Mark Richt is backflipping off a high dive, and teams are finally reporting to summer camp! College Football is BACK. I thought it would be fun to throw some WILD predictions your way. I don’t have to be right I just have to make you question my sanity. It’s my world you’re just reading about it. So let’s get this show on the road.
#1 The Michigan Wolverines will be National Champions
Before you check me into a Hospital for Insanity, hear me out. Last year Michigan was a team plagued with injury and poor leadership at the Quarterback position. THEY STILL WENT 8-5!!!! However, this season could be different for Harbaugh’s crew as he was able to get coveted QB transfer Shea Patterson from Ole Miss. Patterson will be eligible for the 2018 season and brings the dynamic QB play Michigan needs to win. In 7 games last year for Ole Miss, Patterson threw for 2,259 yards with a passer rating of 151.5. To put this in perspective, Michigan started 3 QB’s last year who combined to throw for 2,226 yards. Thats 33 yards less than Patterson was able to throw in 7 games.
Now on top of the huge upgrade at QB, Michigan is only losing two starters from a defense that finished 3rd in the nation in total defense last year. And most of these returning starters have been with defensive coordinator Don Brown since his arrival in 2016. Add a veteran front 7 which should wreak havoc on the Big Ten and a new found energy to the offense and that should equal a college football playoff birth. Or as I am so wildly predicting a National Championship. Their odds currently sit at 10/1.
#2 Will Grier will be the first Mountaineer to win the Heisman Trophy!
The closest West Virginia has come to producing a Heisman Trophy winner was back in 1989 when QB Major Harris finished 3rd in the voting process, the only candidate they’ve ever had even place as a finalist. That will change this year with the troubled but spectacular Will Grier. Three years ago, Will Grier did not expect to be suiting up for the West Virginia Mountaineers but he’s all the better for it. In 2015, as a true freshman at the University of Florida, he had the Gators campus buzzing fresh off a 6-0 start until it all came crashing down. Before the 7th game of his Freshman season, he tested positive for PEDs and was suspended for the remainder of the season. Transferring from UF kept him out in 2016. In 2017, with everything behind him, he erupted.
With the Mountaineers last season Grier posted stellar numbers. He threw for 3,490 yards with 34 TDs to only 12 INTs. His completion percentage was at 64.4% and his passer rating was at 162.7. If he can keep up this production into the 2018 season and get a few key wins, specifically against Oklahoma at home, he should be a front-runner for this years Heisman Trophy. His odds currently sit at 12/1.
#3 Alabama will miss the Playoffs for the 1st time!
This is only WILD because they’ve never missed the postseason event of the year, but by no means is it crazy to see this happening. They weren’t even in the SEC title game last season and still got in over rival Auburn who beat them and had to play Georgia twice. Last season was lunacy and the committee knows it, even though they technically got it right. With that being said I think it will be easier for them this season because Alabama is beginning to slip. To see this you have to go to recruiting. Since Nick Saban took over in 2009, Alabama has never been outside of the top five in recruiting class rankings and has had classes come in at #1 from 2011 to 2017. That’s 7 years in a row for those keeping score at home! However, this year they’re ranked #6 making it his first year outside of the top 5. Their seemingly new conference rival, Georgia sits at #1.
I know this doesn’t mean much or that it’s time to panic. By no means am I saying that, but add this class, a QB battle, and a roster that lost 14 players to the draft and you have a bit of a problem. I still expect Alabama to play dominant football but with the rest of the SEC getting better, specifically Georgia and Auburn, I believe they will slip up enough to miss the playoffs. Watch out for trap games against, newly appointed Jimbo Fisher’s Texas A&M and SEC’s leading passer Drew Lock and Mizzou. Their odds to win it all currently sit at 5/2
#4 FAU will beat Oklahoma in Week 1!
At first glance, this seems too Wild, but circumstances matter. The only thing Oklahoma will have going for it in week 1 is home field advantage. Even that isn’t as reliable for a team with a history of finding ways to lose games they shouldn’t. In 2016 they dropped a home opener to Houston, in 2009 to BYU, and in 05 to TCU of the Mountain West. Harping on the past doesn’t prove much under Lincoln Riley, but the Sooners still have plenty to worry about. On September 1st, Oklahoma will be starting a brand new QB in either Kyler Murray or Austin Kendall. On top of that, they lost a host of defensive starters to an already underwhelming defense. Last year they ranked 87th in passing defense. That’s not good.
On the other side FAU, will be coming to Norman with a familiar group and a lot of swagger. They return 10 defensive starters and on offense they get back electric RB Devin Singletary. After signing an extension with Lane Kiffin, it should be expected that they will continue to improve. Last year they played Wisconsin close and I suspect that with no tune-up beforehand, they will test Oklahoma. Right now the odds are Oklahoma -21. If I was a gambling man I’d bet that FAU will at least cover that spread.
#5 LSU will hire Lane Kiffin at the end of the year!
It’s never fair to write off a coach before his team has hit the field, but that’s exactly what I’m doing here with Ed Orgeron. In his first full season as head coach of the Tigers, his team went 9-4. Not Bad! This is LSU though and they don’t sit well with “Not Bad”. They wouldn’t have fired Les Miles if 9-4 was ok. Also, did I mention one of those losses was to Troy at Death Valley on Homecoming? Ouch! Unfortunately for Ed, he has a tough schedule this year that starts against Miami, and has them travel to Auburn. Not to mention they have to play Bama and Georgia. They will take a step back from 9-4 and Orgeron will be on the hot-seat for that. He has always seemed a bit like a temporary hire until the right guy came along for LSU to scoop up.
That’s where Lane comes in. If Lane wins 10 games again he will have his pick of schools to coach. Heck if he beats Oklahoma, FAU will need to start looking immediately for his replacement. His buy out is large which is why I’m choosing LSU as his next destination. He needs a large university to show interest who can also shoulder the burden of said buy out due to the large extension Kiffin signed in Boca Raton. FAU is just a stepping stone for Lane and at the end of this year, I think it will lead to Baton Rouge.
Disagree with me? Comment below and we can talk it out!