5 (Potentially) Stupid College Football Predictions For 2017
They were some of the boldest and craziest calls of the offseason. Now that the season is here, are these five college football predictions dumb?
Yeah, yeah, yeah. You believe this on this side, someone else believes something totally the opposite on the other side, and everyone’s yelling at each other and going batspit insane in the process.
Meanwhile, no one will budge an inch to admit that their positions might just be a tad bit askew, even when faced with incontrovertible facts to prove otherwise.
So how do we fix this toxic climate? How do we become friends again? We first allow for the possibility that the core beliefs that we fight and scream to the death for might not be 100% accurate,
We have to admit that there’s a chance that we’re wrrrrrr … it’s okay to say it.
I’ve spent the last eight months researching, writing, and diving into every possible aspect of what might happen in the 2017 college football season. I have my opinions on how everything will go, who’s going to win what, and how good everyone is.
And now, those beliefs are ingrained into the very fiber of my being.
Three of my five big calls of last year went horribly wrong, one wasn’t that far off, and one theory – the No. 1 – didn’t work out, but I demand love for.
So in the attempt to be the bigger man here, here are five stupid calls I’ve made that if they’re right, I’ll be even more painfully obnoxious than normal. However, I also realize I might be wrrrrr …
5. BYU will beat Wisconsin
Strange things happen in Provo.
And on the football field, too.
The Badgers had a brutally unfair schedule last season, starting out against LSU, having to go to Michigan State – which looked brutal at the time – to go along with road games at Michigan, Iowa and Northwestern, and with home dates against Ohio State, Nebraska and Minnesota.
This year, there’s no Ohio State, Michigan State or Penn State from the East, and the Michigan game is in Camp Randall.
Utah State and Florida Atlantic shouldn’t be a problem, and while going to Nebraska won’t be easy the rest of the road slate against Illinois, Indiana and Minnesota is as reasonable as it gets for a team that might be even better after playing in the 2016 Big Ten Championship.
It’s a schedule that a really, really good team should take and go 11-1 with, or even 12-0.
But there’s a trip to BYU that could screw it all up.
The Cougars have one of the nation’s nastiest linebacking corps, a great defense overall, and a veteran QB in Tanner Mangum who should hold up well under the Badger defensive pressure.
Wisconsin will go 11-1 with the puck on its stick in the Big Ten Championship to go to the College Football Playoff with a win. But BYU will be the blemish.
4. USC will be fine, but just not a College Football Playoff killer
I’m not saying the Trojans will be awful, and they could absolutely win the Pac-12 South, or even the Pac-12. But they’re not going to steamroll their way into the College Football Playoff like many are predicting.
To go on an even bigger limb, Sam Darnold will be the No. 1 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, and he’s going to finish behind Washington’s Jake Browning and one other Pac-12 passer – maybe Washington State’s Luke Falk, UCLA’s Josh Rosen, or even Oregon’s Justin Hebert – in the all-conference discussion.
But for the Trojans, even though they get Stanford and Texas at home, those games aren’t a lock. Going to Washington State won’t be easy, Utah is a bear, and going to Notre Dame and Arizona State in back-to-back weeks will be an issue.
The schedule just isn’t that bad – Alabama and Florida State would probably rip through it like tissue paper – but the Trojans will lose twice, and that’s enough to stay out of the final four.
3. NC State will be this year’s Louisville
I’m not going out on a limb and saying the Wolfpack will win the ACC – like I did last year calling for the Cardinals to win the conference – and QB Ryan Finley won’t win the Heisman, but they’re going to be a massive pain in everyone’s butt.
I love the defensive line, like the veteran offensive skill players, and am all in on the idea that head coach Dave Doeren has had enough time logged in to get his pieces in place.
The Pack won’t win at Florida State, but I’ll go out there and say they don’t gag against Clemson like they did last year and come up with a big home win over Louisville.
I’ll admit, State could and should be just flaky enough to lose at Pitt and maybe even at Boston College, but with wins over South Carolina, Marshall, Furman, Syracuse, Louisville, at Notre Dame, Clemson, at Wake Forest, North Carolina, they’ll be an ACC story.
2. Colorado will finish 4-8
Forgive me for repeating my standard line here. How do you know the SEC East sucked last season? Vanderbilt and Kentucky went bowling. How do you know the Pac-12 was a wee bit down? Colorado won the South.
Arizona, Arizona State and UCLA were decimated by injuries, but that won’t happen again. All three of those teams will be stronger, Utah looks like it tweaked things a bit and should be even better, and USC is an obvious powerhouse.
So who in the division is left without a chair when the music stops?
Colorado loses a slew of the big stars off of last year’s defense, but it’s not going to be awful. QB Steven Montez looks like he’s about to be fantastic, and the other offensive parts are there.
Even so, I’m all in on Colorado State coming up with a huge season, so part of my Colorado call begins with losing to the Rams to kick things off.
After beating Texas State and Northern Colorado, the Buffs aren’t beating Washington and lose at UCLA. I’m allowing for a win over Arizona – not a given by any stretch – but budgeted in a loss at Oregon State followed up by a loss at Washington State. Throw in a road loss at Arizona State, a home loss at USC, and a road loss at Utah, and … 4-8.
1. Michigan will get into the College Football Playoff
The Wolverines aren’t exactly a potential Cinderella story, since they’re hovering around the top ten in the preseason rankings. However, Ohio State is No. 2, Penn State is getting the love of a loaded defending Big Ten champion, and Wisconsin is going to be terrific from the other division.
After losing almost all the starters from last year, and having to do a total gut job in the secondary, receiving corps, and in star power, it’s easy to assume the Wolverines aren’t going to be much of a College Football Playoff factor.
After all, if they couldn’t get it done last year, why are they going to be better with the potential for as many as 20 new starters taking over this time around?
The defense will still be amazing. The line will be a rock around a killer rotation of tackles, the linebackers will be fine, and the first team on the schedule that can throw is Purdue in the fourth week of the season – the secondary will be great by then.
For this to work, the Wolverines have to beat Florida in the opener. If they’re good enough to do that, they’re good enough to beat Cincinnati, Air Force, Purdue, Michigan State – with an off week to prepare for the Spartans – Indiana, Rutgers, Minnesota and Maryland.
Don’t gack in any of those winnable games, split the road dates at Penn State and Wisconsin, and finally, finally, finally beat Ohio State again – they had the Buckeyes last year before gagging it away – and they’re 11-1 and in the B1G title game.
Win that, get into the CFP, and Jim Harbaugh will have done part of what he was hired to do.
They’ll get crushed by Alabama, but at least they’ll get there.