Take Two: Texas under Herman, Orgeron's chances at LSU, Playoff picture
Take Two is back this week tackling a handful of issues in the college football landscape.
Rivals.com National Recruiting Analyst Adam Gorney lays out the situation and then receives takes from Rivals.com National Recruiting Director Mike Farrell and a local expert from the Rivals.com network of team sites.
WHERE IS TEXAS IN THREE YEARS?
Storyline: Texas fans were hopeful Charlie Strong could turn around the Longhorns but after three losing seasons, Strong was fired and Texas hired former Houston coach Tom Herman.
Now Texas fans are hopeful – if not giddy – about the possibilities for the Longhorns under Herman, who was 22-4 during his short time at Houston and has connections throughout the state.
Recruiting should not be a problem, although it will be up to Herman to keep all the in-state talent home, a challenge in recent years. Developing a winning team shouldn’t be an issue either.
But where is Texas in three years time? Many people believed Strong could have resurrected the program. He didn’t. Will Herman have the same fate, or can he make Texas a national power once again?
First take: “It’s hard to predict, obviously, because I never thought Texas would be where it is now when Charlie Strong was hired three years ago. With Herman, I do think there’s a great chance he could turn things around quickly and build some immediate momentum. We’ve seen him do it at Houston and there’s a pretty good foundation of young talent at Texas that he should have a chance to win in year one and then build from there.
“Texas is a bit of a sleeping monster that if awakened could quickly turn back into a national powerhouse. I could certainly see a scenario where Herman starts picking up a lot of wins, as early as next year, which would cause recruiting to take off. The opportunity is there for Texas to take control of the state once again and Herman has shown he can rebuild a program quickly, so there’s no reason to think he can’t be competing for a conference crown in year three, or maybe even earlier.” – Jason Suchomel, Orangebloods.com
Second take: “In three years, they’re Big 12 champs. The Big 12 isn’t the deepest conference in the world. Oklahoma is good for the foreseeable future, Oklahoma State pops up every few years but Baylor is dead, TCU seems to be on the fall and then after that, who do you have? Texas has young talent on the team, he’ll recruit really well, he’ll get them back in the state of Texas getting all the top kids and I think they win a Big 12 title. I think it could be by year two.” - Farrell
CAN ORGERON RETURN LSU TO GLORY?
Storyline: Can Ed Orgeron be the man to return LSU to glory, which means beating Alabama, winning the SEC and becoming a national contender again?
First, some questions need to be addressed. Orgeron has to find an imaginative offensive coordinator. The Crimson Tide has altered their offense and LSU must as well while still using its power running principles. Whispers of Alabama OC Lane Kiffin being pursued are interesting.
Then Orgeron and his staff must develop a quarterback. That position has been a mess in Baton Rouge and needs to be a top priority. Maybe that’s one big reason why the Tigers offered Alabama four-star quarterback commit Tua Tagovailoa earlier this week.
Third, Orgeron has to shut down the state and not let outside schools in to steal top prospects. That is going to be challenging if Alabama continues to dominate and if Herman wants to dip into the state and pull top talent. Imagine this LSU team with Cameron Robinson at left tackle. Four-star Baton Rouge (La.) Southern Lab linebacker Chris Allen picked Alabama earlier this week. Orgeron has to stop that.
Can it be done? Sure. LSU is already a major national player, but there are certainly major obstacles and trying to beat Saban and the Alabama machine will never, ever be easy.
First take: “There are multiple unknowns as to how Ed Orgeron is going to finish out his staff. It’s imperative that he has an infusion of youth with his remaining hires. For LSU to overtake Alabama, they are going to need more recruiting capable staff members - position coaches who can recruit against the elite programs nationally for talent. LSU cannot rely on Louisiana talent only as it becomes a crutch when the state is not producing talent consistently at multiple positions. I believe Les Miles didn’t think he needed as many strong recruiters on his staff because of LSU being the only Power Five school in the state. That hurts you when the state goes multiple years without a lot of offensive linemen and defensive front-seven prospects who can play in the SEC.
“There are way too many people associated with all the SEC schools who seem to have accepted the fact that they are relegated to bridesmaid status until Nick Saban retires. There needs to be an attitude that, ‘We are going to out-hustle and recruit as smart as Alabama.’” – Mike Scarborough, TigerBait.com
Second take: “They need a home run offensive coordinator hire who can develop a quarterback, the defense needs to play as well as it’s played with that much talent and he needs to keep Saban out of Louisiana. Those three things are all very difficult. If they were easy, Miles would have found an offensive coordinator and the defense would have carried the day with a great quarterback leading the offense. Keeping Saban away from Cam Robinson, Landon Collins and Chris Allen is not easy because they’re a dynasty. Those three things are key.” - Farrell
WHICH TEAMS MAKE FINAL CUT?
Storyline: The College Football Playoff final pairings have been and will be debated ad nauseam until the games are played – and maybe even after depending on how things play out.
There are so many valid points and valid questions it feels like we cannot be wrong, and we cannot be right.
But let’s lay out this scenario: Clemson and Washington lose this weekend. Then what happens? It looks like Alabama and Ohio State are in regardless. If the Huskies and Tigers go down, then what?
Should Michigan for sure be in? What about the Big Ten champ, Penn State or Wisconsin? What about the Pac-12 champ, Colorado? Or the Oklahoma-Oklahoma State winner, especially the Cowboys, who it could be argued really only has one legitimate loss?
Again, there are so many scenarios and so many possibilities. But Farrell thinks Clemson should make the Final Four – even if it loses to Virginia Tech this weekend. How about if that happens?
First take: “The Big Ten is in a unique situation this year with its two highest ranked programs – No. 2 Ohio State and No. 5 Michigan – sitting at home this weekend while Wisconsin and Penn State prepare for a showdown in Indianapolis. Is the winner of Saturday’s game deserving of a spot in the top four? Probably. There certainly isn’t a large sample size here, but the winner of the Big Ten title game (Ohio State in 2014 and Michigan State in 2015) has had a spot in that group the last two years. And overall, the committee has proven in the past that it places emphasis on the outcome of those contests. But unless either No. 3 Clemson or No. 4 Washington losses this weekend, the Big Ten will likely only be represented by the Buckeyes in 2016.
“Should the Huskies (Pac-12) or Tigers (ACC) trip up in their own title game, that opens the door wide open for either the Badgers or Nittany Lions. Though Michigan holds victories over each program during the regular season, a conference title and win No. 11 should pad either résumé enough to slide into the No. 4 spot and a likely matchup with Alabama.” – Jon McNamara, BadgerBlitz.com
Second take: “It’s almost an impossible question to answer. I’d go Clemson even if they lost the conference championship because they beat Florida State, they beat Auburn and they beat Louisville. You take Clemson because of those three wins... Clemson and Michigan are in if both Clemson and Washington lose and the reason for Michigan is that they destroyed Penn State and beat Colorado and Wisconsin. That’s it. That’s my answer.” - Farrell