Week 8 Preview

Finally have 2 Marquee (name) matches of top 25 teams this week. As well as some other games between some intriguing teams. SEC continues to fail to deliver good match-ups. USC @ ND and Michigan @ Penn St is about as good as it has been the last month. We are still in October which means still prime time upsets are bound to happen. So look for a shocker or 2!

Last week went 4-2 with the big games (23-14 on the season) and 9-5 overall (56-30).

 

Oklahoma St @ Texas

Oklahoma’s trio on offense continues to wreck havoc in the Big 12. Texas’ has steadily been improving under Coach Herman. This will be a tough one for Oklahoma St on the road in Austin. But Rudolph/Washington will prove too much for Texas.

Ok St 38 – Texas 31

 

Louisville @ Florida St

Last year Louisville ran rough-shod over FSU who was without Derwin James. This year Derwin James is back and Louisville travels to Tallahassee. FSU has had this one circled and is hungry for a win. Louisville’s defense has had trouble defending anything this year. BC ran over, around, under, and through Louisville last week and they have had one of the worst pass defenses all year. FSU’s ground game has been picking up chunks of yards the last several weeks against defenses much better than Louisville’s. So FSU should have little problem moving the ball, but will they finish? Of course on the other side you have the reigning Heisman champ who destroyed the FSU defense. The FSU defense is playing much better this year, but like the offense they haven’t been clutch and have failed at crucial moments. I think FSU is able to get a few early touchdowns and force a few turnovers and finishes this one.

FSU 35 – Louisville 24

 

LSU @ Ole Miss

This is the best match-up I could see in the SEC this week. LSU is coming off 2 strong wins and Ole Miss is having issues on defense. They have been able to move the ball through the air, however that has been one of LSU’s strength recently. LSU should be able to get the ground game going against a porous Ole Miss run defense. Grice has a big game, but Ole Miss is able to keep it close at home.

LSU 28 – Ole Miss 25

 

UCF @ Navy

UCF has been steamrolling opponents on offense and been pretty stingy on defense. This week 5-1 Navy welcomes UCF to come try and stop their triple option attack. Look for Navy to try and slow the game down and limit UCF’s possessions. Which they will need to do as their defense has been pretty bad and UCF has been unstoppable. If UCF is able to get a few early touchdowns and a few early stops this could get very ugly. But look for Navy to be able to get a few touchdowns to keep it close through the first half before UCF runs away with it in the 2nd.

UCF 45 – Navy 21

 

Michigan @ Penn St

This is Penn State’s first real test. Sort of. Michigan has not been able to find any kind of offensive rhythm despite their defense still playing at a very high level. Michigan will look to get their offense on track against Penn St. However Penn St’s defense has been playing much better this season. On the other side is one of the best offenses in the nation against one of the best defenses. In that aspect it will be a good measuring stick to see how good Penn St is and if they are a real contender this year or not. I don’t think Penn St will have a whole lot of success on Offense, but it should be more than enough. Michigan will continue to struggle on offense.

Penn St 24 – Michigan 14

 

Southern Cal @ Notre Dame

A ranked rivalry game. Both teams have been good but not great this year. The biggest reason for Notre Dame’s turnout is a much improved Defense, but the thing that stands out is their rushing attack which is one of, if not the, best in the nation. USC has not mediocre stopping the run this year. Look for Notre Dame to get the running game going and keep Sam Darnold off the field. USC should be able to move the ball, but Darnold will throw a pick or 2, taking away a couple needed opportunities. Touchdown Jesus for the win.

ND 31 – USC 24

 

Other Games

Wake Forest over Georgia Tech

Texas Tech over Iowa St

Michigan St over Indiana

Southern Miss over La Tech

Boise St over Wyoming

UCLA over Oregon

Wash St over Colorado

Kentucky over Miss St

Houston over Memphis

 

Week 8 Playoff

1-Alabama

2-Ohio St

3-Miami

4-Georgia

Week 7 Preview

Well we went south again last week in the big games going 3-4. Bringing the total to 19-12 on the year. Still not too shabby. In all games last week was 9-5, bringing that overall total to 47-25 (65%). Will try and rebound this week.

This week is another lack-luster match-up week. But still some good games and a few good chances for upsets. We are getting to that time of the year where lot of upsets happen (late October). Still another couple weeks before the CFB delivers its first set or rankings. Still a lot of movement left to go before that and quite a few big games too.

 

Georgia Tech @ Miami:

If not for this being right after the emotional FSU game (let-down) and with the injuries that are mounting up for Miami, Miami would likely walk all over Georgia Tech. But preparing for the GT offense with focus that might not be there all the way, this is a HUGE Trap Game for Miami. Being at home and with confidence high for Rozier Miami should be able to control the ball on offense and hit a few big plays in the passing game, while also getting a few turnovers on Defense (bringing out the Turnover Chain). GT will try and slow the game down and wear Miami down keeping it relatively low scoring.

Miami 28 – GT 21

 

Oklahoma @ Texas:

The Red River Shootout (forget the PC version of Red River Rivalry). This game is known for unexpected finishes and underdogs winning. I think Texas is being overlooked in the Big 12. They have improved significantly in recent weeks. Oklahoma’s offense will be too much for Texas in this match-up and I don’t think Texas will have the offense to outscore OU like Iowa St did (which took a super-human performance from that offense). In a twisty odd game (like normal) OU wins a close game.

Oklahoma 31 – Texas 28

 

Michigan @ Indiana:

I struggled to decide which game to pick in the Big Ten (between this and Purdue/Wisconsin). There is just such a big gap between the top 4/5 teams in the Big Ten and everyone else, that unless one of those teams are playing each other there isn’t a lot of intrigue. I picked this game because Michigan is reeling and it’s on the road. Potential for a big upset here (which would really shake up the Big Ten and hurt it’s perception). Both offenses are pretty much garbage and both defenses are good to great. So this will be a low scoring affair. Michigan’s defense gets a few more big stops/turnovers that lead to points than Indiana does.

Michigan 21 – Indiana 10

 

Oregon @ Stanford:

Stanford has been running the ball down everyone’s throat. Nothing else on their team is particularly good. Oregon has had one of the better run defenses so far in the nation. I don’t think Stanford will have as much room to run in this game and it will be a very close game. However Stanford is playing very good lately and it’s at home. Game will turn into a high scoring affair.

Stanford 38 – Oregon 35

 

Auburn @ LSU:

Not many places will drive fear into opposing offenses than Death Valley at Night. However this game is not at night so LSU loses that advantage. But Death Valley is still a tough place to come. LSU is very high after the UF victory, and seems they may have turned a corner. Auburn however is starting to figure things out on offense and still playing very well defensively. LSU will struggle to score in this game and Auburn will get enough done with Stidham to earn the victory.

Auburn 21 – LSU 17

 

Boise St @ San Diego St:

Battle of the top 2 teams in the Mountain West. This game will go along ways in determining how good SDSU is and seeing if they are a legit contender for the Group of 5 at large spot in the NY6 Bowls. Both teams are led by their defenses. Boise St’s defense is slightly better, however SDSU has the better offense. SDSU is also at home. In a tight game that comes down to the wire and well contested SDSU will use the home field advantage and come out on top.

SDSU 21 – BSU 20

 

 

Other Notable Games:

FSU over Miami

Navy over Memphis

Kansas St over TCU

WVU over Texas Tech

Wisconsin over Purdue

Minnesota over Michigan St

USC over Utah

TAMU over UF

 

Week 6 Preview

Last week we talked about how the declining SEC has left weeks seemingly not enticing to watch. This week is another great example of that: In years past who would have been ecstatic to get a week with LSU @ UF, Ole Miss @ Auburn, Alabama @ TAMU, Miami @ FSU, and Mich St @ Michigan. Along with 2 ranked battles (not among that list). This year, that list doesn’t really tickle me at all. Having said that this week still stinks, although there will be some good games and in hindsight the week will end up pretty good. Maybe a couple upsets.

Had a good bounce back week last week going 5-1 in the big games and 12-2 overall (big time wrong on the Tennessee upset…). On the season that brings the totals to 16-8 and 38-20. Now for this weeks games.

 

Louisville @ NC State

The key in this game is really going to be if the Louisville OL can hold off the NC St DL and give Lamar Jackson time to throw and space to run.  I think they will do a decent job and Lamar Jackson will have a big day against the porous NCSU pass defense. If this was neutral or at Louisville I would feel very good about this game, but on a Thursday at Carter-Finley. It’s a tough place to play at night. Usually an NC St team with a good OL/DL and efficient QB will win these games.  This feels different to me. I think Lamar puts himself back on top here, even though I think Finley will have a good day.

Louisville 31 – NC State 28

 

Miami @ FSU

Lot of love going around for Miami right now. Will this be the year they break the streak (FSU has won 7 in a row). In a lot of ways this game is very similar to last year. FSU was struggling and coming off some bad losses with the fan base questioning the team/coaches. Miami was top 10 and undefeated and the fan base was saying they were back. Very similar sentiments this year. I think the game will go very similar to last year. FSU will be able to run on Miami, as they have the last several years, and will be able to stop Miami’s rushing attack. The key to the game is going to be who makes the bigger plays in the passing game. With Richards and Walton not quite 100% for Miami (their 2 big skill players on offense) and FSU having more people to look too in that regard (despite Tate not being 100%) I think FSU will end up making more plays (and be the first time on the season they have done so). I think the streak continues, but barely.

FSU 27 – Miami 20

 

Alabama @ Texas A&M

Went back and forth between choosing this game or the LSU/UF game for the SEC this week. The dumpster fire that is LSU going to the Swamp, end up making the choice.  Texas A&M has played to this point better than we at SF expected so far this year. Unfortunately so has Alabama…by a LOT. Alabama should have little trouble running over TAMU like they have the last 2 weeks. I think the 12th man will end up keeping this game a bit closer than the last 2 weeks. But Bama still runs away with it.

Alabama 41 – TAMU 14

 

Michigan St @ Michigan

This looks to be an old school defensive battle. Both teams have been lackluster on offense and have been very good defensively. At least Defensively it looks like Michigan St has regained some of their swagger.  Michigan is slightly better on offense and better on defense. Added with the home field advantage this will be a defensive whooping (closer score than the game indicates).

Michigan 21 – Michigan St 13

 

West Virginia @ TCU

Some high-powered Big 12 offenses and really better than people think Defenses (although not good). Decently high scoring game here with TCU’s rushing offense being the big difference. WVU will have issues stopping TCU from rushing the ball. TCU pulls away at the end of the 4th quarter for a big win.

TCU 38 – WVU 31

 

Washington St @ Oregon

Washington St is coming off a HUGE win over USC, and now has to go to perhaps the toughest home field advantage in the Pac 12 and play a good Oregon team. I think the home field advantage and getting up for another game after a big win will be tough for Washington St. I think Oregon’s offense ends up being the difference in this game as well as the sheer intensity of what figures to be a raucous crowd in Oregon.

Oregon 35 – Washington St 31

 

SMU @ Houston

Struggled finding a Group of 5 game, so I chose State rivals of which both are decent teams. This looks like a prime spot for Chad Morris to get a big win after beating Houston last year at home. This could go a long way in helping SMU get bowl eligible (huge feat considering where they were 3 years ago). However after last year’s beat down and with home field advantage I think Houston wins a closely contest game here. Houston’s defense and Ed Oliver end up being the difference here.

Houston 35 – SMU 28

 

Other games:

Auburn over Ole Miss

LSU over UF

UNC over ND

Wisconsin over Neb

UCF over Cincinnati

Stanford over Utah

Washington over Cal

Week 5 Preview

Had a discussion with a friend earlier this week when they commented about it being another bad slate of games. Which at first glance it does appear to be the case, but when you get past the lack of “Brand Names” it’s really not a bad slate of games. Just like the last 2 weeks. My thought is that with the SEC being down from what we are used to the last decade that a lot of the marquee names (which reside in the SEC) don’t pop off at you. We also have a few ranked teams playing each other and a few ranked teams on the road against un-ranked decent teams. Unfortunately some of those ranked teams just don’t pop off at you. USC at Washington St (both top 16 teams) doesn’t grab your attention like Alabama at Ole Miss in years past (similar match-up). Anyways this slate of games is better than it appears at first glance and should be a good weekend of Football (certainly a better week than College Basketball is having…).

Last week was one of the worst weeks in the last 4 years of Simplified Football predicting games. Went 3-3 with the big games (not too bad), but went 7-9 overall. Brings yearly totals to 11-7 and 26-18. Still good yearly totals. Hopefully we’ll bounce back this week.

 

USC @ Washington St:

This is a really tricky match-up for USC. Friday night game on the road against a team with a (so-far) solid defense and an experience QB. Often that is a recipe for upsets. USC is clearly the more talented team, but Washington St is no slouch. Read earlier this week about Mike Leach’s best team that went 11-2 and was a strong contender down the wire to play in the NC game (until a late upset), was the only year he had a solid defense. It’s a year similar to this year. This will be their stiffest test yet, while USC has already played a couple tough, and talented teams and came out with victories. I think this will be lower scoring than many expect (Over is 64.5) I have it well under that, similar to the Texas v USC game. Washington State will hang tough and give USC everything they can handle, but in the end will fall just short.

USC 28 – Wash St 24

 

Memphis @ UCF:

Both of these AAC schools have had big wins over prominent Power 5 programs that last 2 weeks with Memphis beating UCLA and UCF whooping Maryland. Both teams seem to be legit teams that would at least compete for a bowl bid in any conference. UCF has a good offense with a better defense and Memphis has a very good offense with a below average defense. This looks like it should be a high scoring affair. Home Field advantage should be a deciding factor here. Memphis almost had a let-down last week against an FCS team after beating UCLA. UCF will try and avoid the let-down this week after beating Maryland last week.

UCF 41 – Memphis 35

 

Mississippi St @ Auburn:

Mississippi St came up very short against UGA a week after destroying LSU. I think the true value of their team will be somewhere in the middle, and that is what we will see this week against Auburn. Auburn’s offense has been severely lacking so far this year, but their defense is performing at a very high level. Should be a pretty low scoring game as they both match-up pretty evenly across from each other. I think Auburn’s defense comes up big again and they get a few big plays to put the game away at home.

Auburn 24 – Miss St 14

 

Northwestern @ Wisconsin:

This is probably the best match-up in the Big Ten this week. It’s not saying much. There is a pretty big discrepancy between the Top teams and everyone else in the Big Ten. Wisconsin should control this game from beginning to end. They are better in every facet of the game…and more experienced. They should be able to shut them down and have no issues running the football.

Wisconsin 41 – Northwestern 14

 

Oklahoma St @ Texas Tech:

A ranked team on the road against an undefeated conference rival. Both of these offenses are very high powered and can put up points in a hurry. Oklahoma States is better and their defense is better to. Should be a fun game to watch with a lot of back and forth scoring, especially to start the game. Oklahoma St will be able to force a few turnovers and/or get a couple stops when needed to put the game out of reach. Rudolph and Washington will have a BIG game.

Oklahoma St 52 – Texas Tech 35

 

Clemson @ Virginia Tech:

Going to Blacksburg at night is a tough environment for even the most experienced and talented teams. This is definitely a game Clemson needs to watch out for. It is definitely a prime spot for a big upset. Fuentes is an excellent coach and VT has a very good defense. They will try and force Clemson into committing some turnovers in the passing game. If VT can be +2 in turnover margin than they will have an excellent chance at upsetting Clemson. I think Virginia Tech will be able to control this game and play how they want to. But Clemson’s defense is just too good and it bails their offense out and sets up a couple of scores for Clemson. Clemson wins a big road game.

Clemson 24 – Virginia Tech 21

 

Other games:

Miami over Duke

UF over Vandy

GT over UNC

Tennessee with the upset over UGA

FSU over Wake

Alabama over Ole Miss

San Diego St over Northern Illinois

UCLA over Colorado

 

Simplified Football Playoff teams:

1-Alabama

2-Clemson

3-USC

4-Oklahoma

Week 4 Preview

What seemed like a pedestrian week 3, turned out to be a very interesting week. Upsets, exciting finishes, and dominating performances. Pretty much anything a College Football could want out of a weekend.  The biggest story line was Clemson demolishing Louisville and all but knocking them out of the Playoff contention, as well as severely hamstringing Lamar Jackson’s chances at repeating. Clemson cemented themselves as a team that is not going away after their Championship season. They are the real deal. You also had 3 undefeated Group of 5 teams that had good wins over Power 5 conference teams, that should make the race for the Group of 5 at large NY6 bid very interesting. Especially with a few more opportunities this weekend (Houston v Texas Tech and UCF v Maryland).

This week has 2 marquee match-ups and a few other interesting match-ups featuring highly ranked teams on the road against decent teams. Which is always a recipe for an upset. As always I will have each conference represented in these predictions as well as at least 1 Group of 5 team.

Last week went 4-2 with the big picks and 9-5 overall. Bringing the season record to 8-4 and 19-9.

 

This week’s picks:

North Carolina St @ Florida St

FSU has had a 2 week lay-off after the loss to Alabama, and essentially had a 2nd pre-season camp. NC St is 2-1, losing to it’s only P5 competition. NC St game is often circled and feared by the FSU fans, but that is usually reserved just for the games at NC St. FSU has owned this mini-rivalry series at FSU. NC St has an above average Offense and a very stout Defensive Front. However their Defensive backfield leaves a LOT to be desired. BUT FSU is starting a True Freshman in his first game ever. If James Blackman has a decent day this one could get ugly quick. While NC St’s offense has looked ok this year, it is not a match for FSU’s defense which is elite. NC St hasn’t scored over 17 points in their last 3 visits to Tallahassee (including Jacoby Brissett as their starting QB in one of them). I would expect more than that out of NC St. FSU’s WRs should have plenty of space to operate if Blackman can get them the ball. Look for him to have a good debut against the porous NC St secondary. While they have a decent game on the ground.

Florida State 31 – NC State 17

 

Penn St @ Iowa

Ames is always a tough place to play and thus I think this game will be closer than some will tend to think. Although I think Penn St will win easily in the end. Iowa’s defense has not looked to spectacular this year and will have difficulties stopping Penn St. Penn St should have no issue running or throwing on Iowa. But Iowa could have some success throwing on Penn St, who’s defense I am not sold on. Barkley has a field day and cements himself as a heisman candidate.

Penn St 38 – Iowa 17

 

TCU @ Oklahoma St

Both of these teams have looked fantastic this year, albeit against less than stellar competition. Big 12 looks to be a 3 team race, although I think Texas will end up having something to say about that. This game will decide who the 2nd favorite is after OU. It could also decide which of the Big 12 teams could potentially be a non-conference champion that sneaks into the playoffs (as a 2nd Big 12 team…still a possibility). The running games look to cancel each other out as TCU’s run offense is about equal to Ok St’s run defense and vice versa. However where this game gets interesting is in the passing attacks. Both teams have very good passing attacks going against mediocre pass defenses. Look for a high scoring shootout. Oklahoma St should pull it out in the end with the better QB and being at home.

Oklahoma St 41 – TCU 38

 

UCF @ Maryland

With Maryland’s big win over Texas in week 1 and a pretty weak big 10 (after the big 4 teams), Maryland could be the 5th best team in the Big 10 and finish with a good record. So a win here could be big for UCF and the AAC’s prospects. Maryland should have no issues throwing the ball on UCF. Maryland has shown to be quite a good offensive team and UCF’s defense didn’t look that great in their game. Maryland should have great success running the ball particularly against UCF. On the other side UCF should be able to throw it on Maryland with what looks like a very good passing attack against a lack-luster Maryland passing defense. If UCF isn’t able to throw it on Maryland it could be a long day. However I think they will be able to throw it on them with ease. I like UCF to pull off the upset.

UCF 38 – Maryland 35

 

Washington @ Colorado

Washington has not looked overly impressive to me so far this year. Still a very good team, just don’t think they are as good as last year. However the absolutely demolished Colorado on a neutral field last year and exposed them. Colorado I am also not impressed with thus far.  I think the home field advantage will keep this game very close. Neither team is able to establish much of the rush this game and Washington gets the advantage in the passing attack. Washington wins a close game.

Washington 30 – Colorado 24

 

Mississippi St @ Georgia

This game looks like it may be a battle for the #2 team in the SEC. Fitzgerald has looked very good so far this year at QB for Miss St and UGA is starting a Freshman that has struggled. After Miss St was able to completely shut down LSU’s rushing attack their defense looks legit. They will look to shut down UGA’s rushing attack and force them to beat them through the air. I don’t think UGA will be up to the task. However UGA’s defense has been legit in both aspects, so I don’t expect Miss St to be able to run it up like they did against LSU. Miss St will be coming down after a huge win over LSU. As we know it’s always tough to follow up wins like that with wins on the road against good teams.  I think UGA’s defense and home field advantage will be a lot for Miss St to overcome, but I think they do in the end.

Miss St 21 – Georgia 17

 

Other Notable Games:

Houston over Texas Tech

Arkansas over Texas A&M

Georgia Tech big over Pitt

UNC over Duke

Purdue over Michigan

Florida over Kentucky

ND over Mich St

Stanford over UCLA

Boise St over UVA

Arizona over Utah

 

 

Simplified Football Playoff picks:

1-Alabama

2-Clemson

3-Penn St

4-Oklahoma

Week 3 Preview

Welcome to the week 3 Preview. Sorry about missing last week, but all of Florida was doing Hurricane Irma prep. While we have had some big games and 2 weeks of football not a whole lot has changed. Those who were the favorites to make the playoffs or contend for their conference crown are still in it. FSU and Ohio St, despite their loses are still every bit as in it as they were before. There are a few teams who have popped up who look good enough to possibly make some noise and affect the season (Duke, TCU, and Oregon most notably), but not much else has changed. Boise, USF, Houston, and SDSU are still the main challengers for the Group of 5 bid, although maybe you can throw UCF into that mix as well. Week 3 has one marquee match up and a couple other decent ones, but outside of that, it was pretty slim pickings.

Last week SF went 4-2 with the big picks and 10-4 overall.

 

Here are this weeks picks:

Tennessee @ Florida

Tennessee has a pretty good offense and a lousy defense. Florida has a pretty good defense and a lousy offense. So it should be a good close game. In close games I tend to go with the better offense, which is clearly Tennessee, to be able to get points when necessary and in crunch time. I think this is a low scoring battle that Tennessee is able to pull out a close win with their running game getting a few big plays in the 4th.

Tennessee 24 – Florida 21

 

Texas @ USC

A battle of 2 of the premier College Football programs and traditions. This match up is sure to be more sexy in the name than it is on the field. Texas is about as heavily out manned as you will find in a match up of this caliber. Sam Darnold of USC should shred the Texas defense as Maryland was able to do. Texas will find plenty of room to be able to run the ball and keep it somewhat close for much of the game. But in the end USC’s superior depth and Quarterbacking will win the day.

USC 42 – Texas 28

 

Kansas St @ Vanderbilt

We have been much higher on Vanderbilt than most publications. This is their most talented team and they have a pretty stout defense.  This is similar to the Tenn/UF game. Kansas St offense has been pretty stout, going against the Vanderbilt defense. The Vanderbilt offense has some positives, but not great, same with the Kansas St defense. I think this will end up being a pretty low scoring affair with Vanderbilt able to wear down Kansas St some and getting a few big stops in the 4th in order to pull out the win at home.

Vanderbilt 21 – Kansas St 17

 

Wisconsin @ BYU

Going to Utah and playing at BYU is never an easy task. BYU’s defense has also been pretty good the last few years, particularly at home. However their offense has been pretty bad thus far in 2017. In order to have a shot against Wisconsin they will need a much better performance from their offense. I just don’t think they will get it. I have an upset watch here as if Wisconsin is sleeping, BYU absolutely has the talent to beat them at home. I just don’t think it’ll happen. Wisconsin controls the game and shuts BYU down, and wins easily despite a valiant effort by the BYU defense.

Wisconsin 28 – BYU 7

 

Stanford @ San Diego St

This is a game that could really catapult San Diego St into the top 25 and potentially into the Playoff discussion. A win against Arizona St, Stanford, and Boise St (eventually) could really give them some good wins (particularly if Stanford ends up 9-3ish, Az St goes to a bowl, and Boise ends up like 10-2). Depending on how everything else shaped up that would make for an interesting Group of 5 team being thrown into the discussion. BUT I don’t think it’ll happen. San Diego St should play them relatively close and control the LOS on the defensive side, preventing Stanford from rolling over them. But in the end I just think Stanford has too much for them and they pull away in the 2nd half as SDSU tires out.

Stanford 28 – SDSU 17

 

Clemson @ Louisville

This is the big game this week. It has far reaching impacts to the ACC Atlantic division race, as well as the Playoff race. This is a match up of the Heisman winner and a high powered Louisville offense against an Elite top 3 defense (and defending National Champs) in Clemson. Clemson has a big advantage on  both Lines of Scrimmage. They also have an advantage pretty much everywhere on the Defense. They have NFL talent all over the field. They also have some very good WRs. Louisville has a BIG advantage at QB and at RB (haven’t been too impressed with either sides running backs as a whole). This game is going to come down to how Clemson is able to control (or not) Lamar Jackson. I have not been as impressed with Lamar Jackson’s improvement (although he has clearly improved) as a passer as others have. He still looks inaccurate at times to me and misses too many receivers for my tastes. What he has done the last 2 weeks while impressive, has been against shoddy defenses. He is facing a whole other beast against Clemson. I’ve also not been overly impressed with the receivers at Louisville. Smith is nice, but he doesn’t pop out to me and I’m not sure how many 1v1 battles he will win against Clemson. Clemson won’t leave the Louisville receivers running wide open like UNC and Purdue did. Jackson will have a lot more pressure, and not as many passing windows to throw into. He will do some damage with his legs, and he will move the chains against Clemson. How he protects the ball is going to be the key in this one.

On the other side of the ball Louisville has not been able to stop much. When the Freshman QB for UNC went down, they were able to stop UNC then, but with the Freshman QB UNC went up and down the field on Louisville’s defense. Purdue was able to as well. Clemson has at least a formidable offense despite a new QB in Bryant as those 2 teams do (better OL, better WR, better RB). Clemson should have no issue putting up points in this game and moving the ball as they want too.

In the end I think Jackson has a nice game and is able to put up numbers that are good enough to keep him firmly in the Heisman race, but has a few timely turnovers that Clemson capitalizes on with their defense.

Clemson 35 – Louisville 28

 

 

Notable other games:

South Florida picks up a signature win over Illinois (power 5 team)

Oklahoma St rips Pittsburgh

Miss St shocks LSU and knocks them from contention

Ole Miss beats California

Arizona St bounces back and beats Texas Tech in a very high scoring game

So Carolina over Kentucky

Notre Dame big over Boston College

Purdue beats Missouri

Week 1 Preview

The 2017 season is finally upon us. We have been waiting for this for almost 8 months, but it is finally here! This year we start off with a doozy of a week. Several top 25 match-ups of big time programs and of course what is being dubbed the GOAT (Greatest Opener of All Time). That is Florida State v Alabama. Which quite possibly could end up being a preview of the National Championship game (in the exact same location).

The SEC and ACC have quite a few match-ups this week that will set the tone for the season for both conferences (3 against each other). So get your chips & dip, and Meat of choice, sit on the couch and be prepared for some good football this Saturday!

#9 Michigan v #16 Florida

Both Michigan and Florida boasted great defenses last year, with offenses that were inconsistent at best. Florida still does not have a starter at QB and Wilson Spieght is back under center for the Wolverines. Michigan lost every defensive starter from a year ago, but has a few returning that played significant minutes last year and has a lot of talent on its roster (which still hasn’t been released). Florida has a decent amount returning from a year ago, but is going to be without 6 players for this game, including star receiver Antonio Callaway.  I don’t see either team moving the ball much in this game, but without Callaway I just don’t see much offense coming from the Gators. Look for a low scoring, defensive battle. Florida has more mistakes on offense that Michigan capitalizes on.

Michigan 21 – Florida 10

 

#20 West Virginia v #22 Virginia Tech

You might see these names and immediately think offensive explosion. However last year both offenses struggled and the defenses lead the team. Virginia Tech has more returning than West Virginia does, but the big difference should be on the lines. Virginia Tech should be able to control the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball and in both aspects (Run/Pass). That is where I give Virginia Tech the advantage.

Virginia Tech 31 – West Virginia 21

 

#24 Tennessee v Georgia Tech

Here is the first of 3 match-ups featuring SEC v ACC this week. Both teams are about equally experience (experience can make a big difference in week 1, diminishing throughout the season). Both teams struggled mightily in defending the run last year and both teams were top 25 run offenses (by any standard) last year. So look for both teams to be able to run the ball with ease. If one of the defenses is able to control the line of scrimmage and stop the other, you could end up seeing a blow-out. But I expect both to be able to rack up a lot of rushing yards. I’ll give Tennessee the advantage here based on a better passing attack (neither were particularly good at stopping opposition offenses from throwing the ball, but not terrible).

Tennessee 42 – Georgia Tech 31 (SEC 1 – ACC 0)

 

Texas A&M @ UCLA

Both of these high profile programs and coaches are on the hot seat to begin the season. Both could get a big boost to their seasons and confidence of their teams with a win this weekend. UCLA features one of the top NFL prospects at QB and has very good talent everywhere else on its roster. Texas A&M also has very good talent. Both coaches have been able to recruit very well, but have not had the same success on the season. This is a game that will feature quite a few future NFL players, without either team in the top 25. Really this game and this season for UCLA is going to hinge on Josh Rosen. If he is inconsistent like he was last year (at best) then it will be an up and down season. If he plays up to his talent level, then UCLA could be a surprise playoff contender. TAMU’s pass defense was sub-par last year, as was their run defense. I think Rosen will have a good start to the season, giving him some confidence. UCLA’s defense was pretty good last year and TAMU has been pretty inconsistent on offense since Johnny Football left for the NFL. I’m going with UCLA here in a close game.

UCLA 31 – Texas A&M 28

 

North Carolina St @ South Carolina

South Carolina did better than expected last year, but still was not a good football team. North Carolina St has one of the top defensive front 7’s in the nation. They performed that way last year, and return almost everyone, so they should be even better. I expect South Carolina’s defense to be improved this year and to be a good unit (kind of Coach Muschamp’s thing). However NC State has a lot returning on both sides including at QB. They will be able to control the line of scrimmage on both sides and have the advantage at QB. Will be a low scoring game, but NC St will win going away despite playing on the road.

NC State 24 – South Carolina 14 (SEC 1 – ACC 1)

 

#1 Alabama v #3 Florida State

This is the one we have all been waiting for. Both rosters are loaded with NFL talent on all levels (potentially 75%+ of the players you will see on Saturday will be in the NFL in 2-3 years…no exaggeration), 2 of the top coaches in the nation (who happen to have coached together for many years at LSU), 2 potential Heisman Candidates at QB, and 2 of the marquee/biggest draws in college football for the last decade plus. This dear readers is as good as it gets in College Football. It is being dubbed as the Greatest Opener of All Time. I fully think this game will live up to that hype. You will see good Offensive play, good Defensive play, hard hits, big runs, pretty much all you can think of for a football game, you’ll get. Both teams are very evenly matched. Both have good offensive lines (Alabama slightly better), both have extremely good defensive lines (FSU slightly better). Both have excellent skill position players on offense (Alabama slightly better…based on previous years production, but FSU is extremely talented), and both have excellent skill position players on defense (FSU slightly better).

Florida State has a great run blocking Offensive line and perhaps the deepest pool of RBs in the nation (going 6 deep of Power 5 starting caliber RBs), Alabama had one of the great run stuffing defenses last year (of all time), but lost a significant portion of that defensive front 7. They are still loaded with talent there however. But FSU should be able to run on Alabama better than anyone has in the last few years, although I wouldn’t expect anything crazy, Alabama will still have the slight upper hand here. On the other side Alabama also has a great run blocking offensive line and a few beasts at Running back (only school that can really rival FSU at RB depth). FSU has one of if not the best Defensive lines in the nation (returning 6 of top 7 from a year ago). Do not expect Alabama to run all over FSU like they do many. But don’t expect FSU to shut down Alabama either. It will be a very close battle in the trenches. Both teams will be looking to keep the other team from breaking open long runs and preventing the RBs from getting past the 2nd level. If they can do that, consider it a win.

Both Offensive lines have struggled pass blocking the last few seasons and both defenses have been very good at rushing the passer. FSU has been better though. That shouldn’t change this year. Expect both teams to be able to generate pressure on the Quarterback. The key here will be keeping both QBs in the pocket as both are deadly on the run and for the QBs to be able to hold up under the pressure. Francois is likely to have the advantage here, as he grew quite accustomed to being under fire last season, so he won’t be seeing much that he hasn’t seen before. Alabama hasn’t faced a pass rush on the level of FSU, so this could be something new for Jalen Hurts here (and he is in a new system). However the biggest difference in the passing attacks will be the play of the defensive backs. This is where FSU I think has an advantage with 2 All-Americans (McFadden and James) as well as a host of talented individuals and future NFL players. Not to knock Alabama’s secondary as they may be the 2nd best in the nation. But FSU has the clear advantage here (pretty much unanimous #1 Defensive backfield). I think that will end up being the difference in the game as FSU should be able to put pressure on Hurts and force a few errant throws that FSU is able to convert into INTs. The play of the Quarterbacks and the play of Derwin James will be the difference here. I’ll take Francois over Hurts. I’ll take FSU in a very close game.

Florida State 28 – Alabama 27 (ACC 2 – SEC 1)

 

Other notable games:

Colorado over Colorado St (close)

Texas over Maryland

Iowa over Wyoming (closer than many will think)

UNC big over California

Boise St over Troy

USC close over Western Mich

UGA barely escapes the upset bid by Appalachian State

LSU escapes BYU upset bid

 

 

2017 Independent Preview

Notre Dame had a very bad year last year, we expect them to reverse that and make it to a contract bowl this year. BYU should also have a very good year (relative to their tough schedule). Army will again qualify for a bowl game, the first time in 30+ years that Army has gone to bowl games in consecutive years.

For each Conference we will have the Simplified Football predictions (record) with the Projected Win-Shares and rating of each team next to it. We will also have Bowl Projections for each conference.

Independent Predictions:

Team – Record  /  Win-Shares   /  Rating

  1. Notre Dame – 9-3  /  7.9  /  4.24
  2. BYU  –  8-4  /  7.79  /  4.12
  3. Army  –  7-5  /  6.66  /  3.55
  4. UMASS – 5-7  /  5.66  /  3.25

 

 

That makes 3 Independent bowl teams

 

Orange Bowl – Notre Dame

Tax Slayer Bowl – BYU

Armed Forces Bowl – Army

2017 Sun Belt Preview

The Sun Belt has been the worst conference for much of it’s life. However we believe this year (and last year mostly) they will take a big step forward. They have a few legit teams and are pretty top heavy. The bottom is still…well…bottom feeders, but the top makes up for that and they have some pretty marquee match-ups. Win one or two of those and they will make a name for themselves.

For each Conference we will have the Simplified Football predictions (record) with the Projected Win-Shares and rating of each team next to it. We will also have Bowl Projections for each conference.

Sun Belt Predictions:

Team – Record (Conf)  /  Win-Shares (Conf)  /  Rating

  1. Appalachian State – 9-3 (7-1)  /  7.77 (5.6)  /  3.63
  2. Troy – 8-4 (6-2)  /  7.58 (5.53)  /  3.67
  3. Georgia Southern – 7-5 (6-2)  /  6.59 (4.92)  /  3.37
  4. Arkansas St – 7-5 (6-2)  /  6.26 (4.74)  /  3.07
  5. Georgia State – 6-6 (5-3)  /  7.1 (5.06)  /  3.36
  6. South Alabama – 6-6 (5-3)  /  5.07 (3.79)  /  3.01
  7. Louisiana Lafayette – 5-7 (4-4)  /  5.57 (4.36)  /  3.00
  8. Texas State – 4-8 (3-5)  /  4.44 (2.94)  /  2.42
  9. Louisiana Monroe – 3-9 (3-5)  /  3.74 (3.29)  /  2.72
  10. Idaho – 2-10 (1-7)  /  3.74 (2.44)  /  2.49
  11. New Mexico St – 1-11 (1-7)  /  4.56 (3.45)  /  2.87
  12. Coastal Carolina – 2-10 (1-7)  /  3.29 (1.88)  /  2.24

 

Sun Belt is the only conference that does not have a conference championship game. Appalachian State is thus the Sun Belt Champion prediction.

 

That makes 6 bowl teams for the Sun Belt

Cure Bowl – Appalachian St

New Orleans Bowl – Troy

Camellia Bowl – Georgia Southern

Dollar General Bowl – Arkansas St

Arizona Bowl – Georgia State

Frisco Bowl – South Alabama

2017 MAC Preview

The MAC had a very good last year with the success of Western Michigan earning the Group of 5 bid. Western Michigan should still be good, but not good enough to recapture their 2016 season. We expect the Mac to take a step back this year and perhaps be the worst conference. But one that is capable of pulling off it’s normal Big Ten upsets at the beginning of the season.

 

For each Conference we will have the Simplified Football predictions (record) with the Projected Win-Shares and rating of each team next to it. We will also have Bowl Projections for each conference.

 

MAC Predictions:

East

Team – Record (Conf)  /  Win-Shares (Conf)  /  Rating

  1. Bowling Green – 6-6 (5-3)  /  5.72 (4.15)  /  3.26
  2. Miami (Oh) – 6-6 (4-4)  /  7.01 (5.03)  /  3.38
  3. Ohio – 7-5 (4-4)  /  6.33 (4.2)  /  3.20
  4. Akron – 5-7 (4-4)  /  5.33 (3.8)  /  3.11
  5. Buffalo – 5-7 (3-5)  /  5.15 (3.3)  /  2.93
  6. Kent State – 3-9 (2-6)  /  3.98 (2.93)  /  2.73

West

Team – Record (Conf)  /  Win-Shares (Conf)  /  Rating

  1. Western Mich – 9-3 (7-1)  /  7.83 (5.48)  /  3.62
  2. Northern Ill – 7-5 (6-2)  /  7.03 (4.91)  /  3.57
  3. Toledo – 7-5 (4-4)  /  6.41 (4.41)  /  3.48
  4. Central Mich – 5-7 (4-4)  /  5.43 (3.83)  /  3.15
  5. Ball State – 5-7 (3-5)  /  5.34 (3.29)  /  2.86
  6. East Mich – 3-9 (2-6)  /  3.89 (2.67)  /  2.73

 

Bowling Green sneaks through the East and Western Michigan slides through the dominant West.

 

Championship game – Western Michigan beats down Bowling Green in the Championship game

 

 

That makes 5 bowl teams for the MAC

 

Idaho Potato Bowl – Western Michigan

Dollar General Bowl – Northern Illinois

Camellia Bowl – Toledo

Bahamas Bowl – Bowling Green

Quick Lane Bowl – Miami (oh)