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The College Football Report: Carousels & Lily Pads

As bowl season winds down, everyone is starting to play musical chairs. Players such as Florida State DE Bjoern Werner and LSU LB Kevin Minter are leaving school early to declare for the NFL draft while the coaching carousel begins to spin. There has even been a Ron Turner sighting in the wilds of Florida! Sources confirm that Turner has molted, shedding his old Tampa Bay Buccaneers coloring for the vibrant spring plumage of Florida International.

Two teams are hemorrhaging star players: Michigan State and Florida. In East Lansing, MSU RB Le'Veon Bell and TE Dion Sims will be making the leap as well as junior defensive end William Gholston.

That is three nationally ranked top ten (ish) players at each position gone. We hope Spartan coach Mark Dantonio has been stashing away some cash from his new 2011 contract.

After not showing up for the Sugar Bowl, several key players of the vaunted Florida State "D" have decided not to show up to school next year either. Safety Matt Elam and defensive tackle Shariff Floyd are gone, with DT Dominique Easley possibly close behind. In the future, we will keep a more careful eye on the draft status of key players going into big bowl games.

Some coaches are looking for a new lily pad in the NFL as well. Oregon head coach Chip Kelly? Maybe. Penn State's Bill O'Brien? No.

List us among the skeptics regarding Kelly. For one, why leave at all? And two, who believes Kelly's system would work at the pro level? Anyone? You know, apart from all these GMs in the National Football League who want to give Kelly huge stacks of cash?

For the record, we think Kelly is brilliant. We think his system is genius. But we don't believe pro offenses are going the way of the Ducks, at least not for some time, in part due to the current level of investment in quarterbacks falling into the Kevin Kolb and John Skelton model. In other words, modestly mobile pocket passers.

* * *

Due to scheduling conflicts, our remaining bowl picks will be abbreviated. Look for our write-up on the BCS Championship Game on Monday.

Game: AT&T Cotton Bowl ("Classic," so they say)

Time: Friday, January 4, FOX, 8 p.m. (Cowboys Stadium, Arlington)

Teams: #9 Texas A&M Aggies (10-2, 6-2 SEC) vs. #11 Oklahoma Sooners (10-2, 8-1 Big 12)

Pick: Johnny Football (-3)


Game: BBVA Compass Bowl

Time: Saturday, January 5, ESPN, 1 p.m. (Legion Field, Birmingham)

Teams: Pittsburgh Panthers (6-6, 3-4 Big East) vs. Ole Miss Rebels (6-6, 3-5 SEC)

Comment: This must be the least inspiring bowl game of the season. It's as if BBVA saved the mediocre-ist game for last. Well done. Despite our lack of interest, we like the Rebels enough in this one that we may actually put a friendly wager down. Pip pip, old chap! Cheerio!

Pick: Ole Miss (-3.5)


Mike Luce is our man on campus. He welcomes your comments.

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