Predicting This Weekend’s NCAA Football Conference Championship Games

Written by :
Published on : December 4, 2015

 

With the College Football Playoff on the horizon, eight conferences will hold their championship games this weekend. While eight teams will be crowned conference champions, four teams will be hoping to play for an even bigger prize come January. In just a few days we’ll find out who those teams are but until then, here’s my predictions for this weekend’s NCAA Football Conference Championship games.

 

 

MAC Championship- Detroit, MI- Friday @ 8:00

Bowling Green Falcons (9-3, 7-1) vs Northern Illinois Huskies (8-4, 6-2)

Matt Johnson will be the difference in this one.

 

For the third consecutive year, these two teams will meet in the MAC Championship with both teams splitting the previous two meetings. The Huskies are making their sixth consecutive appearance in the championship game and are looking for their fourth conference title during this stretch. The teams didn’t meet during the regular season and the Huskies will be down to their third string quarterback for this battle. I think that will be the difference. The Falcons score a ton of points with a high octane offense led by the nation’s leading passer Matt Johnson, and I do not see Northern Illinois being able to match it.

Prediction: Bowling Green– 38, Northern Illinois- 24

 

 

American Athletic Conference Championship- Houston, TX- Saturday @ Noon

#22 Temple Owls (10-2, 7-1) vs #19 Houston Cougars (11-1, 7-1)

Can Greg Ward Jr overcome the Temple defense?

 

Another championship matchup featuring two teams that did not play during the regular season. The game will be played in Houston’s backyard which is an added bonus for the Cougars. Houston is led by dual-threat quarterback Greg Ward Jr, who has 15 touchdowns through the air this year and another 17 on the ground. Temple however, has the nation’s 13th ranked rush defense and are poised for the upset. Also, did you know that in 2012 I moved to Philadelphia and had actually applied and was accepted to Temple University before ultimately moving back home later that year? For that, give me the Owls–my almost Alma Mater.

Prediction: Temple- 30, Houston- 27

 

 

Conference USA Championship- Bowling Green, KY- Saturday @ Noon

Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles (9-3, 7-1) vs Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (10-2, 8-0)

Doughty will be playing on Sundays.

 

Talk about a game that could have some fireworks. Both the Golden Eagles and Hilltoppers rank inside the top-10 in passing yards and I would expect an absolute shootout in this one. At quarterback for Western Kentucky is a future NFL play-caller, in my opinion, in Brandon Doughty. After throwing for 49 touchdowns last year, Doughty has his eyes on 50+ this year and I see him as a mid-round steal for an NFL team.

Prediction: Western Kentucky- 45, Southern Mississippi- 35

 

 

SEC Championship– Atlanta, GA- Saturday @ 4:00

#18 Florida Gators (10-2, 7-1) vs #2 Alabama Crimson Tide (11-1, 7-1)

Derrick Henry will help Alabama win this one.

 

The first game that will have playoff implications takes place in the Georgia Dome as Alabama looks to solidify a spot in the Final Four with a win over Florida. The Gators come in with a good record, ranked in the top-20 but haven’t looked good in about a month. After getting dominated by Florida State, Florida will need to clean up a lot of things if they plan on making a game out of this one. Alabama on the other hand, has won 9 in a row and looks poised to make its second consecutive playoff appearance. I don’t think this Alabama team is nearly as talented as we’ve seen from coach Saban usually, but Derrick Henry is an absolute monster, who very well may take home the Heisman trophy. Both Florida and Alabama feature top-5 defenses, so the Gators will need to force Alabama to beat them through the air.

Prediction: Alabama- 31, Florida- 14

 

 

Mountain West Championship– San Diego, CA- Saturday @ 7:30

Air Force Falcons (8-4, 6-2) vs San Diego State Aztecs (9-3, 8-0)

SDSU will ride its backfield to the win.

 

It’s always tough to defend the triple option, and that’s the task at hand for San Diego State this weekend. Air Force isn’t going to beat you through the air, as their starting quarterback actually has one more interception than he does passing touchdowns on the year. San Diego State is also led by their ground attack and features a couple really talented backs that can also catch the ball out of the backfield.

Prediction: San Diego State- 27, Air Force- 20

 

 

PAC 12 Championship– Santa Clara, CA- Saturday @ 7:45

#20 USC Trojans (8-4, 6-3) vs #7 Stanford Cardinals (10-2, 8-1)

McCaffrey does it all.

 

Finally, a championship that features a rematch from the regular season. Way back in week 3, Stanford traveled to the Coliseum and defeated the Trojans 41-31 after trailing by 11 points in the second quarter. Over the past couple months both teams have changed, however, I think it’s Stanford who has changed for the better. The Cardinals are as talented as any team in the country but sit at #7 and need some help if they hope to make it to the College Football Playoff. Led by one of the more exciting players in college football, Stanford has Sophomore Christian McCaffrey close to breaking NCAA records for All-Purpose Yards. McCaffrey does it all, from sprinting through holes from the backfield, catching screens or balls over the middle, to being an explosive weapon in the return game. He is impossible to shut down. Hell, he even threw a touchdown pass this season. Both USC and Stanford have experienced 3+ year starters at quarterback in Cody Kessler and Kevin Hogan. Neither will shy away from the spotlight or pressure and this game could come down to who protects the ball better.

Prediction: Stanford- 34, USC- 31

 

Big Ten Championship– Indianapolis, IN- Saturday @ 8:00

#4 Iowa Hawkeyes (12-0, 8-0) vs #5 Michigan State Spartans (11-1, 7-1)

Can Sparty ride Cook’s arm to the playoff?

 

As Mike wrote a couple days ago, these two teams couldn’t have had any more different paths to get to this game. While their records are about the same, the expectations and buzz surrounding both programs over the past few months have been polar opposites. Iowa was never expected to really compete for the Big Ten West, let alone run the table, while Michigan State was picked by many to be Ohio State’s only true road block in the way of another Buckeye championship. As I myself wrote in September, it is playoff or bust for the Spartans, and the winner of this game is all but assured a spot in the Final 4. Iowa is anything but flashy, offensively they have a ground and pound attack that wears you down and are very solid on the defensive end. Old smashmouth Big Ten football at its finest. Michigan State is led by potentially the best quarterback in the country in Senior Connor Cook, but has a defense that has been playing very well the last few weeks after being decimated by injury early in the season. I think this game is going to be won in the trenches. Can Iowa get their rushing attack going and keep Michigan State’s front-7 out of their backfield and on the other end, can Michigan State give Cook time to throw and make plays down the field?

Prediction: Michigan State- 24, Iowa- 21

 

 

ACC Championship– Charlotte, NC- Saturday @ 8:00

#1 Clemson Tigers (12-0, 8-0) vs #10 North Carolina Tar Heels (11-1, 8-0)

Watson is gunning for a playoff spot.

The ACC didn’t get much love heading into the 2015 season as only Florida State was inside the top-10. Clemson found themselves at #12 and North Carolina wasn’t given much of a chance to make any noise. Instead, both teams made it through conference play unscathed and almost the entire season as a whole as well. The Tar Heels lost their opener to South Carolina but have since won 11 in a row. While neither team boasts the strongest schedule, both feature very talented quarterbacks who are looking to silence the critics. Sophomore Deshaun Watson for the Tigers and Senior Marquise Williams from North Carolina are almost carbon copies of one another in how they play the game, and their statistics are pretty close as well. Vegas is giving North Carolina more and more of a chance as each day goes by, so this one figures to be a good one.

Prediction: Clemson- 38, North Carolina- 30

 
 
 


NCAA Men’s Basketball 2015 Conference Predictions

Written by :
Published on : November 17, 2015

 

With the 2015-16 college hoops season about to begin, I found that it would be suitable to unveil my predictions for conference champs and players of the year. Some of my thoughts are safe and some are bold. Feel free to judge away, I’m only human. Without further ado, here’s the top 11 conferences and how they’ll finish.

 

 

AAC

The Huskies will be up to their usual tricks.

 

Champs: UCONN
POY: Sterling Gibbs, UCONN, G, Sr
Runners up: Tulsa; James Woodard, Tulsa, G, Sr

 

ACC

Coach K always has his team ready to compete for a conference championship.

 

Champs: Duke
POY: Marcus Paige, UNC, G, Sr
Runners up: UNC; Malcolm Brogden, Virginia, G, Sr

 

A10

Davidson will surprise some people this year, and they’ll be led by Jack Gibbs.

 

Champs: Davidson
POY: Jack Gibbs, Davidson, G, Jr
Runners up: Dayton; E.C. Matthews, Rhode Island, G, Jr

 

Big East

Mikal Bridges and the Wildcats will be reaching for a Big East title this year.

 

Champs: Villanova
POY: Kris Dunn, Providence, G, Jr
Runners up: Butler; Henry Ellenson, Marquette, G, Fr

 

B10

Melo Trimble and Maryland will overcome the Spartans to win the B10 championship and POY award.

 

Champs: Maryland
POY: Melo Trimble, Maryland, G, So
Runners up: Michigan State; Caris Lavert, Michigan, G, Sr

 

B12

Kansas will be looking for that #1 spot.

 

Champs: Kansas
POY: Buddy Hield, Oklahoma, G, Sr
Runners up: Oklahoma; George’s Jiang, Iowa State, F, Sr

 

MVC

VanVleet will lead the Shockers to glory this year.

 

Champs: Wichita State
POY: Fred VanVleet, Wichita State,  G, Sr
Runners up: Northern Iowa; Ron Baker, Wichita State, G, Sr

 

MW

Boise State came away with the win last night and will win the conference.

 

Champs: Boise State
POY: Anthony Drmic, Boise State, G/F, Sr
Runners up: San Diego State; Winston Shepard, San Diego State, F, Sr

 

PAC12

The Cal Bears will reach the top spot in the Pac 12 by year’s end.

 

Champs: California
POY: Gary Payton III, Oregon State, G, Sr
Runners up: Arizona; Jakob Poeltl, Utah, C, So

 

SEC

Once again, John Calipari will have Kentucky looking very good,

 

Champs: Kentucky
POY: Ben Simmons, LSU, F, Fr
Runners up: LSU; Daniel House, Texas A&M, G/F, Sr

 

WCC

Kyle Wiltjer shouldn’t be surprised when Zags wins the conference and he wins POY.

 

Champs: Gonzaga
POY: Kyle Wiltjer, Gonzaga, F, Sr
Runners up: BYU; Kyle Collinsworth, BYU, G/F, Sr

 

 

Well, there you have it. Some of these decisions (Gonzaga, Wichita State, Kentucky) were no brainers. On the other hand, other calls(Cal, Davidson, Boise State) are a little against the grain. However, these are my predictions…so…make your own if you disagree.

 

 


SBS Tailgate Event: USC vs Arizona on Nov 7th

Written by :
Published on : November 6, 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

Come join the SBS crew for an epic day of tailgating at the USC game this Saturday November 7th. We will be in Lot 6 all day giving away swag and partying. Most importantly, we are teaming up with our friends at Calabama to bring you FREE food! That’s right, they will be grilling up delicious creations for the hungry Trojan and Wildcat fans. So come visit us for a drink, a snack and to talk a little football. Never know, we may just meet our newest writer.

 

tailgate USC

 

What:

Sports related fun of an epic caliber. Free food, drinks, merch and good times. Why sit at home and watch the game when you can hang out in a parking lot with us?

 

Who:

This event is being co-hosted by your friends, the SBS crew, and our dear friend, Cara, from Calabama and Honey Sugar’s Kitchen. Cara is a diehard Alabama fan who mixes fresh and seasonal California flavors with Southern cooking to make truly unforgettable eats. I can’t wait to see what she is cooking up. I know, whatever it is, it’ll be bomb. Look for Calabama sauces in stores soon.

 

11887024_909400922475498_577401684_n
Cara Haltiwanger @Calabama on Instagram

Where:

The USC game tailgate. Lot 6 off Martin Luther King Blvd and Figueroa St. Los Angeles, California 90037. Look for the ScoreBoredSports and Calabama banners on our tents. Or follow your nose to our grill. If somehow you are still lost then starting screaming “Bruno, Bruno, BRUNO!!!” and I’ll come find you myself.

 

When:

This Saturday, November 7th. Starting at 2:30pm and going till we can’t go anymore. Game starts at 7:30pm. Lock this into your calendar now. If anyone needs help getting off work or lying to a loved one, then I am more than happy to make a fake call on your behalf. Just show up and hand me the ringing phone and I’ll lie my pants off so you can stay and have fun.

 

 

You shouldn’t need any more convincing than that. Cool. See you there. Also, can you bring an iPhone 4S charger? I’m sure I’ll forget mine.

 

For live updates on the day, please follow us on twitter @ScoreBored_SBS

 

 

 

 


Five Teams that may surprise the College Hoops Nation come March

Written by :
Published on : October 27, 2015

 

With so many new faces being added to rosters in the offseason, it is becoming increasingly difficult to predict an outcome for a team in the whirlwind that is a college basketball season.  Experts will take their best shot at telling you which squads will be dancing in the spring.  No matter how accurate they may be, there are always a few sleepers that come out of nowhere and play their way into contention.  Here are five teams that have a very good chance to be one of the aforementioned sleepers, and shake up the world of college hoops.

 

1. Auburn

Bruce Pearl and the boys

 

In only his second year as HC, Bruce Pearl has the Tigers well on their way to ascending out of the basement of the SEC.  He has put together a very talented incoming freshman class, (led by 6’9 Finley Prep, VA forward Horace Spencer).  Throw in 2 returning starters, 2 immediate impact transfers, a high scoring JUCO transfer, and this team has ‘scary’ depth.  There’s more of a feeling that this team will be something special in the future, but if all the puzzle pieces fit then the future is now.

 

2. Mississippi State

Malik Newman doing work for team USA

 

Sticking with the SEC theme because they are arguably the most improved conference from top to bottom. Expect 6, 7 or possibly 8 teams to get into the tournament. Add up new coach Ben Howland, with his 3 final four appearances, with the number one shooting guard and 5 star prospect Malik Newman, and your team becomes an immediate contender. They also have 4 seniors and 1 junior who collectively started 110 games last year. With Malik Newman being a probable one and done, look for the bulldogs to try and ride his shoulders all the way to March.

 

3. Tulsa

Everything is OK in Tulsa

 

This a team that returns all 5 starters after finishing 14-4 in the AAC and getting completely snubbed by the selection committee last year.  Nah, they won’t have a giant chip on their shoulders, (I don’t know if I need to clarify, but that was thick sarcasm).  This team has 9 seniors.  Ill say that again…They have 9 seniors. Unheard of in this day of college basketball.  These are also 9 seniors who know how to win and want to end on a high note.  Guard play is their strength with James Woodard as the top scoring threat. Do not be shocked when the Golden Hurricanes are still alive in March.

 

4. Northwestern

Wildcats

 

Will it finally happen?  Will Northwestern be celebrating on Selection Sunday?  The Big Ten is going to be stacked yet again, but the Wildcats, thanks to wonderful recruiting by Chris Collins, have the talent to compete. This team has 8 players who saw significant minutes last year.  The key, however, will be 6’10 senior transfer from Virginia Tech, Joey van Zegeren.  His experience, along with seniors Tre Demps and Alex Olah, should help gel with the younger players and create a team that could pull off a few surprises.

 

5. Oregon State

This is one Beaver who isn’t messing around

 

This could be the best Beaver team in history.  The key phrase of that statement is “could be”.  They finished 3 games over .500 a season ago and return all 5 starters.  One of those starters is All American candidate and Oregon State royalty Gary Payton II.  He is one of the most complete players in the country on both ends.  The PAC12 is stacked at the top, but the Beavers also have a highly touted recruiting class with 6’4 guard Stephen Thompson Jr. leading the way.  Making a postseason tournament seems definite. Making the NCAA tournament is within reach, and soon will be in the rearview mirror.

 

 


SBS Stadium Series: A Quick Trip to the Rose Bowl

Written by :
Published on : October 20, 2015

 

Growing up in Big 10 country meant that the Rose Bowl was the top of the mountain. In the time before divisions, conference championship games and the college football playoff, it was the end of the line for the best team in the conference. The place where the might and glory of the Big 10 would face off against the the best that the Pac 10 (now the Pac 12) had to offer. As the site of one the most storied Bowl Game series in college football, I figured it was high time that I got my ass out to Pasadena to check out a game.

 

I hadn’t really planned on attending the matchup of unranked Arizona State against #7 UCLA a couple Saturdays past, but after happening upon some free tickets, I figured what the hell. Nestled amongst the San Gabriel Mountains, the stadium sits low and you don’t really get a view of it until you are right on top of it. There’s nothing glamorous about the design and you wouldn’t guess that it’s the 12th largest stadium in the U.S. when walking up to it, but you can feel the history of the site.

 

UCLA fans

 

We arrived to the game a little late so we didn’t get a chance to see the parking lot tailgate festivities, but once we got inside there was no shortage of drunken college kids. In fact, during the first ten minutes of trying to find a general admission section that would let us gain entry, we saw no less than three glossy eyed coeds who were either in the process of falling or just picking themselves up off the ground. Ah, to be young again.

 

I was just about to do my best to get on their level when I realized they don’t sell beer. Despite being located 26.6 miles down the freeway from the actual school campus, the Rose Bowl is not one of the 21 college football stadiums that supplies it’s thirsty fans with the nectar of the Gods. Next time I’ll know to bring a flask.

 

After making our way to our seats, situated three rows from the back in the corner of the stadium, we settled in amongst throngs of blue and yellow clad UCLA fans. The stadium itself was an impressive sight to behold, yet didn’t seem as large as it’s capacity of 95,000+ would have you believe. Having been brought into football by the imposing behemoth of the Big House in Ann Arbor, I thought all large college football stadiums would be just as grand in the stature. Either way, the place was packed shoulder to shoulder with fans and people were pumped to see their Bruins do some damage to the Sun Devils.

 

IMG_1344

 

It didn’t exactly go down like that, and the Bruins came out flat. The Sun Devils defense stifled the UCLA offense and gave Arizona State a 29-10 lead going into the 4th quarter. It was right around that time that the fans began to file out of the stadium en masse. The Bruins faithful that stayed until the bitter end were given shred of hope when the team brought it to 29-23 with 9:19 left but it was not to be. A late safety sealed the game and the Bruins lost 38-23.

 

UCLA fan sad

 

When it became clear that the game was out of hand, we made the decision to try to beat the crowd out of the parking lot. Hundreds of buses were standing ready to transport the sad, drunk, and hung over college kids who had made the long trip out to Pasadena. How many would puke their sorrows away on that trek back to Westwood? Perhaps they would be in better shape if they had been allowed to buy a beer during the game. Instead they were in those late stages of drunk; the wrong side of the borderline between the high and the crash. I could see the sadness and disappointment that all of us fans know so well. That knowledge that one day your football team was undefeated and sitting in the top 10 and the next day it’s gone, along with all real chances of competing for a national title.

 

At least they can rest easy, knowing that their team plays in one of the classic stadiums in all of the country. Who cares that it’s miles, and miles, and miles from the actual campus. It’s still a beautiful stadium surrounded by an even more beautiful landscape. Seriously though, they should start selling beer there…. and at all other college stadiums.

 

 


Champ and Chump: Week 3

Written by :
Published on : October 1, 2015

 

Just a couple days until the weekend so let’s look back at this past week and find the studs and duds who made the headlines in the sports section. Tough week choosing the champs as there were a lot of quality contenders, but there’s no participation trophies in my articles so we kept it to the usual amount. The duds made it a little easy on me. So here we go, the nominees are…

 

Champ: Aaron Rodgers

24-35 333 yards, 5 TD’s, 0 Turnovers, 78.0 QBR, 138.5 Passer Rating

 

Rodgers doing work on MNF

 

At this point, you could put Aaron Rodgers in the “Champ” category on a weekly basis. The guy just flat out produces and is, in my opinion, the best quarterback in football. As ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith would say, Rodgers is “A bad, bad man.” Heading into the season everyone wondered how big a void the injury to wide receiver Jordy Nelson would cause, but through three weeks, Rodgers and the Packers offense haven’t missed a beat. Monday night was no exception as the Packers offense made a very tough defense look average, especially in the passing game. While Rodger’s success isn’t surprising to anyone, the numbers he has put up at home are incredible and damn near unbeatable. In his last sixteen home starts, Rodgers has thrown 43 touchdowns without throwing an interception, not a single one! Dominance like that makes Lambeau Field one of the toughest places to play, and the Packers know it. Watch out if the Pack gets home field throughout the NFC Playoffs.

 

Honorable Mention:

A.J. Green- 10 catches for 227 yards and 2 touchdowns in a road win over the Baltimore Ravens to help Cincinnati improve to 3-0.

Leonard Fournette- 26 carries for 244 yards, 2 touchdowns in a win vs Syracuse propelling Fournette to the top of the Heisman leaderboard.

Devonta Freeman- 30 carries for 147 yards, 3 touchdowns and 5 catches for 54 receiving yards in a come from behind road win at Dallas.

 

 

Chump: Saturday Night’s PAC 12 Football Games

#9 UCLA-56 @ #16 Arizona-30,   #18 Utah-62 @ #13 Oregon-20,    #19 USC-42 @ Arizona St-14

 

Utah running wild on Oregon

 

If you’re a big college football fan like myself, then you probably were looking forward to catching a lot of the PAC 12 lineup this past Saturday night. Living in the Midwest, I don’t get a chance to see very much of the PAC 12 like I do with the power houses on the Eastern side of the United States, so these three matchups featuring 5 ranked teams definitely caught my attention. The PAC 12 seems to be wide open this year, with a lot of strong teams competing for the conference championship. Naturally, one would assume these games would be absolute dogfights, featuring back and forth scoring with the loser likely to be whoever had to settle for a field goal first, right? Instead, we saw three games where the home teams all got absolutely skunked by their opponent by an average of 35 points per game. While I offer a huge congrats to the winners who showed they are more than likely the top dogs in the conference, and perhaps have a shot at making the College Football Playoff, it definitely was a major dud overall as I’m sure most viewers decided to reach for the remote during the second half.

 

Dishonorable Mention:

Jonathan Papelbon and Bryce Harper- Papelbon put Harper in a choke hold after the two exchanged words in the dugout. More fight than the team has shown on the field since the trade deadline.

Oregon Football- Lost 62-20 at home to Utah, their biggest home loss since 1977.

Brandon Marshall’s attempted lateral- While it wasn”t as bad as the “butt fumble”, Marshall made a poor choice to make a play when he lateraled the ball to a Philadelphia defender while the Jets were driving. The Jets went on to lose by 7.

 

 


2015 College Football Predictions

Written by :
Published on : September 2, 2015

 

 

The 2015 college football season gets underway this week, headlined by some marquee matchups right off the bat. Last year’s football season was one of the all time best, helped by a new college football playoff system that removed a lot of the headaches created by the former BCS system. This year, I expect another action packed, hard hitting season that won’t disappoint. Here’s a quick look at how I expect the Power 5 Conferences to unfold and what teams/players may be lifting some hardware come January.

 

ACC

Paul Johnson and his triple option could surprise some people in the ACC this season.

 

The ACC has belonged to Florida State the last couple years, who lost just one game over the past two seasons. However, with Jameis Winston now in the NFL, the conference is up for grabs. Former Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson has been named the starter in Tallahassee. He is very talented and brings valuable experience, he also is very turnover prone. I think Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson is the best QB in the conference, and I look for him to lead Clemson over visiting Florida State in a pivotal game that will ultimately decide the Atlantic Division. In the Coastal Division, Georgia Tech looks to be a step above the rest of the competition again. Paul Johnson’s success with the triple option has surprised many after he showcased it for six years at Navy. I think Johnson and the Yellow Jackets get over the hump this year, winning the ACC for the first time during his tenure.

 

Atlantic Division Winner:  Clemson

Coastal Division Winner: Georgia Tech

Conference Champ: Georgia Tech

 

BIG 12

Look for Trevone Boykin to lead TCU to the conference title.

 

Baylor or TCU. Might as well flip a coin in the Big 12 again this year. Baylor has won the Big 12 the last two seasons, but comes in ranked below TCU heading into this year. I think the conference champion will be decided when these two meet on the gridiron in late November. Last year, Baylor erased a 21-point deficit to stun TCU on the road, leaving a bad taste in the mouths of the Horned Frogs. This year, I think revenge will be served as Heisman hopeful Trevone Boykin leads TCU to a win vs the Bears and ultimately, a conference title.

 

Conference Champ: TCU

 

BIG 10

As long as they stay focused, Ohio State should roll through the BIG 10.

 

Last year, Ohio State wasn’t given much of a chance after news broke that Braxton Miller would miss the entire season due to a shoulder injury. We all know what happened after that, as the Buckeyes surprised everyone (multiple times) along the way to a national title. This season, Ohio State again looks unbeatable. By returning all three quarterbacks (though Braxton Miller has switched to wide receiver) and running back Ezekiel Elliott, they have Big 10 defenses getting ready to wave the white flag. It will be very interesting to see how Ohio State handles the pressure. Last year, while they of course won the national title, they did it without really ever having the target on their backs. This year, much like Kentucky in basketball, every team will be gunning for them. Ohio State will have to be mindful of that and make sure not to overlook anyone. The other big news in the conference is Michigan hiring Jim Harbaugh as head coach. This was the biggest hire of the year without a doubt. Harbaugh will surely bring the glory days back to Michigan, but with both of the Wolverines rivals (Ohio State and Michigan State) having some of the more successful years in their programs history it won’t be easy. In the West division, (formerly the Leaders division) Wisconsin has enjoyed a lot of recent success, making it to three of the four conference championship games thus far. Melvin Gordon heading to the NFL is a huge loss though, and road trips to Nebraska and Minnesota this season will prove to be too much. I see the Golden Gophers, led by Jerry Kill, getting the upset and winning the division this year.

 

East Division Winner: Ohio State

West Division Winner: Minnesota

Conference Champ: Ohio State

 

PAC 12

The Ducks will remain on the top of the PAC 12 this year.

 

The PAC 12 was the hardest conference to predict for me, and I feel the conference is wide open. In the North, I see it as a two team race with Oregon and Stanford, but the South has as many as four teams vying for a place in the Conference Championship game. At Oregon, Marcus Mariota finally left after an incredible career, but the cupboard is anything but bare in Eugene. Eastern Washington transfer Vernon Adams Jr takes over at quarterback, and the Ducks are loaded as usual with speed and athleticism at running back and wide receiver. Stanford quarterback Kevin Hogan returns for his fourth season, and as always, a stingy defense gives the Cardinals a fighting chance in the division. On the other side of the conference, USC, Arizona St, UCLA and Arizona all will be contending for the division. I think quarterback play will be the difference, and USC’s Cody Kessler has the most experience of the group. Last year, Kessler threw for 39 touchdowns and wasn’t really talked about too much. This year I think he becomes a household name, leading the Trojans to the Conference Championship game.

 

North Division Winner: Oregon

South Division Winner: USC

Conference Champ: Oregon

 

SEC

Saban and Co aren’t headed anywhere just yet.

 

After winning the National Championship seven straight times, the SEC has now gone two consecutive years without a National Title. Last year, the SEC West showcased some of the most talented teams in all of football, giving us multiple top-25 matchups every week. This year, the division should again be strong, but not as talented top to bottom. I think the battle for the Iron Bowl will be a pivotal game again in Alabama, as the Crimson Tide visit the Auburn Tigers late in November. For both Alabama and Auburn, replacing their starting quarterback, leading wide receiver and arguably top running back all in the same season seems a bit overwhelming. Yet both teams, and the Crimson Tide especially, always seem to have an All-American waiting in the wings. I give the slight edge to Alabama. In the SEC East, Georgia lost Todd Gurley to the NFL but I love what I see in his replacement Nick Chubb. After an outstanding breakout campaign as a Freshman, Chubb has the backfield to himself and has a realistic chance at 2,000+ yards and getting the Bulldogs to the SEC Championship game.

 

SEC East Winner: Georgia

SEC West Winner: Alabama

Conference Champ: Alabama

 

 

Heisman Trophy Candidates

Keep an eye on Deshaun Watson as he challenges for the Heisman this year.
  1. Any Ohio State Quarterback
  2. Ezekiel Elliott- RB- Ohio State
  3. Trevone Boykin- QB- TCU
  4. Cody Kessler- QB- USC
  5. Deshaun Watson- QB- Clemson

Playoff Teams

  1. Ohio State
  2. TCU
  3. Oregon
  4. Alabama

 

Heisman Trophy Winner

Ezekial Elliott will end up hoisting the greatest trophy in college football this year.

Ezekiel Elliott

 

National Champion

Much to the ire of their northern neighbors, the Buckeyes will repeat as champs this season.

 

Ohio State Buckeyes

 

 


Power Ranking the Power 5: Preseason Edition

Written by :
Published on : August 10, 2015

 

 

Now that we are into the month of August, it’s time to start getting serious about college football, the most hallowed of American traditions. With the preseason USA Today Amway Coaches Poll having been released, we can finally dig in and start dissecting where the country’s biggest and baddest programs stand heading into the 2015 season. We look at which powerhouses are pretenders and which underdogs are sure to set the world on fire this autumn.

 

The following is my ranking of each of the Power 5 Conferences in college football. Not only will I rank each conference against each other, but I will also include a power ranking of all the teams within each individual conference. Sure there are a couple teams in the preseason ranking that live outside of the world of the Power 5, but they are anomalies. In order to be the best in college football, you need to be the best amongst these teams within these conferences.

 

#1. The SEC

 

This should surprise no one. With eight teams in the preseason coaches top 25, and another two knocking on the door, the SEC is still the cream of the crop in college football. Having produced seven of the last ten national championship teams, this conference is truly a league of it’s own. The Southeastern Conference is still the gold standard, and despite being two years removed from the conference’s last national championship, it’s hard to imagine that changing, even if the title alludes them again this year.

Alabama (3), Auburn (7) and Georgia (9) lead the conference as the three teams in the top 10 coming into the season, but this conference is so loaded with good teams that it’s hard to see these rankings remaining static for very long. Most of these teams will play each other throughout the season, and with Alabama looking slightly less godlike than in recent years, the door is open for some of these other teams to make their mark. One team will rise from the ashes after they have all beaten the hell out of each other, and I would look for Auburn to make some serious noise this year, winning the conference and punching a ticket to the second ever college football playoff.

*indicates team’s ranking in coaches poll

  1. Alabama (3)*
  2. Auburn (7)
  3. Georgia (9)
  4. LSU (13)
  5. Ole Miss (15)
  6. Arkansas (20)
  7. Missouri (23)
  8. Tennessee (25)
  9. Mississippi State
  10. Texas A&M
  11. South Carolina
  12. Florida
  13. Kentucky
  14. Vanderbilt

 

#2. The Pac-12

 

The Pac-12 comes in behind the SEC and boasts a very formidable six teams in the preseason coaches top 25. Oregon (5) and USC (10) are the lone top 10 teams in the conference, though I have to say that I feel like USC is ranked a bit too high. They played some bad football at times last year and a lot is going to rest on a defense that flat-out blew it in some critical situations last year. That said, this conference is pretty loaded and the top seven teams can contend this year.

Oregon is the obvious choice to represent the Pac-12  in the playoffs, and they will remain on top of the conference until someone knocks them off. Replacing Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota will be no easy task and if they stumble in their quest to find a viable replacement, the door could be left open for USC or UCLA to make a run at the conference championship. Like Oregon, UCLA also has some questions at quarterback, and will need to find one quickly in order to remain relevant in the conference.

 

  1. Oregon (5)
  2. USC (10)
  3. UCLA (14)
  4. Arizona State (16)
  5. Stanford (21)
  6. Arizona (22)
  7. Utah
  8. Cal
  9. Washington State
  10. Colorado
  11. Washington
  12. Oregon State

 

#3. The Big Ten

 

Coming into the 2015 college football season, the Big Ten has the honor of being home to the #1 team in the nation, Ohio State. They hold the current title of national champion and winner of the first ever college football playoff. The Buckeyes are returning all three quarterbacks and Braxton Miller is making the switch to wide receiver. Miller was 28-8 as a quarterback and started as a true freshmen in 2011, but will now be catching balls from either JT Barrett or Cardale Jones, the latter of which won the national championship game.

After Ohio State there is a very strong Michigan State (6) team joining them in the top 10, and the only other team in the top 25 is Wisconsin (18). There may only be three teams in the top 25, but there are a few others on the fringe that could easily sneak into mix during the first few weeks of the season. Look for Nebraska, Penn State and Jim Harbaugh’s Michigan team to make some waves and even upset a few people, but until further notice this thing belongs to the Buckeyes.

 

  1. Ohio State (1)
  2. Michigan State (6)
  3. Wisconsin (18)
  4. Nebraska
  5. Michigan
  6. Penn State
  7. Minnesota
  8. Iowa
  9. Maryland
  10. Rutgers
  11. Northwestern
  12. Indiana
  13. Illinois
  14. Purdue

 

#4. The Big 12

 

The Big 12 actually only has ten teams, but since that name is already taken it looks like they are going to ride this thing out. We joke, but the fact that is  they lack those two teams necessary for a conference championship game.  TCU (2), Baylor (4) and Oklahoma (19) are the three teams representing the Big 12 in the preseason coaches poll and they are all deserving of their places on the totem poll. The only other team with a real argument for being included is Oklahoma State.

 

TCU has a pretty cake season up until the last two weeks when they travel to Oklahoma and then come home to face Baylor. If they stay undefeated, then there’s a pretty good chance they win. It’ll take an undefeated season for the Horned Frogs, capped by two big wins, in order for the team to overcome the lack of a conference championship and earn a trip to the playoffs.

 

  1. TCU (2)
  2. Baylor (4)
  3. Oklahoma (19)
  4. Oklahoma State
  5. Kansas State
  6. Texas
  7. West Virginia
  8. Texas Tech
  9. Iowa State
  10. Kansas

 

#5. The ACC

 

Like the last two conferences we discussed, the ACC has three teams in the coaches top 25. Florida State (8), Clemson (12) and Georgia Tech (17), and the only other team that currently threatens to join them is Louisville. There are a lot of questions surrounding these teams and none of them look all that scary. Especially when you consider the fact that Florida State and Clemson will beat up on each other and Georgia Tech has the hardest schedule among the three.

Florida State has a lot of talent all over the field, but much of it is untested and unproven. The loss of Jameis Winston, might be too much for the Seminoles to overcome. Look for Clemson to win the conference if, and only if, Deshaun Watson can stay healthy. Either way, I think everyone in this conference is going to beat up on each other so badly that if the winner of the Big 12 wins out,  the ACC will be left on the outside of the playoff looking in.

 

  1. Florida State (8)
  2. Clemson (12)
  3. Georgia Tech (17)
  4. Louisville
  5. Virginia Tech
  6. Miami
  7. Pitt
  8. North Carolina State
  9. North Carolina
  10. Duke
  11. Virginia
  12. Boston College

 


 

That’s it for Power Ranking the Power 5: Preseason Edition.

Check in with us each week during the college football regular season for updated power rankings, and to see who shows up and who stinks up the place.

 

 


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