Movie Quote of the Day:
“Don’t you worry your pretty striped head, we’re gonna get you back to Tyson and your cozy tiger bed.”
– Stu Price, The Hangover (2009)
College football season begins tomorrow. Otherwise known as the most wonderful time of the year. I finally had enough time to make my own predictions for the upcoming college football season. Before you scroll to read my predictions, I’ll let you know that I like to think outside the box when picking a champion. I don’t like to pick defending champions, and I’ll always take the field. Check out my predictions:
Major Awards Predictions:
Heisman (Most Outstanding Player): Ezekiel Elliott, Ohio State
Maxwell (Best Player): Trevone Boykin, TCU
Walter Camp (Player of the Year): Ezekiel Elliott, Ohio State
Davey O’Brien (Best QB): Trevone Boykin, TCU
Doak Walker (Best RB): Ezekiel Elliott, Ohio State
Bednarik (Best Defensive Player): Joey Bosa, Ohio State
Biletnikoff (Best WR): Lequon Treadwell, Ole Miss
Groza (Best Kicker): Robert Aguayo, Florida State
Power Five Conference winners:
Clemson won 10 games in 2014. Even though the team lost offensive coordinator Chad Morris in the offseason, the team returns a lot of talent on offense. The biggest question mark on offense will be if sophomore quarterback Deshaun Watson can recover from his torn ACL last season. The defense is another question mark, where only two starters return for 2015, after the Tigers ranked #1 in overall defense in 2014. However, defensive coordinator Brent Venables is one of the best in the business. I don’t expect too much of a drop off from 2014.
Clemson’s schedule is favorable too. Their home games include Wofford, Appalachian State, Notre Dame, Georgia Tech, Boston College, Florida State, and Wake Forest. They ought to win the majority of those games; I see tough games against Notre Dame, Georgia Tech, and Florida State. Their away schedule is even more favorable. Including games against Louisville, Miami, NC State, Syracuse, and South Carolina. I could see losses to Louisville or South Carolina.
Record (conference record): 10-3 (6-2)
Big 12: TCU
TCU returns a lot of talent on offense, an offense that ranked number six in the nation in total offense last year. Including Heisman hopeful quarterback Trevone Boykin, and the leading receivers from 2014, Josh Doctson and Kolby Listenbee. They also return leading rusher Aaron Green, who almost rushed for 1,000 yards last year despite not starting until November. The question marks for TCU lies with their defense. TCU has to replace All-American linebacker Paul Dawson and safety Chris Hackett, who led the team in interceptions. Don’t forget about cornerback Kevin White, who the team will also have to replace. I’m not worried too much about TCU’s defense; head coach Gary Patterson is one of the best defensive minds in college football.
I’m giving TCU the edge over Baylor in the Big 12 because of schedule. Their home schedule consists of Texas, West Virginia, and Baylor. The road schedule is a little tougher, but manageable. They have Minnesota, Kansas State, Oklahoma State, and Oklahoma all on the road.
Record (conference record): 11-1 (8-1)
Big Ten: Ohio State
No team in college football is as stacked as Ohio State. This team has so much talent returning from last year’s national championship team. The Buckeyes should have an explosive offense again. They return quarterbacks Cardale Jones and J.T. Barrett, Urban Meyer has yet to pick a starter. They return Heisman hopeful running back Ezekiel Elliott, four starters on the offensive line, and several wide receivers.
The defense, which averaged giving up just five yards per play and racked up 45 sacks last season, returns a lot of star players too. Like defensive end Joey Bosa, defensive tackle Adolphus Washington, linebackers Joshua Perry, Darron Lee, and Raekwon McMillan. The secondary could be a problem for the Buckeyes with Doran Grant moving on to the NFL. However, the secondary still returns Eli Apple, Tyvis Powell, and Vonn Bell.
The Buckeyes’ schedule is also very favorable. The toughest road games this team has is Virginia Tech on Monday, and Michigan on Nov. 28. The other tough matchups against Penn State and Michigan State are in Columbus. With that much talent and a favorable schedule, I’m not sure who can beat them in the regular season.
Record (conference record): 13-0 (8-0)
PAC-12: Arizona State
I’m thinking a little bit outside the box with this pick, but Arizona State has won 10 games in each of the last two seasons. They return a few playmakers on offense, like their running backs Demario Richard and Kalen Ballage, who combined for 604 yards on just 126 carries. They will have to replace three-year starter Taylor Kelly at quarterback, but Mike Bercovici performed fine when filled in for an injured Kelly last year. The problem with this team will be the passing game without Jaelen Strong (in the NFL) and Cameron Smith is out for the year with injury. Former running back D.J. Foster should help at the slot receiver position.
The defense lost two solid playmakers from last year’s defense, Marcus Hardison and Damarious Randall. The strength of the Sun Devils’ defense is in the back seven. They have five linebackers that can rotate and return three starters in the secondary.
It was tough to pick Arizona State over USC to win the PAC-12, but Arizona State has the favorable schedule. The Sun Devils open against Texas A&M in Houston, they have USC, Oregon, Arizona, and Washington all at home. However, the road schedule could have some bumps when the Sun Devils travel to UCLA and Utah. In my opinion the PAC-12 is going to be the best conference this season, and I think the winner of the conference will speak volumes to the College Football Playoff Committee.
Record (conference record): 12-1 (8-1)
Auburn will have one of the best offenses in college football in 2015, despite losing six starters from last year. The experienced Jeremy Johnson will replace Nick Marshall at quarterback. Johnson showed flashes of being a great player last year when he filled in for the suspended Marshall. Auburn also has a plethora of wide receivers led by Duke Williams (45 receptions 730 yards, and five touchdowns in 2014) and Ricardo Louis (21 receptions, 261 yards, and three touchdowns in 2014). There’s talent at running back too with the talented Roc Thomas, and incoming junior college transfer Jovon Robinson.
Auburn’s weakness the last few years has been their defense, their defense ranked 64th in total defense in 2014. In the offseason, Auburn hired Will Muschamp as its defensive coordinator, and Muschamp is known for always having a great defense for any team he’s coached. I expect his presence to make an impact for this team. Auburn also returns their top three tacklers from 2014, safety Johnathan Ford, linebacker Cassanova McKinzy, and linebacker Kris Frost.
Auburn’s schedule is favorable too. The Tigers open the season in Atlanta against Louisville. They have Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Georgia, and Alabama all at home. Their toughest road games will come when they visit LSU, Arkansas, and Texas A&M. The SEC West is absolutely stacked; it won’t surprise me if the winner of the division comes out with two losses. I think Auburn manages to escape the division and win the conference.
Record (conference record): 12-1 (8-1)
New Years Six/College Football Playoff Predictions:
Rose: Stanford vs. Michigan State
Fiesta: Boise State vs. Florida State
Cotton: #3 Arizona State vs. #2 TCU
Sugar: Baylor vs. Alabama
Peach: Georgia vs. Clemson
Orange: #4 Auburn vs. #1 Ohio State
#4 Auburn vs. #2 TCU
Everyone is picking Ohio State to repeat as national champions. Not that I don’t think that Ohio State can do it, it’s just that it’s so difficult to repeat. Any team that was ranked number one in the preseason has never won the national championship. Like I said above, if given the chance between Ohio State and the field to win the national championship I’m taking the field every day and twice on Sunday. If Ohio State gets through the Big Ten unbeaten, I think you can expect them to be knocked out in the College Football Playoff.
Thanks for reading
Follow me on Twitter – @priceisright53