Finally, the 2018 college football season starts this week, and I can honestly say I have never looked forward to a football season so much. College football is my favorite sport, and one of the reasons why is that there are so many storylines and question marks every season. That is no different this year. So, I meant to write a lot more preview articles before the season, but my schedule has not allowed me to do so. Anyways, I am cramming a lot of stuff in this one preview article. Let’s start with my CFB Playoff predictions.
CFB PLAYOFF PREDICTIONS
1. Alabama (13-0)
Ah, yes, the Tide are my No. 1 seed this year. I don’t know if the Tide will be as strong on defense as they were last year as they lost a ton of experience, but as always, Alabama will reload and shouldn’t take much of a step back. Also, the 2018 Alabama offense could be the best Saban has ever had in Tuscaloosa. (Yes, I am talking about with Tua Tagovailoa at QB because no way Jalen Hurts keeps the starting spot for long at least.) Combine that fact with a pretty easy schedule that includes Auburn at home, I see the Tide making the SEC Championship unscathed, and I got them winning a close one over UGA to be the No. 1 seed.
2. Wisconsin (12-1)
Is this the year Wisconsin finally gets over the Big 10 Championship hump? I think it is. Wisconsin is absolutely loaded this year. They return a large amount of experience, including nine guys on offense. Most notably, they return one of the best offensive lines in the country, and the sensational Jonathan Taylor is back for his sophomore season at running back. Also, the Badgers also return the veteran presence of Alex Hornibrook at quarterback.
Wisconsin’s schedule is tricky for once and includes trips to Michigan and Penn State. I think the Badgers split those two games and defeat whoever comes out of the crowded Big 10 East in Indianapolis in December.
3. Clemson (12-1)
Clemson will somehow find a way to lose a game they shouldn’t this year. It seems like a theme from Dabo Swinney for most years. Other than that, Clemson will again dominate the ACC and get back to the playoff again for a potential fourth consecutive matchup with Alabama.
If the Tigers want to make any noise in the playoffs though, they better start freshman phenom Trevor Lawrence over incumbent starting quarterback Kelly Bryant at some point. The rest of the team is scary good, especially that insane defensive line.
4. Oklahoma (12-1)
Yes, Oklahoma lost a Heisman winner at QB to the NFL in Baker Mayfield. However, I think former Texas A&M transfer Kyler Murray will step up to the plate, and the Oklahoma offense with Rodney Anderson at running back and Marquis Brown and CeeDee Lamb at receiver won’t miss a beat. However, the Big 12 is finally improving, so I see the Sooners collecting a loss along the way. Let’s say they lose to Texas in the regular season then beat them in a rematch in the Big 12 Title game.
Two Teams on the Cusp: Georgia and Ohio State/Michigan
National Champion: Clemson but only if Trevor Lawrence is starting QB.
— Jay Hawkins (@legitjaydogg) July 25, 2018
Yes, it’s no secret I am a big SEC guy, so of course I had to give my take on how the conference will play out in 2018.
- Alabama (12-0)
- Auburn (10-2)
- Mississippi State (9-3)
- Texas A&M (8-4)
- Ole Miss (7-5)
- LSU (5-7)
- Arkansas (5-7)
- Georgia (8-0, 12-0)
- South Carolina (6-2, 9-3)
- Missouri (5-3, 8-4)
- Florida (4-4, 7-5)
- Kentucky (1-7, 5-7)
- Vanderbilt (1-7, 4-8)
- Tennessee (1-7, 4-8)
Here are my SEC Game-by-Game Picks:
Yes, I picked Alabama over UGA in the SEC Championship game. Even though I have the Tide winning, it’s really a toss-up to me. I think UGA and Bama are both capable of reaching the CFB Playoff this year, and if my prediction of both of those teams going undefeated in the regular season holds true and enough chaos happens in the rest of college football, I could see both teams making the playoff again. (Yes, a UGA-Alabama rematch in the playoff would be unreal.)
However, I obviously had to pick someone, so I went with everyone’s favorite Alabama. On a side note, there is no doubt we’re going to see these two juggernaut teams battle it out for years to come. I truly believe Nick Saban and Kirby Smart are the two best coaches in college football. Yep, you heard me. I’d take Smart over Swinney or Meyer.
Alabama and UGA are clearly head and shoulders above anyone else in the SEC. (Auburn may creep into the picture down the road if they ever get rid of the choke job they call a head coach in Gus Malzahn, and LSU likewise with Ed Orgeron.)
Alabama, Georgia and Clemson are in the best situations of any programs in college football, and they’ll be in the playoff or in serious contention for years to come. (Note: I would have added Ohio State to this, but this whole Urban Meyer situation clouds things up. Yes, he’s gotten his slap on the wrist, but let’s be real. It is not over.)
Big Ten: Wisconsin
Big Twelve: Oklahoma
Pac 12: Washington
Conference USA: Florida Atlantic
Mountain West: Boise State
Sun Belt: Arkansas State
Like I said I apologize for the brevity of this article as it is definitely more of a bird’s-eye view of things. College football will be amazing as always, and I, for one, cannot wait for the official start of the season on Thursday. Before I go, here are my final predictions and thoughts for you guys. Bryce Love wins the Heisman. Texas is the bounce-back team of the year, and the Longhorns’ Tom Herman is probably coach of the year as well.
New hires Scott Frost and Dan Mullen struggle in their first year as head coach at Nebraska and Florida respectively. Things in Baton Rouge, L.a., are a complete disaster, and LSU fires Orgeron over the offseason and hires Lane Kiffin.
*Featured Image via @iam__mw3o on Twitter