Based on what’s going to happen for each team and how the final rankings are going to be – and NOT how good the teams are going into the season – here’s how all the teams will finish up when the regular season is over.
There’s no need to watch college football this season because I’m about to tell you what’s going to happen.
You can also save billions of dollars and millions of lives by not convening the College Football Playoff committee, because I’ve done the work for you.
I took a walk in 93-degree weather with 635% humidity, got into a state of total clarity and dehydration, and as happens once every offseason, was told by the college football gods exactly how your 2016 college football regular season is going to shake out and what the final CFP rankings will be.
No, the playoff committee doesn’t rank all 128 teams, but this will be exactly what happens and how all the teams fall in order of what’s about to happen on the field.
Keep in mind before you blindly tweet about how you’re going to run over me with your car because the oracle told me your team is going to win seven games and not eight, THIS IS NOT A RANKING OF HOW GOOD THESE TEAMS ARE. The rankings of the teams based on talent will come later.
Welcome to the 2016 college football season. Here’s your final answer.
What’s Going To Happen? 1-11. Life outside of the MAC won’t be any fun as a double-digit underdog in every game but the home layup against Wagner. However, there are worse ways to end a regular season than a trip to Hawaii.
127. New Mexico State
What’s Going To Happen? 1-11. The Aggies will be hard-luck losers in shootout after shootout after shootout. They’ll beat Texas State to keep the season from being a total disaster, but the winnable games against Idaho, Troy, South Alabama and UTEP are on the road.
126. Miami University
What’s Going To Happen? 1-11. It’s going to be a rough, rough season unless the RedHawks can find something offensively that works right away. Losses to Kent State and Ball State at home will kill the season.
What’s Going To Happen? 2-10. The 49ers should be better than this, and the record could look stronger if they can get by Old Dominion at home and UTSA on the road – they can win those two.
What’s Going To Happen? 2-10. There’s rebuilding, and then there’s what UTSA has to do with starting from near-scratch under a new coaching staff. It’s not going to be pretty, but a win over Alabama State to start the season, and Charlotte to end it, will bring a few okay moments.
123. North Texas
What’s Going To Happen? 2-10. It’s going to take a little while. This is the rebuilding year to start getting the offense in place, but it’ll be rocky along the way. The Mean Green will beat Bethune-Cookman and UTSA, and they’ll battle with SMU, and get rolled by double-digits against everyone else.
122. Texas State
What’s Going To Happen? 3-9. It’ll be an ugly first part of the season with a win over Incarnate Word being the only bright spot, but November wins over Idaho and Troy will set the tone for the offseason.
What’s Going To Happen? 3-9. The new era of Warhawk football will start with a win over Southern, and a few wins over Texas State and South Alabama at home will keep the year from being a total disaster, but there will be some really, really ugly moments along the way.
120. Eastern Michigan
What’s Going To Happen? 2-10. The Eagles have enough experience to start making strides forward, but unless they can beat Charlotte on the road – which they won’t – it’ll be a disappointing two-win campaign.
What’s Going To Happen? 2-10. It’ll still take a little while. SMU will be better, but the record won’t reflect it after starting the season 2-1. The Mustangs won’t be favored in any of the last nine games.
118. Kent State
What’s Going To Happen? 4-8. The Golden Flashes will finally show off a little offense to go with the terrific defense, but it won’t matter much with way too many – don’t-even-think-about-it road games. However, as tough as things might be, a bowl game is possible if they can beat …
What’s Going To Happen? 3-9. The Zips have to overcome way too much personnel turnover – and now it’s back down to earth. The defense won’t be able to save them against a harsh slate.
What’s Going To Happen? 4-8. The crystal ball is a tad hazy on this one. The Trojans are probably going to be a whole lot better than this, but they’ll lose a shootout at Idaho and get stunned at South Alabama and Troy. Those three are very, very winnable – no argument if you see a 7-5 season.
What’s Going To Happen? 4-9. It’s Hawaii, so there will be at least one win it shouldn’t have just because some team will be mesmerized by the road trip – probably UNLV and/or Nevada. There are too many hard road games to get into bowl contention.
114. Ball State
What’s Going To Happen? 4-8. The Cardinals will be better, but they won’t be able to bust through against the better MAC teams. If they beat Georgia State in the opener and can come up with a win over Florida Atlantic on the road, they’ll get to six wins. They won’t do any of that.
What’s Going To Happen? 4-8. The offense will work just fine against the bad teams on the slate, but there are way too many road games with five in the first eight along with the home dates with Air Force and Notre Dame. It’ll take something special to get to six wins, and it won’t happen.
What’s Going To Happen? 2-10. The Jayhawks will start out a 2-0 after beating Rhode Island and shocking a good Ohio team – complete with a Break Up The Jayhawks headline – and then reality will set in. They’ll have a few close calls, but they’ll lose to Memphis and go through another winless Big 12 season.
What’s Going To Happen? 4-8. The Green Wave won’t quite have the new offense down, but they’ll have their moments. The big problem will be the defenses they have to face in November, just when things are supposed to be humming.
110. Old Dominion
What’s Going To Happen? 4-8. Can the Monarchs come up with a win over the second half of the season? They’ve got the team to be in the hunt for a bowl game, and they’ll start the season 4-2, but they’ll whiff in the final six games, including a home date against FIU.
109. Georgia State
What’s Going To Happen? 4-8. The Panthers will lose just enough 50/50 games against Troy, South Alabama, and Idaho all on the road to keep from going back to a bowl game, but they’ll be fun to watch.
108. South Alabama
What’s Going To Happen? 4-8. The Jaguars will lose several ugly battles over the first half of the season in a 1-5 start, and then they’ll relax, come up with a few wins, and make the season look just a wee bit better.
What’s Going To Happen? 4-8. The Cowboys will start to look the part under Craig Bohl on the way to a 3-1 start, and then the Mountain West schedule will drop like a hammer. UW will be the underdog in every conference game.
What’s Going To Happen? 4-8. It’s a bowl team that’ll suffer from not being able to get the wins needed against a tough slate. They’ll stay alive over the first half of the season, but they’ll lose their final five games.
What’s Going To Happen? 6-6. Worst … bowl … team … ever. The Vandals aren’t going to be all that great, but they’re full of veterans, and they’re going to have the attitude of attitudes being relegated to the FCS world next year. Montana State, Troy, at ULM, New Mexico State, South Alabama, Georgia State – you could win against those six.
104. Florida Atlantic
What’s Going To Happen? 5-7. The Owls will have just enough easy games to come up with a nice base of wins, but they’ll lose all six road games and won’t get by Western Kentucky at home.
What’s Going To Happen? 6-6. One of the best-coached teams in the MAC will scratch and claw its way to a bowl game by beating six really, really bad teams. There will be a moment when the Bulls are in the hunt for the MAC East.
102. San Jose State
What’s Going To Happen? 4-8. The Spartans have to come up with a non-conference road win over a Tulsa or an Iowa State to have any hope of going bowling. The Mountain West road schedule is a bear.
101. Fresno State
What’s Going To Happen? 4-8. Okay, so the Bulldogs will probably end up being a lot better than this, but to do that will take plenty of upsets against solid Mountain West teams – they’re not winning against Nebraska or Toledo on the road in non-conference play.
What’s Going To Happen? 5-7. The Golden Panthers will come oh-so-achingly close to pulling off a winning season, but they second half of the schedule is way too tough playing too many C-USA top teams.
What’s Going To Happen? 7-5. The Miners have just enough easy layups against teams you and 10 friends could hang 30 on. The easy slate will be enough to get to seven wins, but it’ll be enough to get a 13th game. They’ll lose, though, to …
What’s Going To Happen? 6-6. Schedule, schedule, schedule. Other than UTEP, this will be one of the worst teams to get a bowl bid, going on a nice run over the second half of the season against teams that’ll all struggle to come close to getting to a winning season.
What’s Going To Happen? 5-7. The team will be more competitive, but the Rebels will need to come up with road wins at Hawaii and San Jose State to go bowling. They won’t, but they’ll close strong in a solid stepping-stone season.
96. New Mexico
What’s Going To Happen? 6-6. Bob Davie’s bunch goes bowling again thanks to a 3-1 start against an easy slate and with back half layups against ULM, at Hawaii, and Wyoming. Forget about the Mountain division title with too many tough road games.
What’s Going To Happen? 3-9. Bronco Mendenhall’s first season will be a rough one. There isn’t a sure-thing ACC win and non-conference dates at Oregon and UConn won’t be fun.
What’s Going To Happen? 3-9. The Nebraska win last year might be just enough to keep teams from blowing off Boilermaker week. A late season win over Northwestern won’t be enough to salvage anything positive.
93. Louisiana Tech
What’s Going To Happen? 7-5. The Bulldogs will be bumslayers, coming up with seven wins against the bad teams on the Conference USA slate – and a few easy non-conference games against South Carolina State and UMass – but they won’t get back to the title game.
92. Wake Forest
What’s Going To Happen? 4-8. The Demon Deacons will be experienced enough to be far better than the four wins will indicate. There are just enough winnable games to come close, but they’ll have to beat Syracuse and Boston College at home to do it. They won’t.
What’s Going To Happen? 3-9. Things will get better for Lovie in the near future, but the talent just isn’t going to be there. However, if the Illini beat Western Michigan and win at Rutgers, they could come close to six wins.
What’s Going To Happen? 6-6. It’ll be a strong first year under Scott Frost thanks to a not-that-bad schedule. They’ll lose the game they’re supposed to, come up with a key road win at ECU, and do what’s needed at home to come up with a six-win improvement.
What’s Going To Happen? 3-9. The storyline going into next year will be how many games the Scarlet Knights lost by seven points or fewer. They’ll be more competitive, but it won’t be enough after a decent start. Outside of toss-up games against Indiana and Maryland, everyone they’ll lose to will be two touchdowns better – and Rutgers will still play most of them close.
What’s Going To Happen? 5-7. The Huskies won’t be able to overcome a rough first half of the season to rally for six wins and a bowl game. It’ll take an upset or three to get a 13th game.
87. Oregon State
What’s Going To Happen? 4-8. Everyone will circle the Oregon State game as a sure win, but the improved team will rise up just enough to get a few wins over Utah, Washington State and Arizona at home.
What’s Going To Happen? 6-6. The Wolf Pack will tantalize with a few nice wins and a shocker over San Diego State in mid-November, but they’ll be mystifying with road losses at San Jose State and UNLV.
85. Central Michigan
What’s Going To Happen? 7-5. Cooper Rush and the high-powered Chippewa offense will look good enough and strong enough bomb away against just about everyone. They’re good, but that’s just good enough to finish fourth in the MAC West.
84. Bowling Green
What’s Going To Happen? 6-6. The coach is gone, most of the stars are done, and there are too many barriers to overcome – and the Falcons will still be right there late in the season to take the MAC East. A loss at Ohio in the middle of the season keeps that from happening.
83. Utah State
What’s Going To Happen? 6-6. It’ll be a sold season, but not a sensational one starting out 3-1 and getting everyone excited with a win over Air Force, and then come the road games going away for five of the last eight.
82. Iowa State
What’s Going To Happen? 5-7. Matt Campbell’s first season will be almost what Cyclone fans are looking for with an upset win over Kansas State on the way to a 5-5 start just needing one win over Texas Tech or West Virginia to go bowling … and it won’t happen. But it’ll set the tone for a strong 2017.
What’s Going To Happen? 5-7. It can’t be overstressed just how horrific the schedule is. This should be one of the 40-best teams in the college football rankings for 2016, but Arizona, Utah, UCLA, West Virginia, Toledo, Michigan State, Mississippi State and Boise State are better. Win two of those games, though, and the Cougars will go bowling.
What’s Going To Happen? 3-9. This is just a flat-out wrong prediction, but where are the wins going to come? South Carolina? At Georgia Tech? Florida? At Georgia? At Auburn? At Missouri? Ole Miss? Tennessee? Where?
What’s Going To Happen? 5-7. The Buffs have a brutal first half with road losses coming at Michigan, Oregon and USC, but there will be just enough decent wins to come close to bowl eligibility. It won’t happen, but the team will be stronger.
78. East Carolina
What’s Going To Happen? 6-6. The Pirates will struggle coming out of September, but they’ll make up for it with a strong run of conference home games the rest of the way. It might not be an East championship, but it’ll be a solid season.
What’s Going To Happen? 4-8. This is a much, much better team than 4-8, but where are wins coming from? The problem is the non-conference slate with a trip to face a loaded San Diego State team and a home game against an improved Texas. The Bears will probably be underdogs in every Pac-12 game.
What’s Going To Happen? 7-5. It’ll be a nice start to a new era going 5-1 before going to Navy, but a lousy finish losing the last three games will ruin any hopes of coming up with something special.
75. Appalachian State
What’s Going To Happen? 8-4. The Mountaineers will get back to a bowl game, but road losses to Louisiana-Lafayette and Georgia Southern will keep them from being in the logjam of teams on the top of the Sun Belt championship heap.
What’s Going To Happen? 7-5. It’ll be another good, statistically-strong season, but there’s just enough turnover to keep the Hilltoppers out of the Conference USA title, losing to Middle Tennessee, Louisiana Tech, and Marshall – the three biggest league games are on the road.
What’s Going To Happen? 6-6. Welcome to one of 2017’s up-and-coming teams according to most preview types. And why? The six wins will come against the dregs, starting out 4-0 without breathing hard and getting by Indiana and Rutgers in the second half of the year.
72. Washington State
What’s Going To Happen? 5-7. You’re right, Coug fans – this is almost certainly way too light on the win side, but this is factoring in wins over UCLA, Arizona and Cal at home. It’s also assuming road losses to improved Oregon State and Colorado, though. The Apple Cup will be for a bowl game.
What’s Going To Happen? 8-4. The Ragin’ Cajuns have the team and the schedule to push for a possible ten-win season, but they won’t handle the dangerous option teams well. Losing to Georgia Southern on the road will end the Sun Belt outright title hopes, but they’ll tie for the title with a win over Arkansas State.
70. Boston College
What’s Going To Happen? 6-6. Yes, there will be an ACC win. Finally. The Eagle defense will be strong again, the offense will be better, and it’ll be just enough to go bowling with wins over UConn and Wake Forest to close out the regular season.
What’s Going To Happen? 6-6. Back-to-back bowl appearances? Don’t ask how the sausage is made – just eat. The Hoosiers will need to beat Purdue in the regular season finale to get there, but that won’t be a problem. The shocker? A late-season home upset over Penn State.
What’s Going To Happen? 7-5. Possibly the fifth-best team in the MAC West, Ohio is in the East – which means it’ll take the division title on the way to getting into the conference title game after beating Bowling Green in the middle of the season.
67. South Carolina
What’s Going To Happen? 5-7. It’ll be a good tone-setting season for Will Muschamp with several chances to make a statement, but it’ll take a home upset over a Texas A&M or a Georgia to go bowling. Getting that sixth win will come down to the September 24th road game at …
What’s Going To Happen? 6-6. Yes, Kentucky. You ‘ll finally win that sixth game again and get to a bowl game. There can’t be any upset losses, and beating the Gamecocks will be a must.
What’s Going To Happen? 8-4. The running game will be as strong as ever under the new head coach, but the rest of the MAC West is too good. Unfortunately, the Rockets have to go on the road to face Northern Illinois and Western Michigan. They’ll lose both November showdowns.
What’s Going To Happen? 7-5. There won’t be the magic of last season, but it’ll still be a strong year after an ugly mid-section. The Midshipmen will rally with three wins to close things out, but there won’t be any noise made in the AAC title chase.
63. NC State
What’s Going To Happen? 6-6. It’s not the season the Wolfpack fans might want, but it won’t be all that bad with a key win over Miami in mid-November to all but save the season after a 4-0 start.
What’s Going To Happen? 8-4. The Bearcats have to take advantage of the AAC opener against Houston, but they won’t. They’ll roll over the second half of the conference season to be in the hunt for the East, but a road loss to Temple will prove too costly.
61. Virginia Tech
What’s Going To Happen? 6-6. Justin Fuente’s first season will be fine, but games away from home against Tennessee, Notre Dame, Pitt and North Carolina keep the record down.
What’s Going To Happen? 6-6. The Blue Devils will go bowling, but it’ll be a grind to get to six wins. They’ll pull off a win over North Carolina, but just when they’ll seem ready to do something interesting, they’ll lose their final two games against Pitt and Miami.
59. Northern Illinois
What’s Going To Happen? 8-4. There will come a day when the Huskies don’t win the West and play for the MAC title. That’s this year, but they’ll still be terrific after a rough start. The October 8th game at Western Michigan will be the MAC championship – NIU will play well and lose.
58. Georgia Southern
What’s Going To Happen? 8-4. New coaching staff, close to the same results on the way to part of the Sun Belt title game. The Eagles will run their way past Appalachian State and Louisiana-Lafayette, but a loss at Arkansas State will keep them from winning the conference outright.
57. Air Force
What’s Going To Happen? 9-3. It’ll be a better Air Force team, but without the same overall results thanks to three key losses in conference play against Utah State, Colorado State and Boise State. However, the Falcons will be 9-1 going into mid-November.
56. Colorado State
What’s Going To Happen? 8-4. At Boise State, at Air Force, at San Diego State. That’s the end of any hopes of a Mountain West title, but the Rams will win one of those three – Air Force – to lay claim to being the third-best team in the conference.
55. Georgia Tech
What’s Going To Happen?7-5. It’ll be a strong rebound season with a few key upsets – watch out, Clemson – but Duke, Miami and North Carolina all get weeks off to prepare for the Yellow Jacket attack.
What’s Going To Happen? 6-6. The Wildcats are going to win a game or two they shouldn’t – Western Michigan and Nebraska at home – and they’ll completely gack away a game they have no business losing – at Purdue.
What’s Going To Happen? 8-4. The Owls will find a way to get by South Florida, but it won’t be enough to get back to the AAC title game. Road losses at Memphis, UCF and Connecticut will be too much to overcome.
What’s Going To Happen? 6-6. Under new head man Dino Babers the Orange will win the games they’re supposed to go get to six wins. They’ll be entertaining, but they’ll also be a year away from truly challenging the ACC big boys.
51. Middle Tennessee
What’s Going To Happen? 9-3. The Blue Raiders will come up with one of the most fun offenses in college football, and it’ll be enough to get into a perfect position to take the C-USA East title – but they’ll lose on the road to Marshall.
What’s Going To Happen? Except for facing Penn State on the road, the Gophers get the Iowa schedule of last year – sort of. The Gophers won’t take advantage of the big break with a strange loss at Illinois and two November road losses at Nebraska and Wisconsin to bow out of the West chase.
49. Mississippi State
What’s Going To Happen? 6-6. The Bulldogs won’t make any real noise in the West, but they’ll be feisty and they’ll be tough – up until the end. November – Texas A&M, at Alabama, Arkansas, at Ole Miss – won’t be kind.
What’s Going To Happen? 7-5. The team will be better than the record. Non-conference games against Penn State and at Oklahoma State are a problem. Going to Miami and Clemson in November is a killer.
47. West Virginia
What’s Going To Happen? 7-5, Just when it seems like things are rolling for the Mountaineers after a 4-0 start, they’ll hit a horrible stretch of four losses in five games including thrillers against TCU and Oklahoma at home. They’ll close strong against Iowa State and Baylor.
46. Texas Tech
What’s Going To Happen? 6-6. Can the veteran Red Raiders rise up and win the big shootouts? Yeah, to a point. They’ll bomb their way past West Virginia and Texas, but they’ll lose way too many tight games late.
What’s Going To Happen? 7-5. The Utes will beat BYU early on – that’s not all that’ll matter to Ute fans, but it’ll make the season a plus. There will be just enough wins to be decent, but road losses to USC and UCLA will all but kill South title hopes.
What’s Going To Happen? 7-5. As always, the Wildcats will have their moments when the thing just works – that’ll happen against USC and Stanford – and other times, the defense gets destroyed in a puzzling loss. They’ll whiff on the road at Oregon State.
43. Arkansas State
What’s Going To Happen? 9-3. The Red Wolves will beat most of the mediocre teams on the Sun Belt schedule, but they’ll lose the key showdown against Louisiana-Lafayette on the road to miss out on owning the Sun Belt title. They’ll take a piece of the conference championship, though.
What’s Going To Happen? 6-6. There will be enough of an offense to rebound under new head coach Barry Odom. The Tigers will shock Arkansas in the regular season finale to go bowling.
41. Texas A&M
What’s Going To Happen? 7-5. Rough start, solid finish. The Aggies will be 1-3 going into October with the fan base looking for a new head coach, and then the run will come winning six of the last eight losing to Alabama and LSU.
What’s Going To Happen? 6-6. Still flip-flopping on the opener at home against Clemson, but these Tigers will be far better, even if the record doesn’t show it. The road games will be an issue, and LSU will be a loss.
39. Western Michigan
What’s Going To Happen? The worst team in the college football rankings when P.J. Fleck first started, now the Broncos could be just good enough to go 12-0 if they can beat Northwestern and Illinois on the road in the first three weeks. They’ll have to settle for a MAC championship.
38. South Florida
What’s Going To Happen? 8-4. It’s on to the American Athletic title to give it a shot against Houston. The Bulls will struggle in the first half of the year with losses at Syracuse and Cincinnati around the date against Florida State, and they’ll lose late at Temple, but they’ll get through everything else.
What’s Going To Happen? 9-3. It’ll all come down to the home game against Middle Tennessee, with the winner going off to play Southern Miss for the Conference USA title. The Thundering Herd will lose the big non-conference games, but they’ll still be in the hunt for a ten-win campaign.
36. Kansas State
What’s Going To Happen? 6-6. Kansas State will start to look like Kansas State again with an efficient and effective offense and rock-solid defense, but the road games will be an issue, especially against the teams with the big offenses. Wins over Texas and Oklahoma State save the season.
35. Arizona State
What’s Going To Happen? 8-4. The team won’t be 8-4 good, but the schedule is with an upset over UCLA helping the Sun Devils get off to a 7-1 start before the nasty road games kick in.
34. Southern Miss
What’s Going To Happen? 10-2. There won’t be a big, splashy win, but there will be a whole lot of good-enough ones, including the regular season finale against Louisiana Tech to win the West and go off to the Conference USA title game.
33. North Carolina
What’s Going To Happen? 8-4. Road games at Miami and Florida State ruin hopes to get back to the ACC title game, but the Tar Heels will still be in the Coastal hunt late.
32. Oklahoma State
What’s Going To Happen? 8-4. The offense is going to be outstanding, but the Cowboys will lose a firefight with Baylor on the road, will get slowed down by Kansas State in Manhattan, and won’t be able to get by TCU and Oklahoma away from Stillwater. The numbers are going to be outstanding, though.
What’s Going To Happen? 8-4. While this won’t quite be the shocking Pac-12 title-winning season many want to predict, the Huskies will be fantastic. A few hiccups on the road – including a puzzler at Cal – and losing to Stanford and Oregon will be a problem.
What’s Going To Happen? 8-4. The Horned Frogs will be terrific, but they’ll lose four tough games that could go either way. The power of Arkansas and Texas and the flash of Oklahoma and Baylor will get them, but they’ll do their part to hang around the Big 12 title chase.
What’s Going To Happen? 9-3. The 2016 Hawkeyes will prove the 2015 Hawkeyes weren’t a fluke starting out 7-0 against a joke of a schedule. This year, though, Wisconsin won’t give away the game. The regular season finale loss to Nebraska will ruin the West title hopes.
What’s Going To Happen? 8-4. Yeah, you are what your record is, but the Huskers weren’t 6-7 bad last year and they’re not going to be 8-4 good this season. Even so, they’ll get by a few of the tough games, but back-to-back road losses at Wisconsin and Ohio State will hurt.
What’s Going To Happen? 8-4. There will be a little bit of an offense, but the SEC East won’t be a minor speed bump in 2016 and the LSU game is as tough an interdivision showdown as it gets. The Gators will shock the Tigers, but they won’t come up with the needed must-win against Tennessee.
What’s Going To Happen? 8-4. The Cardinal have achieved a level of consistency to overcome most potential issue personnel losses, but it’ll still be a down year with too many tough road games losing at UCLA, Notre Dame, Arizona and Oregon.
What’s Going To Happen? 8-4. Just when it’ll seem like Bret Bielema’s boys are about to do something special, Alabama and Ole Miss will happen. Having most of the nasty games at home won’t bring enough help.
24. Ole Miss
What’s Going To Happen? 8-4. There won’t be any shame in losing to Florida State and LSU away from Oxford, and at home against a jacked up Crimson Tide team. Losing at Texas A&M in mid-November, though, will hurt.
23. San Diego State
What’s Going To Happen? 11-1. Just when everyone starts to jump on the Aztec bandwagon following a 9-0 start with a great win over Cal, then comes the clunker against Nevada on the road. SDSU will get back to the Mountain West title game and lose to Boise State.
22. Penn State
What’s Going To Happen? 9-3. It’s going to be a quirky-weird season. A Big Ten-opener loss at Michigan and later loss to Ohio State will take the Nittany Lions off the radar, and an unfocused error at Indiana will hurt, but a win over Michigan State will shake up the East.
21. Notre Dame
What’s Going To Happen? 10-2. For Notre Dame, the 2016 schedule isn’t all that bad, but it’ll lose the opener to Texas. Just when the CFP talk ramps up after a ten-game winning streak with wins over Michigan State, Stanford and Miami – all at home – the road game at USC will end the dream.
What’s Going To Happen? 9-3. Jim Grobe will be the Midseason Coach of the Year as Baylor rolls to a 6-0 start in 2016, but four road games in the last six will end all of that. Losing to Texas and Oklahoma on the road crush the dream season narrative.
What’s Going To Happen? 9-3. This is when it all starts to work with the power ground game getting the Longhorns past Notre Dame on the way to a 5-1 start with wins over Notre Dame and Oklahoma. The problem will be the shootouts with losses at Oklahoma State and Texas Tech killing the Big 12 title hopes.
What’s Going To Happen? 9-3. The Badgers will survive a seemingly-devastating 2-3 start going into a bye week. After a deep breath, Paul Chryst gets his program-boosting win over Ohio State in Camp Randall, follows it up with a win at Iowa, and it’s off to the Big Ten title game after winning seven straight.
What’s Going To Happen? 10-2. The Bruins will get off to a huge start with a win over Texas A&M and Pac-12 statement against Stanford, but you know what’s coming. It’s UCLA – it’ll lose back-to-back road games at Arizona State and Washington State, and it’ll whiff with a shot at the Pac-12 title on the line with a loss to …
What’s Going To Happen? 8-4. It’ll be an up-and-down season with four losses that no one will fault the Trojans for – except for Trojan fans. It’s no crime to lose against Alabama, at Stanford and at Washington. But they’ll get to the Pac-12 championship – and lose.
What’s Going To Happen? 9-3. Second-ranked and 7-0 Michigan will have everything right there for the taking, but then it’ll go to East Lansing and have it all ripped away again by the Spartans. Losses to Iowa and Ohio State on the road keep the Wolverines out of special bowl contention.
What’s Going To Happen? 9-3. Mark Richt will matter. All of a sudden, the Hurricanes will start to look the part on the way to the Coastal title and ACC title game.
13. Michigan State
What’s Going To Happen? 9-3. The Spartans will overcome an early loss to Notre Dame with eight straight wins including Wisconsin and Michigan at home. Ohio State and Penn State will end the regular season with a thud.
What’s Going To Happen? 10-2. It’ll be a fantastic first season under Kirby Smart to set the tone, but back-to-back losses to Ole Miss on the road and Tennessee at home will be just enough to keep the Dawgs from taking the East.
What’s Going To Happen? 10-2. The Ducks will make national noise early on against Nebraska on the road, and they’ll get by Washington to start 8-0, but losses to USC and Utah on the road will kill the CFP hopes. Winning the Pac-12 title will be a nice consolation prize.
What’s Going To Happen? 10-2. The Tigers will be everyone’s preseason No. 1 or 2, but they’ll lose a quirky weekday game at Georgia Tech in a big upset, they won’t be able to get past Florida State in Tallahassee, and that’ll be just enough to miss out on defending the ACC championship.
9. Florida State
What’s Going To Happen? 10-2. The Seminoles will take care of their SEC games against Ole Miss and Florida, and they’ll rise up to beat Clemson just when the world counts them out, but a loss at Louisville in the ACC opener, and an emotional punch in the gut at Miami will ruin the CFP dream.
What’s Going To Happen? 10-2. It’s a three game season. The Cardinals will stun the world in the ACC opener against Florida State to announce their arrival on a national scale, but they’ll lose at Clemson a few weeks later. The relatively easy remaining slate will get them to the ACC title game, but an unfocused loss to Houston on the road will ruin the CFP dream. An ACC championship will have to do.
What’s Going To Happen? 10-2. It’ll be another fantastic team good enough to win the national championship again if all the missing parts come together, but all it’ll take is one extra loss to move into SEC also-ran status. That’ll come either at Arkansas, at Tennessee, or at LSU – the Tide will lose two of those three.
What’s Going To Happen? 11-1. The opening week loss to Oklahoma will be too much to overcome in the argument to get into the CFP. The Cougars will roll the rest of the way – and they’ll shock Louisville late in the season – but they’ll have to settle for getting a big bowl bid again.
What’s Going To Happen? 11-1. It’s going to be one of the first really, really big pressure moments for the CFP committee. Will it put in a Vol team with two losses to Texas A&M on the road and LSU in the SEC championship, or an unbeaten Group of 5 champ?
4. Boise State
What’s Going To Happen? 12-0. Here’s how this will work out. Boise State will put up astronomical numbers against the weak and the sad, get by Washington State and Oregon State, and roll through the Mountain West on the way to a strong conference championship win over San Diego State. The national argument will ensue about the Broncos being worthy of the CFP, but they’ll be a conference champ and the only FBS unbeaten team. Welcome to the No. 4 spot.
What’s Going To Happen? 10-2. The Sooners will have an interesting season as part of a massive debate. They’ll find their way in their second straight CFP after winning the Big 12 title – despite a loss to Texas, again – but the other loss will be to an Ohio State team that rolls to a No. 2 playoff spot. In a very Sooner-like way, they’ll ramp up the stats over the second half of the season and look the part winning seven straight games to close out the regular season.
2. Ohio State
What’s Going To Happen? 11-1. Last season 11-1 meant a total disaster for a team that had no business doing anything but playing for the national title. This season it’ll mean the No. 2 spot in the CFP, overcoming a loss to Wisconsin with a revenge-win over Bucky in the Big Ten title game.
What’s Going To Happen? 11-1 It’ll be LSU’s 2017 NFL Draft, it’ll be Leonard Fournette’s Heisman, and it’ll be the Tigers’ college football season. They’ll drop one of the tough road games along the way – likely at Florida – but they’ll get the one home win they desperately need against Alabama on the way to an SEC championship and the No. 1 spot in the CFP.