On Campus: Why high ranking could be bad news for Sooners
Editor's note: "On Campus" is a new daily file that is designed to take you around the country with our regional sites, providing current news, practice notes, features and more. It will be updated multiple times each day with new stories.
History is traditionally one of the Sooners' biggest allies. Recruiting gets easier when you can brag about seven national titles and show players statues of your five Heisman winners outside Owen Field. However, history's most recent chapters mean living up to the hype will force Oklahoma to buck a fresh trend.
Since 2006, when preseason polls are friendly to Oklahoma, it hasn't lived up to its billing. That's two full recruiting cycles. When the season kicks off with skepticism swirling around the Sooners' chances to make a splash nationally, Oklahoma plays its best football.
Either way, Fournette, LSU's ultra-talented freshman tailback, has developed stratospherically high expectations without ever having carried the ball for a single college play. He is the only high school player in Louisiana history to win the state's Gatorade Player of the Year Award twice. He has drawn praise from rapper Lil Wayne and invoked references to both Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods from his head coach, Les Miles.
On paper, Kansas State appears destined to rip Stephen F. Austin another orifice. Besides the obvious gulfs in talent and depth, the force of nature that is Tyler Lockett and the fact that the Lumberjacks have been outscored, 209-20, over their last four meetings with a Football Bowl Subdivision dance partner, there's the idea that the Wildcats have been reminded for weeks now about the turd sandwich they dropped against North Dakota State last August.
"I mean, it was surprising to the guys," linebacker Jonathan Truman said of the Wildcats' 2013 season opener on FOX Sports 1, a 24-21 loss to the Football Championship Subdivision national title-winners at Bill Snyder Family Stadium. "We expected to win that game. I feel we should have won that game.
"It was just -- it just didn't come out our way, and they did a fantastic job playing against us and scheming against us, and their players just made the plays that they had to make to win the game. So full congrats to them. But that's a year ago. I'm not worried about it. We're over it and we're on to (this) year."
Last season, Arizona State was one of college football's most veteran teams with 13 senior starters. This year, only six seniors should start, and the eight listed on ASU's two-deep depth chart ranks as the fourth fewest total in the nation.
In other words: The Sun Devils are going to be young.
ASU's junior and sophomore classes will have a significant presence, but Thursday's season opener against Weber State will show how much ASU will also count on true freshmen this season.
"We made a commitment to go with younger guys," coach Todd Graham said. "I'm comfortable with it."
Gators linebacker Michael Taylor listened to the question and then delivered a dose of his standard truth serum.
The question: Will Florida's early season schedule be a sufficient test for a team set to face one of the nation's most difficult schedules in 2014?
The background: Florida hosts Idaho on Saturday in the season opener, then welcomes Eastern Michigan to town before starting SEC play at home against Kentucky and then taking a trip to Alabama in Week 4. Idaho (1-11) and Eastern Michigan (2-10) combined to go 3-21 a year ago.
Taylor's response: "We had four wins last year. They might have had three wins combined, but that's not cake."
QB mystery aside, UNC looking to back up AP No. 23
North Carolina is the only team left in the ACC and one of only a handful nationally that have yet to name a starting quarterback. And while the media isn't enjoying itself, UNC head coach Larry Fedora certainly is.
"Somebody is going to go out there," Fedora said, a mischievous glint in his eye. "It'll probably a quarterback, though."
Perhaps Fedora hopes to gain some advantage over Week 1 opponent Liberty, an FCS team out of the Big South conference. Perhaps he wants the two quarterbacks -- the incumbent Marquise Williams and the redshirt freshman Mitch Trubisky -- on their toes.