Number one, most of the freshmen for the 2014 Auburn football team have already reported and started college classes. This is a very important time of their life. Getting started as a college student, changing their approach to football and learning how to do it the Auburn way is going to take a while.
You go through growing pains when you move on from being a high school senior and make that next step to college freshman. Some of new Tigers will struggle and some of them will adapt real quickly on the football field and in the overall college setting.
Some of them will stand out and some of them will be disappointing, some of them will be scared and some of them will be leaders right away. That's just the way it is, but it is a very important step for them as individuals and it's a very important step for their football team.
Auburn teams have received tremendous help from their freshmen for many years. You only have to look back to last season to find good examples of that happening and I am sure the 2014 group won't be an exception.
The other thing on my mind is that there is a lot of talk coming from the SEC's annual meetings down in Destin concerning the five top conferences wanting more control of how they are governed by the NCAA. I think the group of "super conferences" features something like 65 teams when you add the colleges in the SEC, ACC, Pac-12, Big 12 and Big 10. Overall, it is good thing for those programs to have more authority over their programs because there are certainly some changes that need to be made.
I wouldn't question the people who are making the decisions and running those major programs, the conference commissioners and the athletic directors, on the need for changes. They deal with it on a daily basis and know a lot more of the current inner workings of NCAA competition, both athletically and financially than I do, and I am sure they have a good idea of ways to improve things.
The one major concern I have is that setting up an elite group of 65 or so colleges to compete for the national championship in football and control the revenue is going to change the sport in a negative way. There are programs that certainly should be able to put together teams capable of qualifying for the national championship playoff that are not part of the five big conferences. I am thinking about teams like Central Florida, Brigham Young, Boise State and there are others, including two of the colleges I coached for--East Carolina and Wyoming. I know for dang sure that those universities have the ability to compete with teams in major conferences and I would hate to see them left out. I would think East Carolina has grown to the point where it could financially support being in a super league and I know for sure that Wyoming could with all of the gas and oil money in that state.
In America you should be able to be as good as you can be and not be restricted by unfair rules and regulations so we'll see how it all plays out.
To me it is exciting to see new programs like South Florida emerge and have success. Just across the state line Georgia State and Kennesaw State have emerging football programs. Both have a large alumni base and both are in the Atlanta metro area where there around five million people so you know those colleges are going to continue to grow. I believe Coach Vince Dooley is helping Kennesaw State get its football program going.
I am not sure how this is all going to play out, but I would certainly hate to see universities that want to have serious football programs have a similar opportunity to do that as teams in the super conferences.