Well, folks, we talked about CU, we talked about the teams on the schedule, now it’s time to go national. That’s right, everybody, I’m taking my talents to South Beach and South Bend, and yelling at both their teams. As you may have noticed, I don’t have the knowledge base to make accurate predictions about teams other than CU and CU’s opponents, to which I respond: Hasn’t stopped me before!
I also remind you that I’m only doing P5 teams, because the day that a G5 team competes for a national championship is the day I give up trying to predict stuff.
Boston College - Just guys being dudes, man. This team will continue to think that defense and only defense wins championships.
Clemson - The reigning national champs lost the best QB east of the Mississippi in Deshaun Watson. But they’re still really fun.
Florida State - DeAndre Francois leads a team of freak athletes with a really good coach. This will be fun, y’all.
Louisville - How is it that the team that returns the Heisman winner is the third most interesting team in this division? The ACC is weird.
NC State - This team is all about the big boys up front. The Wolfpack will actually look like the villains in The Grey for once.
Syracuse - Dino Babers is one of the coolest coaches in the country and they’ll throw the ball all day. However, their 2 - 3 zone lacks the athletes they need to make a run at the Final Four.
Wake Forest - The Demon Deacons won’t live up to their amazing costume name. Their defense is fun, and hey, their plays won’t get leaked this year!
Duke - Daniel Jones is one of the best young quarterbacks in the country and David Cutcliffe is Mike MacIntyre’s mentor in the industry. Plus, to be honest, I’m still riding the fact that they had a baller safety named Jeremy Cash. So, they’ll be good.
Georgia Tech - One of the wackiest teams in the country just lost their best RB to a violation of team rules. One can only assume that he wanted to change the name to Yellow Pullovers or Yellow Vests.
Miami - Mark Richt is back at his alma mater and already making things better. They have the athletes and the scary defense again. I can’t think of a funny comment, sorry.
North Carolina - They lose a lot, but Larry Fedora is doing his best Tom Landry impression, so he’ll be consistent.
Pittsburgh - Pat Narduzzi somehow has the worst secondary in the P5 again. Now that James Conner is gone, it’s harder to root for this team, but Quadree Henderson is really fun to watch.
Virginia - Bronco Mendenhall is one of the more interesting characters in the profession, and the Cavaliers are just bad enough to let him do his thing. After a while, of course.
Virginia Tech - The Hokies are back with another freak athlete at QB in Josh Jackson and a stingy defense. Frank Beamer may be gone, but BEAMERBALL NEVER DIES!
ACC Favorite - Florida State - They’re just too damn deep and fast. Plus, their quarterback is a stud.
Jack Favorite - Duke - Daniel Jones has tons of potential and their football team isn’t nearly as smug as their basketball team.
Indiana - Tom Allen is one of the best defensive coaches in the country, but Indiana is internally built to be an offensive powerhouse. So, they get mediocrity both ways.
Maryland - DJ Durkin and the Fightin Turrpins are still rebuilding. Their running backs are fun as hell and their defense will make plays.
Michigan - The first sighting of the Big Ten East royalty. Jim Harbaugh has to rebuild a lot of the defense, and the offense is missing some playmakers, but he has the horses to make a run.
Michigan State - Mark Dantonio had a surprise bad year, even with future superstar Malik McDowell on the D-line. I couldn’t name a single player on their roster this year, unless they still have that great RB from last year. MJ Scott, maybe?
Ohio State - My least favorite Big Ten team is up to no good once again. The latest crop of blue chippers has been shipped to Columbus, ready to replace the previous batch. Urban Meyer is the Trade Federation of college football.
Penn State - The Knitting Lions had a fun year last year. Trace McSorley remains fun, as does Saquon Barkley. The “Chuck and Luck” offense is always intriguing.
Rutgers - Oh boy, they’re even last alphabetically. Chris Ash is doing something in New Jersey, I’ll tune in next year to see what it is.
Illinois - Lovie Smith is somehow still coaching in this state. Really, as long as his players don’t hate him, he will be an improvement for the Fighting Illini. Expect another bowl-less season with some optimism.
Iowa - The Ferentzes saw some upheaval in their offensive staff, adding another Ferentz to the mix at OC. Akrum Wadley is a great name and an even better runner, and the defense has 10th year senior Josey Jewell leading the unit. The most consistent and unpredictable Big Ten team every year.
Minnesota - PJ Fleck and his Boat Rowers have no idea what they’ll look like next season. The Gophers lose their QB, they had a TE at one point named Maxx (with two xxs!), but they return a bunch. Who knows?
Nebraska - 0-12 and relegation to the MAC, probably.
Northwestern - The idyllic school from Chicago who recently got added to the Buffs’ schedule has a bunch returning, a great RB in Justin Jackson, and a four syllable QB in Clayton Thorson. They gon be good.
Purdue - Jeff Brohm FINALLY brings the XFL to West Lafayette like we’ve all been clamoring for. It’ll be a while, but they might get back to the QB cradle we all know them to be.
Wisconsin - It’s hard for me to preview this team, given that Wisconsin struck first in what looks to be brutal war. JUST WAIT FOR THE BUFFALO HERD IN MADISON, WISCONSIN! Either way, Wisconsin looks really solid in all phases, but they lost their best player in Jack Cichy for the season. They will be a great 2nd tier team.
Big Ten Favorite - Ohio State - Their larger ambitions hang on beating Oklahoma, but the Midwest’s Evil Empire looks to run their conference once again.
Jack Favorite - Northwestern - Justin Jackson is a baller, Clayton Thorson throws with gumption, and their defense is attacking. They’ll surprise some teams.
No Divisions, No Defense
Baylor - Matt Rhule is a much harder coach to hate than Art Briles, which is a good or bad thing, depending on how you feel about the Bears. The Wackos from Waco face a mediocre year, at bet, as they navigate truly terrible waters.
Iowa State - Matt Campbell has the Cyclones playing fun ball. The problem is that fun does not always equate to good (Iowa State and Syracuse are similar in this regard). They have a giant playing receiver in Allen Lazzard who is truly magnificent and a B-list Spider-man villain.
Kansas - I truly hope they go 1-11, with their only win coming over Texas.
Kansas State - Bill Snyder is STILL coaching and he’s somehow still really good at it. The Purple Wizard has a Snyderball team again, with a tough QB, a plodding offense, and a mean defense. How could you not play mad if you have to live in the Little Apple?
Oklahoma - I don’t really trust this team with a new coach an[REDACTED BY EDITOR] Undefeated Champs Boomer Sooner!
Oklahoma State - I deem this team “the most fun team” in 2017. Mason Rudolph, Justice Hill, Jim Washington, mullets, snake hunting, Pistol Pete, someone named McClesky, what more could you want?
Texas - At some point, Texas has to win games, right? Tom Herman will make it so. Texas will finish 8-4, with a crippling loss to Kansas.
TCU - Yes, Gary Patterson is good, and yes, Kenny Hill is erratic and full of potential, and yes, the young defense from last year is much more experienced this year, but there is only one thing to know. That thing is Deontay Burpin and he is so so cool.
Texas Tech - Kliff Kingsbury continues his crusade to merge the worlds of male modeling and coaching. The bad part is, he is not that great as a coach. Can he replace Patrick Mahomes at QB? Will the defense do anything this year? Will he eventually the replace with cardboard cutouts? All of these questions will be answered in an important season for the embattled coach.
West Virginia - Dana Holgerson, the “Red Bull” for short, returns to Morgantown to coach the Mountaineers after a great season. He replaces pretty much the entire defense and the QB, but the replacement is one-game wonder Will Grier, so it’s probably an improvement. His nickname is also Logan Lucky, starting now, as deemed by me.
Big 12 Favorite - Oklahoma - Choosing any other team is folly. Baker Mayfield is a magician and that offense will be humming.
Jack Favorite - Oklahoma State - Choosing any other team is folly. Mason Rudolph is a gunslinger of the highest caliber, and the rest of the offense is set up to let it ride. They are going to blow up most of the teams on their schedule.
California - My actual smart stuff for the Pac-12 is in the schedule preview for CU, but California is in an awkward spot. A precarious position given the shifting power of the Conference of Champions. A fault line, if you will.
Oregon - Willie Taggart and the Duck Tales will be a lot more fun that last year’s shell of a team. Royce Freeman remains amazing, the speed remains blinding, and I’ll mention Freeman again because he’s just that good.
Oregon State - Ryan “The Wrecking” Nall is main guy here. The bruising RB is exactly what HC Gary Andersen loves on his teams. Everyone should root for OSU to get to a bowl this year. Plus, they’re doing some advance scouting for us against CSU next weekend!
Stanford - Only the Robber Barons (look it up, their best mascot ever) could lose a Top 5 RB and be just fine. Stanford will systematically crush every other teams’ hopes into fine dust, save for USC. It would be annoying if they weren’t so nice and smart about it.
Washington - The Malamutes have the best coach in the North, and the best QB, and the best MLB, and the best NT. And the best colors, and the best stadium. I think I was supposed to say something negative here, but I forgot to.
Washington State - Mike Leach has carved out his own little kingdom in Eastern Washington, exactly how he wants it. It’s really not fair now that the Cougars can run and defend as well as air it out.
Arizona - Wildcats is such a lame team name. They really should do Cacti or Anansi or Canyons or something. Unfortunately, their lame name and lame jerseys will be matched by some lame play this year. Nick Wilson is good though, so they’ve got that going for them, which is nice.
Arizona State - Todd Graham and the Sun Devils (who inexplicably have the symbol of a water god as their main logo now) are on thin ice. Because all ice is thin ice in Tempe. The most important thing about this team is the fact that star DL JoJo Wicker has not yet been christened as “The Wicker Man”. Make it so, ASU.
Colorado - Undefeated split National Champs with OU.
UCLA - The Bruins will continue to be derided by me for being the second California state school with a bear as a mascot. I mean, UCSB has a banana slug as a mascot, how hard can it be? Until they change their name, they will continue to under-deliver. But other than that, Josh Rosen is pretty good and their running game can’t get worse.
USC - I am so scared of this Trojan team. A USC team with a good Southern Cali QB is always potent, but this the first one that I’ve actually liked. Sam Darnold is much too charming, humble, and free-wheeling to go to USC. I conclude that he is an imposter who will destroy the program from the inside out.
Utah - We finally get to the hated rival, Utah. The Utes are the same team every year, no need to waste any words on them.
Pac-12 Favorite - USC - Amazing QB, freak athletes at every position, player’s coach, it’s the early 2000s again. The Trojans are going to be fun to watch and they’ll stomp on just about everybody (Stanford is too big to get stomped on, as are buffalo).
Jack Favorite - CU - Duh.
Florida - Jim McElwain and the Swamp Warriors are at it again. Can they find a QB? Can they move the ball? Will Steve Spurrier sneak onto the sideline? Lots of questions for the SEC East favorite.
Georgia - The Bulldogs made one of the best hires in recent memory with Kirby Smart, the loveable Nintendo character who swallowed a cartoon professor. Can Kirby lead his talented team back to Dreamland in his second year? Give him more time, please, he doesn’t have thumbs.
Kentucky - Pre-basketball has never been the focus at Kentucky, but Mark Stoops did a good job last year getting them to a bowl and beating Louisville. Then, CU stole their coordinator and John Calipari got put into the Hall-of-Fame. Plus, they lost Poop Johnson. Who can recover from that?
Missouri - The Tigers have been struggling as a university and a team recently. Last year’s team produced a few glimmers of hope. They run the ball really well and can pass deep when they want. This year, if they can put any semblance of a defense together, they’ll win six games. But more importantly, they’ll be another really fun team.
South Carolina - Will Muschamp is back at an SEC school and doing a good job? This is just a very strange team all around. The Cocks have Skai Moore on defense, who is the best linebacker named after a World of Warcraft NPC ever, and Jake Bentley at QB, who is merely the second best QB named after a car (Cardale Jones is 1, obviously). South Carolina will join the race to mediocrity in the SEC East, making it to a bowl in 2017.
Tennessee - The Champions of Life lost literal rocket scientist Joshua Dobbs at QB and literal dump truck Derek Barnett on DL, but they return just about everyone else. Just kidding, they don’t return a lot. Do they have enough to get to a decent bowl? Yes. Do they have enough to live up to the Volunteer fan expectations? NEVER.
Vanderbilt - We finally reach the Nerds from Nashville. Vandy has a coach in Derek Mason that is young, cool, and actually good at coaching there. the Commodores went to a bowl last year! This year, they lose Zach Cunningham, the only name that I remembered from that team, but they return Ralph Webb at RB. He is good.
Alabama - Anyone could write this section. Great coach, great athletes, and it doesn’t really matter who they lost at this point, they just reload. If Ohio State is the Trade Federation, Bama is the Clone Army. One blue-chipper after another just keeps coming out of
Arkansas - You know how they say that after a while, pets start to look like their owners? Well, the Razorbacks look like Bert Bielema in 2017. Loud, gigantic, and totally unpredictable. This team will score 45 and give up 10 one week, and then flip those scores the next.
Auburn - In true Auburn fashion, the new savior for the Tigers is a QB that another school developed. Jarrett Stidham comes over from Baylor and immediately steps into the gaping, Cam Newton-sized hole that still hasn’t been filled. The nice thing is, he has a Sherman Tank behind him in Kamryn Pettway. He uses a gallon of rocket fuel per mile, but it so worth it.
Mississippi State - Fun Team Alert! The Bulldogs might have the best QB in the SEC. Nick Fitzgerald is all sorts of peculiar, as a 6’6 RB who can throw pretty well, and the defense should alternate between aggressive and broken.
LSU - I ALREADY MISS LES MILES BRING HIM BACK. Yes, Ed Orgeron is just as weird, but he’s much more traditional on gameday, when it matters. Derrius Guice is my favorite running back in the country (other than Phillip Lindsay of course), and only the Tigers can put a talent like Guice next to... Purdue transfer Danny Etling?
Ole Miss - This preview, like Ole Miss’ season, is pointless and frivolous.
Texas A&M - The Aggies will have a fantastic September, a concerning October, and a disappointing November, ending with a 8-4 that was coasted into. Another decent bowl showing and another season of A&M fans saying “Never again!”
SEC Favorite - Alabama - It really is a one-team conference at this point. The Crimson Tide will run the SEC in 2017, and probably 2018 and 2019, too.
Jack Favorite - Arkansas - The Hogs have a fun QB in Austin Allen, a coach that opens it up every game, and nasty play in both trenches. Plus, they say “Woo Pig Sooie!” How fun is that?
CFB Playoff Prediction
#1 Ohio State vs. #4 USC
#2 Alabama vs. #3 Florida State
If Ohio State beats Oklahoma, that’s where they’ll end up, barring a strange upset (which can happen with a young team). They have a senior AA QB JT Barrett with an all-star OC in Kevin Wilson and a top 2 coach in CFB. If Oklahoma beats OSU (editors note: when, not if), put OU in here instead! USC has a tough schedule, so they can tank a loss. The Trojans can beat anyone they want to this year, and they’ll beat OSU in this game if it happens.
It would be very poetic to end the season with the same matchup from the very beginning. But it would also be very boring. Alabama and FSU have crazy athletes, great coaches, and good QBs. I choose the Seminoles, not because they’re the better team, but because I want to will it into existence.
#3 Florida State vs. #4 USC
Now, this is the matchup that I want to see. Crazy athletic teams that open up their offense and let it go. Both defenses will be serviceable but not truly elite, giving the QBs a little room to play. And, because this is a PAC-12 site and it’s all made up anyway, USC WINS THE DAMN THING. Bring the trophy back to the West Coast.