The dog days of summer are over, and now begins one of the best times of the year. College Football season is upon us. Our Saturdays will now consist of waking up early to watch College Game Day, taking in the large slate of games, and hoping for some upsets.
Heisman Trophy: Baker Mayfield
Six of the last seven Heisman Trophy winners have been quarterbacks and this year will continue the trend. Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield is the best quarterback in the nation based on what he has done each of the last two years. He has already had two top 5 finishes in Heisman voting and has led the Sooners to the playoffs. This year, Baker is sure to put up huge stats with a high completion percentage and if he leads OU to the playoffs, I think he has a very strong chance of winning the Heisman Trophy.
PAC 12 Champion: USC Trojans
This year, the PAC 12 is not as deep as it has been in years past, and Southern Cal may be considered the favorite to win the conference. Clay Helton has developed into a very solid and reliable coach; with Heisman hopeful Sam Darnold under center, the Trojans have a great shot at winning the PAC 12.
Big 10 Champ: Ohio State Buckeyes
The Buckeyes struggled a bit early in Week 1, but they should still be the clear favorites in the Big 10. J.T. Barrett is one of the most electrifying play makers in college football, and the veteran QB now has as much big game experience as anyone in the nation. Penn State and Michigan are both very strong teams that will give Ohio State problems, but with so many returning starters on both offense and defense, the Buckeyes are in good shape. If Urban Meyer’s squad can get past the mighty Oklahoma Sooners in Week 2, they should emerge as the Big 10 conference champions.
Big 12 Champ: Oklahoma Sooners
The fact that Oklahoma has been a powerhouse each of the last two years speaks volumes about the impact that Baker Mayfield has on football. The only real challenger to the Sooners will be the sneaky good Oklahoma State Cowboys led by brilliant quarterback Mason Rudolph. This is a very top heavy conference and it is likely Oklahoma and Oklahoma State will face off in the first Big 12 Conference Championship Game since 2010. Oklahoma wins and has a good chance at making the playoffs.
SEC Champ: Alabama
Death, taxes, and Alabama winning the South Eastern Conference. It’s a fairly safe bet to assume that Alabama will once again earn a spot and win the SEC championship game. Nick Saban’s team lost a lot of players to the draft last year, but they are still the best team in the nation and are the favorites to win the championship this year. The Tide’s only real competition is Auburn, whose quarterback is now Baylor transfer Jarret Stidham. The Tigers play Clemson in Week 2 and that game could be a huge foreshadowing of Auburn’s season to come. Still, Alabama should be the clear favorite in the SEC.
ACC Champ: Clemson
This is the easiest Conference Champion to predict. With FSU losing Week 1 to the Crimson Tide and starting QB Deondre Francois out for the season with a knee injury, the Clemson juggernaut has a relatively easy road to become ACC champions. Their biggest competition is Louisville, whose team is just not nearly as talented top to bottom as the Tigers are despite having the superior quarterback in Lamar Jackson. The ACC Championship is definitely Clemsons’ to lose.
College Football Playoff:
3. Ohio State
Semifinals: Alabama vs Oklahoma
Ohio State vs Clemson
National Championship: Alabama vs Ohio State
National Champion: Alabama
USC will be the only Conference Champion that gets left out of the Playoff. Their résumé with likely two losses will not be as strong as the other four teams. Alabama is the surest bet to make the Playoff and I feel like they will win their semifinal against Oklahoma without too much trouble. Ohio State will get past Clemson in a very close game. The Buckeyes will ultimately be vanquished by the Crimson Tide and Nick Saban will hoist his sixth National Championship trophy.
These are my predictions for the upcoming College Football season. I will revisit this at the end of the year and see how many of these I predicted correctly.