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College Football is Coming…

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If you live in the southeast region of Massachusetts, two things signify the end of the summer.  The first is obviously the Madeira Feast in the beginning of August and the second is the start of the college football season.  In a blink of an eye, Saturdays will be filled with college football games.  ESPN College Game day starts at like 5:30am and the last game starts at 10:00pm.  Like I said…filled.  I enjoy me some college football but I can’t watch it all.  I do know someone who definitely tries.  My buddy Alex is the biggest football fan I know.  Not only is he a mega fan but he may have the most football knowledge out of everyone I have ever met.  Alex understands the game, point blank.  He knows the game so well and he is an exceptional evaluator of talent.  I have to mention my man because a lot of the information in this write up was given to me by Alex.  I watch college football, I enjoy it and I have a decent amount of knowledge but nothing like Al.  Now…enough about Alex, this is my article.

First things first, let’s talk about the playoffs.  I for one am so happy that CFB decided to introduce the playoff format.  Don’t get me wrong, the bowl series is great but sports are meant to be decided with a playoff bracket.  Four teams will play for a chance to win a national championship come this winter.  If you have read my past articles, then you may have seen my baseball trade prediction piece.  It is clear that I enjoy pretending like I can see the future and this will be no different.  I am going to make my predictions for the college football playoffs right here, right now.  Mattradamus’s first team in is the most obvious sports take in all the land…the Alabama Crimson Tide. 

Bama is the best football program in the world.  Nick Saban and the squad is an absolute power house.  Year in and year out they sit atop the rankings and compete for the national title.  The Alabama defense is scary every single year.  In April they lose 4 to 5 players to the NFL and every August they seem to replace what they lost.  This year the defense will be anchored by linebackers Mack Wilson and Dylan Moses.  Wilson is a possible first round draft pick.  He can make tackles all over the gridiron and Moses may hear his named called in the draft not too long after Wilson.  If you have ever watched the Alabama football team play than you know that they are notorious for their incredible defensive line.  It seems like every season they have kids on the front line causing havoc.  Raekwon Davis could become the best defensive linemen in the nation.  He is already projected to be a first round pick in next year’s draft.  Alabama’s defense will be elite no doubt but their offensive is nothing to joke about either.  Saban’s biggest decision will come down to what quarterback he chooses.  Jalen Hurts has led this offense in the past but Tua Togavailoa is poised to lead this offense to their next championship.  Regardless of what QB he chooses, Alabama will be able to run the ball.  Their running back stable is always top notch.  Betting on Alabama to win is like betting on the Patriots to win.  Both programs are always destined for the ship.

My second selection is also Luke warm at best.  Clemson will be back in the playoffs.  The Tigers have a defense that may be even better than Bama’s.  Don’t be surprised if you see three or more defensive players selected in the first round of the draft.  I honestly couldn’t say it better than my boy Alex, so I’ll just quote him.  “Similar to Alabama, Clemson’s glaring question is whether to stick with incumbent quarter back Kelly Bryant who brings consistency, reliability, and experience to the table. Or… go with Trevor Lawrence, the best pocket passer of the 2018 freshman class.  T-Law could take their offense to new heights, something that hasn’t been achieved since Deshaun Watson’s departure.”  Expect to see the Tigers play for another shot at a championship.

The Clemson Tigers will not be the only “Tigers” in this year’s playoff.  I think the Auburn Tigers will also represent the SEC in the playoffs.  Lead by a possible Heisman candidate and potential first round pick, quarterback Jarrett Stidham, Auburn could find themselves battling for a national championship.  Auburn is always a major factor in the SEC.  Their football program has been one of the best in the nation.  The Tigers are loaded on both sides of the ball.  Every season, Auburn takes on the Crimson Tide in the Iron Bowl.  This matchup is one of the most anticipated games on the football calendar.  The last game of the regular season may not be the last time Bama and Auburn compete on the gridiron. 

My fourth and final team in this year’s playoff is the Michigan Wolverines.  Jim Harbaugh has put together a competitive team every year he has been the head coach.  The Wolverines are talented once again.  Michigan’s defense looks to be a beast in the Big Ten.  Early round drafts picks are all over this defensive roster.  But the difference maker this year will be the quarterback.  Michigan just hasn’t been able to get an elite QB on the roster.  This year that may change as they will have will Ole Miss transfer Shea Patterson behind center.  Patterson will be the best signal caller the Wolverines have had since Harbaugh has taken over the program.  With the former number one ranked freshmen QB on the team, look for Michigan to do big things. 

Every season the NCAA awards the Heisman Trophy to the best college football player in the country.  This award is by far the most coveted in college football.  I think there are three major preseason candidates.  Khalil Tate, Will Grier, and Bryce Love are the names you should get to know before the season kicks off. 

Bryce Love is a running back from Stanford.  Last season Love put together some monster stats.  His 2118 yard and 23 touchdowns were good enough to make him a Heisman finalist.  The Stanford football squad looks to be solid once again this year so be ready for Bryce Love to continue to impress.

There may not be a bigger character in college football than Will Grier.  The West Virginia Mountaineer’s quarterback is a star on the field but he comes with some baggage.  Grier may have had some off the field issues and he may have family members that are YouTube stars but the kid can play.  Last season Grier threw for 3490 yards and 34TDs.  He will be a first round draft pick in the 2019 NFL draft.  Will Grier has all the tools to dominate the college football season and more.  It won’t hurt that he will be throwing to one of the best wide receivers in the country.  Along with his fellow preseason All-American wide receiver David Sills, Will Grier is going to produce big time stats this season.  West Virginia could be very exciting this year.

No prediction list is complete without a dark horse, a long shot, a surprise pick.  Both me and Alex agree on this one.  Khalil Tate is that sleeper candidate to pay attention to.  Tate is a quarterback from Arizona.  Tate is a super athletic kid with big time arm potential.  In just eight games last season he threw for over 1500 yards and ran for over 1400 yards.  He scored a combined 26 touchdowns.  In eight games!  Tate will be back with the Wildcats this year and under new head coach Kevin Sumlin the sky is the limit for this football team.  More on the University of Arizona Wildcats football team still to come. 

Every season, no matter what the sport, there are teams who over achieve and some who bomb.  I don’t expect anything different this NCAA football season.  Two programs that I expect to be better than advertised are the Boston College Eagles and the aforementioned Arizona Wildcats.  Wouldn’t it be awesome to have a local college football succeed this year?  I sure think so.

Boston College has the chance to be good this season.  Better than they have been in some time.  Their defensive is going to be very strong.  Led by potential first round edge rusher Zach Allen the Eagle defense could be one of the best in the conference.  And that is saying a lot considering the teams in the ACC.  On offense, Boston College will utilize their potential Heisman sleeper running back AJ Dillon.  If you’re a Boston sports fan than you have to root for the local star, Dillon.  Last year the Connecticut native rushed for over 1500 yards and scored 14 touchdowns.  If Dillon can take that big step forward in his sophomore season than I think Boston College will be nationally ranked throughout this season.

Now, onto my favorite part of this article…I’m talking about one of my favorite college football teams.  The University of Arizona Wildcats.  I have been of fan of their team for years but they aren’t usually good in football.  This year could be a little different.  Arizona has a real shot at competing for a Pac 12 title.  The addition of Kevin Sumlin as the head coach is huge.  He is known as one of the best coaches in the nation.  Sumlin recently coached Texas A&M and had the Aggies ranked for most of his tenure. With Khalil Tate at the helm, anything is possible.  Sumlin coached an athletic QB at Texas A&M.  His name was Johnny Menziel and I think the new head coach can get big time production out of Tate.  Tate has the ability to completely take over any given game.  Alex thinks he can dominate like Cam Newton did at Auburn or Lamar Jackson did at Louisville.  With Tate under center the Wildcats will always have a shot at a victory.  Tate’s supporting cast is limiting but if Sumlin can get the most out of his squad you could see the currently unranked Wildcat team rise as high as the top ten in the country.  Personally, I am so down for Arizona and Boston College to be good.

My two bust picks come from the Big Ten.  I do not think Ohio State or Penn State will be as good as they are being billed to be.  One reason I am predicting a down season for these two teams is the quality of their conference.  Wisconsin, Michigan, Michigan State, is all going to be tough teams this year.  I think Michigan is a playoff team and Wisconsin has numerous preseason All-Americans.  The other reason I think Ohio State will bust is karma.  Urban Myer is facing a three game suspension.  I am not going to get into the details because it is not meant for a sports article.  But I will say that I hope Ohio State stinks as long as Myer is the coach.  Penn State currently ranks tenth in the polls.  According to my main college football guy that may be due to do their 2017 season and not what they will do this upcoming year.  Their offense lost three major athletes.  Of those three, Saquon Barkley highlights the list.  The former running back will leave massive shoes to fill.  They could still finish ranked in the top 25 but I think it will be towards the end of that rankings list. 

After reading BSoT's college preview I have just one question for you...Are you ready for some college football?  Alex and I sure are!

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