5 Things I Think: A Unique Championship Aspiration

As we turn the corner onto the road that leads us to the College Football Playoff to determine a national champion, one of the first things that came to mind was how great it would be to win both a BCS championship and a CFP championship. However there are many people who have that opportunity — all returning players on FSU’s squad from last season, for example. We’ve seen players win national championships in two different sports (Chad Jones and Jared Mitchell won a BCS title and a baseball national championship at LSU) and that’s rare enough. What if a player won a college football title for two different teams (and in the process win both a BCS and a CFP championship)? There are a few players who have that opportunity this season.

1. Transferring is no easy task. With the unbelievable control coaches and athletic departments have over where a player is allowed to transfer, the opportunity to transfer to another potential championship contender isn’t going to come around very often. Players can be kept from transferring within their conference and sometimes can be kept from transferring at all (e.g. Devonte Fields). Additionally, a lot of players will transfer to a lower-level school to avoid sitting out a year. Auburn’s Cam Newton won a NJCAA championship and a BCS championship in consecutive years and Alabama’s DJ Pettway has the opportunity to win a BCS, NJCAA, and CFP championship in consecutive years this season should Alabama take the trophy. All that being said, the opportunity for a player to win a championship for two different FBS programs is rare and three players come to mind that have a chance at accomplishing it.

2. Michael Dyer (Auburn & Louisville): Michael Dyer has had an interesting and well-traveled college career to say the least. He won a national title with Auburn in 2010 and was named MVP of the BCS Championship game. He had one of the most unforgettable plays (at least I’ll never forget it) ever in that game when the whole stadium, minus Darvin Adams, thought he was down and he kept running and put the Tigers in a position to kick the game-winning field goal. He was dismissed from the team not long after that and decided to follow his offensive coordinator to Arkansas State — from which he was also dismissed shortly thereafter. He then spent a year at Arkansas Baptist, without playing football, and earned an Associate’s Degree. Last season, he landed at Louisville during a season that many pundits thought the Cardinals could go undefeated (but no one knew UCF was going to be that good) and have an outside chance at the BCS title game. The Cardinals, of course, didn’t play for the final BCS championship. Louisville is in its first season in the ACC and has a new head coach in Bobby Petrino. It’s possible they could make a run but it won’t be easy as they face Miami, at Clemson, FSU, and at Notre Dame this season (however, they have a bye week before both FSU and ND). Louisville obviously, isn’t a favorite to make the final four teams, but Dyer still has a chance.

3. Chad Lindsey (Alabama & Ohio State): Lindsey played in a combined 12 games during Alabama’s championship seasons in 2011 and 2012. He now joins an offensive line for the Buckeyes that returns just one starter and is charged with protecting a redshirt freshman in J.T. Barrett at quarterback now that star Braxton Miller is out for the season. The Buckeyes had a chance to make a run for the final four this season with many pundits thinking their only obstacle would be Michigan State in Week 11. The Buckeyes still have a chance to make that run, despite Miller being out, because of the depth the Buckeyes now have at the “h-back” position (or what some people call the “Percy Harvin position”). The Buckeyes will also play a much more aggressive style of defense in the secondary under new co-defensive coordinator Chris Ash, which can only help a team which was atrocious versus the pass last season (112th in the nation). Also, the Buckeyes don’t have Wisconsin or Nebraska on its schedule and play Michigan in Columbus. Lindsey’s chances of winning a third national title and and winning one on his second team were of course diminished when Miller went down, but it certainly didn’t vanish. He’ll bring leadership and experience to a young group of offensive linemen. It will be a challenging season for the Buckeyes, but not impossible.

4. Jacob Coker (Florida State & Alabama): Coker backed up Heisman winner Jameis Winston at quarterback last season at Florida State. He threw just 36 times all season. However, he’s gotten praise for having a very strong arm and good mobility and supposedly pushed Winston very hard in last year’s fall camp for the starting job. He joins an Alabama squad whose two-time national championship winning quarterback (as a starter), A.J. McCarron, has gone on to the NFL (Cincinnati Bengals). He’s competing with senior Blake Sims and redshirt freshman Cooper Bateman for the starting job. Whoever wins the job will be surrounded by talent at both the running back and receiver positions (including TE), so he won’t have to be a superstar. Combine that with Lane Kiffin joining the staff as offensive coordinator and offensive success is somewhat of a given. Defensively, the Crimson Tide will face as many as six team that will run some version of the no-huddle offense. That has the potential to be concern However, the hurry-up, no huddle offense was a big topic of discussion this offseason which means I’m positive Saban, Smart, and Co. have been working diligently on defending it — particularly on their substitution schemes. Despite the unknown at quarterback, Alabama is still a favorite by many to make the final four for a shot at the title. That means Coker could possibly win back-to-back national championships with two different teams. Starter or not, that would be pretty amazing.

5. Meet a man who has already done it: J.T. White. White won a national championship with two different FBS schools, but not just any two FBS schools. These two schools are two of the winningest schools in FBS history and they’re rivals! J.T. White was a member of Ohio State’s 1942 national championship team and Michigan’s 1947 national championship team. He went to TOSU for two years (playing both basketball and football for the Buckeyes) before joining the Army. He served from 1943 through the end of World War II in 1945. He then joined the Wolverines upon returning to join his brother who was a captain on the team. He was a 2nd-team All-American (center) during their 1947 championship season. His quarterback, Howard Yerges, that season actually also started his career with the Buckeyes (played there only in 1943). It should be noted that the 1942 national championship is also claimed by Georgia as they won the Rose Bowl that year while Ohio State was ranked #1 in the AP poll (AP didn’t release a post-bowl poll back then). TOSU didn’t participate in a bowl that season due to a conference rule that only allowed its teams to compete in the Rose Bowl. Additionally, the 1947 national championship is also claimed by Notre Dame. Notre Dame was ranked #1 in the AP poll and didn’t participate in a bowl that season, but because undefeated Michigan went on to beat USC 49-0 in the Rose Bowl, a post-bowl (unofficial) AP poll was done. Only Michigan and Notre Dame were options on the poll and Michigan won. White later spent 26 seasons as a defensive line coach at Penn State and was the assistant AD there when Penn State won that national title in 1982.