HOOVER, Ala. — College football talking season has arrived, and there’s plenty to discuss.
By BLAIR KERKHOFF
The Kansas City Star
Isn’t there, Johnny Football?
Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel is expected to attend his first conference media day, and will be a focus on Wednesday when it’s the Aggies’ turn to stand before the cameras and tape recorders.
It speaks to the power of social media that Manziel’s thoughts on attempting to become the second player in history to win a successive Heisman Trophy figures to be down on the list of inquiries.
At the top? Manziel pleaded guilty on Monday to a misdemeanor charge in connection with a June 2012 arrest after a fight.
Manziel failed to properly identify himself, and possessed three driver’s licenses — two were fake. Manziel was fined $2,000 and has to pay $232 in court costs. He won’t serve jail time.
This piece of news followed the revelation of Manziel leaving the Manning Passing Academy a day early. The camp issued a statement to announce Manziel wasn’t tossed out, as the rumor mill churned over the weekend, but left because of fatigue and dehydration according to his father.
To think, a year ago at this time, nobody outside of the Aggies’ coaching staff even knew Manziel would be the starting quarterback. But he took the game by storm, leading A&M to an 11-2 season and Cotton Bowl victory and has reveled in his celebrity.
Manziel won’t be the lone attraction in Hoover.
Alabama Coach Nick Saban likely will pull out the same club as last year, when he insisted the Crimson Tide had to create their own identity and not live on the one established by the previous year’s national title team. It worked, and now Saban will explain how ’Bama will focus on a three-peat bid.
As always, there will be fascination with new coaches, perhaps none more interesting than Arkansas’ Bret Bielema, who left three-time defending Big Ten champion Wisconsin for a program that hasn’t won a league title since winning the Southwest in 1989.
Missouri arrives as one of the league’s curiosities. The Tigers entered the SEC having played in seven straight bowl games and averaging nine victories in those seasons. But Mizzou dropped to 5-7 last year, mustering only two conference victories, the fewest since 2002.
That was also the last time Missouri experienced a successive losing season, understandable in Pinkel’s growing pain years.
That’s why there’s a talking season.
The Big 12 picks up the baton next week at its media gathering in Dallas.