Now that we've mercifully arrived at the end of fall camp and most starting positions are set for college football, time for this space to give you a few answers to the questions many people want to know going into the '13 season.
Who will win the national championship? Somebody has to show me they can stop Alabama's run. Historically, the odds are extremely high it won't happen, but again, show me. One scary scenario: AJ McCarron doesn't bounce up from a hit. Lose what is the most efficient signal-caller in Tide history, the run's over. To put last year into perspective, his 30 touchdown passes were equal to what Joe Namath threw -- in Namath's career in Tuscaloosa.
Will the SEC keep its record championship run going? Who's going to stop it. From this corner, it won't be Ohio State. People forget the Class of the Big 10 got taken to overtime three times last year and only beat rival Michigan by five. What was the name of that train that ran over the Wolverines in last year's opener? I honestly wish OSU would get its wish to play the SEC champ for all the marbles. They aren't hard to find.
What's the deal with Johnny Manziel? Nobody honestly knows. When I say "knows" it's a bit like the generalization that people use "well, you know Cam Newton cheated." Please direct me to the person who witnessed the incident. Auburn, the SEC nor the FBI could make that happen, so you'd put me in high cotton. This much I do know: nothing Manziel did last year was a fluke and chances are he won't keep his nose clean between now and NFL draft eligibility.
A dark horse in the East? I say LSU or Ole Miss. Zack Mettenberger will be more consistent as he had wins over national contender South Carolina and also A&M.
Who do you like in the SEC East? I want to take Georgia, but the early-season slate features back-to-back tests at non-conference Clemson but a return home with East foe, South Carolina. Two weeks later, it's LSU and later Florida. Thus, give me South Carolina by a whisker.
Who is the best possible final BCS champion outside the Deep South? I think it's Stanford. They are deep, versatile and have only a big showdown on a Thursday night with Oregon that should keep them from being 11-1 at worst, good for a title-game experience. Same goes for the Ducks.
What will happen at Auburn? One certainty: the Tigers will be better and at least give full effort. Coming off the most humiliating season in school history, players have admitted they had teammates who quit during the season, as did assistant coaches. As for Gene Chizik, the moron who shouted him down when Chizik arrived late one night via plane, should now be officially given a blanket pardon. Nick Marshall has been the starting quarterback since the day he arrived on campus. I'd love to predict eight or so wins because Gus Malzahn's brilliance, but word has it the defense isn't a smidgen better, even at full speed.
Who wins the Heisman? The most recent poll of current players I saw overwhelmingly voted Jadeveon Clowney of South Carolina. The only coach who got votes in the "Most like to play For and Least like to play For? Nick Saban. The process may not be for everyone, but it's been successful.
When does the crystal ball return in this space? Aug. 31.
Phil Paramore's column appears Tuesdays in The Dothan Eagle. He can be heard weekday mornings from 11a to 1p on AM560 WOOF or at 100.1. He can be heard at www.woofradio.com and reached at the same website.