I have been beaming since Sunday night, and for good reason.
My birthday is next month. The fall season is approaching. The sights and sounds of Friday night lights can no longer be ignored. And there is one more reason…
The 2017 college football season is upon.
There is nothing better than a college football Saturday — even the NFL has to acknowledge that. After all, the NFL could not rival the story lines this college football season has to offer.
Will the loser of Florida State/Alabama STILL make the college football playoff? Is this the year that Miami FINALLY plays for the ACC championship? Will the Big 12’s conference championship game enhance its profile with the college football playoff selection committee? Will Texas be back under its new head coach? Will there be some coaches whose hot seats will incinerate the hell out them by season’s end?
Oh, so exciting!
By the way, since I am not being paid ANY money for this, this will be a quick conference by conference preview. Straight, and short to the point.
One more thing. While I will also touch on the “Group of Five” conferences, those previews will not be as “deep” as those of the “Power Five”. After all, neither the TV executives nor the committee gives much of a damn — and neither will I. No offense, of course.
So, without further ado, here is my 2017 college football preview.
Atlantic Coast Conference
- Florida State
- NC State
- Wake Forest
- Boston College
- Virginia Tech
- Georgia Tech
- North Carolina
Analysis: The ACC may be the deepest conference this season, which is a FAR CRY from only five years ago. I could easily see the ACC having three 10-2 teams, and quite a few nine win teams. Now that may mean that the ACC may cannibalize itself out of the College Football Playoff, but we’ll see.
Despite its piss-poor offensive line, I could barely see Florida State dethroning Clemson in the Atlantic and beating Miami in the conference title game. And yes, I am picking the Hurricanes for the upteenth season in a row to FINALLY WIN THEIR DAMN DIVISION…
Conference champ: Florida State
- Ohio State
- Penn State
- Michigan State
Analysis: This league is pretty much the Ohio State/Penn State/Michigan, or bust. In fact, Ohio State and Penn State are the best two teams in the conference. No disrespect to Wisconsin, just being real.
I think Michigan will take a step back. It lost way too many players to the NFL/graduation. However, it’s hard to totally count out a Jim Harbaugh-coached team.
As much as I love Penn State and what they bring to the table this season, Ohio State has too much talent to be denied a conference crown. After all, Penn State has to go to Columbus this season, and that should give the Buckeyes the edge they need to dethrone the Nittany Lions…
Conference champ: Ohio State
Big 12 (dead conference walking)
- Oklahoma State
- West Virginia
- Kansas State
- Texas Tech
- Iowa State
Analysis: Oklahoma State not only has a boatload of players back on offense (including its star QB and wide receiver), its schedule sets up rather nicely. The Cowboys’ only challenging non-conference game will be at Pitt, and last I checked the Panthers cannot defend the pass to save their lives. The only spoilers to a perfect season are Oklahoma and West Virginia, but the Cowboys are much more talented than both. If Oklahoma State can solve its “Oklahoma problem”, it will be in the College Football Playoff.
Conference champ: Oklahoma State
- Washington State
- Oregon State
- Arizona State
Analysis: As tempted as I am to pick USC to win the Pac-12, it has to prove it could win the big games. The Trojans have too much talent to come up short in big games. They have the best QB in Sam Darnold, and have no excuses to come up short of at least a division crown.
However, Washington is far better coached and is now battle-tested. I always knew that if coach Chris Peterson coached a squad with resources, that team could do major damage. He essentially did it with one hand tied behind his back during the Boise State years.
Washington may have been a year ahead of schedule last season, but the Huskies are not going anywhere. They are here to stay, at least in the North division…
Conference champ: Washington
Southeastern Conference, aka “the Beast”
- South Carolina
- Texas A&M
- Mississippi State
- Ole Miss
Analysis: I know that there are several people (including fans and media) who say the SEC is weak. I wouldn’t go that far (yet), but it’s beginning to look more and more like “Alabama and the 13 dwarves”.
Something tells me that Florida may have something special going on. I’m not as sold on Georgia and Tennessee making a whole lot of noise this season. In fact, I think Georgia may be one more season away.
Auburn has the look to be a scary good team. That transfer QB from Baylor may give head coach Gus Malzahn the guy he needs to run his offense. If the Tigers knock of Clemson on the road, look the hell out.
However, as long as Nick Saban is coaching in Tuscaloosa, there is no way in hell I’m picking against ‘Bama…
Conference champ: Alabama
“Group of Five”
American Athletic Conference champ: South Florida (the Bulls should moonwalk their way to a New Year’s Six bowl)
Mid American Conference champ: Western Michigan
Sun Belt champ: Appalachian State
Mountain West champ: Boise State
Conference USA champ: Western Kentucky