We are mere hours away from kicking off the college football season and my anticipation is through the roof. Leaving for a man-trip of a lifetime probably doesn’t help, either! College football is here people and I have a feeling that this season might be the best one yet. From major upsets to unbelievable finishes all the way down to incredible players doing unfathomable things on the field college football is king and no sport even comes close!
The first 8 (Un)-Sweet and Senseless predictions have been made and I will close out the final 8 predictions with this article so that college football can officially kick off! Yes, they have been waiting on me the entire time.
- 2 of these 3 coaches will be hanging out in the unemployment line come early December (Sumlin, Malzahn or Strong)
I think we all know how serious the state of Texas takes their football. Just look at some of the high school stadiums that state has resurrected in recent years. And, then throw in 85,000-plus people 6-7 times a year on campuses in Austin or College Station and you get straight madness! I haven’t even mentioned the strangle hold the Board of Regents has on those universities in those unbelievable college towns. Then, there is Auburn! I think Malzahn, bless him so much, would not be under the extra sensitive microscope if not for taking his team to the title game in year 1….and that guy named Saban! There is a lot of pressure to win across the country…and win fast! 2 of these 3 coaches will be looking for new jobs and the crazy thing is they will get picked up within 7 days of being fired from their respective former employer.
- The ACC will have more qualified bowl teams than the Big 10.
The ACC has gotten better in the last few years and definitely closed the gap on all of the other conferences, especially the SEC. I know a lot of people still believe the ACC is so top heavy with Clemson, Florida State, and whoever takes hold of the 3rd place on a year-in, year-out basis (that 3rd place is like a rotating door that never stops…UNC, VT, Miami, Duke, GT…who will it be 2016…Virginia? The Big 10 might the biggest top heavy conference out there! There is Ohio State, Michigan State, Iowa, and Michigan and then everyone else! Are the other teams even close? Yes, competitive, but not that good. Both conferences have 14 teams or 15 if Notre Dame counts as ACC, but the ACC will out bowl the Big 10 this year. Take it to the bank!
- LSU wins 11 games total but Les Miles still loses his job because he can’t beat Saban!
Leslie Miles almost lost his job last year, being so close all he had to was place his wet signature on the buyout papers and the Bayou Bengals would have had a new leader in 2016! The team, fans, entire college football nation surrounded him and went ALL IN for the Mad Hatter and supported him 110%, saving his job for another season after a strong end to the season with wins over TxA&M and TTU. This year is different and I believe all the people involved in the situation understand even more so now. He wins 11 games, 10 in the regular season but loses to the Tide at home and Arkansas a week later on the road in a game that matters more than most people think at the time. The Tigers go to a somewhat uber-cool bowl game in early January but don’t achieve the big prize…a win over Saban and a spot in the 4-team playoff. Sort of like Mark Richt in Athens, the Tiger administration does not realize what they have until its gone…winning more than 80% of his games at another school in 2017!
- Kirby Smart struggles in his first year in Athens!
The Mark Richt era, while prodding through it, was a huge headache for Bulldog fans at best, but after this season are going to feel like the glory days of UGA football when Herschel, Vince, and Larry ran Athens! Smart can coach, no doubt about that, but as we have seen locally in baseball with Chad Holbrook replacing Ray Tanner, there is a learning curve for someone who has never had head coaching experience. Smart, like Holbrook now in year 5, will hit his stride after making mistakes. I know I know he has coached under Saban and learned the ropes, but there is still something different about being in charge of the whole team and the whole program instead of one side of the ball! UGA gets to 6 wins but it was ugly along the way!
- Will Muschamp and South Carolina show promise and get to 5 wins.
The Boom era starts on the first day of college football and the people in Columbia are waiting patiently with nervous excitement as the Gamecocks try to improve from a 3-9 season in 2015. That team did play very competitive in games down the stretch but had a loss to The Citadel thrown in there and are riding a 7 game losing streak as the 2016 kicks off. Boom will bring much needed energy after the SOS debacle that was last year! He can recruit and his assistants are passionate about their players and this University, but unfortunately that does not transfer into wins on the field once the ball is kicked off. USC struggles on offense all season and has moments of greatness on defense. I see a lot of games where it is 17-13, 20-17, 23-20, 17-10 whether they are wins or losses. I don’t see this team averaging over 28 points a game this year, which will wear the defense down when they get into the meat of their SEC schedule. 5-7 is the mark this year and if they improve that much from 16 to 17 a trip to Shreveport could be in play for late December 2017!
- The 4 team playoff will include 2 teams from 1 conference.
This is the year that not only 1 but 2 conferences could get left out of the playoff. Will it be the ACC with stalwarts FSU/Clemson or the SEC with Oklahoma/TCU/Baylor/OSU or Big Ten with Michigan State/Ohio State/Michigan/Iowa. I see this as the year. We have had the Big 12 left out in year 1, the Pac-12 left out last year, and it is going to get even crazier this year when a conference provides 2 representatives in the 4-team playoff. Buckle up, people, it is going to get bumpy….and crazy!
- The 4-team playoff will consist of…
This year the playoff moves to Tampa for the final game and the four teams that will be playing for that opportunity to place in south western Florida will be….Alabama, Clemson, Florida State, and Ohio State. The 2 ACC teams will match up with representatives from the SEC and Big 10 in the semifinal with a magic opportunity of having our first rematch in playoff history…which makes year 3 even crazier. Get the double seat belt ready, folks…things might get crazy up in here!
- The Clemson Tigers will raise the Crystal Ball…I mean BIG Gold Trophy (presented by Dr. Pepper) in mid-January!
The Tigers are coming off a 14-1 season where they played out of their minds in some of the craziest conditions that could be thrown at them. This whole off season they have known what it takes to get to the Promised Land and have been dedicated to go the extra mile and watch the extra play on video to gain an advantage. Led by DW4 and his unbelievable array of weapons all over the field, the Tigers take care of business in the regular season, winning a nail-biter to FSU in Tally and dismantle the other side in the ACC championship game. Then, in the semifinal they take care of either Ohio State or Alabama (hopefully enacting revenge on the Tide) and then play a great game against their opponent in the national championship game. Dabo and his crew are the first team to go 15-0 and re-write the record books as the orange faithful party in Death Valley like its 1981….with some free pizza of course!
There you have it, folks! My 16 (Un)-Sweet and Senseless CFB Forecast for the 2016 season! Love ’em! Hate ’em! Let me know what you think and keep the trash talking coming as we go through the season and these 16 great August ideas turn into 16 terrible November ideas!
I hope you enjoyed the plug I gave to as many teams/players as I could throughout the journey from 16 down to 1. Now, grab a cold beverage, sit back and relax as we enjoy the greatest sport on the planet….college freakin’ football!
Let’s kick this thing off already!