During visits to Alabama and Ohio State this spring, the message from players and coaches was almost verbatim -- an 11-2 finish doesn't cut it. So much so that Ohio State quarterback Kyle McCord, unprompted by any reference to rival Michigan, called the past two seasons "complete failures."
"You don't beat the Team Up North, you don't win a national championship, you don't achieve any of your goals," he said. "It definitely speaks volumes that 11-2 at a lot of schools, that's great, but not here."
Alabama and Ohio State began this spring with the same lofty aspirations but also more questions than answers, as they're both looking for a new starting quarterback and working with new offensive coordinators. Spring is one of the best times to be on campuses, when you can learn about the initial progress of teams while there's less urgency and stress than in summer camps. Everyone is undefeated and naturally more optimistic and coaches tend to be more candid and gracious with their time.