Surprise me, college football. Please.

It’s the same script year in year out. Here’s how it goes:

  • A few teams—at least two from the Southeastern Conference—go undefeated late into the season;
  • An ACC, Big 12, Big Ten and Pac-12 team join the national title picture, and may even make the championship game, but fall short;
  • Boise State also enters the national title picture though those chances are always unrealistic because it’s in the wrong conference; and
  • An SEC school wins the championship.

It’s been the same story for the past six years.

» Related: The pessimistic Syracuse football preview

There are great games, exciting plays and can’t-miss-players, but those are just the moments and individuals that lead to the greatest sham in sports: the Bowl Championship Series.

saban

Brannigan: Tired of SEC dominance

I’m tired of it. I’m tired of some computers determining the teams that deserve to play for a championship. I’m tired of meaningless neutral-site games for above-average teams to end the season (bowls).

I’m frustrated it’s taken years to finally create a playoff system, which begins in 2014. I’m disappointed the playoff includes only four teams.

I’m tired of all the off-field drama. I’m tired of the Jerry Sandusky case and Penn State downfall; the sensational Bobby Petrino scandal, allegations, cover-ups and dismissal from Arkansas; booted “star” players (LSU’s cornerback Tyrann Mathieu, Notre Dame’s quarterback Tommy Rees, Clemson’s wide receiver Sammy Watkins, former Auburn and Arkansas State running back Michael Dyer; Florida State’s cornerback/returner Greg Reid and Georgia running back Isaiah Crowell).

» Related: Year 4 of Marrone era critical

I’m tired of conference realignment. Can anyone—off the top of your head—name all the changes and upcoming changes? Tell me again how a potential San Diego State and Central Florida matchup makes sense in the Big East.

So college football, this year, please excite me, entertain me, surprise me. Give me something to cheer. End the reign of the SEC. That alone eliminates more than half of the preseason Associated Press Top 10 (Alabama, LSU, Georgia, South Carolina and Arkansas)

Give me a team that hasn’t won a title in the past 13 years. Goodbye, to three more AP Top 10 teams: USC, Oklahoma and Florida State.

If anyone is keeping track, that leaves only Oregon and Michigan as teams in the preseason Top 10 I’d be happy with winning the national title.

» Related: SU v. Northwestern preview

Call me jaded and jealous. Call me negative. But college football just doesn’t excite me anymore, not when it’s been so painful to watch Syracuse football. The team has had only one winning season since 2002.

So Syracuse, I ask—no, plead—you to give me something to cheer too. I don’t have any wild expectations, but I want to see genuine improvement. I want a winning season, though I know it’ll be difficult with the schedule this year.

Give USC a scare—if only for a quarter. Demolish Stony Brook. Contend for the BIG EAST championship in your last year in the conference. Give Missouri a bigger scare—if only for one half. Play in one of those meaningless bowl games at the end of the season.

I know I’m asking a lot, but I’m tired. All I can do is hope, pray and dream for some surprises, some excitement and some entertainment this year.

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Dan Brannigan

About Dan Brannigan

Dan is currently the editor of Common Ground magazine for Community Associations Institute (CAI) where he has won an Association Media & Publishing award for newswriting. Dan has also won a New England Press Association award while working for the The Inquirer and Mirror in Nantucket, Massachusetts, where he grew up. Dan is a 2005 Syracuse University graduate. Follow him on Twitter @djbranni.
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