College football stocks: Which teams to buy or sell on after regular season’s first month

Movie quote of the day:

“We’re still pioneers, we’ve barely begun. Our greatest accomplishments cannot be behind us, because our destiny lies above us.”

– Cooper, “Interstellar” (2014)

I can’t believe that we’re already a fourth of the way through the college football season. I feel like a mother watching her kid growing up – slow down, please. I said in the preseason that I thought this was going to be a weird season, and so far, it’s looking like that prediction is coming true. Seven preseason top 25 teams are no longer ranked, and several have catapulted into the top 25 after being unranked to start the season. I reckon it’s only going to get weirder as we enter conference play.

Anyway, I’m going to get to the point. The first month of the season is over, so, we’ve got a decent look at these teams play out of conference. I’m going to treat these teams like stocks and give my opinion on which teams to “buy” and “sell” on.

Teams that were supposed to be great in the preseason:

saban

Alabama Crimson Tide (4-0) – Buy

Yes, Nick Saban has another great team in Tuscaloosa. I’m buying as much Alabama stock as possible because this team has looked really good so far, and I’m not sure any team in the SEC will be able to hang with the Crimson Tide.

Clemson

Clemson Tigers (4-0) – Sell

I’m disappointed in Deshaun Watson and Clemson. I had high expectations for the Tigers, but they’ve struggled against lesser competition through the first four games. Even though they’re unbeaten, Clemson still has Louisville, Florida State, and Pitt coming up. It’ll only get tougher for the Tigers and I have to see it from them in order to buy in.

Florida State RB Dalvin Cook (left) and QB Deondre Francois.
Florida State running back Dalvin Cook (left) and quarterback Deondre Francois.

Florida State Seminoles (3-1) – Buy

I know that Florida State was destroyed by Louisville and college football fans are freaking out about it. I’m chalking it up as a very, very bad game. The Seminoles still have a ton of talent, with a young quarterback that is still developing. The toughest opponents left on the schedule are North Carolina and Clemson – both games in Tallahassee.

Former LSU head coach Les Miles.
Former LSU head coach Les Miles.

LSU Tigers (2-2) – Sell

Here’s another team that has been incredibly disappointing. I’m selling as much LSU stock as I can. The Tigers aren’t superb on defense and can’t move the ball offensively. Oh, and did I mention that LSU fired Les Miles? If the athletic department is jumping ship, so am I.

Ohio State QB J. T. Barrett.
Ohio State QB J. T. Barrett.

Ohio State Buckeyes (3-0) – Buy

Man, this team looks good. I expected Ohio State to struggle after losing 16 starters and a lot of NFL talent from last year’s team. However, this team doesn’t look like it’s missing a beat. Urban Meyer has done a fantastic job with this team so far and I’m all in on the Buckeyes.

oklahoma

Oklahoma Sooners (1-2) – Buy

Oklahoma is off to a bad start, but the Sooners have played Houston and Ohio State – both very good teams. I know they still have the rest of the Big 12 schedule ahead, but is anyone at all impressed with that conference so far? Baylor has looked like the toughest team in the Big 12, and the Sooners get them at home. I think it’s very possible a two-loss team makes the playoff this year and I still think that team could be Oklahoma. I’m still buying in to Oklahoma, for now.

Teams that were “on the bubble” in the preseason:

houston

Houston Cougars (4-0) – Buy

I think Houston is the real deal. The Cougars beat Florida State last year and Oklahoma in week one. Houston has a ton of talent, and Tom Herman will be the hottest head coach on the market this year. We’ll learn more when Houston plays Louisville on November 17. If the Cougars run the table, I’ll be the biggest advocate for them to be in the playoff.

Louisville QB Lamar Parker.
Louisville QB Lamar Parker.

Louisville Cardinals (4-0) – Buy

I’m all in on Louisville right now. Lamar Jackson has been unstoppable and has to be the front runner to win the Heisman. This team kicked the crap out of Florida State in week three, and we’ll learn more about them this weekend when the Cardinals take on Clemson.

Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio.
Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio.

Michigan State Spartans (2-1) – Sell

Michigan State catapulted into the top 12 after an impressive victory over Notre Dame, and many thought the Spartans were still a force to be reckoned with. However, Notre Dame lost to Duke on Saturday and Michigan State got beat pretty bad by Wisconsin. The Spartans lost too much from last year and I think they’re still rebuilding.

Notre Dame QB Deshone Kizer.
Notre Dame QB Deshone Kizer.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish (1-3) – Sell

Notre Dame looks bad – I mean like really bad. The Fighting Irish have surrendered 134 points in the first four games – that’s 33.5 points per game – which has led to the firing of defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder. Notre Dame still has N. C. State, Stanford, Miami, Virginia Tech, and USC left to play. It might be difficult for the Fighting Irish to make a bowl game if they can’t get the defense figured out.

TCU QB Kenny Hill.
TCU QB Kenny Hill.

TCU Horned Frogs (3-1) – Sell

I said in the preseason that I didn’t see the hype to TCU. The Horned Frogs returned some production but lost key players like Trevon Boykin and Josh Doctson, and did people forget that Kenny Hill was a disaster at Texas A&M? Now, Hill hasn’t been horrible but he hasn’t been as good as Boykin. After four games, I remain unimpressed with TCU. We’ll learn more this weekend when the Horned Frogs play Oklahoma.

washington

Washington Huskies (4-0) – Buy

Washington hasn’t played anyone, but the Huskies have taken care of business which is what you should do against lesser competition. The Huskies struggled against a below average Arizona team on the road last week, but they outscored their competition 100-30 in the first three games. I think Washington is legit and I think the Huskies will make a lot of noise this season.

Teams that were unranked in the preseason:

Colorado RB Phillip Lindsay (left) and QB Sefo Liufau.
Colorado RB Phillip Lindsay and QB Sefo Liufau.

Colorado Buffaloes (3-1) – Buy

I said before the season started that Colorado would make a bowl game this year. It was a bold prediction since the Buffaloes haven’t made a bowl game since 2007. I’ve been impressed with Colorado so far. The Buffaloes gave Michigan a run for its money in the Big House, and defeated Oregon in Eugene last week. I’m not sure the Buffaloes will contend for a Pac-12 title, but they will play Arizona State, UCLA, and Utah at home. So, they have an opportunity to control their own destiny when competing for the Pac-12 South division title.

Nebraska head coach Mike Riley.
Nebraska head coach Mike Riley.

Nebraska Cornhuskers (4-0) – Sell

I think Nebraska has looked pretty good so far. The reason why I’m selling on the Cornhuskers is because they still have to play Wisconsin, Ohio State, and Iowa on the road, and they play Minnesota at home – who isn’t a terrible team. It’s a tough road ahead to win the Big Ten West division and compete for a Big Ten championship, and I’m not sure Nebraska can get it done.

Texas head coach Charlie Strong.
Texas head coach Charlie Strong.

Texas Longhorns (2-1) – Sell

Sorry, Joe Tessitore, but Texas is not back. The Longhorns knocked off No. 10 Notre Dame in week one, but Notre Dame is now 1-3 – it’s not an impressive win anymore. Don’t forget that Texas lost to Cal – who isn’t a great team either. The Longhorns look to have a pretty good offense, but Charlie Strong has a real problem with his defense which has given up 104 points in three games. It doesn’t matter how good your offense is, a bad defense won’t win games in the Big 12.

Texas A&M QB Trevor Knight.
Texas A&M QB Trevor Knight.

Texas A&M Aggies – Sell

Forgive me for not buying into Texas A&M just yet, but I’ve seen this narrative before. In the previous three seasons under Kevin Sumlin, the Aggies are 13-1 in the first month of the regular season and get placed in the top 10, but they are 10-12 the rest of the season. I have to see it from Texas A&M first, and until I do, I won’t buy into the Aggies.

Washington State head coach Mike Leach.
Washington State head coach Mike Leach.

Washington State Cougars (1-2) – Sell

I really thought that Washington State could compete for the Pac-12 North division this season. However, after losing to Eastern Washington in week one, I was ready to jump ship. The Pac-12 is arguably the toughest conference in college football – certainly the deepest – and the Cougars still have road trips to Stanford, Arizona State, and Colorado. Not to mention matchups with UCLA, Cal, and Washington at home. I expect it to only get more difficult for Washington State going forward.

Wisconsin

Wisconsin Badgers (4-0) – Buy

I didn’t know what to expect from Wisconsin this season because the schedule looked tough. The win over LSU gets less and less impressive, but the Badgers still handled a well-coached Michigan State team pretty good in East Lansing last week. I think Wisconsin is legit. The Badgers run the ball effectively and have a stout defense. We’ll learn just how good Wisconsin is this month because the Badgers will take on Michigan, Ohio State, Iowa, and Nebraska.

Thanks for reading

Shane Price
Follow me on Twitter – @priceisright53

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