Farewell, Cardale: 20 must-follow college football Twitter accounts

Former Buckeyes quarterback Cardale Jones is off to the NFL, leaving a vast void in the world of college football social media. Trevor Ruszkowski/USA TODAY Sports

The Twitter world is a big, scary place, and now the reigning king of college football social media, Cardale Jones, is off to the NFL. So it's understandable if you feel overwhelmed by the millions of possible folks to follow, the options to message (privately or publicly) and the amount of vitriol available (disclaimer: that's most of Twitter).

Good news, though: We've put together a handy, pocket-sized guide to who you'll want to follow this upcoming season. Prepare yourself for some laughs, some sass and a whole lotta football.

1. Ryne Rankin

Handle: @Bigrank38

The Georgia linebacker is asking the tough questions and pondering the hypothesis of the universe 140 characters at a time. You want to know the array of thoughts happening in the mind of a college football player? Look no further than his timeline. His Twitter bio says he's "Somewhere between raisin' hell and amazing grace" and his tweets fall somewhere in that range, too.

Like this one. We call it "Deep Thoughts With Ryne."

2. Vance Bedford

Handle: @CoachBedfordUT

The Texas defensive coordinator's timeline reads more like a picture book with his captions tacked on, but for insight (and views) into the Texas program, he's a must-follow.

In an age of keeping folks out of programs, he gave followers a view inside the Texas offices during signing day:

3. Big 12 referees -- parody

Handle: @Big12Refs

Everyone loves to hate on the referees in every conference. And yes, we know they have a really, really tough job. But that doesn't mean that Twitter can't also make light of their experiences. And this is an account that does that very well.

4. Pac-12 refs -- parody

Handle: @glassesref

Hey, it's not only the Big 12 that has some fun with its referees. Look for the Glasses Ref to defend some questionable Pac-12 officiating calls, other conferences' and leagues' officiating calls, and they're always out for more TV time.

5. Jim Harbaugh

Handle: @CoachJim4UM

Come for the obvious Twitter shade he'll be throwing at other programs, stay for the Judge Judy tweets, the Nicki Minaj retweets and his enthusiasm unknown to mankind.

6. Fake Bo Pelini

Handle: @FauxPelini

He might've left the Power 5 coaching ranks, but he could never leave our follow list -- he's an All-American in that category. He offers some of the best sarcasm on Twitter and, yes, he tweets the Pope at least once a week (more on game days).

Oh, yeah, and poetry? He can do that, too.

7. Citrus Bowl

Handle: @BWWCitrusBowl

Not only does this handle give you a great behind-the-scenes look at this bowl game, it also provides good analysis of the Big Ten and SEC leading up to its selection of teams from those conferences.

8. Tim Brewster

Handle: @TimBrewster

Day-to-day you'll be treated with some Florida State flavor from Brewster, Florida State's tight ends coach. But every so often things get heated, especially between him and Luther Campbell (No. 11 on this list). There's nothing like some good ol' FSU-Miami Twitter heat to keep things spicy.

9. CFB Matrix

Handle: @CFBMatrixMag

One of the better sites for college football analytics, CFB Matrix offers some good insight that goes beyond the standard stats.

10. Clemson football

Handle: @ClemsonFB

Want a behind-the-scenes look at one of the nation's top programs? No one does it better than Clemson. The Tigers' Twitter account is one of the most innovative in college football, with terrific hype videos, insightful stats and informative updates that keep fans engaged all year. It almost makes up for the fact that Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney has no interest in joining Twitter.

11. Les Miles

Handle: @LSUCoachMiles

He's not quite as prolific as some folks on Twitter, but when LSU's notoriously unpredictable coach takes to social media, he tends to make it worth your while.

Jokes? He's got them.

12. Whit Babcock

Handle: @WhitBabcock

Want an inside look at the life of an athletics director at a big-time college football program? Virginia Tech's AD shines a light on the job, with a remarkably insightful Twitter feed. Babcock had plenty of fun sending off former coach Frank Beamer in style and getting fans excited about potential appearances from Metallica and College GameDay last fall.

13. Luther Campbell

Handle: @UncleLukeReal1

He's known as one of the greats of hip-hop, but Campbell's role in the college football world is nearly as big. He's been a superfan for Miami for decades, but he's also helped mentor dozens of youngsters around Miami, moving them from the streets to college football greatness. And while his Twitter feed offers his hot takes on a wide range of topics, his college football insight is always a highlight.

Campbell is actually friendly with Florida State's Tim Brewster, but the on-field rivals have plenty of fun at each other's expense.

An autocorrect typo from Campbell's list of potential coaching candidates spurred a new Internet meme with Dana Hologram.

14. Jeff Long

Handle: @JeffLongUA

He's the AD at Arkansas and the voice of the College Football Playoff selection committee, so Long certainly has his share of things to talk about on social media. What's great about Long, however, is that he's happy to mix it up with fans -- including many who simply don't like him very much. It's inevitable that the committee will draw some criticism, but it's a heck of a lot of fun watching Long acknowledge and respond to it on Twitter.

We just hope he'll keep it up as he steps away from his role as playoff committee chairman. But just in case, it's probably worth giving new chairman Kirby Hocutt a follow, too.


15. @CFBPlayoff

Handle: @CFBPlayoff

The Playoff has its own Twitter account, too, and while you won't see quite as much direct fan engagement here, it is a good source of news for the playoff and college football, plus a terrific behind-the-scenes look at what goes into hosting the championship events.

Of course, it's also the official social media home of the playoff rankings, with the committee's Twitter feed posting the top 25 each week.

16. Gil Brandt

Handle: @Gil_Brandt

There aren't many better or more experienced evaluators of talent in the football world than Brandt, and particularly around the time of the NFL draft, Brandt's Twitter feed is a must-follow for insight on how your favorite college stars are prepping for the next level.

17. Reddit's college football account

Handle: @RedditCFB

The voice of the fans is heard loud and clear over at Reddit's college football forum, and the site's Twitter feed helps highlight the most insightful and, often, most entertaining discussions -- from the absurd to the sublime.

Mondays always feature some terrific artwork done in MS Paint.

18. Todd Fuhrman

Handle: @ToddFuhrman

A former oddsmaker at Caesars, Furhman brings some serious insight from the wagering community to the college football world. Need to settle a bet on who would be favored in a hypothetical matchup between your favorite team and last year's national champs? Tweet it at Fuhrman and you're likely to get an answer.

Want some context from the betting community? Fuhrman offers some fun historical data.

19. Belk Bowl

Handle: @BelkBowl

Sure, it's a bowl game, but this one has personality. As social media has become more and more important in marketing games, few -- if any -- have done it better than the Belk Bowl, which regularly engages with fans, media, coaches and even the accounts of other bowl games.

As bowl games go, few are more pop-culture savvy than the Belk Bowl.

20. Freezing Cold Takes

Handle: @OldTakesExposed

For those of us in the business of offering sports opinions, it's good to get a little comeuppance every now and again. That's what this Twitter feed is all about. It's not just for college football folks, but it does have plenty of good walks down memory lane -- unless, of course, you're the originator of that freezing cold take.