The 2014 NCAA college football season is upon us, but if you know anything about collegiate gridiron pigskin, then you know that this coming season will likely be unlike any other, mostly because of the new playoff system that has been instituted at the Division-I level.
In addition to the new postseason playoff arrangement, more teams have changed conferences, as has been a popular trend in the last few years.
In this sportbet.com original, I’m going to bring you up to speed on all of the changes that have taken place across the college football landscape this off-season while explaining how all of these changes could affect college football bettors like you.
Everything You Need To Know About The 2014 College Football Season
How long until the season starts?
The first official NCAA D-I game takes place on Wednesday, August 27 with Georgia State hosting Abilene Christian at 7:00 PM ET .
With No BCS System…what’s the deal?
There will be no more public pleading. Well…hold on…I retract that. Instead of being judged by a combination of an absolutely insane mathematical system and selection committee, teams will now be ranked by a selection committee that is also in charge of selecting the four teams that will compete in the first ever and now annual, four-team playoff that will decide the national champion.
If the college football playoffs would've started when the BCS did, Alabama would have the most playoff appearances. pic.twitter.com/wVCOxKpyO9
— Obnoxious Bama Fan (@FanObnoxious) July 8, 2014
How does the new college football playoff system work?
It’s simple really. Four teams will be ranked one through four by a 13-member committee with No.1 squaring off against No.4 in one semifinal affair while No.2 battles No.3 in the other. The semifinal sites will rotate among six longtime Bowl sites, the Cotton, Fiesta, Orange, Peach, Rose, and Sugar Bowls.
— FOX College Football (@CFBONFOX) July 31, 2014
The semifinal winners will then throw down in a championship-deciding affair that takes place at a non bowl site. The very first ever semifinals will be played at the Sugar and Rose Bowls while the national championship game will take place at Jerry Jones’ billion dollar AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas on January 12.
Who’s on the committee?
This committee is a virtual who’s who of knowledgeable and respected college football personalities – plus Condoleezza Rice.
The committee is made up of Barry Alvarez, Mike Gould, Pat Haden, Tom Jernstedt, Jeff Long, Oliver Luck, Archie Manning, Tom Osborne, Dan Radakovich, Condoleezza Rice, Mike Tranghese, Steve Wieberg and Ty Willingham.
Ten of the 13 played at the collegiate level (Alvarez, Gould, Haden, Jernstedt, Long, Luck, Manning, Osborne, Radakovich and Willingham), with four of those players going on to play in the NFL (Haden, Luck and Manning, all quarterbacks and Osborne, a wide receiver).
Rice, the former secretary of state and national security adviser is highly intelligent and she’s the provost at Stanford right now. But I agree with ESPN analyst David Pollack who, when informed of Rice’s selection, publicly asked, "How much football does she know?"
The committee with announce its first national rankings on Tuesday, October 28, with weekly rankings coming out each Tuesday.
Oh…About those conference changes.
Simply, here is a list of teams that will be competing in new leagues in 2014 and the foreseeable future.
- Appalachian State (Sun Belt)
- East Carolina (AAC)
- Georgia Southern (Sun Belt)
- Idaho (Sun Belt)
- Louisville (ACC)
- Maryland (Big Ten)
- New Mexico State (Sun Belt)
- Old Dominion (CUSA)
- Rutgers (Big Ten)
- Tulane (AAC)
- Tulsa (AAC)
- Western Kentucky (CUSA)
The big team changes are led by Louisville leaving the AAC for the ACC while East Carolina takes its place in the American Athletic Conference after bolting from Conference USA . Maryland leaves the ACC after a whopping 61 years in the conference and Rutgers , the A-10, for the bigger, comfier confines of the Big Ten.
Former Maryland hoops coach Lefty Drissell weighed in on the schools’ move to a new conference.
"I think it’s a bad decision, but I heard [ESPN analyst and former Duke Player] Jay Bilas say on TV the other day, ‘Any businessman in the world would have taken the deal,’" Drissell told reporters earlier this year. "I guess that’s my problem. I don’t think college athletics is a business, or it shouldn’t be, anyway. It’s a sport that’s turned into a business. So I guess I’m not upset. I’m not sad. Sad would mean I’d cry. I won’t cry. But I am disappointed.”
Which schools/programs have first-year head coaches?
Keeping it simple once again…here’s the run-down.
- Blake Anderson (Arkansas State)
- Dino Babers (Bowling Green)
- Craig Bohl (Wyoming)
- Jeff Brohm (Western Kentucky)
- Bill Clark (UAB)
- Dave Clawson (Wake Forest)
- Chris Creighton (Eastern Michigan)
- Bob Diaco (UConn)
- James Franklin (Penn State)
- Willie Fritz (Georgia Southern)
- Bryan Harsin (Boise State)
- Chuck Martin (Miami [Ohio])
- Derek Mason (Vanderbilt)
- Jeff Monken (Army)
- Charlie Partridge (Florida Atlantic)
- Chris Petersen (Washington)
- Bobby Petrino (Louisville) (Kinda?)
- Steve Sarkisian (USC)
- Charlie Strong ( Texas )
- Mark Whipple (UMass)
Analysis: My top two coaching hires come from my beloved Pen State who went out and got a guy I believe is going to excel in a huge way for years to come in former Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin while Texas moved on from the Mack Brown era (finally) to hire former Louisville top man Charlie Strong. Both coaches made history this off-season by becoming the first permanent black head coaches in their respective schools history.
I’m also intrigued by the hires of Chris Petersen at Washington and Steve Sarkisian at USC and can’t wait to see how both fare out in their new surroundings.
Now…how does all this affect NCAAF bettors?
Well, the fact of the matter is that some of the changes that go into effect this season will be easy to spot and adjust to while others will take a bit of time to adjust to.
For instance…now that Maryland is playing in the Big Ten, they’ll go from playing opponents up and down the east coast to playing teams that reside predominantly in the Midwest . Will the Terrapins’ increased travel time and longer flights affect their on-field play and accompanying betting numbers?
I suspect so, not to mention the fact that the Terps will now be playing Ohio State , Penn State , Michigan and Michigan State on a regular basis, though East division rivals Indiana and Rutgers likely won’t cause the Terps much trouble on an annual basis.
Can the Terrapins improve on their 7-6 SU and ATS marks from last season or have they set themselves up to take a big step backwards against more powerhouse contenders than they ever faced in the ACC?
I’m going with the latter on Maryland and you should too – at least until you see otherwise.
Then there are the coaching changes that have taken place this off-season, which will almost assuredly affect teams more than their respective conference changes.
Can a guy like Charlie Strong, who led Louisville to a 12-1 SU and 8-5 ATS record last season, get a talent-laden Texas team back into perennial national championship title contention after the Longhorns’ modest 8-5 SU record from a year ago? More importantly, will Strong’s arrival mean the ‘Horns will improve on the discouraging 6-7 ATS mark they recorded in 2013?
Can James Franklin duplicate the success that Bill O’Brien created in his two season in Happy Valley or will Franklin please all of the Joe Paterno lovers everywhere?
If you’re betting on college football in 2014, then these are things you need to be aware of right off the bat. You don’t want to fall into an early bankroll hole because you don’t know which teams changed coaches or schools that changed conferences.
One thing’s for sure, the upcoming 2014 NCAA college football season is going to be quite interesting because of all the change that has taken place.
Now, let’s make sure it’s a profitable one too!