After starting the first 5 No Doubters with 3 wins and 6 losses the next 5 can only get better, right? I am trying to go with the glass half full mindset because it can’t get much worse. Here are 10 through 6 as we get closer to that Top 5 of the 15 No Doubters in 2015:
10—BYU will be known by the nation come mid-October and make a New Year’s Six Bowl. The name that no one is talking about this offseason seems to be Taysom Hill. The guy is good and I know everyone is expecting him to be slower because of last year’s leg injury. He is better at 75% than some QBs are at 100%. And, they also have a pretty darn good coach in Bronco Mendenhall…what a bad ass name!
I believe that BYU was known by the nation around mid-October. They knocked off Nebraska and Boise State in back to back weeks with late touchdown passes on what has become known as a Hail Mary. If the defense could have staged off a late comeback in week 3 against UCLA the Cougars would have been 3-0 going into Ann Arbor and with more confidence that was definitely deflated in the eventual 31-0 loss to the Wolverines. Unfortunately, the QB Taysom Hill was injured in the first game against Nebraska, making room for Tanner Mangum to become a household name with two desperation throws in back to back weeks. After starting 2-2 the Cougars only lost 1 more time to finish the regular season at 9-3 but it was Houston who earned the New Year’s Six bid and left BYU in the Las Vegas Bowl against their rivals, the Utah Utes. Man, this mirror ball was very murky last summer as the losses continue to mount. 1 WIN and 1 LOSS
9—Penn State will win 9 games but finish out of the running for the Big Ten championship. James Franklin is the man and we can obviously see what he did at Vanderbilt and what happened when he left for Mount Nittany. He can recruit and he is intense, but he develops relationships with today’s kids. And, he doesn’t back down from opposing coaches in offseason fodder.
The Nittany Lions had a great QB in Christian Hackenburg, or so we thought. He struggled last year behind a dreadful offensive line. Penn State limped into their bowl game with a 7-5 record after starting the season 6-2. They lost to the likes of Temple, Northwestern, Michigan, Michigan State, Georgia, and Ohio State so it wasn’t like they were losing to garbage teams but 9 wins was in reach if close losses to the Wildcats and Bulldogs would have gone the other way. James Franklin has to right the ship and bring in 8-9 wins in the stacked Big Ten Eastern division or he could be taking up space in the unemployment line. 1 LOSS
8—Florida will struggle, mightily, to win 7 games. Welcome back to the SEC, Mr. McElwain! Their defense will be good, but not as good as it was the last few years with Muschamp because McElwain is an offensive mind. Much like Chizik, CJM can make the Gators better by just showing up because they were so bad last year. Book those Birmingham hotels up, Gator fans.
Man, what I was wrong on this one. Florida had a great year under Urban I mean Jim McElwain. His defense was good and they feasted on a week SEC East to make it to Atlanta with 7 conference wins. If not for PED news from QB Will Grier they could have found themselves square in the Top 4 talk with a big win against Alabama in the SEC title game. Their offense was non-existent the last few weeks of the season as defenses figured out to stop Treon Harris. Big things are expected this year in Gainesville but with Harris, Grier, and many defenders gone I don’t see….or should I? 1 LOSS
7—The SEC West winner will limp into Atlanta with 2 losses. It is going to be a struggle week in and week out this year as many as 5 teams could make it to the 1st weekend in December. All the teams with a chance return key players that can lead them to the ATL, but I believe the superior special teams unit will be the key.
The Crimson Tide and the Gators represented the conference in the SEC championship game during that first weekend in December. There was a lot on the line as both teams had a lot to play for, with the Tide sitting on a 11-1 record and the Gators possessing a 10-2 record, but the lack of offense from the Gators and the already stingy defense from the Elephants made for an easy path to the playoff. The Tide ran through the SEC West pretty easily except for losing a home game in September to Ole Miss. They played the first 18 minutes of that game like they had never seen a pigskin before, but that was their only hiccup in the long season and Nick Saban’s bunch looked like a different team after losing to the Rebels for the second time in as many year. 1 LOSS
6—Jim Harbaugh pulls of a miracle of all miracles for the Big Ten and leads Big Blue to 8 wins. However, he doesn’t get the best of Urban in year 1. Wherever he has gone he has won, no matter college or NFL, and he will win in Ann Arbor, but it will take him 2-3 years to get the Wolverines back to the Bo days.
The Wolverines started the season on the road in 2015 and looked as bad as they possibly could but almost stole a win against the Utes from Utah. From there in their 12 games they won 10 times and looked like a team to be reckoned with in 2016. Outside of one of the craziest endings in college football history against Michigan State, the Wolverines played great and actually went 3 straight games without allowing a point against the likes of BYU, Maryland, and Northwestern. The Fightin’ Harbaughs brought back toughness and a pro-style running game to the Big House and will be fun to watch in years to come. 1 WIN
So, there you have it, folks! As we move into the Top 5 review from last year’s No Doubters I add 2 more wins and 4 more losses to bring my record to a humbling 5 wins and 10 losses.
What is that old saying? Everything that goes down must come up! I am hoping for that was we move into the review of the Top 5 No Doubters.