The regular season is over, and that leaves us with needing to discuss what all we learned from the final week of the regular season.
1) CHANGING CLEMSON
The tides of change are crashing against the shores of the CFSL, and especially so in Clemson. With the stepping down of the current athletic director, a new era begins in Clemson as the interim tag is placed upon Clutch. A veteran of the CFSL who has been here since the very beginning. We acknowledge all that Nick Larson was able to accomplish, bringing Clemson into the CFSL, making them an instant contender, and even winning an Orange Bowl and being voted in as National Champions. Here are Clutch’s thoughts on being named the Interim Athletic Director of Clemson:
“It’s an honor to be able to take over Clemson this season and try and get us back to the promise Land. It will be a fun and new challenge.”
2) OPENING NIGHT
The first round of the playoffs takes place on Monday night, starting with a pre-game show at 5:30 P.M. CST. Alabama as the SEC’s three seed faces USC. The Big Ten’s two seed lost to the Crimson Tide back in week one, so this will be a fun rematch. Plus, each team is new to the playoff scene, so that adds some intrigue as well. The second game of the opening round is Oregon, the Big Ten’s three seed had a nice run last season. They knocked off Clemson and ultimately lost to Texas in the semifinal round. However, Auburn, the SEC two seed, had the best run a season ago. They ran through the playoffs and made the title game, before also losing to Texas. So the question then becomes whether or not Oregon or Auburn can go on another run like season.
3) THE ONES WHO WERE LEFT BEHIND
Only six teams made the playoffs, meaning the other half of the CFSL has to wait until next season for their opportunity to make a playoff run. And to be honest, not only has it been shown this week but throughout the season, that the teams that didn’t make the playoffs aren’t far off from being in there next season. Sure, each team will need to reload, maybe change schemes, but if they can find some consistency, win the close games? There’s no doubt in my mind that we could see several new faces in the playoffs next season. Teams like Michigan, Notre Dame, Nebraska, Florida, Miami, or Clemson could each make the playoffs very easily next season. They just need to make a few tweaks to get there.
4) THE RISE OF THE RUNNING BACK
This season, namely throughout the last few weeks, the tailbacks have taken off in the league. Teams like Ohio State, Alabama, Notre Dame, Florida, USC, and Nebraska have each seen some explosive performance from their tailbacks recently. Of those teams, the ones who could deliver that performance consistently made the playoffs. Guys like Frost Carlson, Joe Pantoja, and Vidar Lund are powerful, they shrug you off and run through you. They embrace contact, they relish it. Guys like Avery Jordan and Cain Robinson though? Sure they can handle contact, but they want to slip past you, to sneak by and break off a big run. And then guys like Dowdy Dowell just do it all. And really, everybody I’ve mentioned can do it all, but they each have their preferred styles.
5) SAYING GOODBYE IS NEVER EASY
The end can be painful, difficult to swallow. With week eight out of the way, we saw some legacies come to an end. Guys like Dewey Ainge, James Kovach, Jabril Jackson, and Avery Jordan each took the field for the last time. Ainge and Kovach were a different breed of quarterbacks. The gunslingers. Quarterbacks who could sling it all over the lot and put up monster numbers, no matter where they were. Avery Jordan was one of the most talented tailbacks, who had a prolific freshman campaign, so much so that defenses did everything they could to contain him. Even then, for four seasons Jordan found a way to get his. But then there’s defensive end Jabril Jackson. One of the most unheralded and underrated to play the position. Jackson took games over unlike anything we’d ever seen from the position. We say goodbye, to these players who crafted legacies that are tightly knit with the story of the CFSL.