They were some of the boldest and craziest calls of the offseason. Now that the season is here here, are these five very dumb college football predictions?
To paraphrase Charles Barkley, I’ve been misquoted in my own articles.
My life is an eight-month pregame show, and over that time I try to figure out the most likely scenarios, the best-case finishes, and the crazy things that might happen to go along with the obvious.
I never, ever, ever try to be wacky, and I never go the click-bait route to try to stand out – you stand out by being right, not by trying to be different.
However, when I start to look ahead at an upcoming season in January, sometimes it’s hard to jump off the bold statements as the offseason goes on. With that in mind, here are five outside-the-box predictions I made a few months ago and now have to own no matter what.
These are my big calls, there are many like them, but these are mine. I’m sticking with them, but I’m more than prepared to look stupid if they don’t.
5. BYU will go 5-7
The Cougars are going to be solid in the first season under Kalani Sitake. They get QB Taysom Hill back, along with veteran RB Jamaal Williams for an attack that should be able to keep up the pace with anyone and everyone on the schedule.
But how are they possibly going to come up with a winning season – or at least a bowl eligible one – with a schedule that includes, Arizona, at Utah, UCLA, West Virginia, Toledo, at Michigan State, Mississippi State, at Boise State, and at Cincinnati, and that’s just to start the year with Utah State still to deal with?
They’ll beat Toledo, and they could beat Arizona and Glendale. They might also rise up at home – home field advantage is always big in Provo once teams have to make the trip 4,550 feet up over sea level, meaning they’ll come up with at least one win over UCLA, West Virginia or Mississippi State in an upset.
Out of the five potentially stupid preseason college football predictions on the list, this one is the one I’d most like to change – BYU will go bowling. Three of them I’m sticking with, but I’m also worrying about this …
4. Vanderbilt will finish 3-9
The Commodore defense is going to be fantastic again after going 4-8 last season, and the offense is going to be a wee bit better – mainly because it can’t be any worse.
Vandy was able to get by Missouri and Kentucky last season with an offense that scored more than 17 points against just two FBS teams – Kentucky and Tennessee.
So if this season’s team is supposed to be better, how can it go 3-9 and 0-8 against SEC teams?
I predicted in the preseason the Commodores would lose to South Carolina to start the season, and would crash along the way with losses at Georgia Tech, Florida, at Kentucky, at Georgia, at Auburn, at Missouri, Ole Miss and Tennessee, while beating Middle Tennessee, at WKU and Tennessee State.
Where will the wins come from?
Maybe at home against the Gamecocks, and there will be an upset along the way, but who predicts Vandy to win in the SEC on the road? If you can find more than three wins, you win.
3. Michigan will finish 9-3
If Michigan ends up in the Rose Bowl, or better, it’s probably close to the right call considering it’s got the best receiving corps in the Big Ten, the defense will finish statistically among the top ten in the country, and everything is in place to come up with a special season, including quarterback once that shakes out.
The schedule is light and breeze for the first part of the season, at least when it comes to home games getting Penn State and Wisconsin at home on the way to a likely 7-0 start. But will the Wolverines lose at Michigan State? Will they lose at Iowa and at Ohio State, too?
Those are three big road games that’ll be tough for anyone to overcome, but Michigan probably isn’t going to lose all three. If they go 2-1, they’re probably in the College Football Playoff.
As long as that one loss isn’t at Ohio State.
2. Boise State will get into the College Football Playoff
I actually still love this pick in theory, but it’s asking for a lot of big things to happen.
Overall, my belief is that this is the year when we’ll have two Power 5 champions with two losses or more, opening up the door for an unbeaten Group of Five team to rise up and get everyone talking after finishing unbeaten.
Boise State’s defense needs a little reworking, but the offense should be unstoppable with a dominant group of skill players that should help crank out 35 points a game or more without a problem. Throw in the games against Washington State and Oregon State for a little bit of street cred with the Power 5 lovers, a 13-0 Bronco team should be able to get in the discussion.
For that to happen, though, 1) Boise State can’t lose, 2) it has to be absolutely dominant, 3) there can’t be four Power 5 champs with one loss or go unbeaten, 4) there can’t be a superstar Power 5 team that goes 11-1 but doesn’t win the conference championship, and 5) there can’t be any other options.
I’m sticking with the call, but I’m asking for a lot to happen, just like …
1. Louisville will win the ACC title
It’s been my call since about an hour after the national title, but there are two giant problems.
Clemson and Florida State.
I absolutely love the Tigers and Seminoles – they’re two of the five best teams in college football – but from the start, I’ve made the call that Clemson will lose at Georgia Tech after getting just five days off to prepare, and to lose at Florida State. Meanwhile, I’ve called that Florida State will lose at Louisville and misfire against a jacked up Miami team that stands on its head for an old school win.
And then, Louisville can’t whiff outside of a loss at Clemson.
I hate picking teams that aren’t better than others in their conferences or divisions, and the Cardinals are far worse than FSU and Clemson. But I’m in now. It’s my pick, and I’m owning it.
And I’m right here for you if Clemson or Florida State end up in Atlanta in early December with confetti raining down.