The 2013 college football landscape is all about change.
Changes in conferences. Changes in rules. Changes (soon) in how the game determines its national champion.
There’s also one change that can’t be guaranteed, but one everyone outside the Southeastern Conference would like to see: a change at the top.
During its amazing seven-year run of BCS championships, the SEC has had only two teams make it to the finish line unbeaten: Alabama in 2009 and Auburn in 2010.
Navigating the SEC without a dent in the fender is a difficult proposition for any team, even a national-championship-worthy contender. And if that happens, this could finally be the year the SEC doesn’t have a seat at the BCS championship table.
Chances are a one-loss SEC team will still get through, but it will need help from at least two conferences to also eat their own.
The favorite, of course, is Alabama, which will try to become the first program ever to win three straight national championships during the wire service poll/BCS era (since 1936).
Despite all the focus on the coming College Football Playoff, the Bowl Championship Series still has one card left to play before it takes its final bow.
After the BCS sinks into the Pacific, the CFP begins its reign.
The College Football Playoff system kicks off with the 2014 regular season and will crown its first champion during the 2014-15 bowl season.
While the semifinals are set, the CFP championship games are being awarded on a bid basis like the Super Bowl. New Orleans is trying to land the 2016 or 2017 championship game (a city cannot host a semifinal and final in the same bowl season).
The 2016 and 2017 championship game sites are likely to be named in November.
The shifting plates of realignment continue to send shudders through college athletics, with the epicenter this season located in the home of the former Big East Conference.
Please pay attention. There will be a quiz at the end of the regular season.
College football will be played under the auspices of eight major rule changes this season, the most significant of them the so-called “targeting rule.”
Essentially, players targeting defenseless players at the shoulder-pad level or above, or leaving their feet to execute a tackle, will be flagged. The tougher penalties come with tougher sanctions: 15 yards and an automatic ejection.
A much more obscure rule change, but one that will have a noticeable impact on LSU, is a rule prohibiting players at the same position from wearing the same number.
In other words, no platoon of kickers all wearing No. 30.
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