program on the rise and with an SEC which is dominant but looks like it could implode at any time, why isn’t Florida thought to be a team that controls its own destiny?

The Wolverines are miles away from the Brady Hoke experiment and have found the man with all the bravado in Jim Harbaugh to lead the charge at his alma mater. The fiery coach with all the answers and never a loss for words is maize and blue and a true gunslinger if there ever was one. He is one part Bo Schembechler, one part Steve Spurrier, one part his own man. And like the two he is compared to, what you see is what you get with him on the field and in front of a camera.

Both schools did the right thing in hiring these leaders, but the results – although quick and sudden – suggest the pressure will be on them to continue the trend. College football is about cycles and recruiting. Can both men keep this adrenaline surging over the long haul?

As Mark Schlabach of ESPN.com said in his story this week, “Two other unlikely contenders distinguished themselves Saturday. The names won’t come as a shock, as both are traditional heavyweights, but did anyone really expect Florida and Michigan to be in this position after Week 6?

In terms of Michigan, that is a negative. In the case of Florida, the team I am supposed to hate because of the ties to FSU (I’m a graduate and Seminole) that is a hearty, “Hell No!”

Ohio State can be beat. Michigan State and Michigan play this weekend. Florida plays LSU. TCU must learn to play defense. Baylor looks to be a solid lock to make the CFP this year, but there are obstacles on the schedule. Something has to give in determining who is the best out there in this season of “No one wants to take the lead and run with it,” football.

As it was said Monday morning on one of the local sports talk radio shows in Jacksonville, FL, Florida is now a serious contender for the national title.

Words like that make my father happy, but he will tell you it is too soon and if we discuss comments like that, then the media puts the badmouth on the Gator Nation.

Sorry dad, we are just going to have to talk about it on here. It will be our secret.

Schlabach backs my thoughts up by saying, “The Gators and Wolverines are way ahead of schedule under their first-year coaches, and both suddenly look like favorites in their respective conferences.”

No I am not trying to will each team to a loss this weekend, just stating the facts. The comeback of a traditional powerhouse in college sports represents everything that is right about the game and the men who lead these programs. Hopefully that trend continues this weekend. Things are heating up in the cooler fall months. Two mean with two agendas to erase bad memories. It’s certainly refreshing.

It’s also a year or two earlier than we were supposed to be talking about it. Even if it is a bit premature, college football needs a story like this. It proves the mighty fall and get back up. They even fall back in line in their rightful place of dominance.

Let’s all see if this not only lasts, but becomes bigger as the season rolls along. Nothing would be greater than to see two titans join the mix to what could be one of the most benign college football seasons we have had in some time.

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