College Football: There will be many strong teams and a few that might surprise you.
Most agree a playoff would make it a more exciting season and it would give teams who play in hard conferences hope at the end of their season. However, we all know it will not happen. If there was ever a time we need playoffs...it is now. The teams next year will prove once again that no team is safe. It is true some teams only play 3 or 4 real games and they will have a much easier time than conferences with many contenders. A playoff will make teams play harder out of conference games to prepare for a playoff. They would be less concerned about getting a perfect season and more concerned about getting better. As long as we do not have playoffs; I do not blame some teams that have joke schedules and almost walk to the championship every year. However, if they do not play more real games; it will be a joke championship. We have seen that the last two years with Ohio State. They are a solid team but their soft schedule hurts them when they have played teams who play hard teams almost every week. West Virginia almost played in the championship! They lost to a below average Pitt team at the end; this clearly showed they were over ranked. I think strength of schedule has to play a big part in ranking; if we refuse to start a playoff system that would at least make teams earn their ranking.
I went 69-18 in college football season picks and 20-9 in bowl picks; 89-27. That was pretty solid with all of the upsets last season.
Answer the three questions and read my three answers on the upcoming college football season:
1. List the top teams in college football coming into the season.
2. List the most improved teams- maybe a pretender in 2007 to contender in 2008
3. What teams will struggle again?
The season will start with last years 12-1 Hawaii playing Florida 9-4. It will be one of the biggest blowouts of the year. Hawaii's weak schedule may help them rebound but the whipping UGA gave them will repeat as the Gators win by over 40 points...Guess ex-coach Jones thought this would be a game... it is sad what a joke schedule makes you believe.
My top picks in college football:
a. Georgia- Most of the team has returned with one of the best RB'S in the country and a much improved QB. They will pick up where they finished last year and they play a hard schedule this year. They probally have the hardest schedule in football this year. If they finish with one loss or better; it will be an SEC team playing again for the championship.
b. USC- Solid team with a great coach. They do play some good games but overall have an average schedule. They have a real shot at the championship game.
c. Oklahoma- They have a great coach with a solid team. Their conference is getting better and they will be in the hunt all year. They play KU at home and do not have to play Missouri.
d. LSU- The coach will always give them a chance to win and they will have another strong year.
e. Ohio State- They have the best sure shot at the championship game again. This is a better team than last year and they will dominate all year but they need to play a few stronger teams out of conference; maybe play a Florida, LSU or UGA during the season. They have a monkey on their back and need to overcome a solid SEC team before the championship game for confidence.
F. Missouri- Solid coach who has turned the corner. They are for real and will be in the hunt all year. They have some decent games next year but they need to play a few more ranked teams during the season. If they get through KU; they should get a big 12 matchup with Oklahoma.
g. Florida- Tebow will keep them in every game and he will have a huge season. They will rebound and be one of the strongest teams in the country. The UGA game will be huge toward the end of the season. Playing in the East can make or break you...
h. Kansas- Coming off their best season ever and having one of the weakest schedules in football.. they will have a strong season. I doubt they get by Missouri but it will be a close game. Probally looking at a 10 win season.
*There will be others but these are my top teams.
My picks for the most improved teams:
a. Clemson- This is one of the best teams Tommy has had and he had better win at least 9-10 games with this team. They will be in the hunt for a BCS game.
b. Virginia Tech- They are a solid team with a great coach. It should be a great matchup against Clemson; however, I give Clemson the edge. Not sure if their record will be better but overall this will be an improved team and they will have a strong year with a shot at the conference championship.
c. Miami- They recruited number one and this coach is a solid leader that will restore Miami to a contender for years to come. It may take a few years to be the team of old but they will have a winning season this year. Great coach with a great vision for the future.
a. West Virginia- They are on the bubble: their soft schedule will keep them in the hunt but Rich was a great coach; no matter what many think about him personally; they will miss his leadership and passion.
b. Michigan- Rich is a great coach and knows how to build a program. You can like or hate him but he knows how to win. It will take time to build his offense and teach them how to play the right defense, but this program will have a solid future. They may strugle next year in the transition but they will have a winning season overall.
c. Alabama- I am still not sold on Saban with the tide. He was a pass away from beating UGA in OT and in most games all year. It was a poor finish but clearly they could be a dark horse in the conference. This team could win 8-9 games but also could tank. They are hard team to pick overall but it will be a coin flip season.
My picks for the teams that will struggle the most during the season:
3. a. Notre Dame- Charlie belongs in the NFL and this will be his last year with the Irish. Steve and Pete both showed great college coaches do not always make good NFL coaches but clearly they do well on the college level. Charie does well in the NFL but his approach in coaching players is not what builds a solid college program- sorry Charlie but it will be a long year with a weak schedule but very few wins. Prepare for huge losses in the few real games they do play next year.
b. Florida State- They are in real trouble. They start the season without 20+ players and it is clear that Bobby has lost grip with handling this team. He is a great coach but it is time to announce and leave with grace or FSU will be in a mess for many years to come.
c. Hawaii- Jones was an awesome leader and losing him and starting off against a gator team that will be one of the best teams in the nation; will be crushing. Their joke schedule may still give them several wins but they will lose at least 4 games
d. South Carolina- I realize they were not strong last year but they were in most games and expected to be in the hunt. This will not be the case this year and it will probally be the "old ball coaches" last season. They are in one of the hardest conferences in football and there are 4 teams better in the east alone. It will be a long year for fans. Probally a 4-5 win season.
e. Arkansas- You can be sure that losing one of the top RB's in college early will effect this team no matter how many soft games they play. They also lost a solid coach who always got the best out of his team. They chose a coach who has no character and clearly his word and promises mean nothing. He is a solid college coach but the last mess will follow him and he takes over a program that needs work. Hard to recruit with promises to parents and players; when your last job was left with lies and clearly a mess. It will be a long season for Arkansas with the team struggling to win 5 games. If he wins 5; it will be a good season. This was a program that had finally established a tradition. This could be the year they take a huge step backward.
Your thoughts and picks...