Editor’s Note- With the College Football Season kicking off today, this blog is a preview of the junior circuit, with a prediction of what four teams will end up in the College Football Playoff at the end of the season
Today is the official start of the college football season and regular season college football might be my third favorite sport after the NFL and MLB. I love waking up on Saturday mornings and watching football all day instead of having a social life or doing schoolwork. As much as I love the regular season of college football, I hate the bowl season. There are too many bowl games that do not matter, so instead of previewing every bowl game, I am just going to talk about the ones that matter. The Bowl games that matter to me are the two semifinal games of the the College Football Playoff and the National championship game. In this blog, I will pick a winner for all Power 5 conferences, the ACC, the Big-12, the Big-10, the Pac-12 and the SEC, I will then predict what four teams will make the College football playoff and who will win the National Championship game.
The Atlantic Coast Conference preview-
The National Champion from last season reside in the ACC, but I do not think they will be back there again this season. The Clemson Tigers won in an upset against Alabama in the title game but have lost a lot of pieces to the NFL. The biggest piece they lost was quarterback DeShaun Watson who was drafted by the Texans. The Tigers will be a very good team under coach Dabo Swinney but do not have all the pieces to return to the College Football playoff just yet. The team that is going to win the ACC is Florida State. The Seminoles had a decent season last year before losing games to teams like Louisville and Clemson. Louisville has last year’s Heisman Trophy winner in Lamr Jackson on the roster but they play Florida State on the road this season and that will be the difference in them not winning the ACC. The Noles have a tough game to start the season, facing Alabama on neutral field on Saturday, and that will be their toughest game of the season. If the Noles are able to upset Alabama, then they have basically clinched a spot in the College Football Playoff.
The Big-12 conference preview-
The Big-12 has two teams that go into the season thinking that they can win the conference. Both Oklahoma and Oklahoma State have all the pieces to make a run at the National Championship and it will come down to who wins the game between these two rivals in early November. This is the first time in the College Football Playoff era that the Big-12 will have a conference championship and I would not be surprised if the two Oklahoma teams face each other in that game. In the end, I think the experience of Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield will carry the Sooners over their in state rivals and they will win the Big-12 outright.
The Big-10 conference preview-
The Big-1o has two of the best teams in the country, but the problem is that they are both in the same conference. Ohio State and Michigan are light years better than anyone else in the conference, but a team in the other division only has to face one of the two teams to win the conference. Penn State beat Ohio state last season and sneaked in to win the division and then go on to win the conference, I would not be surprised if a similar thing happens this season with a team like Wisconsin. However, the Ohio State Buckeyes have the most experienced quarterback on the roster, and JT Barett will want to win the National title for himself. I expect the Buckeyes to go either undefeated or have one loss and win the Big-10 and go to the College Football Playoff.
The Pacific-12 conference preview-
The Pac-12 has teams on both divisions that think they can make the playoffs. The Washington Huskies won the conference last season and made the playoffs, they go into this season with the same quarterback in Jake Browning who will be a Heisman favorite at the end of the season. There are two more Heisman caliber quarterbacks in the Pac-12 and they both play in the same town. Josh Rosen of UCLA and Sam Darnold of USC can lead their respective teams to the promised land. The Battle of LA game between the UCLA Bruins and the USC Trojans will be a defacto Round of 16 game where the winner will face Washington in the Pac-12 championship game and the Pac-12 champion will go to the College Football Playoff. The team that can upset this format is Stanford, who will play in Washington in what could be another Round of 16 game in the Pac-12. I am predicting that the USC Trojans led by future New York Jet Sam Darnold will conquer the Pac-12 and go to the college football playoff.
The Southeastern Conference Preview-
The SEC has been the best conference in the past decade, but is becoming extremely top heavy recently. The teams up top like Alabama, LSU, and Florida are much better than the other eleven teams in the conference. This is another conference where the conference championship will be a defacto quarterfinal as the conference champion will go to the College Football Playoff. The Alabama Crimson Tide have made every single College Football Playoff thus far and they are currently the odd-on favorite to win the National Championship this season. The Tide will have their biggest test against the LSU Tigers in early November, but the game is in Alabama which gives the slight advantage to the Tide over the Tigers. The Tide will most likely play the Florida Gators in the SEC Championship game and I think the Tide have enough talent to win the SEC and go to the playoffs.
Those were the previews of all Power-5 conferences and my prediction for each conference champion. If you scrolled down without reading the long paragraphs(shame on you), then the conference champions I predicted are Florida State, Oklahoma, Ohio State, USC, and Alabama. If you read the previews then you know that I said that the conference champion of all but one conference will make the College Football Playoff, and the team that will be not making the playoffs is Oklahoma. The Sooners will have more losses than any other team and thus they will be on the outside looking in. The other four teams will be seeded as Alabama and USC in one game and FSU and OSU in the other. Below is my prediction for both games and who I think will win the National Champion.
The Suger Bowl preview- Alabama vs USC
The Tide will be the one seed in the playoff, thus they cannot be in a geographical disadvantage and will play their game in their backyard in New Orleans. The game will be a home game for the Tide and the Trojans might be overwhelmed by the crowd in pregame. Not only will the crowd be against the Trojans but they will be facing a team that is the best team in the country. The Tide will win this game and go to the Finals because the Trojans will need to overcome a lot of huddles to win the game.
The Rose Bowl Preview- Florida St vs Ohio St
The two teams will have to travel across the country to play this bowl game, but both teams have fan bases that travel really well. I expect the crowd at the Rose Bowl full of both Noles and Buckeyes and it will not be a factor in determining the outcome of the game. I expect the Buckeyes to win the game because they have a more experienced roster than the Noles and that will be the deciding factor in this game.
National Championship game preview- Atlanta, GA, Ohio St vs Alabama
The game will once again be played in SEC country, thus giving the advantage to the Tide. However, the last times these two teams faced each other in the playoffs was in SEC country, but the Buckeyes still won the game. This time around I expect the Tide to dominate the game and not look over their opponent which they have done in the past in the playoffs and lift the National Championship.
There you have it, the Alabama Crimson Tide will win the National Championship once again. Be sure to check back throughout the season to see how wrong I was in my predictions.