HOUSTON (CBS HOUSTON) – The season is here. Let’s get som predictions going. Not just any predictions, some BOLD predictions.
First though, a look at some of my hits and misses from last year.
I predicted Nick Saban, Les Miles, and Charlie Strong would be coaching their last season at their current school. I was close on Miles though!
“Texas A&M finally beats a ranked opponent at home, but still lose five games” is one I NAILED on the nose.
“Georgia Tech loses just one game and finishes fifth in the nation” is what we like to call a hype-based buy-in.
“The College Football Playoff will include Ohio State, Auburn, Oklahoma, and Notre Dame” was pretty awful. Only one of the four made it (Oklahoma) and two others weren’t even close. Auburn? What was I thinking?
Finally, one I NAILED before I make a fool of myself with some more.
“The Texas Tech Red Raiders find their way back to a winning record and a bowl game. While I’m here let’s get greedy and say they come to Houston for the AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl.”
Now, onto 2016. Happy college football everyone.
1. Bob Stoops gets fired.
This is it. “Big Game Bob” is headed out to pasture. Taking the show on the road. Despite immense talent at QB and RB, the Sooners have a hellacious schedule to start with three of their first four being insanely losable games. Houston, Ohio State, and TCU all in the first four games followed by Texas, a version better than last year when they snuck up and bit the Sooners. Then to end the year three losable games against a talented Baylor offense, a sneaky decent West Virginia, and Bedlam with Oklahoma State. Bye Bob.
2. Charlie Strong keep his job at Texas
How many Longhorns fans were ready to jump ship on Strong before last year? He did a heck of a job in 2015, probably overachieving, and he will need to do it again but he certainly can. Look, Strong is a hell of a coach and he took some time to adjust to the Big 12 and 40 Acres. His team is led by a talented quarterback in Shane Buechele (mini-sidebar prediction, he’s the starter, duh) and though there could be growing pains there are 11 truly winnable games and 9 where the Horns should take the cake. Eight wins gets him fired. Nine wins gets him 2017.
3. Kevin Sumlin keeps his job at Texas A&M
Doubling down on the Texas hot seat two-step here. Sumlin, like Strong, is a great coach but he has put a lot more together to justify the school sticking with him. This won’t be easy, he needs nine, maybe ten to keep his job but he has the type of team to accomplish those lofty goals. Myles Garrett is one of the most interesting players in college football off the field and one of the best on it. Barring a QB-thirsty team ending up with the first pick in next year’s draft, he will be the first overall pick. Before his selection, he and Daeshon Hall need to lead a modern-day Wrecking Crew while the offense under transfer QB Trevor Knight works into form.
4. Tom Herman leaves the University of Houston for a Power 5 Coaching Job
It almost happened, and you could argue should have happend, last year. It will happen this year. Tom Herman’s buyout went down in his contract negotiation this offseason. He is without a doubt the hottest name in the coaching world. His Cougars will likely repeat as conference champs and with luck breaking their way will find themselves in the top 10 of the last few polls. Houston fans obviously hope this isn’t the case but short of an unmitigated disaster, he’s gone. He already showed lower-tier jobs aren’t for him by passing up South Carolina. If my above predictions fail then Texas and Texas A&M will get early shots. Baylor and Auburn would be interested as well. If Stoops gets fired boom, Herman is the next Oklahoma coach.
5. Florida State plays…Miami in the ACC championship.
Hey, had you heard that Mark Richt went to Miami? Well he was at Georgia and he’s really good and now the ‘Canes have a shot to win their part of the ACC. Won’t be easy, North Carolina is stout, but Brad “Really Needs a Nickname Maybe Kung Fu Fighting” Kaaya is a fantastic quarterback. The Seminoles are awesome as usual under Jimbo Fisher and possess one of the best weapons in college football in Dalvin Cook. Only their showdown with Clemson could trip their appearance here up. Give me Florida State.
6. Washington plays UCLA for the Pac-12 championship
I am buying into the Huskie Hype. They won 7 games last year but Chris Petersen (the old Boise State coach) is coaching a stud second-year QB and some talent on offense along with good defenders. 15 returning starters and their best playmaking WR back the Huskies are no joke. Plus, this quote:
“We have as much hype as the new Pokémon game,” said Petersen.“Last year, the preseason hype was we wouldn’t win four games, and [the predictions] were dead wrong. So I’m really scared that you guys [the media] are dead wrong again because you usually are.”
UCLA has one of my 10 favorite college players this year in superstar QB Josh “Chosen” Rosen. He’s a Heisman trophy contender that will power the Bruins to the title game. Rosen and the Bruins are the Pac-12 champs.
7. Ohio State plays Iowa in the Big Ten championship
Jim Harbaugh is crazy but he is also crazy good. Urban Meyer is crazy and he is better than Harbaugh right now. All the posturing and big talk in the offseason from Harbaugh has to rub Meyer the wrong way. He has a youth movement on his hands but he also has the best youth movement recruiting can supply. J.T. Barrett is a stud QB and give me that over Harbaugh’s lot. The Buckeyes play Michigan State and Michigan back-to-back weeks meaning their two toughest games are well after the learning curves have disappeared.
8. Tennessee edges Georgia and Florida in SEC East
The offseason champions finally put it together. Under Butch Jones Tennessee regularly earned copious amounts of offseason buzz and each year proceeded to disappoint an entire state. Not this year. Jalen Hurd at RB and QB Joshua Dobbs along with an impressive defense will put it together to edge out Kirby Smart and his new SEC home with the Bulldogs and the extremely talented Gators defense.
9. LSU defeats Alabama to win the SEC West
The SEC West is the deepest, toughest division in college football. This year might even be the deepest and toughest year to play in the division. For LSU it all comes down to November 5 against Alabama in Death Valley. They should both be undefeated and the winner plays for and wins the SEC Championship along with a spot in the playoff. You all know about Leonard Fournette but Brandon Harris can sling the pill and LSU hasn’t been able to sling the pill well recently, leading to the almost firing of Miles. Alabama is still going to be good but with the youth movement and another inexperienced quarterback, Nick Saban drops two.
10. TCU wins the Big 12
Gary Patterson might be the best coach in the Big 12. We know his defense will be there and if they had beaten Oklahoma last year they would have been in the playoff instead of the Sooners. Kenny “Trill” Hill is now the QB and their offense could once again be dangerous enough to decimate teams. Oklahoma, as I mentioned above, scares me a little with their schedule setup. No other team is challenging the Frogs, and though their November is sneaky tough, it also will great on a resume for the committee come time to decide the four teams in the playoff should they avoid a disappointment.
11. A running back doesn’t win the Heisman
The favorites are Christian McCaffery who finished as the runner-up last year, Leonard Fournette who was the favorite for most of the year, and Dalvin Cook who is the best player on a national title contender. While they are all nice players, along with various other studs at running back like Royce Freeman (Oregon) and Samaje Perine (Oklahoma) this pretty much a quarterback award. Deshaun Watson, who earned my first place vote last year, will be a tough out as will Josh Rosen. Plus, Jameis Winston and Johnny Manziel came out of nowhere to win the award. There’s too much QB talent to not have a signal caller win the award.
12. LSU, Florida State, Ohio State, and Clemson make the college football playoff.
The committee strikes down the Big 12 again! Now, obviously if TCU is undefeated they’re in here. Same with Oklahoma if I am dead wrong about them. Power 5 perfection will never be denied, even in this format. Alabama with their lone loss being to LSU has an argument over Clemson but I don’t think the committee could handle rematching LSU and Alabama in the playoff’s first round and I think they lose two. Clemson is in because I don’t see another loss on their schedule other than Florida State.
13. The Florida State Seminoles defeat the LSU Tigers to win the national championship.
Talent oozes in this matchup and NFL scouts will be fighting to see this one. Will be an awesome matchup between two great running backs and coaches. I trust the LSU passing game enough, but not win-it-all enough. Jimbo Fisher, no matter the quarterback, can whip up a title worthy offensive effort and his defense will be more than enough. Deondre Francois is talented and can be this year’s Jameis Winston for FSU. I like LSU a lot, obviously, but I like Florida State more.
J.T. Barrett wins the Heisman trophy. I went with him because he is the unquestioned offense for Ohio State and they will win the Big Ten and be in the playoff. Just can’t see McCaffery repeating last year and the other running backs will cancel each other out. If Notre Dame sticks with one quarterback he could be here. If UCLA lost less than three you could see “Chosen” Rosen in New York as well.
James Connor, who beat cancer to return to play football with Pitt, rushed for over 1,700 yards two year ago. He rushes for 1,200 this year. After. Beating. Cancer. Easy to root for this guy.
BYU’s Taysom Hill, who has had back-to-back season-ending injuries, will stay healthy this season and help BYU be one of the best schools outside the Power 5.
Bobby Petrino’s Louisville Cardinals win ten games.
Notre Dame just missed the playoff finishing in the top seven.
Ole Miss is the biggest disappointment. They began the year 11th in the AP poll. They finish the year outside the top 25.
USC finishes outside the top 25.
Florida and Oregon, both outside the top 20 to begin the year, finish the year in the top 20.
James Franklin finally gets fired after being a snake oil salesman for Penn State.
Todd Graham at Arizona State gets fired.
Dan Mullen coaches his last season at Mississippi State.
Texas A&M stud defensive end Myles Garrett gets drafted number one overall in the 2017 NFL Draft. His teammate Daeshon Hall goes in the top 15.
Michigan State loses four games.
Playing for Mike Leach at Washington State Luke Falk throws for 5,000 yards. He would be the 15th all-time to do so and in doing so would be the fourth to do it in a Power 5 conference. Graham Harrell (twice), B.J. Symons, and Kliff Kingsbury are the other three players. They did so at Texas Tech under Mike Leach.
Speaking of eye-popping stats and Texas Tech, Patrick Mahomes totals over 5,300 yards making him the sixth-most all-time in a single season. He’s also totaling 50 touchdowns. Lawd have mercy.
While we are here I think Texas Tech wins eight games losing to TCU, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and Baylor. They win their bowl game. Let’s say Liberty Bowl against Florida.
Follow Stoots on Twitter – @Cody_Stoots