5 College Football Teams That Will Benefit From Bowl Hype in 2015


Bowl games are one-off exhibitions, played a month after the season. That can lead to some fluky results. With recency bias fervent, those fluky results have a disproportionate effect on preseason perception. The classic cautionary tale from last season was Oklahoma.

Here are five teams that will benefit from that effect heading into 2015. Don’t discount them, but make sure your cases for them are well grounded.

TCU Horned Frogs

The Horned Frogs vented their playoff frustration on Ole Miss, in an emphatic 42-3 win. They return almost everyone on offense. Gary Patterson is proven. TCU will be an almost unanimous Top 5 team. Some may place them at No. 1 overall. We’d be more cautious, two years off a 4-8 season. The Horned Frogs lose some key starters on defense. They also have a weird schedule with three non-Saturday games and five trips outside Texas. TCU left the state twice in 2015, and beat West Virginia and Kansas teams by five points combined. We have seen what TCU can do when everything goes right. There are enough good Big 12 teams to jump on them if things do not.

Clemson Tigers

Clemson blew Oklahoma’s house down 40-6, without much in the way of huffing and puffing. Five Sooner turnovers set them up nicely. The Tigers will sound sexy. Deshaun Watson, a potential Heisman candidate, comes back with developing receiver talent. But, offensive architect Chad Morris leaves. So does almost the entire front seven from what may have been the nation’s best 2014 defense. Last time Dabo beat a good, healthy FSU or South Carolina team?

Arkansas Razorbacks

Arkansas was the one SEC West team that impressed, blowing out Texas 31-7. They showed potential and pluckiness in 2014. Many will confuse that with accomplishment. The Razorbacks still must develop a credible passing game. They lose two of their most disruptive defensive presences: Trey Flowers and Martrell Spaight. Arkansas’ schedule does not get any less heinous in 2014. Road trips to Tennessee, Bama, Ole Miss and LSU are on the slate. Their easiest SEC home game may be Mississippi State.

Michigan State Spartans

Michigan State came from behind to beat Baylor 42-41. You’ll see a lot of Top 10 rankings for the Spartans come 2015. The Spartans did not have an elite defense, after personnel losses in 2014 (falling from 2nd to 40th in FEI). Oregon, Ohio State and Baylor torched them. In 2015, Michigan State potentially could lose two more first round draft picks, Trae Waynes and Shilique Calhoun. Not to mention a number of key seniors. Coordinator Pat Narduzzi is leaving for the Pitt job. That’s a situation that warrants caution.

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

The Yellow Jackets got rolling toward season’s end. They beat Clemson and Georgia and nearly took down FSU in the ACC title game. GT capped things off beating Top 10 Mississippi State by multiple touchdowns. QB Justin Thomas returns. But, seven of Georgia Tech’s top eight running backs and their top two receivers were seniors last year. The Yellow Jacket defense does not leave much margin for error. It’s not a long fall back to the 6-7 win range.

[USA Today Sports]