Beware of these College Football teams

Happy College football season to everyone! College football season has officially kicked off as of last night and thank goodness it is back. All this talk about who is going to win it all and all the speculation can finally be put to the test and we can see for ourselves who is the best in the land. Everyone always wants to talk about the supposedly best teams in college football and who is going to win it all and who can make a run, blah blah blah. The trend of this topic though seems to always be someone from the SEC, Big Ten, etc. I’m here to ask you though, what about the other guys? You know, the teams that win a lot in their non-Power 5 conference but aren’t respected like the teams of Power 5 conferences, the team that could win one big game but questioned on how they could handle a schedule of big games, the teams that are not talked about, but actually the most dangerous in this College Football Playoff system.

Well, for those teams, that’s what it’s all about right now, the forgotten teams of the Group of Five conferences that are already dismissed before the season even begins. So, who from this grouping can make that automatic bid in the New Year’s Day Bowls or even make a push for the college football playoff? I’ve got three teams that I think will give anyone a run for their money this year and possibly put themselves in position to win big this season.

Boise State Broncos

boise2-big-eastx-large

Sound familiar? It certainly should, because these guys are one of the main reasons these teams get any respect at all. Boise’s run in this century has made them one of college football’s most winning programs in the past 15 years, and they can certainly beat anyone on any given day. People give them flack for moving to the Mountain West instead of a possible joining with a Power 5 conference, but maybe when the offer comes, they will move, but for now this is where they will dominate. Their schedule is not strong by any means; their toughest games appear to be Washington, at BYU, at Utah State, and at Colorado State. Yeah that doesn’t look very impressive, but that’s the hand they are playing this year and with a returning offensive line, and pretty much the whole defense, they are set up well to make a run. They will have a new QB in Ryan Finley, but regardless who the running back is, Boise will ground and pound and if they can open up holes, anyone can run through them. If Finely develops along the season, they can become a complete team and stake a claim at a New Year’s Six Bowl, or maybe even a College Football Playoff spot.

Cincinnati Bearcats

Cincinnati_Bearcat

The projected AAC Champion in my opinion led by their Power 5 experienced coach in Tommy Tuberville. The Bearcats can make a claim at a high ranking and stick their nose in the hunt for a New Year Six Bowl and/or playoff spot if one thing can happen for them, and that’s avoiding the injury bug. Past seasons have seen them suffer because of injuries to key positions, QB especially. If they can avoid that, then they could be on their way. They return their QB Gunner Kiel who threw for over 30 TD’s last year and they return a plethora of talent around him. They will be weakest at spots on the offensive line because of lack of experience and areas in the defensive front seven but they have experience that is ready to fill in. If their front seven on defense can control the line of scrimmage, that will give their very experienced and talented secondary chances to make plays. Cincinnati’s schedule doesn’t appear to daunting either, but they must stay focused week in and week out because there are good teams in their conference like USF and UCF. They also have a road trip to BYU that could be troublesome as well as a home game against The “U” which could add to some credibility, maybe, never hurts beating a Power 5 conference team though.

Georgia Southern Eagles

GSU beats Florida

That’s right, the reigning Sun Belt Champions in their first season in the FBS level. Georgia Southern caught everyone by surprise by going undefeated in conference play and winning the Sun Belt. A traditional powerhouse at the FCS level, with 6 National Championships, Georgia Southern approached last year like those previous glory days, they ran and ran and ran the football. A different look running the triple option, mainly from shotgun and pistol, these Eagles took the conference by storm and managed to finish 9-3 on the year with narrow defeats at NC State and Orange Bowl Champion Georgia Tech. This year they will continue to do more of the same led by running back Matt Brieda, the Eagles will look to continue running and running teams into the ground. They have a new offensive line which could hurt, but all these guys played some last year in back-up roles so there is experience. The defense will remain mostly intact and ready to feast on opposing offenses like they did last year. The Eagles will have tough games in conference against ULM, South Alabama, and hated rival App St. but that just isn’t sexy enough. What is sexy is their out-of-conference schedule including road games at West Virginia and Georgia. Talk about your chance to really make a statement to everyone in college football. If they can manage a couple of big upsets and win their conference, they could very well be in the hunt for a New Year Six Bowl and who knows, maybe even a playoff spot.

Morale of this story is beware of these teams because, in the end, they just might sneak up on everyone in the college football world and stake a claim for a shot at the National Championship.

2015 College Football Preview

The 2015 college football season is finally upon us, and as the season starts its time to make some predictions for this year. Ohio State took down the mighty SEC and the high powered offense of Oregon in 2014, but who will wow us this year? Will Urban Myer and the Buckeyes repeat? Will “The Process” work again for Nick Saban? Will Art Briles get the playoff he deserved last year? Here’s some predictions for the upcoming season:

ACC: The Ramblin Wreck. techThat’s right. The Yellow Jackets of Georgia Tech will win the ACC. Paul Johnson’s offense is extremely tough to prepare for, and the Jackets will make he best of their tough schedule. GT’s defense returns nine starters to a team that had 29 takeaways last eason. Tech will lose three games: on the road to Notre Dame, then two home losses to Florida State and Georgia. Georgia Tech will end the season upsetting the winner of the Atlantic in Charlotte.

Florida State v Louisville

Winning the Atlantic will be Florida State at 11-1. Florida State’s offense with Dalvin Cook and Evert Golson will be a lot to handle, as well as a defense that returns eight starters, including its top four leaders in tackles. With a close loss to Clemson in Death Valley being  the Nole’s only regular season loss, the chances of playing in a New Year’s Six bowl should be high.

Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) looks to pass against South Carolina during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Nov. 29, 2014, in Clemson, S.C. (AP Photo/Rainier Ehrhardt)

A lot of people are picking Clemson or Louisville to dethrone Florida State in the Atlantic this year. If Deshaun Watson  stays healthy, and Clemson can recover from losing 9 defensive starters, Clemson very well could win the Atlantic. Clemson will end the year at 10-2, finishing third in the Atlantic. Louisville will open the season against a tough opponent in Auburn, and we will see just how good Todd Grantham’s defense is.The  Cards had a great defense in 2014, and added talent from Grantham’s defense at Georgia (Harvey-Clemons and Wiggins,) to its secondary. Louisville will have a good year at 9-3.

ACC Atlantic:

  1. Florida State 11-2 (7-1)
  2. Louisville 9-3 (6-2)
  3. Clemson 10-2 (6-2)
  4. Boston College 7-5 (4-4)
  5. NC State 7-5 (3-5)
  6. Syracuse 4-8 (1-7)
  7. Wake Forest 1-11 (0-8)

ACC Coastal:

  1. Georgia Tech 10-3 (7-1)
  2. Pittsburg 9-3 (6-2)
  3. Virginia Tech 9-3 (6-2)
  4. North Carolina 7-5 (4-4)
  5. Miami 6-6 (2-6)
  6. Duke 6-6 (2-6)
  7. Virginia 2-10 (1-7)

ACC Championship:

Georgia Tech over Florida State

B1G: O-H-I-O.ohio state

THE Ohio State University repeats. J.T. Barrett will win the starting job and lead a high powered offense to an incredible year. eight starers return for the offense as well as eight on the defense to bring back a very complete team that won the National Championship after taking down Alabama and Oregon in the College Football Playoff. The Buckeyes have three legitimate Heisman Trophy candidates in J.T. Barrett, Cardale Jones, and Ezekiel Elliot. Ohio State will have one loss.

michigan

Jim Harbaugh’s Michigan Wolverines will be responsible for Urban Meyer’s first loss since Virginia Tech last year. Michigan will have a turnaround season with the addition of a great coach in Jim Harbaugh. After going 5-7 last year, Harbaugh will get the team back to 9-3 for a great season. Losses to Michigan State, at Minnesota, and at Penn State in Happy Valley will be the blemishes to Michigan’s great season.

Big Ten Championship - Ohio State v Michigan State

Michigan State looks really strong this year. Connor Cook returns to lead a power offense back to a good year, and eight returning starters on defense will lead the Spartans to another 10-2 season. Michigan State will be on the cusp of greatness again, and will barely miss the playoff. Wisconsin will have a great season, winning the West in the B1G. Penn State will have another good season, and Jim Franklin will continue to rebuild the program back to where it once was.

B1G East:

  1. Ohio State 12-1 (7-1)
  2. Michigan State 10-2 (7-1)
  3. Penn State 9-3 (5-3)
  4. Michigan 9-3 (5-3)
  5. Maryland 6-6 (2-6)
  6. Indiana 5-7 (2-6)
  7. Rutgers 5-7 (1-7)

B1G West:

  1. Wisconsin 10-3 (7-1)
  2. Minnesota 8-4 (6-2)
  3. Iowa 8-4 (5-3)
  4. Nebraska 8-4 (4-4)
  5. Illinois 5-7 (2-6)
  6. Northwestern 3-9 (1-7)
  7. Purdue 3-9 (0-8)

B1G Championship:

Ohio State over Wisconsin

Big 12: Texas Christian University.Trevone Boykin

The Horned Frogs of TCU will slip up against Oklahoma late in the season, but overpower Baylor at home, along with everyone else in the Big 12 to repeat as Big 12 Champions. Trevor Boykin will have a Heisman-finalist season as he leads the Frogs to a berth in the College Football Playoff. TCU’s offense returns 11 players, and will be in sync as TCU rolls over their competition.

baylor

Baylor comes off of a season where they too won the Big 12, but TCU returns just returns too much. Baylor deserved to be in the playoff last year, but this year won’t be their year. Still, a 10-2 season should be enough to get them into a New Year’s Six bowl game against another great opponent.

oklahoma state

Texas and Oklahoma have high ceilings. Charlie Strong comes into his second season since taking the reigns of the Longhorn Nation. The Longhorns will have a great year going 9-3. Oklahoma also goes 9-3, while Oklahoma State sneaks above both teams at 10-2. Oklahoma State loses to Texas and TCU, while knocking off Baylor. The Cowboys return 16 starters and will look to surprise the Big 12.

Big 12 Standings:

  1. TCU 11-1 (8-1)
  2. Oklahoma State 10-2 (7-2)
  3. Baylor 10-2 (7-2)
  4. Oklahoma 9-3 (7-2)
  5. Texas 9-3 (6-3)
  6. Kansas State 7-5 (4-5)
  7. West Virginia 6-6 (3-6)
  8. Iowa State 3-9 (1-8)
  9. Kansas 2-10 (0-8)

Pac 12: The Men of Troy.Colorado v USC

USC has a loaded roster. This is the best team the Trojans have had since 2007. Cody Kessler leads an offense that returns seven starters, and the defense is very complete top-to-bottom. Questions have been raised regarding Steve Sarkisian’s recent incident at a school event, but the entire team has supported him through the incident. If USC is not plagued with injuries and stay focused, they have the roster to go through the season with one loss and win a loaded Pac 12 South. Their one loss will be to the Oregon Fighting Ducks.

oregon

Oregon lost Marcus Mariota to the Tennessee Titans in the NFL Draft. But the offensive scheme of the Ducks is going to be just as lethal. Vernon Adams comes to the Ducks to take the reigns and pick up right where Mariota left off. Oregon goes 11-1, losing a close game in the desert to Arizona State. Speak of the Devils, Arizona State looks to come off of a good year, and they should have a great season at 9-3, finishing just in front of their rival Wildcats.

Colorado v Arizona State

Arizona finishes 10-2, losing to USC and rival Arizona State, finishing third in the Pac 12 South. The Pac 12 South is almost as loaded as the SEC West, and its a shame that a top 15 team like UCLA could have three losses. UCLA, Arizona, Arizona State, and USC will make for a very fun season of some great #Pac12AfterDark games.

Pac 12 North:

  1. Oregon 11-2 (7-1)
  2. Stanford 9-3 (5-3)
  3. Washington 6-6 (2-6)
  4. California 4-8 (1-7)
  5. Oregon State 4-8 (1-7)
  6. Washington State 2-10 (0-8)

Pac 12 South:

  1. USC 12-1 (7-1)
  2. Arizona State 9-3 (6-2)
  3. Arizona 10-2 (6-2)
  4. UCLA 9-3 (5-3)
  5. Utah 6-6 (3-5)
  6. Colorado 4-8 (1-7)

Pac 12 Championship:

USC over Oregon

SEC: Dawgs on Top.

georgia

Georgia looks to have one of the most complete teams Mark Richt has had since he’s been at Georgia, despite the uncertainty at QB. The Bulldogs are loaded at running back, linebacker, and offensive line. The defensive interior brings depth and some young players that were some of the top recruits in the country. The secondary and wide receiver group is as deep as its been in the past few years, and the Bulldogs will win the SEC and make a run at the College Football Playoff. Nick Chubb will have a Heisman-contending season and lead the best backfield in the country to another great season. A slip-up in Knoxville will be the Dawgs’ only loss on their way to an SEC Championship.

Leonard Fournette

Alabama and Auburn will not decide the west this year. The Crimson Tide and the Tigers will be sitting at home on December 5, after both team have a great year at 10-2, with the Tigers winning the Iron Bowl at home. Jeremy Johnson will lead Malzahn’s offense well, and Auburn will improve on defense. Auburn will lose to the Dawgs at home and LSU on the road. Alabama will continue their winning ways, but trips to Auburn and Athens will keep Bama out of the SEC Championship. The Tigers of LSU will escape the West with one loss in Tuscaloosa, and go on to Atlanta with a trip to the College Football Playoff on the line. LSU’s defense will be dominant and keep them winning games this season. Leonard Fournette will have a good a season as any back, and lead a powerful offense to face the Dawgs in a rematch of 2011’s SEC Championship Game.

texas a&m

Dark horses in the SEC will include Tennessee, Texas A&M, Arkansas, Missouri, Ole Miss, and Mississippi State. The entire SEC West are top-25 teams. Unfortunately, someone has to be the worst team in the West, and that will be Mississippi. Texas A&M’s offense, lead by Kyle Allen, will be explosive and put up a lot of points. Arkansas’s power run game will beat up the teams they play. Ole Miss’s Land-sharks will be dangerous again, and a healthy Treadwell could lead to a good year. Missouri has won the East the last two seasons, but 3 SEC losses will be too many this year. Tennessee will upset the Dawgs in Knoxville, but lose 3 games down the stretch. Look for another great year of games in the SEC this year.

SEC East:

  1. Georgia 12-1 (7-1)
  2. Missouri 9-3 (5-3)
  3. Tennessee 9-3 (5-3)
  4. Kentucky 6-6 (3-5)
  5. South Carolina 6-6 (3-5)
  6. Florida 5-7 (2-6)
  7. Vanderbilt 3-9 (0-8)

SEC West:

  1. LSU 11-2 (7-1)
  2. Auburn 10-2 (6-2)
  3. Alabama 10-2 (6-2)
  4. Texas A&M 8-4 (4-4)
  5. Arkansas 7-5 (3-5)
  6. Ole Miss 7-5 (3-5)
  7. Mississippi State 6-6 (2-6)

SEC Championship:

Georgia over LSU

Heisman Trophy Prediction:

  1. Nick Chubb, Georgia
  2. Trevone Boykin, TCU
  3. Ezekiel Elliot, Ohio State
  4. Leonard Fournette, LSU
  5. Cody Kessler, USC

Who’s In?

  1. Georgia
  2. TCU
  3. Ohio State
  4. USC

First Two Out:

  1. LSU
  2. Oregon

National Championship:

TCU over Georgia