By Cody Stoots

HOUSTON (CBS HOUSTON) – The season is here. Let’s get some predictions going. Not just any predictions, some BOLD predictions.

As usual, a trip down memory lane from last season is right here.

Oh. No. The horror.

Stoops didn’t get fired but he isn’t at Oklahoma anymore. Win for me. Strong isn’t at Texas. I will take that L. I doubted Alabama as usual and placed too much faith in TCU. My title game of FSU and LSU was…well…bad. So, some misses and a few small wins. As usual.

Now, for 2017.

1. The Oklahoma State Cowboys win the Big 12..sorta

Oklahoma State has the worst fan tradition of any university ever with those stupid paddles and slamming them a whole game. It’s annoying as all get out and dumb. Plus, they’ve copied a tremendous amount of tradition from other schools (most notably their pistols firing from Texas Tech) and their fans are generally annoying in that little brother way. Well, Xerox U needs the copy machine for the damn college football playoff bracket. Maybe. Unless…

2. Oklahoma upsets Oklahoma State to keep the Big 12 out of the College Football Playoff

I don’t love the Sooners this year despite having a stud back at quarterback in Baker Mayfield. Dede Westbrook isn’t there to be Mayfield’s go to stud and Lincoln Riley, despite being groomed, will have growing pains. The Sooners can easily make the Big 12 championship game with their toughest non-Bedlam road test being Kansas State the week after the Red River Rivalry. They drop to UT and Okie State (and Ohio State) but win enough to have a Bedlam rematch and like Riley’s old coach Mike Leach usually did, spoil someone’s title season.

3. Tom Herman succeeds at Texas in his first year with the Longhorns

Bold? Probably not. Bar is low. For starters, Herman needs a good showing in Los Angeles against the Trojans and he could use a win against the Sooners at the state fair, but success will be Texas blowing out inferior ones, winning a game they shouldn’t win, and never being out of a game. Four losses is a win for Herman. Three losses and the burnt orange colored drink will be flowing in Austin once again.

4. Kevin Sumlin….finally gets fired

I hated typing this. Sumlin is a good coach but not a great coach. The expectations he reset for himself with Johnny Manziel and the early success doomed him. Oh, and so did a schedule in the SEC West. Nine wins should be enough but the dreaded “how did they win” will be important. Uncertainty at quarterback is going to be a tough thing to overcome for the Aggies who should see multiple signal callers this year. They’re going to surprise UCLA but I could see Alabama, Florida, Mississippi State, and Auburn beat them up in the middle of the schedule setting them up for LSU late and ending Sumlin’s career with the Aggies.

5. Gary Kubiak nor Chad Morris end up as the Texas A&M head coach when Sumlin is fired

SMU head coach Chad Morris seems like the most natural and absolute lock to be the next Aggies head man if Sumlin departs. The Mustangs should be serviceable and Morris has some success littered in his college coaching career to go along with knowing a tremendous amount about the high school landscape in Texas and knowing recruiting outside of Texas is key. Kubiak would be a good old boy hire with a heavy Aggie and young coach component to his staff to take some of his work off his plate. I bet he could recruit and his style might be SEC friendly. Philip Montgomery (Tulsa, yes THAT Tulsa) and Neal Brown (Troy) would fit. How about UTSA’s Frank Wilson?

6. Wisconsin wins the Big 10

This is a benefit of lucky schedule. Only Michigan is a team likely to be ranked when they play Wisconsin outside of the Big 10 Championship game. The schedule is putrid and weak and the Badgers should roll right through it. Their reward? A beat up Ohio State or Michigan who finish the season with each other or a Penn State ass-whipping. Since I am betting Penn State can’t get to the title game the Badgers pick over the scraps of the Wolverines or the Buckeyes and find themselves in the College Football Playoff.

7. Brian Kelly gets fired at Notre Dame

I can find seven very losable games for Notre Dame on their schedule. It just isn’t there anymore for the Irish. He is a long way removed from the undefeated season and seems to be cracking a lot more than usual. Notre Dame won’t stomach another bad season with a bevy of good coaching candidates out there. I am probably over-correcting after my disappointment abounded in them last year but the schedule and opponents this year did them no favors.

8. Georgia wins the SEC East and covers in the SEC championship against Alabama

Go Dawgs. This isn’t really too tough for me. They’re easily the most talented team and you can’t bet on Tennessee to fulfill what is a promising roster and season so sign me up for Georgia and Alabama in the SEC title game. Oh, no, Florida never even got considered. They lack the ability to play offense there.

9. USC fails to make the college football playoff

I have a hard time finding the exact team to unseat the Trojans in the Pac-12, Stanford and Washington will get a crack at it come title time, but I don’t have a hard time seeing them five or lower come bowl season. The expectations are too high. I know Sam Darnold is Superman and Batman rolled into one and the Rose Bowl is the most fun we have seen in a long time in a bowl game and he’s mister cool and unflappable. The Trojans lost some significant talent and with lofty expectations and grueling start to the season, I can’t seem them surviving the pitfalls 2017 present. Two losses would likely do they in, especially if a big dog upset them or played them close.

10. Florida State outlasts Clemson in the ACC

The Seminoles are loaded, as usual, but I love the possibility of Deondre Francois as the next big thing in college football and one of the most legit defensive Heisman Trophy candidates in a long time finally seems healthy in safety Derwin James. Clemson is still good, but there are a lot of questions to answer on a roster facing a front-loaded schedule. While the Tigers dip Florida State steps in as the ACC representative in the college football playoff.

11. The most positions we’ve seen in recent memory are represented at the Heisman ceremony

We know a Quarterback will be there. Saquon Barkley will be there with a fun season rushing the ball for the Nittany Lions of Penn State. Arden Key the pass-rushing stud from LSU could make enough sack noise to get the New York invite. I fully believe Derwin James will be there as the ball hawk in Florida State’s secondary. Christian Kirk can head to the Saturday night special if the pass catching stats and the amazing special teams play continue to grow. That alone is five different positions. Wouldn’t that be fun?

12. Alabama, Florida State, Georgia, and Wisconsin make the college football playoff

If Georgia can make it through the SEC unscathed and only lose by 7-10 points to Alabama they’re playoff worthy. I might love a one loss Big 12 team more than Wisconsin but only if they own a loss as well. Perfection will never be denied in the four-team playoff.

13. Alabama beats Florida State to win the college football playoff

Jalen Hurts. He’s the most dynamic and athletic quarterback Nick Saban has probably ever had and his immense growth should be showcased from start to finish. Let’s not forget, the Alabama offense did their part in the national championship. With no more Kiffin distraction, the Tide should be nearly unstoppable. Even a slip to Auburn or someone won’t harm their title chances (though it could derail my Georgia selection.) Three straight trips for Saban and two titles? It doesn’t even sound like it’s out of place when you’re talking Nick Saban.

Bonus Predictions!

Houston, in their first season with Major Applewhite at the helm, regress and see just six wins come their way. Ed Oliver, however, wins the Rotary Lombardi Award.

Auburn disappoints and the higher-ups make it very clear Gus Malzahn is on his last leg. He barely escapes with his job. With high expectations and a backloaded schedule, the Tigers will falter.

Lane Kiffin and his crew at FAU win Conference USA. Sure, let’s buy into the hype and hope Kiffin realizes his layover on the salt water only has to be one year if he succeeds.

Bill Snyder coaches his final season of college football. Kansas State carries him off the field after a comeback win in the Alamo Bowl.

Penn State loses just two games and has two legit Heisman candidates in Saquon Barkley and quarterback Trace McSorley.

Virginia Tech wins the non-good part of the ACC.

Baylor wins just four games.

West Virginia wins nine games.

Louisville also wins nine games.

UAB in their return to division one football win just one game, but, they’re back.

Neal Brown and his Troy Trojans lose just one game.

Bret Bielema at Arkansas and Butch Jones at Tennessee get fried.

Larry Fedora (North Carolina) is the next Tennessee head coach.

Arizona State fires Todd Graham and promptly hires Kevin Sumlin.

Texas and Texas A&M play in the Advocare Texas Bowl. Please. I need this. College football needs this. Please.

While we are kicking around rivalries why don’t we see Texas Tech and Washington State line it up in the Cactus Bowl? Mike Leach against his former quarterback who coaches at the school he believes owes him lots of money. That’s how you make a bowl game interesting.

I would love to tell you I have a lot of faith in Texas Tech this season but I don’t. Perhaps Kliff Kingsbury has something cooked up but all signs point to this being his last season in Lubbock as the head coach. Should he get fired he would be one of the hottest offensive coordinator names in football. If he sticks around, he needs 6 and a bowl win. Can he do that? Sure. The non-conference are all winnable games and despite recent trouble with various Big 12 teams Kansas, Iowa State and Baylor should be wins. Ok, I talked myself into it. The Red Raiders win seven.

Follow Stoots on Twitter – @Cody_Stoots


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