The 2014 College Football Season: From A-Z

By Ty Duffy

The 2014 season has ended. A B1G team took home the title, just as everyone predicted. Here is a recap of the season that was, using letters of the alphabet. 

A is for Amateurism… Obviously…

B is for Bielema… Bret Bielema had a renaissance. Well, as much of one as one could have going 2-6 in conference play. The Razorbacks led the nation in moral victories and earned the SEC West’s best bowl win. The offensive line is hefty. The future appears #AllHog

C  is for “Centuries”… May it never be played again.

D is for Dave Brandon… Michigan ditched their embattled athletic director mid-football season. In the interim, the Wolverines hired Jim Harbaugh and have had zero mishandled scandals or lame PR stunts. Also, the Big Ten is relevant again and the national economy improved.

E is for Empty… Miami fans love them some Al Golden. The stadium was empty in 2014, much as it was in 2013 and in 2012. Feel the excitement.

F is for Fat Guys Doing Work… Baylor threw a touchdown pass to a 400-pound backup guard. Michigan State ran a lineman on an end around.

G is for Game Control… The first CFB playoff introduced us to the first CFB playoff committee. The committee had no clear mandate, beyond doing a tortuous amount of busy work. Justifications changed and contradicted each other week to week. Concepts such as “game control” were invented. Ultimately, after months of toil, the committee fell harder for recency bias than the Harris Poll.

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H is for Hot Seat… Some, such as Dan Mullen, doused the burner. Others, did not. Charlie Weis went down early. Will Muschamp did not meet expectations to the point Florida paid tens of millions to bring in the guy from Colorado State. Brady Hoke spent the season as dead man walking.

I is for Incarnate Word… The University of the Incarnate Word is real, indeterminately spectacular and scheduled by Baylor for a showdown in 2019.

J is for Jameis Winston… Winston did not win the Heisman. He did not repeat as national champion. Florida State did not find him guilty of sexual misconduct. He did steal crab legs. He did yell “fuck her right in the pussy” in a public place. Public employee Jimbo Fisher did make an ass of himself on his behalf. Winston’s attorney did release the accuser’s name to the FSU masses on Twitter on his behalf. The college football world, gladly, passes this storyline on to the NFL Draft cabal.

K is for Kenny Trill… Kenny Hill’s Heisman campaign was quite the big deal in September. It was a fun few weeks there. Hill was benched, after the Aggies lost 59-0 to Alabama. Hill is now en route to TCU.

L is for Lane Kiffin… Lane Kiffin joined the Crimson Tide as offensive coordinator. Things went quite “Lane Kiffin.” There were headlines, ill-tailored sartorial choices, comedy spoofs and GIF-able sideline moments. The offense posted impressive numbers, ranking 5th in OFEI. It was not reliable when it counted.

M is for Miami Beach Bowl… The first Miami Beach Bowl was a 55-48 overtime thriller, that ended with a donnybrook featuring multiple sucker punches. The encore should be appointment viewing, in theory.

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N is for Nachos… Sometimes, you have to put football in perspective and enjoy the finer things in life. Or be sublimely calm about your team’s fortunes.

O is for Ole Miss… Ole Miss beat Bama. GameDay came to the Grove, with Katy Perry. The Rebels cause died in about the most painful way conceivable. But, playing games of national import was a profound step forward.

P is for Pelini… Bo Pelini was fired after his customary nine wins (with sprinkled in defensive embarrassments) and dropped some incendiary bombs on his way out.

Q is for QB3… Cardale Jones started the season as “the kid who sent that tweet.” He ended it, after three starts, as a national champion and possible early round draft pick. Recency bias in the social media era…

R is for Regular Season… The playoff did not ruin it. Incredibly, investing more games with meaning enhanced the spectacle.

S is for S-E-C… The SEC debuted its own network and commanded a disproportional percentage of regular season media coverage on all fronts. Then, the conference dropped the ball in bowl season, with the top five teams in the SEC West dropping bowl games. Gotta win the high-profile games, fellas.

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T is for Tim Beckman… Illinois’ head coach made a mad dash to improve his conference record to 4-20 after three years and preserve his job. The future is…taupe.

U is for Urban Meyer… Meyer’s 2013 season ended with sad pizzaand a loss to Clemson. His 2014 season began with a starting quarterback injury and a loss to Virginia Tech. His 2014 season closed with every sports columnist arguing he has surpassed Nick Saban.

V is for Vanderbilt… Vanderbilt made what looked like a sensible hire in Derek Mason. Then, the Commodores were stomped 37-7 in their home opener by Temple and never looked forward. Vandy managed one FBS win: 34-31 over UMass.

W is for Washington State… 2014 was not Mike Leach’s year. He fell back to 2-9 vs. FBS, which is Paul Wulff territory. He could not quite upset Oregon. He had his quarterback go down for the season. Nothing irritates quite like having to fire your special teams coachfor a unit that ranked 127th in FBS and directly cost the Cougars games.

X is for Xzavier Dickson… The Alabama linebacker had nine sacks in 2014, second highest total for an Alabama player during the Saban era. He also has a convenient name for this sorts of exercise.

Y is for This Young Oklahoma Fan… Oklahoma players gave an impromptu concert at a children’s hospital, the least miserable part of the Sooners’ 2014 season.

Z is for Zeke… Ezekiel Elliot ran for 696 yards and eight touchdowns on 76 carries over Ohio State’s final three games. That should earn the right to rock the crop top if he chooses.

[Photos via USAT]