1. In just a few days the National Championship will be played and the college football off-season will officially arrive. That means the OFD series "Reviewing the Redshirts" will begin in short order. Off the top of your head who will be the RS frosh with the biggest impact in 2014?
Even though a lot of 2013 freshmen saw action this season and a handful made a big impact there are still quite a few players who sat out that I think have a great shot at doing good things next fall. Hooray for large recruiting classes!
It's tempting to pick someone like Durham Smythe who has received a lot of praise in practice, has the size to step into a role, with the opportunity to become the third tight end. You could also pick one of the 4 offensive linemen or even someone like Michael Deeb who will get a long look at inside linebacker.
Even though the depth chart is going to make it tough to break through I'm going to pick WR Torii Hunter, Jr. I thought he was the most dynamic receiver from the class, he's recovered well from his broken femur, and he's really been turning some heads in practice since returning from injury. His fellow classmates just totaled 17 receptions, 352 yards, and 2 scores in 2013 but I wouldn't be surprised if Hunter puts up that kind of production all by himself next year.
2. You often see online and a lot of discussion everywhere about college football's most hated or disliked players. It's easy to hate, though. Turn this discussion on its head. Who is the most likable non-Notre Dame player?
Well, it depends on your definition of likable I suppose. If I'm looking at it from strictly an entertainment viewpoint and not so much character I'd go with someone like De'Anthony Thomas or C.J. Mosley. I just love watching both of those guys play football.
If I'm looking at it from the viewpoint of someone who I think has a lot of respect from everyone, shows a lot of humility, and can still ball out I'd look at three quarterbacks: Teddy Bridgewater, Marcus Mariota, and Kevin Hogan.
I like all three of those players and I think they are all good dudes.
If I had to pick just one I'd go with Mariota. He seems like the quiet and steely version of Manti Te'o to me.
3. What has been the craziest stat or individual accomplishment from the 2013 season?
I have to go with North Carolina freshman Ryan Switzer and his 5 punt returns for touchdown. Five punt return touchdowns in a single season!!?? Is this guy a sorcerer or what?
We've talked a lot about Notre Dame's (and the rest of the country's) struggles to return punts and the Irish just completed their 4th straight season without a punt return touchdown. Five in one season by a single player is just bonkers.
But to keep in line with the struggle theme Switzer still only gained 502 punt return yards on the season. Assuming his 5 touchdowns were 60 yards each that means his other 19 returns only netted 202 yards. Ten yards a pop outside of the scores is still solid but it just goes to show how hot and cold this part of the game can be.
4. Use your crystal ball and give us your surprise team for 2014.
This might seem weird because this team isn't normally associated with being a surprise but after their 2013 season I'm going with Georgia. They ended up at 8-5 this year and are "only" 44-23 (.656%) over the past 5 seasons.
Losing quarterback Aaron Murray is going to be a blow but the Dawgs always recruit at a very high level and the SEC East probably won't be as surprisingly good as it was this season. Missouri's due for a plummet back down to earth, South Carolina might have a hard time maintaining their string of 10+ wins seasons as any program would, and Florida's been a complete mess. Tennessee might improve but probably not by much, Vanderbilt could lose their coach soon, and Kentucky blows.
Georgia has a tough opening schedule with Clemson and South Carolina but after that it's pretty friendly. They miss Alabama, LSU, Texas A&M, and Ole Miss out of the East division and they get Clemson, Florida, Auburn, and Georgia Tech at home.
I think they get back into the SEC title game in 2014.
5. What were some of your favorite movies that were released in 2013?
I only watched 10 movies that were released over the past 12 months. I'll admit that's probably a very low number for the average American. It's not that I didn't want to see more, though. It's a matter of free time and finding the right movies with my main squeeze. I went over the list of releases and there are at least 10 movies that I was shocked and ashamed that I haven't seen yet.
With that said my favorites were:
Oz the Great & Powerful- Not a great movie I admit, and I think it didn't get very good ratings at all. However, I have a fascination with Wizard of Oz and I thought the visuals in this movie plus the imagination were pretty neat.
The Place Beyond the Pines- This was the only movie that could be considered a drama that I watched in a theater. I need to do better. I really enjoyed this flick and loved the transition that was made in the story from Ryan Gosling's character to Bradley Cooper's character as a young policeman to a Cooper as a politician with his past coming back to haunt him. Great script.
Iron Man 3- I'm a real big fan of Iron Man without being into the comics at all. I'm pretty sure this was the lowest rated of the 3 movies but I don't care. It was enjoyable. I was pumped to receive VonZipper Fulton sunglasses for Christmas to do my best to look like Tony Stark.
Anchorman 2- The story seemed to be all over the place at times. So many characters, so many famous people in cameos, and such a long winding story for a comedy. Burgundy was kind of played out at times as well--to be expected I guess--yet they put together a really funny movie. I look forward to the un-released footage of which there will be a ton.
Movies I'd like to see: Man of Steel, This Is The End, Pacific Rim, Only God Forgives, Gravity, Captain Phillips, 12 Years a Slave, The Wolf of Wall Street, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Dallas Buyers Club, Out of the Furnace, and American Hustle.