With Jameis Winston in NFL, who will be vilified in 2015?

This morning we opened up our Wednesday roundtable by discussing the College Football Playoff committee (and we didn’t even have to meet in person to do it!). This afternoon we are back as TSS Associate Editors Bart Doan and Terry Johnson join staff writer Kevin Causey and a rotating guest in our weekly roundtables discussing all things college football.

For the afternoon edition of our roundtable we are going to discuss the media. Florida State QB Jameis Winston is no longer around for the college football media to condemn, so who will replace him? To talk media, we brought in the managing editor of Awful Announcing, Matt Yoder.

Question: Now that Jameis Winston is on to the NFL, who will the media vilify this college football season?

Matt Yoder:

On Twitter @myoder84

It’s an interesting question as I’m not so sure ESPN vilified Jameis Winston as much as Jameis Winston vilified himself. He gave a lot of outlets ample opportunities to call his character into question, not just ESPN. However, with ESPN’s near-monopoly over college football, that quickly became an angle some fans latched on to.

Going into next season, I couldn’t predict a player who might become “the villain of college football” because you can never project off-field matters, let alone what might happen on the field. However, I think the heel role will comfortably be filled by ESPN itself.  Whether it’s Mark May vs Ohio State fans or Paul Finebaum’s SEC loyalty or Danny Kanell’s anti-SEC loyalty, there’s plenty of ill will to go around. And really, it speaks to the increased tribalism among college football fans and ESPN’s power in the sport. Fans from pretty much all over the country have a media rivalry they can sink their teeth into these days.

Bart Doan:

On Twitter @TheCoachBart

I’d have gone this route sans the help being given, but Cardale Jones is your guy. It’s classic sports media to glorify an amazing story one year and then run it into the ground and flog that horse after it’s dead, buried, dig it up, and flog it again, all the while finding the most inane reasons to report on a person or a topic so people are forced to if nothing else … be sick of it.

Jones, playfully and humorously this past week, Tweeted a good bye to Ohio State while announcing he was going to transfer to Akron. He included Zips hash tags and changed his profile picture to the Zips logo, probably in shorts and flip flops hanging out saying to his friends, “watch this!” as college kids are wont to do. Who cares. At worst, it was a harmless, brief chuckle.

But look for Jones, the almost Hollywood story of going from third string to college football playoff championship winning quarterback pretty much over night … to be the most scrutinized, obsessed over, and overblown story line of 2015. Just as the Fab Five, or more recently, Tim Tebow, Johnny Manziel, or Jameis Winston were fun, easy to enjoy stories their first year … it became that intense media obsessiveness that was both annoying and unhealthy probably that made folks change their opinions. Folks need to be better about understanding what’s going on, but we’re still a ways off from that probably.

Terry Johnson:

On Twitter @SectionTPJ

I don’t know that there’s an obvious answer to this question. There’s not a single player that comes across as self-confident as Jameis Winston and Johnny Manziel were in seasons past.

With that said, there are two candidates that I could think of that would earn this dubious distinction.

The first person that may be vilified by the media is Cardale Jones. Sure, his stellar play led the Buckeyes to a National Championship last season, but that’s not going to stop members of the media from criticizing him. Even if he should win the starting job – a big if considering that’s he’s competing with Braxton Miller and JT Barrett – I can see some talking heads giving him a hard time for his May Fools’ Day joke about transferring to Akron. While I found it hilarious, I’m not sure that everyone else did.

Regardless of how things shake out for Jones this season, I also expect the media to be extra critical of Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany. Although some in academic circles applauded him for it, Delany rubbed a lot of people the wrong way by continuing to fight for freshman ineligibility, especially since his argument fails to target the real point. As long as he continues on this relatively unpopular crusade, I don’t see the media casting him in a positive light.

Kevin Causey:

On Twitter @CFBZ

As previously mentioned, Cardale Jones seems like the front-runner. As Matt alluded to earlier, you also have to think the most high profile player who “screws up” this off-season is also going to be under a micro-scope. With that said, I’m going to go two ways with my answer…

If Braxton Miller or Everett Golson end up transferring this off-season then they will automatically become one of the major stories throughout the college football season. And where stories are, internet memes and jokes and over-blown media coverage is sure to follow. While they may not be vilified like Winston and Manziel before him, they will be scrutinized like no other.

My other choice isn’t a player. College football coaches are making more and more money. For the money they make, there is also a ton of pressure on them. Nick Saban makes seven million dollars a year and he is known to be standoffish with the media. Saban has been a huge success at Alabama. Because of his success, his last two Sugar Bowl losses have some fans and media types questioning his decisions more than they ever have before. With the off-season off-the-field issues that Bama has had so far, I foresee a backlash coming this season for Nick Saban. Especially, if the Tide gets off to a slow start.


Previous Roundtables

Which returning starter at QB will show the most improvement in 2015?

Which first year starter at QB is poised to have a breakout season?

Which non-Power 5 QB do you want as the face of your franchise?

Which Power 5 quarterback do you want as the face of your franchise?

If you could have attended any game in the history of college football what would it be?

Reliving our favorite college football memories

Who was the greatest team in the history of college football?

Who was the most underrated team in college football history?

In a one-game scenario, which college football coach would you turn to for a win?

Which coach would you turn to if building a program from scratch?

Which teams have the best QB groups heading into 2015?

What will make 2015 a successful season for Notre Dame?

Where should Braxton Miller play in 2015?