1045 The Team’s College Football Preview
The 2017 college football season gets into full swing this Thursday night as thirty teams get their season started. The biggest game of the season includes number one ranked Alabama versus number three Florida State. What teams will win what conferences? Who will be in the college football playoff? Below are 1045 The Team's picks for the season.
Tom "Goz" Goslowski, Co-Host of Levack and Goz, Heisman Trophy Voter, College Football Hall of Fame Voter
I'm thrilled for college football to get underway and I'm eyeing up two against the grain upsets this year. In the Big 12 give me QB Mason Rudolph and the Cowboys dethroning Baker Mayfield and the Sooners. The absence of Bob Stoops as the head coach of Oklahoma makes me believe the team from Norman is vulnerable for an upset. In the ACC, the conference will come down to the winner of the Florida State-Louisville in Tallahassee in October. The home field advantage has me leaning towards the Seminoles and with no clear cut choice to take them out in the ACC title game. In the SEC I have Georgia! Yes the Bulldogs with Nick Chubb and highly touted quarterback Jacob Eason upsetting Alabama in the SEC title game. I do expect Alabama to be undefeated heading into the matchup. Eason can outplay Hurts in a big game and Georgia's head coach is former Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart. My national championship has Alabama taking down Oklahoma State. As for my Heisman prediction, I can not offer one as a official voter but I can explain my voting philosophy. I get three votes for the Heisman and two of my players are returning. In the words of Ric Flair "To be the man you gotta beat the man... WOOO". So my top three list entering the season is Lamar Jackson, Baker Mayfield, and Jake Browning. Look for that list to change in my mind all season long.
ACC champion: Miami Hurricanes – When you look at the ACC, the power struggle comes in the Atlantic division with Clemson, Florida State and Louisville. That being said when you look at the Coastal side of the conference I really like what Miami brings to the table with their high powered defense. Miami and Florida State face off early in the season which will be an early preview of what I see as the ACC Championship game. Miami will have to take care of business against the defending Coastal division champion Virginia Tech as well but with QB’s like DeShaun Watson, Mitch Trubisky, Brad Kaaya and others gone, I think this conference comes down to defense. Don’t get me wrong, there is some talent under center with reigning Heisman winner Lamar Jackson and FSU’s Deondre Francois, but I am banking on Miami’s Malik Rosier being good enough to earn victories as the Hurricane defense should keep them in almost every game.
Big Ten champion: Penn State Nittany Lions – Last year Penn State won the Big Ten and it really was not expected. Of course they did not make the CFP but they did play probably one of the most entertaining bowl games losing by 3 in the Rose Bowl to USC. I think we are looking at a similar situation in this conference as there is no doubt that Ohio State and Michigan will be around the top of the East again this season. Wisconsin will most likely come out of the West again as their defense will continue to be stout. J.T. Barrett and Mike Weber will be a strong QB-RB combo for Urban Meyer at Ohio State but I am confident that Trace McSorley and Siquon Barkley will lead Penn State to enough wins in order to be triumphant in the Big Ten for a second time in as many seasons.
Big 12 Champion: Oklahoma State Cowboys – The championship game is back for the Big 12 and while you can argue that they have botched it by having no championship the last 6 years, one can argue that this could be one of the better games because the top 2 teams will play for it. That being said the Big 12 has gotten little love from the CFP committee and I don’t really think that will change. All eyes will be on Baker Mayfield for Oklahoma and while I think he and the Sooners will get to the championship game, I really like what Oklahoma State brings to the table with QB Mason Rudolph and WR James Washington who both have legit Heisman prospects.
Pac 12 Champion: USC Trojans – If you ask some, especially the College Football Playoff Selection Committee, the Washington Huskies are very good and are not an aberration either. QB Jake Browning has been impressive but their game against Alabama in the CFP last season does not do the Pac 12 any favors in my opinion. That being said I am a believer in Sam Darnold and USC. You can even argue that they were one of the best teams in the last couple months of last season. There are some offensive concerns in terms of O-line, receivers and in the kicking game but I think with their schedule, they are set up for a definite showdown with Washington for the Pac 12 championship. In the end, I think the #1 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft (and future New York Jet?), Darnold will lead the Trojans past the Huskies.
SEC Champion: Alabama Crimson Tide – I wish I could be sexier with this pick but when a team is historically great, picking against them really can only be described as trying to be “too cute”. The top competitors in the West for Alabama will be Auburn and LSU. The defense won’t be good enough for the Tigers of Auburn and the offense won’t be good enough for the Tigers of LSU. As for the SEC (L)East, I’d like to say Malik Zaire will be the difference maker for Florida or that Georgia will have a ground n pound game (great defense and RB’s Nick Chubb and Sony Michel) good enough to beat Alabama but I simply can't because the talent is too good for the Crimson Tide. Jalen Hurts will return at QB, a healthy Bo Scarbrough is one of the best RB options in College Football and Minkah Fitzpatrick could be the next shut down corner. The dynasty will continue in Tuscaloosa.
College Football Playoff Teams and National Champion: 1. Alabama 2. Ohio State 3. Penn State 4. Miami - I think a similar thing happens this year with Ohio State making the CFP without winning their conference only this time the Big 10 winner will also make the playoff with the committee reluctantly putting the ACC champion Miami in over the team they beat in the ACC Championship game, Florida State as well as USC.
Heisman Trophy Winner: Derrius Guice RB, LSU – I think this is a big year for RB’s and to me, Guice is one of those talents that many people may not have heard of because LSU struggled last year and he was overshadowed a little bit. I also like Siquon Barkley who will most likely be on a better team at Penn State. He could put up monster numbers and will be in a better position than say Lamar Jackson who will have a hard time winning back-to-back Heisman’s because Louisville will not have a great enough record. I am really excited about Derrius Guice and wouldn’t be shocked if he ran away with it like his former teammate, Leonard Fournette, never could.
Cody Marshall, producer
ACC Champion: Florida State SeminolesJimbo Fisher’s squad will be battle tested right from the start when they play the Alabama Crimson Tide on opening weekend. The former Saban assistant will have a great measuring stick game to prepare his team for the long haul. While Louisville and Clemson may threaten for the title, FSU’s defense looks strong enough to contain Louisville’s Lamar Jackson and Clemson lost their three best players to the NFL Draft.
Big Ten Champion: Ohio State Buckeyes
This is a hard pick for me. I’m both a Wisconsin and Jim Harbaugh fan. Picking Ohio State defies that logic, but it’s the smart pick. Urban Meyer knows how to coach them up and Michigan has a young (yet very capable) team this year. The Buckeyes play Oklahoma at home and then won’t be tested again until they play Penn State in late October and Michigan in late November. Plus, they have to erase the memory of a 31-0 loss to Clemson in last year’s Fiesta Bowl.
Big 12 Champion : Oklahoma State Cowboys
Oklahoma State finally has the opportunity to play in a REAL conference championship game again. Bedlam, the annual rivalry between OSU and Oklahoma, became a de facto conference title game last year because the winner was guaranteed the Big XII title. They return quarterback Mason Rudolph and wide receiver James Washington from a team that should’ve finished 11-2 (those darn zebras). It won’t be easy considering the Pokes play three road games in four weeks (Texas, West Virginia, and Iowa State). Plus, the get the Sooners at home this year right in the middle of that.
Pac 12 Champion : Stanford Cardinal
David Shaw is among the best coaches to not have won a national championship. Last year, the quarterback position was a problem. Now, Keller Chryst looks to have command of the Cardinal offense. Bryce Love is looking like he’ll fill in nicely after the departure of Christian McCaffery. Did I mention they get UCLA and Washington at home?
SEC Champion : Alabama Crimson Tide
The dynasty is not over. Alabama draws the best football prospects to a program that already has most of the best players in the country. They’ll be tested against Florida State on opening weekend and Auburn in the Iron Bowl, but they want to make a statement after coming up just short last year. Plus, Jalen Hurts is back for his sophomore year after being responsible for 36 touchdowns (running or passing) as a freshman, which was an Alabama single season record.
College Football Playoff Teams and National Champion
(1) Alabama, (2) Ohio State, (3) Florida State, and (4) Oklahoma State
'Bama is just ‘Bama, Nick Saban won’t let them not make the playoff. The Big Ten proved its toughness last year despite Ohio State’s goose egg a year ago. Simply winning the Big Ten puts them in. Florida State would be coming out of the best conference in college football (it went 9-4 in bowl games last year and won the National Championship), so they’ll have earned that spot. Oklahoma State has the offensive weapons in the conference that has little defense. Look for Mike Gundy’s squad to make a run out of the Big XII.
National Champion: Alabama
The Crimson Tide respond pretty well when it comes to losing the year before. It’s hard to not see them doing the same thing this year, especially if Jalen Hurts only gets better.
Heisman Trophy Winner
Mason Rudolph, Quarterback, Oklahoma State
Mason Rudolph has proven he can play the QB position at the highest level. Unfortunately, he’s split time with another great, yet completely different quarterback in J.W. Walsh for part of his career. Now, he’s the lone ranger for the Pokes and they have a chip on their shoulder. He’s the gunslinger in Stillwater who threw for over 4,000 yards and 28 TDs last year. He protects the ball well too. Rudolph threw just four picks last year in over 440 attempts. If he continues this trend, OSU will be a playoff team and he’s be hoisting the Heisman.