If you missed our two previous installments, first, shame on you, and second, you can find them here (OSU) and here (B1G). In our final edition, we answer questions about national college football stories. If last year is any indication, we did fairly well with predicting how things would go with OSU and within the conference, but once we started pontificating about say, MWC or ACC football, we missed wildly. Let's see if we do any better this year.
Which team in the preseason Coaches Poll Top 10 is most likely to disappoint?
Texas A&M 9
South Carolina 2 Even though they have Clowney, I think that South Carolina loses at least 3 games this year (just don't tell Clowney this as I like being able to breathe on my own). --LGHL staffer
I'll admit to being a little surprised by this, but given the enormous expectations on the program, and national media #HOT #TAKES #EXPRESS that is making Johnny Football into the most evil human this side of Walter White, I can see why Texas A&M might be an attractive choice for taking a step back, to say nothing of the players they lost last season. South Carolina was also mentioned, as folks suspect people are forgetting that players other than Clowney will have to contribute this season.
Which team in the preseason Coaches Poll 11-25 range do you see as having the best chance of making a title run?
Florida State 4
Oklahoma State 1
Not much confidence among the staff with any of these picks. Florida State was a close winner, not because anybody was particularly enamored with their talent level, but because of a more manageable schedule. There are road trips to Clemson and Florida, and a home date with the Hurricanes, but other than that, there aren't too many potential road bumps...which means Florida State will probably beat all three of those teams, but lose by 17 to Syracuse. Texas got a few votes on talent alone, but confidence in Mack Brown is approaching congressional approval level territory.
Which team outside the Top 25 do you see as a potential sleeper?
Miami (FL) 3
Kansas State 2
Virginia Tech 1
Kentucky 1 (#BOLD #FLAVORS)
Michigan State 1
Ole Miss 1
Arizona State 1
Even less confidence here, but the potentially hot offenses of Miami (FL) and Baylor gave them a slight advantage. We should figure out exactly what Miami is made of in Week 2, when they host the Florida Gators. We'll probably have to wait until the end of the season to get the book on Baylor, since their toughest games until November are a home game against WVU and a road trip to Kansas State. Their last five games? Oklahoma, Texas Tech, at OK State, at TCU, Texas. #woof
Which non-BCS school, outside of Boise State, do you think is the most dangerous?
Fresno State 7
Northern Illinois 5
Utah State 1
BYU 1 (note: that vote did not come from me)
San Diego State 1
It's tough to not want to give Fresno (Fres...YES?) State some love, as they bring back most of what was a very good defense last year, and an excellent QB in Derek Carr. Northern Illinois also got some love, despite a coaching change, and with Purdue and Iowa on the schedule, they have the chance to grab some B1G scalps and media attention (and really, if Purdue or Iowa beats them, that ought to count as a quality win).
The Mountain West should quietly be an excellent conference this year, with Fresno battling Boise State (the Bulldogs host this season), with Utah State returning a lot of pieces from an 11-win team a year ago, and with SJSU rolling out a potential 1st round pick at QB. With SDSU's stout defense and Air Force's trickery, this could be an excellent conference title race, like how the MAC was last season.
Who is the highest profile coach that will get fired this season?
Lane Kiffin-USC 6
Mack Brown-Texas 2
Steve Sarkisian-Washington 1
Kirk Ferentz-Iowa 1
Gary Pinkel-Missouri 1
Randy Edsall-Maryland 1
Bobby Petrino-WKU 1
Not a big surprise, as this season is probably a make-or-break year for both Kiffykins and Mack Brown. With potential uncertainty at QB and depth concerns at multiple positions, it isn't hard to imagine USC taking enough of a stumble for Kiffin to get axed...but given his propensity to troll, wouldn't a 9-win season that saves his job be the ultimate troll job? I'm not saying...but I'm just saying.
Who is winning the Heisman Trophy?
Braxton Miller-QB Ohio State 8
De'Anthony Thomas-RB Oregon 2
Teddy Bridgewater-QB Louisville 2
Jadeveon Clowney-defensive monster South Carolina 1
It shouldn't be a surprise that an Ohio State blog thinks highly of an Ohio State quarterback's chances of getting the Heisman. If Miller's passing, footwork and leadership have improved as much as we hope they have over the offseason, it's hard to argue that Miller won't be in the conversation, as long as he's healthy.
Who is playing in the national title game, and who is winning?
Ohio State/Oregon, Ohio State wins 4
Ohio State/Alabama, Alabama wins 3
Ohio State/Alabama, Ohio State wins 3
Oregon/Alabama, Oregon wins 1
Alabama/Texas, Alabama wins 1
Oregon/Georgia, Oregon wins 1
Maybe a little optimism? Sure. But if everybody stays healthy, the Buckeyes have more than a puncher's chance of making it to the title game, where just about anything can happen. The speed and explosiveness (plus perhaps a general feeling of "they're due" makes Oregon a popular title game opponent as well. Texas and Georgia are #spicy #takes I GUESS, but really, after we had guys putting Arkansas or Texas in the title game last year, how wrong could we be?
Probably very wrong, but that's why they play the games.