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Brandon Huffman | 247 Sports College Football Insider

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The Truth Network Radio
December 8, 2022 6:05 am

Brandon Huffman | 247 Sports College Football Insider

Amy Lawrence Show / Amy Lawrence

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December 8, 2022 6:05 am

 College Football Insider for 24/7 Sports Brandon Huffman joins the show.

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Bluenile.com. We're pleased to welcome Brandon Huffman, who is the national recruiting editor for 24-7 Sports and a college football insider, joining us now from Seattle. Brandon, the last few days, it's been quite dynamic. A lot of news, a lot of headlines, tough to keep up with. You put your finger on the pulse of college football right now. What do you feel?

Yeah, I would just say mayhem. I mean, whether it's the college football playoffs, the mayhem that kind of started on Friday night with USC getting knocked out of the playoffs and then TCU losing. And then you think, you know, that's the quiet part, but no, it just amplifies on Monday when the NCAA transfer portal opened. You have the coaching changes. You have kind of the shocking moves like Luke Thickel going from Cincinnati, Wisconsin.

Scott Satterfield going from Louisville to Cincinnati and then obviously Deion Sanders. Then you throw the transfer portal in and just how much that has dictated what recruiting is like now with the stretch run to signing day in two weeks. It's just absolutely mayhem. And it really seemed to start last year when you had Lincoln Riley and Brian Kelly leave right after the regular season. Now you almost brace for it and prepare for it.

And it even surpasses what your expectations are just how crazy it's going to be. We can talk about some of those moves because there are some interesting pairings now in terms of coaches and where they've landed. Deion has really attracted a lot of attention in Colorado. But going back to the college football playoff, we know it's expanding.

Not yet. How do you like the four that end up in this year's playoff? Well, I think obviously the top three all deserve to be in it. I thought USC would have been a lock had they beat Utah. Maybe if they had even kept it close against Utah. But to almost get doubled up, I think Ohio State positioned themselves to be that. Their only loss being to Michigan. It was the number two team in the country.

Yeah, it happened at home. But it really seemed like there was a top three and a fourth team had to be in there. It's going to be fascinating to see how in years when there's going to be 12 teams, just how much things will shake out just to see what it looked like this year, where it could have been a top four conference champions and then how they seeded it. You would have some pretty intriguing games in the first round.

I think it's going to be good. I'm a traditionalist. I grew up in Southern California, grew up going to the Rose Bowl game with my grandpa. And I, you know, I'm all about the tradition and the eight bowl games that we used to get.

But that was the 90s. This is 2022, 2023. We're going to see a true college football champion named. And I think that the sport's been waiting for a moment like this. And so this year when there's only four, three of the four deserve to be there. The fourth probably deserved to be there. But right now, it just seems like there's a number one and three other teams playing to keep a competitive against that number one. What's your opinion of 12?

I like it. I kind of think that, you know, 16 might have been a little bit too much. Eight might not have been enough. I think 12 is a nice round number. It rewards those four conference champions that are rated the highest to give them a week off. I do think there needs to be some tinkering where those four teams that, you know, the number one through four seed, they get a home game.

Maybe play the bowl game the week before and then go to the on campus sites the following week. So those top four teams are rewarded for being the top four. I do think 12 is a good number. I wouldn't be surprised if, say, 2032, we see it move to 16.

But I think, you know, you kind of have to go from four to 12 rather than from four to eight, at least in the next iteration of it. But I still think it makes it relatively an exclusive club. You really have to make that regular season matter to get into those top 12. And I think it's a good kind of starting number for the second round of an expanded playoffs. Truthfully, do you believe there are 12 teams or these top 12 teams in the rankings could all actually win a title?

No, I don't. It's just the same reason you don't think that the all 68 teams that are going to the NCAA tournament can really win a title. You know, we like upsets. We like seeing those upsets happen in the first round.

But let's be honest, as great as it was to see St. Peter's make it to the elite eight, you didn't really want St. Peter's in the final four. And I think in college football with 12 teams, you know that you might have an upset or two in the first round. But when it gets down to it over the course of four games, three games or four rounds, you're going to have the four best teams.

I think one thing that would make it just that much more exciting. And, you know, it feels like in recent years we've seen maybe two or three kind of provisional rounds that were being televised when they was kind of released the top 16 seeds in the NCAA tournament. I think if we didn't have to see a college football playoff show each and every week, we wouldn't have all the talking points that would make people frustrated on that first Sunday in December when the final four teams are revealed. So I think if we just had the 12 teams get announced when they were announced, there would be more excitement, there would be more build up rather than five, six weeks of everybody being angry with how the scenes played off.

And then I think those 12 teams could really make it an exciting playoff. You peg college football fans and really sports fans pretty well with that description. But yes, there's such a long time in between the reveal and the actual playoff on New Year's Eve that it does give people a lot of time to get revved up.

Brandon Huffman is with us from 24-7 Sports, the national recruiting editor, and we're glad to have him for the first time after hours on CBS Sports Radio. So Brandon, what are your initial impressions of the Fiesta Bowl and the Peach Bowl matchups, number two Michigan, number three TCU, the defending champion Georgia still number one against Ohio State, the team that got in last? I think there's a lot of people that thought we would be seeing Georgia against Ohio State in the postseason. I think most people thought that would be at SoFi Stadium in the national championship game.

And instead, we're going to get maybe what could end up being one of the more competitive semifinal games. I mean, when you look at the semifinal games historically, I got to go back to the Ohio State Alabama game to find the last game that seemed to be as exciting on paper as it ended up being on the field. And that was the first year of the playoffs. Since then, it seems like every semifinal game has been a blowout of some sort except for maybe the Ohio State Clemson game. I think it was three years ago where Trevor Lawrence rallied Clemson to win.

Justin Fields had a chance to win it. But that ended up being a game of the year. And then LSU smashed that team three weeks later or two weeks later. I think Georgia Ohio State is going to be a fun game.

I think that's the game everybody wanted to see. Maybe it's a game earlier, but I'm not going to sleep on that Michigan-TCU game. I think Michigan is feeling pretty good about the win at Ohio State, feeling good about that win against Purdue. But with the exception of the Ohio State game, they had a couple games down the stretch where they let teams that they should have been beaten pretty heavily stay in those games a little bit longer. And then TCU, maybe they ran out of luck a little bit towards the end of that Kansas State game where it looked like they were going to be able to pull it out again and they fell short in overtime. But Sonny Dykes has that team believe in that.

They are never going to be knocked out of a game that even if they're down early, they can make it competitive. Georgia and Ohio State are going to have all the attention that's going to be the highlight of the game. But I think that TCU-Michigan game could be the sneaky better game between the two. And really you would think on paper Michigan is going to win, but the way TCU has been playing this year, you can't count Sonny Dykes' team out. Is it weird not to have Alabama no Nick Saban this time of the year?

Oh, absolutely. And you know, it was just quite striking to see him on Saturday and Sunday openly pining to get Alabama in. That would be like an era where Duke was trying to campaign to get to the round of 64.

You just don't expect them to not be in it. And sure, don't expect Coach K to be sitting there trying to make his case, but that's now twice in the last four years that Alabama is not in the playoffs. And you know, it's for a school that had been in it so regularly and not just in it, but playing in the national championship game, you know, neither Alabama or Clemson this year. That's I think the first time in the history of the playoff where neither of those schools are in it. It's just something that's going to get kind of be weird to get used to. But is that mean there's a changing regard that Georgia is now the team that's going to be in it every year and Alabama is going to have to do what they need to do to get into it.

It's just, it's very different than what we've been used to seeing. You don't expect to see Nick Saban basically pleading his case. Usually their case has been made all season long. So playing on New Year's Eve, not playing in the playoff.

Instead, number five Alabama and number nine Kansas State in the Sugar Bowl. So close and yet so far away. It's after hours here on CBS Sports Radio. We're spending a few minutes with Brandon Huffman of 24-7 Sports. All right, some of the other chaos that we've seen over the last week. You're a national recruiting editor.

You watch how this plays out. What's the impact? What has been the impact of the transfer portal on college football? I mean, I think you look at some of the schools that have been the most, the biggest beneficiaries of it. You've seen what USC was able to do to decode from a 4-8 team a year ago when Klay helped inspire the second week of the season to now, you know, this year being within 60 minutes of playing in the playoffs. Having the front runner for the Heisman Trophy playing in a different uniform a year ago. I mean, you go back to three years ago when the LSU offense was one of the most well-oiled machines we've ever seen in college football and the transfer portal benefited LSU greatly. Joe Burrow loses the starting quarterback job to Dwayne Haskins.

Urban Meyer makes it very clear to him. We're going with Dwayne Haskins and then Joe Burrow makes the transfer that changes college football, changes the offense, and shows that, you know, even coming off years where Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray before him won the Heisman Trophy as transfers, they were traditional transfers. Burrow goes into the portal and now you're seeing schools realize that, hey, we can have a bad season if we bring in a new coach, we could turn things around quickly with the portal.

You could see teams that maybe are 10-2 seed teams, 11-1s, but maybe they need one or two guys to just get over that hump and they go into the portal. We saw Alabama two years ago have one of the most dominating seasons ever and yet they went to the portal that following year to get Jamison Williams from Ohio State. He couldn't even crack the location at Ohio State, goes to Alabama, wins the Bullitt and the Koff Award, becomes a key part of their offense.

Henry Tolatoa, who was at Tennessee starting for two years. Nick Saban loses a lot of guys in that 2020, from that 2020 team to the draft, he goes and plugs a couple holes. So you're seeing that schools that, even the ones that are perennial powers know that maybe two or three guys could be the difference between not being in the playoffs and being in the playoffs. You're also seeing coaches that are in their first year can see instead of it being a real rebuild project, something we're going to need three or four years to change the culture, you can fix that in one year and be competing for a playoff spot and potentially a national championship. So the transfer portal has dramatically changed college football and frankly as a complete advocate for the student athletes, I think it's about time. I think it's been a long time coming that they've been given the opportunity to go somewhere they want to be. If coaches are going to be able to leave at the drop of a hat for a bigger payday, the players should be able to lead to a better opportunity just that quickly. What's your reaction though to some of the coaches who criticize it for it creating potentially a free agency type of environment? But also, there are some coaches who say, I'm looking at this from the perspective of the athletes, it's dangerous because it's this lure without always the promise of something better.

There can be students who are left without an opportunity and left without a school, so to speak. You know, I always go back to Clemson in 2016 or 2017. You know, Kelly Bryant leads them to a top four spot. They go to the to the Sugar Bowl.

They have a chance to play in the playoffs. And then the next year he comes back having led them to an ACC championship. What does Davosuini does? He turns it over to Trevor Lawrence in the middle of the season. What's Kelly Bryant supposed to do? Sit there and be a backup and signal in plays with a clipboard and a baseball cap during the game?

No, Kelly Bryant wants to keep playing because he wants to play this game at the next level. So the coaches that come around and say, this isn't good. Many of those are the same coaches that left for better jobs. Nick Schaben can say what he wants about the portal, but he left LSU to go to the NFL.

He left the NFL to go to Alabama. He's got assistant coaches that have left for better paying jobs. If you're going to say that the transfer portal is bad for college football, then don't take anybody out of the transfer portal. They can sit there from their ivory tower and say, hey, this is bad for college football.

But if you're going to say it's bad for college football, then don't partake. Don't take a transfer. Don't leave for a better job. Don't ask for a bigger extension.

Don't ask for all these things. If it's that bad for college football. So that's where the hypocrisy of a lot of these coaches really becomes nauseating and frustrating because they're saying all those things.

But that usually means that they're not benefiting from it. I like when coaches like Lincoln and Riley say, yeah, we're going to hit the portal hard. We're going to go after it. We're going to recruit guys from that. And you look at the instant impact that those portal players made at USC. That's why you go with the portal. So if these coaches want to stay put, don't ask for extensions, don't recruit the portal. Then maybe we'll take your word as something that means something. Otherwise, you're playing the game in just different ways.

So quit with the hypocrisy. To that end, Brandon, we've seen a lot of coaching movement. Who are the pairings, the new hires that you think will have an impact immediately, like a Lincoln-Riley? You know, Luke Sickle of Wisconsin is going to make just major waves because I think he's a phenomenal coach. Him getting Phil Longo to come from North Carolina where he's done great things with Drake Maine, Sam Hall before him. That's going to be something that I don't think Wisconsin fans are going to be used to. An offensive coordinator, a program where they're going to throw the ball. We're used to seeing Wisconsin have just a plug-and-play running background for 1,500, 2,000 yards. That's going to be one sickle there with that defense. That's going to be one that's going to obviously get a lot of attention because we've all been waiting to see what's the next move for Luke Sickle.

But the reality is there is no bigger storyline that people are going to be tracking, at least for the next nine months. Now, we've got to wait to see what kind of product they put on the field. But Deion Sanders at Colorado is going to be fascinating.

As much as I said, I'm a traditionalist. Grew up going to the Rose Bowl. I grew up in a time in middle school and high school where Colorado was a top five team. Where Colorado was playing for the Orange Bowl, playing for national championships.

And they were fun to watch. And Colorado was a national brand, a national name. And over the last 10, 15 years, they haven't even been an in-state name. Air Force has been better. Colorado State's been better.

They haven't even been good in their own state. And so everybody's going to be spending the next eight, nine months talking about Deion Sanders in Colorado. I cannot wait to see how that is going to work because Deion shook up HBCU. He shook up FCS football. He shook up college football when he got Travis Hunter, the number one player in the country, to commit to him last year. Now he's at a power five school. Now he's at a school where that logo, that brand, that Pac-12 power five affiliation is going to move a lot more. So that is one that I absolutely cannot wait to see because a good Colorado makes college football that much more fun. Because it's like a return to the late 80s and the early 90s when Bill McCartney had them as a national powerhouse. I just love that there's no one else in college football quite like Deion Sanders.

It's impossible not to pay attention to what he is doing. All right, so you're on a selection committee for a bowl, Brandon, the Polynesia Bowl. What is the benefit to the student athletes and to the schools to be invited and then to participate in a college football bowl game? You look at the extra practices that the players get. When they go to a college bowl game, they get those extra 15 practices. And with more and more players opting out, you're giving these guys an opportunity to have the young guys kind of audition. They kind of flash to show what they can do the following year. They're going to go off for three months, go to the strength and conditioning program before spring football starts. But now with the stars opting out, now you can see just what kind of development your coaches have done for those three months in the season.

For the summer and the spring before. You get to see some of those young guys that you've heard a lot about and you've read a lot about. And a lot of these guys get to go to exotic places. I mean, imagine if you're a player at, you know, Middle Tennessee State and get to go to Hawaii for a week for the Hawaii Bowl. I know I love being part of the Polynesian Bowl. You're getting kids from all over the country.

They get to go out and be at a showcase All-Star game. Five extra practices and they're getting to do it in Honolulu overlooking the Pacific Ocean. So maybe some of the places that the college bowls aren't the most ideal location. But if you're a Mac school and you get to spend the week at the Bahamas Bowl, if you're a school that gets to go to Myrtle Beach in January.

And again, I go back to my traditional truth. If you're a Big 10 school and you get to spend five days in Southern California, you get to go to Disneyland. You get to go to the Larry's Bowl. You get to go play in the granddaddy of them all.

How could you not love that? How can you not be romantic about college football when you get those opportunities? And so it's extra football. It's extra bowls. It's 40 extra games to get to watch come the New Year's Day. Those games go away for nine months.

Yes, although it's not quiet around football, but certainly we miss the games when they are done. You can find Brandon Huffman on Twitter at Brandon Huffman. Easy enough. National recruiting editor for 24-7 sports is on that selection committee for the Polynesia Bowl. And we're looking forward to keeping in touch with you because this is go time for college football, Brandon. So thanks so much for a few minutes. You bet. Thanks for having me on.

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Whisper: medium.en / 2022-12-11 17:13:22 / 2022-12-11 17:22:43 / 9

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