The Top 25: 25 Players, Coaches, Schemes, and Incidents That Made Me Love College Football #’s 6-10

#TheTop25 #’s 6-10 covers the zone read, Ed Reed’s Miami/FSU 2001 halftime speech, College Game Day feel good stories and Lee Corso’s craziness, Keith Jackson the announcer, and the pageantry of college football.

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#TheTop25 Story Stream

#’s 11-15

#’s 2-5

The Zone Read

Turn a game on in 2016. Every play was called the zone read. My guess will be RPO will be the new catch phrase heading into 2017. It reared its ugly head in ’15 and ’16 but I imagine Herby won’t be calling it RPI anymore. He’ll be more educated heading into 2017.


Do you remember when “The Zone Read” entered CFB vernacular? Was it Utah and Alex Smith? Timmy Tebow and The Gators? We talked Andy Dalton and power read but when did the zone read really blow up to be every single play. Well originally, it was called a keeper. It was like the announcers were never explained what a read is and “QB Keeper” was the only phrase on their cheat sheet.


Against Pitt in the Fiesta Bowl, Alex Smith runs a zone read triple option look. 


I would reckon you know what the zone read is by now, and if you don’t watch the video from Fish Duck below. It’s the idea that the QB, in the shotgun, is reading the backside defensive end. If the BSDE sits or comes at the QB, give to the RB. If the BSDE squeezes on the RB (the triangle of his armpit disappears), pull and set your angle to his outside hip.

It became important because of years of “pro style” offenses where the QB on a run was a wasted player. Once you incorporated IZR in your playbook, you added the QB back to the run game and the defense had to change its normal mentality which was for the DE to squeeze down and keep the RB from cutting back.


For defensive coordinators, it was a nightmare. For offensive coordinators it was a gem. OC’s needed something new in the early 2000’s to keep up with the speed of defenses and beat the 4-4 G cover 3. Once teams went 10 personnel defenses had to adapt and went 4-2-5, a variation of the 4-4. Once teams used zone read the defensive coordinators had to start using scrape exchange (switching gaps with the DE and OLB post-snap). It was the chess game football was in need of.


Now most defenses are in the 4-2-5 running quarters coverage to account for “6,” and spread to run teams. It keeps you fast but tough and gives you two alley players to stop the option.

Ed Reed’s Halftime Speech

It’s Miami vs FSU 2001 and the ‘Canes aren’t playing as dominant as they should be… and then Ed Reed did what he does and forced his team to win the game. Let the scene speak for itself.

College Game Day

I’m not huge into watching it anymore, but as a tween and teenager I loved Game Day. How else would I learn about the teams and players from around the country when the internet was just a budding idea? Here are a few pieces of the Game Day puzzle I never want to live without:


All of the times they mentioned Orlando Pace and pancakes. We all learned that big guys like pancakes, that offensive lineman make “pancake blocks” and that those two ideas together is pure ESPN genius.


Feel good stories

Of course we are all sappy for a feel good story and no one does them quite like Game Day. You know you get misty eyed seeing Jarrett Payton with Walter in Cubs gear. But also the talks of Jarrett speaking as a young teen at his dad’s funeral… heartbreaking. Those stories get you teary eyed and rooting for the team the player is on.

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Stories of redemption

Lee Corso

Everything about Lee is the lovable senile uncle you can’t wait to grab another drink at your family function.

Lee plays with a sword




History of the head gear


The signs in the crowd, the stories of redemption, but one thing I hate is the song…


Keith Jackson

The two voices of my childhood were Keith Jackson and JR Jim Ross. Similar dudes to be honest. Sayings, accents, hyperbole (which Jackson uses but he plays it up second to only JR). Jackson called every major Miami game and every major bowl game for years. I have to get past two of these calls are anti-Miami to realize yeah ok they were great calls.


Whoa, Nellie!


Third Saturday

The Pageantry

The NFL, to me, lacks in color. It lacks in tradition. It lacks in pageantry. Sure, I’ll watch a game but not to the same level that I’ll watch Notre Dame vs USC, the Iron Bowl, or Ohio State vs. Michigan. It’s the cheerleaders, the band, the student section, the nicknames, the mascots.


The Band

In major college football there’s nothing like dotting the i!


The Cheerleaders

The USC cheerleaders are iconic and there’s nothing like So Cal to soak up sun and fun


The Mascots


The Tradition

From Howard’s Rock to Bevo and Paul Bunyan’s Axe.


The Anti-Tradition

Miami was the anti-tradition. Bill Walsh hated Miami and no one was as pompous college football as Stanford’s Walsh.