100 things we're looking forward to in 2015

Baylor 410-Pound Lineman Scores 18-Yd TD (2:01)

Baylor's LaQuan McGowan, a 6-foot-7, 410-pound offensive lineman, runs in an 18-yard touchdown pass from QB Bryce Petty in the third quarter of the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic. (2:01)

  • It seems like just yesterday that Ohio State was running its way to a national title, but we're only 100 days from the start of the 2015 season. The upcoming season will get off to a fast start on Thursday, Sept. 3, with the debut of Jim Harbaugh at Michigan (against Utah) and TCU traveling to Minnesota in what it hopes is the start of a playoff run. Lots will happen between the opener and the College Football Playoff, of course, but here are 100 things we hope to see this year. Here's a hint: Mr. Harbaugh is featured prominently throughout.

    1. Jim Harbaugh vs. Urban Meyer

    This is gonna be fun. Expect Michigan’s first-year coach to attack the current king of college football with Enthusiasm Unknown to Mankind. Harbaugh threw what might have been a barb at the Buckeyes in February over the signing of Detroit running back Mike Weber. While at Stanford, Harbaugh targeted Pete Carroll and USC and upset the Trojans in his first try. Meyer, equally competitive, surely knows what’s coming, and he’s not likely to let Harbaugh throw all the jabs. -- Mitch Sherman

    2. One true Big 12 trophy presentation. Looking forward to avoiding this, fellas:

    3. Baylor OL/TE (!) LaQuan McGowan delighting everyone

    On this date: Arkansas State player plays dead

    Instead of running a route during Arkansas State's fake punt attempt, Booker Mays did something a little different and played dead, falling to the ground. See if the unusual play call worked for the Red Wolves.

    4. Baylor DE Shawn Oakman terrifying everyone

    College football's most meme-able player can also do this:

    5. Alabama's Nick Saban and Lane Kiffin matching wits with Auburn's Gus Malzahn and Will Muschamp

    6. All three Ohio State QBs scoring in the same game

    7. Adoree’ Jackson in the open field

    8. How Charlie Strong handles the pressure in Year 2 at Texas

    The significance of being Texas’ football coach, and everything that goes with it, isn’t for everybody. Strong, who embarks on his second season as the Longhorns’ coach, doesn’t really see it as pressure. He sees it more as the opportunity he’s been grinding toward his entire career after being passed over time and time again for head-coaching jobs. He says simply, “There are so many people counting on me. That’s why I can’t fail. I have to be successful.” -- Chris Low

    9. Nick Chubb wreaking havoc on defenses

    10. Leonard Fournette living up to the high school hype

    11. Poor defenders trying to tackle Derrick Henry

    There's a reason the Alabama running back's nickname is El Tractorcito.

    12. Watching Auburn DC Will Muschamp freak out after a defensive breakdown

    13. Watching Auburn DC Will Muschamp freak out after a defensive stand

    14. Art Briles determining whether the playoff committee is Texas enough

    15. Bret Bielema blaming up-tempo offenses for the drought in California

    16. Jesus, girls and Vernon Adams Jr.? Oregon’s life post-Marcus Mariota

    Talk about big shoes to fill. Mariota, the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, accounted for 56 touchdowns with six turnovers last season in leading the Ducks to the title game of the first College Football Playoff. Junior Jeff Lockie remains the top QB contender on campus, but Adams arrives in June as a graduate transfer out of Eastern Washington. He won 28 games at the FCS level, throwing for more than 10,000 yards. -- M.S.

    17. Everett Golson taking over for Jameis Winston

    Remember when Golson nearly upstaged Winston a year ago and knocked Florida State out of the national championship picture? Well, Golson steps in for Winston this season after transferring to FSU from Notre Dame and will take his shot at leading the Seminoles to a national title. Don’t you just love college free agency? -- C.L.

    18. Sebastian Tretola leading a revolution of 300-pounders throwing touchdowns

    19. Jim Harbaugh’s postgame handshakes. What's your deal?

    20. Jim Harbaugh’s postgame news conferences

    21. Jim Harbaugh’s passive-aggressive tweets

    22. Cardale Jones’ aggressive-aggressive tweets

    23. Arkansas State topping the fainting goat

    24. John Chavis (and his lawyers?) returning to the Bayou with the Aggies

    No, there won’t be a judge in a robe pounding his gavel at midfield with high-priced litigators roaming the two sidelines on Nov. 28 when new Texas A&M defensive coordinator John Chavis returns to LSU. But with all the lawsuits out there between Chavis and his former employer, maybe there should be. Either way, Chavis gets his chance to show everybody on the Bayou what they're missing. -- C.L.

    25. The return of Megaquon aka Laquon Treadwell

    It was a gruesome injury at the cruelest time. Just as Treadwell was about to score the go-ahead touchdown against Auburn, he was pulled down from behind just short of the goal line and fumbled into the end zone. The Tigers recovered and held on for the win. How is Treadwell's rehab coming along? Well, he can do this now:

    A video posted by @successfulquon on

    26. Football at Fenway -- Boston College vs. Notre Dame on Nov. 21

    27. Listening to weekly playoff committee conspiracy theories

    28. Everyone finding out about the greatness of Notre Dame’s Jaylon Smith

    29. High school coach Tony Sanchez making the move to UNLV

    The good news for Sanchez and the Rebels? The 41-year-old coach arrives on campus after building one of the nation’s most successful programs at any level. The bad news? He was coaching at Bishop Gorman High School. Say this for Sanchez -- he won’t be awestruck by the circuslike surroundings in Las Vegas. UNLV presents challenges unique to college athletics, and none of the school’s past six coaches, dating to 1985, has etched a winning record. -- M.S.

    30. Dilly Bar Dan eating more ice cream in the snow

    The Gophers should adopt "All for a Dilly Bar!" as their pump-up anthem.

    31. Nick Saban’s disappointed-father looks at Lane Kiffin

    32. Lane Kiffin’s premature touchdown celebrations

    33. Evolution of the ball boy: Who follows FSU’s Red Lightning and Auburn’s Blue Thunder?

    34. USC vs. UCLA in the battle for Los Angeles

    Since coach Jim Mora settled in Westwood, the Bruins are 3-0 against their crosstown rival, on the heels of a five-game USC winning streak capped by a 50-0 thumping in 2011 that painted the Trojans as a dominant force in L.A. Not so much. Although USC owns the fertile recruiting ground of Southern California -- as evidenced by the signing of stars like Adoree' Jackson during this mini-UCLA streak -- Mora and his staff are charging hard. -- M.S.

    35. Hanging out in Central Florida’s new stadium beach club

    36. Ed Orgeron head-butting one of his defensive tackles

    37. Mike the Tiger making a Tiger Stadium appearance after 2014 absence

    Welcome back, Mike. (We hope.) Did you know ESPN.com once hosted a, uh, Q&A with the LSU mascot?

    38. Bo Pelini, @FauxPelini and Jim Tressel hanging at Youngstown State

    Talk about an odd couple. Tressel, the former strait-laced Ohio State coach and school president at FCS-level YSU, hired the hot-tempered ex-Nebraska coach Pelini in his hometown. The sweater vest and gray-sweatshirted Pelini can likely coexist in this lower-pressure environment. Let’s just hope that Bo’s Twitter alter ego, Faux Pelini, stays involved. His musings could help turn the Penguins into an intriguing Saturday sideshow. -- M.S.

    39. Staying up way too late for #Pac12AfterDark

    40. The impact of a new coordinator of officials on #Pac12Refs

    41. Joey Bosa’s latest sack celebration:

    42. There will be points. There will be drama. It's Baylor vs. TCU on Nov. 27

    43. Defenses, get the ice packs ready -- Nick Chubb vs. Derrick Henry on Oct. 3

    44. The battle of No. 1 QB recruits -- Kyle Allen vs. Kyler Murray

    When Murray chose football over baseball (at least for now), the race was on at Texas A&M. The top dual-threat quarterback prospect in the 2015 class, Murray will duel with Allen (a sophomore and the No. 1 pocket passer in 2014) for the Aggies' starting quarterback job. They’re different types of quarterbacks, but both are immensely talented. Poor Kevin Sumlin. He’s having to make all these tough choices. -- C.L.

    45. Clemson QB Deshaun Watson staying healthy

    46. A UAB transfer scoring a winning touchdown

    47. Tom Herman and Chad Morris trying to translate offseason hype into on-the-field success?

    Morris and Herman were two of the hottest coaching commodities in the college game last season, both hotshot offensive coordinators in charge of high-powered offenses. They’ll meet as first-time head coaches this season on Oct. 8, Morris at SMU and Herman at Houston in a matchup of two of the marquee Group of 5 programs in the country. -- C.L.

    48. QB Justin Thomas and Georgia Tech running past opponents

    49. The volume at the new-and-improved Kyle Field with 102,000 fans when Alabama visits

    50. Hi, Felicia! Brad Kaaya returns for Year 2

    The Miami QB likely will never escape from under the shadow of his mom's famous phrase.

    51. Steve Spurrier’s one-liners at SEC media days

    52. Steve Spurrier’s one-liners everywhere else

    53. Can the Big Ten East challenge the SEC West?

    The short answer -- not yet. But the Big Ten’s big boys are aiming for Nick Saban’s seat. The SEC West still sets the pace, despite a dismal New Year’s Day, with seven teams, including Arkansas, capable of stealing the spotlight on any given Saturday. The Big Ten East has top-tier Ohio State and Michigan State as well as overflowing optimism thanks to the energy of Jim Harbaugh at Michigan and James Franklin at Penn State. -- M.S.

    54. All the kick-six replays as Iron Bowl returns to Jordan-Hare

    55. Nick Saban’s reaction to all the questions about the kick-six

    56. Finebaum callers during Iron Bowl week. Pawwwwwl!

    57. The last stand for Ole Miss’ incredible 2013 class before it hits the NFL draft

    The early 2016 NFL mock drafts look a lot like portions of the Ole Miss depth chart. Wasn’t it just yesterday that Hugh Freeze was reeling in that heralded 2013 signing class? The big names in that class -- Laremy Tunsil, Robert Nkemdiche, Laquon Treadwell and Tony Conner -- are now juniors. That means the 2015 season could be that class’ last run and the Rebels’ best chance in decades to win an SEC championship. -- C.L.

    58. Dan and Dak returning to Starkville

    59. Can anyone else play QB in the SEC?

    Quick, somebody name the second-best quarterback in the SEC. Mississippi State’s Dak Prescott has dibs on being the league’s top quarterback entering the 2015 season, but how it stacks up after Prescott is anybody’s guess. Some new stars are sure to emerge. Cam Newton and Johnny Manziel ring a bell? Even so, there are more questions than answers at quarterback in the SEC. -- C.L.

    60. Can Baylor score 80?

    The Bears' opponent in Week 2, Lamar, gave up 73 points to Texas A&M last season.

    61. Players remembering to hold on to the ball until they reach the end zone

    Former Utah wideout Kaelin Clay hopes you all forget this from last season.

    62. Bevo meeting Touchdown Jesus. Texas at Notre Dame, Sept. 5.

    63. Mike Bobo running the ball enough for the Colorado State faithful

    64. Jim McElwain handling the SEC pressure cooker

    Crazy as it sounds, it’s been awhile since Florida has been relevant nationally. McElwain is tasked with changing that. He turned Colorado State around in his first head-coaching gig and was a part of two national championship teams at Alabama as offensive coordinator. Restoring the Gators to elite status won’t be a quick fix, but McElwain is smart enough to realize that patience in the SEC runs in short supply. -- C.L.

    65. Hanging in the Grove

    66. Ezekiel Elliott’s latest fashion statement after the NCAA banned crop-top jerseys

    67. A second year of KD Cannon in Art Briles’ offense

    68. How Cody Kessler handles Heisman, playoff hype

    Kessler enjoyed a junior season statistically comparable to the USC Heisman-winning campaigns a decade ago of Matt Leinart and Carson Palmer. But thanks to Oregon’s Marcus Mariota and other QBs nationally with more notoriety, the USC signal-caller largely flew under the radar. No more. After he set school records for completions and completion percentage, much will be expected from Kessler. Expectations skyrocket, too, for the Trojans. Expect the steady fifth-year senior to take it all in stride. -- M.S.

    69. Defensive coaches reacting to pop-pass touchdowns

    70. Mike Riley in red. It still looks weird, right?

    The Huskers traded fiery Bo Pelini for the world’s nicest guy in Riley. His hire from Oregon State, seemingly a cozy retirement spot, shocked observers, but under close inspection, the 61-year-old coach looks like a solid fit in Lincoln. Nebraskans are nice people who care immensely about winning -- championships, not games. And Riley, a former NFL coach with experience galore, understands lofty expectations. If his offense adapts quickly, the Huskers will be set up to win. -- M.S.

    71. Texas and Texas A&M fan interaction

    Can't they just play the game?

    72. Texas and Baylor coach interaction

    73. Can the B1G end its Heisman drought?

    Troy Smith in 2006 was the last Big Ten player to win the Heisman, and every other power conference has claimed one since. But with Penn State's Christian Hackenberg and a quartet of premium talents at Ohio State -- QBs Cardale Jones, J.T. Barrett and Braxton Miller, plus RB Ezekiel Elliott -- this streak could be nearing an end.

    74. Who’s the next impact true freshman?

    This class looks strong up front, featuring offensive tackle Martez Ivey at Florida and defenders Byron Cowart of Auburn (the top signee in the ESPN 300), Georgia’s Trenton Thompson, Tennessee’s Kahlil McKenzie, Texas A&M’s Daylon Mack and giant Hawaiian Canton Kaumatule at Oregon. But like Brad Kaaya, Samaje Perine and Nick Chubb in 2014, skill players will emerge. Candidates include UCLA QB Josh Rosen and the Alabama duo of Blake Barnett, another quarterback, and receiver Calvin Ridley. -- M.S.

    75. Head coaches on the hot seat

    76. Next wave of hot assistants turned head coaches

    77. Who’s the next unheralded QB to make a name for himself?

    Blake Sims emerged last year at Alabama. So why not go with his replacement? Florida State transfer Jake Coker looks equipped, though David Cornwell or Blake Barnett could steal the job. Deshaun Watson at Clemson, Kyle Allen at Texas A&M and Joshua Dobbs at Tennessee have flashed great skill. The path is clear for Malik Zaire at Notre Dame, and Rutgers’ Hayden Rettig, an LSU transfer, appears full of promise if he can win the job. -- M.S.

    78. Army vs. Navy

    79. New OC Lincoln Riley’s impact on Bob Stoops, Oklahoma

    80. Checking out the crazy uniforms of Oregon, Maryland

    81. Weeknight games in Blacksburg, Virginia. The Hokies play NC State on Friday, Oct. 9.

    82. Whiteouts, checkerboards and the next wave of fan coordination

    83. Publix making the news again

    Everyone knows about Jameis and the crab legs, but remember Mike McNeely, former Florida walk-on who scored on a fake field goal against Georgia and then worked his usual shift at the supermarket the next day? How will Publix make its mark on the 2015 season?

    84. Mascots! Mississippi State and Georgia unveil new dogs

    85. Rivalry Week, starting Nov. 27

    That last week in November can’t get here soon enough. It’s highlighted by Baylor at TCU on Friday and then a smorgasbord of grudge matches on Saturday that will be talked about for the next 364 days. We’re talking Alabama at Auburn, Ohio State at Michigan, UCLA at USC, Clemson at South Carolina, Oklahoma at Oklahoma State, Ole Miss at Mississippi State and Florida State at Florida, just to name a few. -- C.L.

    86. Scooby Wright, former two-star recruit, terrorizing Pac-12 quarterbacks

    87. Arizona State’s blitzing defense against Texas A&M’s fast-paced offense in Week 1

    88. Michigan State seeking revenge as Oregon comes to town

    89. Can much-improved Notre Dame team handle tough slate?

    The Irish overcame a challenging early schedule to start 6-0 in 2014, but the accumulation of wear hit them hard in November. This group is more veteran, with eight starters back on offense and 10 on defense, in addition to the potential difference-makers KeiVarae Russell and Ishaq Williams. The Irish should be more prepared for a top-loaded schedule that includes Texas, Clemson, Georgia Tech and USC before Halloween. Trips to Pitt and Stanford loom in November. -- M.S.

    90. Are SEC up-and-comers Tennessee and Arkansas for real?

    91. Boise State’s push for another New Year’s Six bowl

    92. The next breakout Twitter star

    Cardale Jones is on fire lately -- who's next?

    93: Lee Corso's first headgear selection

    94: Mike Leach in Year 4 at Washington State

    95. Midweek MACtion

    96. Which conference gets left out of the College Football Playoff and how loudly it blames: (A) The system (B) The committee (C) Global warming

    97. An under-the-radar player breaking out and becoming a 2016 first-round NFL draft pick

    98. The celebration of the teams heading to the Popeyes Bahamas Bowl

    99. The tailgating at Cowboys Stadium before Alabama-Wisconsin. Ribs vs. brats, who ya got?

    100. A trick play never seen before

    There was a hidden-ball trick last season. What's next?