The best part about making bold predictions is demanding credit for the ones that come true and disavowing any that go horribly wrong. Sorry to break it to you good folks, but that’s just the way things work.
Penn State will make the playoff
Here’s the thing about the Big Ten East. It is very, very good. Four teams (Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State, and Penn State) enter with legitimate national championship dreams. The Nittany Lions have the most favorable schedule and a stable of returning talent capable of making the final four. James Franklin’s guys get Michigan State, Ohio State, Iowa, and Wisconsin in Happy Valley. A trip to Ann Arbor is the only difficult trek outside of Pennsylvania. Trace McSorley is still one of the best quarterbacks in the country and is coming back with plenty of seasoning. Look for him to cook up some huge offensive numbers.
A running back will win the Heisman Trophy
Stanford’s Bryce Love averaged 8.1 yards/carry last season and could replicate that behind a game offensive line. Jonathan Taylor and Wisconsin are steadfastly reliable on the ground. J.K. Dobbins is a threat to go to the house every time he carries the ball for the Buckeyes. Rodney Anderson and Justice Hill will amass Big 12-aided numbers. The two quarterbacks with the best odds, Tua Tagovailoa and Dwayne Haskins, each have precious little on-field experience. The next, Will Grier, may not be playing for a contender.
Notre Dame will wake up the echoes
What does this mean? It means going 11-1 and giving the playoff committee and ulcer debating the Irish’s fate. In the end, the lack of a conference title game will come back to bite the Irish in the rear. But the path there will be fun. Look for Brandon Wimbush to look far more polished and the old magic to be back in South Bend.
Michigan will finish fourth in the Big Ten East
Shea Patterson is the latest savior. He will be the latest savior not to yield big wins. This isn’t so much a knock on the Wolverines as it is statement on the challenges they face. Fully prepared to hear about this one the rest of my natural life.
Both Arizona teams will be train wrecks
Khalil Tate was one of the biggest surprises of last year. Now a known entity, he’ll struggle to replicate that success. Herm Edwards is doing everything he can to get headlines in Tempe, but is going about it all wrong. I believe he’ll waste Manny Wilkins’ immense talent. Neither team smells .500.
The Big 12 won’t have a team in the playoff
And it won’t be close. Oklahoma wins the regular season but loses the conference title game for its third loss of the year. West Virginia doesn’t deliver on expectations. TCU and Oklahoma State are fine, but not Top 10-caliber.
LSU-Alabama will be a matchup of unbeatens
OK, so one part of this isn’t bold. Predicting Alabama to lose would be. But I’m not that brave. LSU enters the season with a stifling defense and offensive question marks. In order to get to November blemish-free, the Tigers must beat Miami, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi State. Brace yourselves. It will happen and the teams will enter No. 1 and No. 2.
We will get another epic Sean McDonough voice crack moment
His ill-fated sojourn to the Monday Night Football booth now in the rearview window, McDonough is back doing college game. And he excels in this position. We can’t wait for that special spine-tingling moment when his voice isn’t quite up to the moment. Few things better than that.