Category Archives: college football
The Atlantic Coast Conference has some important games this weekend. Those games will not only determine the playoff viability of the conference (more on that later), but also determine how strong the ACC is compared against a certain conference. And we’re not talking about the big brother Southeastern Conference.
Enter the Big Ten.
The ACC-Big Ten challenge has arrived three months early in football season. Look at the slate of ACC-B1G match-ups this weekend:
- Virginia Tech-Purdue
Notice that both leagues teams come their respective conferences’ weaker divisions (ACC’s Coastal and B1G’s West). While that may be merely coincidental, those match-ups will determine how good the ACC’s depth is. If the ACC wins all those games, it would be considered the better and deeper conference (Ohio State and Michigan State notwithstanding).
In the world of perception of power in college sports, this would give the ACC a boost in strength of competition from the College Football Playoff committee which would bode well at season’s end.
Speaking of the playoff, there are three games that will go a long way in determining the conference’s playoff prospects.
- Florida State-Boston College
- Georgia Tech-Notre Dame
I included the first two match-ups because they feature the ACC’s best two teams having tough contests on the road. Clemson is regarded by many as being THE best team in the league, and while Louisville may be down, Papa John’s Stadium is still a tough place to play. It’s a Thursday prime-time game, and a desperate Louisville team will do anything to avoid being 0-3.
I am worried about Florida State this week. Boston College, while playing cupcakes in its first two games, looks hella tough. I don’t care the level of competition, it is hard to beat someone 76-0 as the Eagles did to Howard. BC historically gives FSU fits anyway, and the Seminoles haven’t looked but so great in last week’s game vs. South Florida.
If either Clemson of FSU goes down, it would be a huge blow to both team’s playoff chances.
Having said that, Georgia Tech has the most to gain this weekend. I know that Notre Dame is a walking M.A.S.H. unit right now, but if the Yellow Jackets beat the Irish in South Bend, Tech would become the stronger playoff candidate out of the ACC.
After all, the Irish are still the glamour boys of college football. And any team who beats them will have its chance in the limelight.
Just look at Tech’s schedule for a minute. If the Jackets win at Duke, vs. FSU, at Clemson, vs. Virginia Tech, at Miami and vs. Georgia would make the CFP committee salivate. Hell, even a loss would still keep the Jackets in the conversation. Just as long as they beat Notre Dame.
Imagine Georgia Tech beating Notre Dame, the ACC’s other two best teams starting 3-0, and the ACC getting the best of the B1G. The ACC would have earned its place in the sun and then some…
In addition to this being a more high-level preview of the “Power Five” conferences, the “Group of Five” conferences’ predicted champs are included. Click on the links to the power conferences for more detailed previews in case you missed them the first time around. My predicted records for the independents (sorry Irish fans, no double-digit wins this season) are included as well.
Y’all may be surprised with my predicted national champions will be – well, maybe not.
“Power Five” Conferences
ACC Champion: Florida State Seminoles
Big 12 Champion: TCU Horned Frogs
B1G Champion: Ohio State Buckeyes
Pac-12 Champion: USC Trojans
SEC Champion: Alabama Crimson Tide
“Group of Five” Conferences
American Athletic Conference
- East Champ: Cincinnati
- West Champ: Houston
- Conference Champion: Cincinnati Bearcats
- East Champ: Marshall
- West Champ: Louisiana Tech
- Conference Champion: Marshall Thundering Herd
Mid American Conference (#MACtion)
- East Champ: Bowling Green
- West Champ: Northern Illinois
- Conference Champ: Northern Illinois Huskies (what a phat football field they have!)
Mountain West Conference
- Mountain Champ: Boise State
- West Champ: San Diego State
- Conference Champ: Boise State Broncos (will the Big 12 or Pac-12 send them an invite already???)
Sun Belt Conference Champion: Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns
- Notre Dame (9-3)
- BYU (8-4)
- Army (5-7)
2016 College Football Playoff
- Who’s In?
- Ohio State (well, DUH)
- Florida State
Who Wins it All: Ohio State Buckeyes (ain’t nobody beating these boys this season)
Welcome to the Southeastern Conference, ladies and gentlemen. The SEC, aka “the Beast” is far and away the best college football conference in the land.
- South Carolina
Analysis: I keep picking Georgia over Missouri for the East division title the last couple of seasons, but Missouri (and Georgia) proved me wrong every time. While my instincts say that I should go with the Tigers, my gut still says “Bulldogs will win the East”. Even though Georgia has a new QB in Virginia transfer Greyson Lambert, it has a ton of talent on offense, including a Heisman candidate in Nick Chubbs.
Tennessee is a team to watch in this division. I like the what coach Butch Jones is recruiting and getting his guys to believe. I just think the Volunteers are maybe a season or two away from seriously contending in the division.
- Texas A&M
- Mississippi State
Analysis: Even though both have question marks at QB, my gut says Alabama over Auburn for the division. Auburn has only a handful of cats coming back on offense, and its defense was nothing to write home about last season. Sure Will Muschamp arrives as the new defensive coordinator to save the day, but it will not be enough to knock off ‘Bama.
The rest of the division will be mediocre at best. Outside of Arkansas, I see the other teams taking steps back in this division.
2015 SEC Champion: Alabama Crimson Tide
While the Pac-12 does not get the attention as it deserve (hello, east coast bias), the South division is going to be one to watch. Most of the teams finished last season with AT LEAST NINE WINS!
- Oregon State
- Washington State
Analysis: Oregon is the fave, but it won’t be without a fight from Cali, Stanford, and Washington. Do I think Oregon will be the dominant force of the last two seasons? No. While I like QB Vernon Adams, I think he will face an FCS-to-FBS adjustment period which will may cost him in the Michigan State game as well as games against Utah, Arizona State and Stanford.
Again, based on talent alone I think this is the Ducks’ division. It’s just that they won’t be as dominant this season.
- Arizona State
Analysis: Against my better judgment, I’m rolling with USC in the South division. USC has let me down and made me look absolutely silly the last two seasons, but after surveying the landscape the Trojans are the most talented team.
By the way, this is by far and away the best division in all of college football. Even my predicted fifth-place team Arizona State should win at least eight games. Poor Colorado…
Pac-12 Champion: USC Trojans
One season it is considered arguably the weakest conference in college football. The next season it has a team that bagged a national championship – the first in the College Football Playoff era – and the perception changes a little bit.
What a difference a year makes!
With the addition of Jim Harbaugh to Michigan, along with Urban Meyer bringing back a loaded Buckeye team, this will make for an interesting season.
Without further ado…
East (not “Legends”) Division
- Ohio State
- Michigan State
- Penn State
Analysis: No need for major analysis here. Ohio State is not only the best team in the country headed into this season, it is by far the best team in the Big Ten.
Sure Michigan State and its nasty defense could give the Buckeyes fits. James Franklin has Penn State in the right direction. And last but not least, Jim Harbaugh will turn Michigan around sooner rather than later. But let’s be real about one thing: the East Division – and B1G – is Ohio State’s world and everyone else is living in it.
West (not “Leaders”) Division
Analysis: This division may be the red-headed stepchild of the conference, but at least it’s not as top-heavy as the East. This division should be a three-team race between Wisconsin, Nebraska and Minnesota. Nebraska should do well under coach Mike Riley, but I think Wisconsin is just too talented to relinquish the West.
The biggest question for the Badgers is will they actually show up in the B1G Championship game against the Buckeyes this time around?
2015 B1G Champion: Ohio State (what, were you expecting anyone else?)
Who’s looking to stay in this conference? Who wants to join? Why would they want to join? Would Texas allow them to join?
Why doesn’t Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby just move the Big 12 headquarters to Austin, especially since the Longhorns are running things anyway?
Oh and about that “one true champion” thing, looks like Bowlsby got some egg on his face while trying to stump for TWO teams (TCU and Baylor) for the College Football Playoff. Memo to Bowlsby: try mixing in a conference championship game and a bit of expansion (Cincinnati and BYU, c’mon down!).
What a joke this conference has become. It’s going to be fascinating to see what will happen to this conference 5-10 years from now.
Alas, this conference still has two powerhouses in TCU and Baylor. The problem is those squads are not named Oklahoma and Texas.
Uh, at any rate…
- Oklahoma State
- Kansas State
- West Virginia
- Texas Tech
- Iowa State
Analysis: TCU and Baylor are still running things in the Big 12. And while both of those squads are fabulous, they do not carry a prestige of Texas and Oklahoma.
Let’s be real about something, if either TCU or Baylor were named Texas and Oklahoma, do you REALLY think Ohio State would have jumped them in the final College Football Playoff poll? I didn’t think so.
Speaking of Oklahoma and Texas, the Big 12 would look even better if those two schools mattered again. Oklahoma had a decent season, but got their asses kicked by Clemson in the Russell Athletic Bowl. Meanwhile Texas was mediocre at best, culminating in getting curb-stomped by Arkansas in their bowl game.
Back to TCU and Baylor. Baylor has to go to Fort Worth to play TCU, and I like the Horned Frogs chances at exacting revenge. Thankfully Bowlsby and Co. got smart and moved the game to near the end of the season when EVERYONE would tune in.
In the meantime, memo to Baylor coach Art Briles: try scheduling REAL teams outside of your conference. SMU, Rice and the immortal Lamar will not impress the Selection Committee, bro…
Premature congrats go to the TCU Horned Frogs in winning the Big 12!
I haven’t been blogging much lately, largely due to the fact that baseball has dominated the sports landscaped (that sport is too damn long by the way). Now that the good Lord is going to bless us with football a few weeks from now (along with basketball later in the year), this dude will be back blogging like one bad, crazy mo-fo.
I will give an in-depth preview all of the “Power 5” conferences. Not so much for the “Group of 5” conferences because, quite frankly, no one gives a damn about them – and neither will I. Those conferences will be included in my “overall” college football preview.
So without further ado, the conference of my youth: the Atlantic Coast Conference (can this conference get ANY respect?)…
- Florida State
- North Carolina State
- Boston College
- Wake Forest
Analysis: A lot of pundits are picking Clemson to win the division and the conference. A lot. However, the Tigers have the only a handful of players coming back. And there is that constant question about QB Deshaun Watson’s health. If he stays healthy, Clemson will light it up on offense. Otherwise, say hello to 8-4.
I still think this is FSU’s division to lose. Sure the Seminoles lost a lot of talent to the NFL, but they have more going for them. They still have a boatload of talent. They are still coached by Jimbo Fisher. QB Everette Golson will be more than serviceable this season. And FSU’s out of conference schedule is light. Until Clemson is man enough to take FSU out, this division (and conference) is still owned by the Seminoles.
As for the rest of the division, keep an eye on Louisville. If the Cardinals can upset Auburn in Week 1, look the hell out. Only a road game at FSU may prevent the Cards from possibly running the table. Besides, any team coached by Bobby Petrino is a team to watch.
- Virginia Tech
- Georgia Tech
- North Carolina
Analysis: This division is such a fucking crapshoot, it’s not even funny. You could put all of these teams’ names in a hat (outside Virginia), and any team picked would have a compelling case to win the Coastal.
That said, I think both Techs will run the division this season. What gives Virginia Tech the edge are two things: 1) the Hokies have almost everyone on defense coming back, and any defensive unit coached by Bob Foster should be feared; 2) Georgia Tech not only lost some offensive weapons, it has a harder schedule.
Not only do the Yellow Jackets have to play both Clemson and FSU in conference this season, they have to play Notre Dame and of course Georgia out of conference. If Georgia Tech finish with only one loss with that schedule, they would be playoff worthy.
However, Virginia Tech has only Ohio State to worry about in terms of out of conference schedule. The Hokies get them at home Week 1 on a Monday night, which will be HUGE. And while East Carolina is no slouch, it is not Notre Dame nor Georgia.
Advantage, Virginia Tech.