We’re a little over a week away from the start of the college football season, and about two weeks from #1 Alabama taking on #3 Florida State in New Orleans. With the season approaching, now’s the perfect time to see which schools will run the table on their way to the CFP.
Oklahoma State Cowboys: 12-1
The Cowboys are set to run the BIG 12 this year, led by senior QB Mason Rudolph (my heisman pick) along with arguably the best WR group in the country. A slip up at Pitt week 3 is possible, but more likely would be later on at Texas or against arch rival Oklahoma, who should be dangerous with Baker Mayfield leading the way. Now that the BIG 12 championship is back, winning it will be essential for the Cowboys.
Florida State Seminoles: 11-2
FSU has a been dealt a tough hand this season. Week 1 against Alabama seems like too much too soon, an in conference match-up with Lamar Jackson’s Louisville squad won’t be easy, and then a trip to Death Valley a week later to take on the defending champions will be crucial. Not to mention what’s always a tough trip to the swamp to end the regular against what should be a very good Florida team. Don’t count them out though as they feature the best player in the country, safety, Derwin James.
College Football Playoff Teams
#4 Auburn Tigers: 12-1
First big surprise of the list is the Auburn Tigers who will be led by sophomore QB Jarrett Stidham, who transferred from Baylor after his true freshman season. Stidham will have what could be the best backfield in the entire country at his disposal, as well as a plethora of talented WR’s. The schedule is far from favorable for the Tigers. Week 2 they head to Death Valley to take on Clemson, and later on in the season they must go to LSU, Arkansas and Texas A&M all in a row. Bound to lose at least one of those, the saving grace on the Tigers’ schedule is the Iron Bowl being at home this year. A win against an Alabama team that should be undefeated, and then a win in the SEC Championship should be enough to overcome one and possibly two early season losses.
#3 Southern California Trojans: 13-0
The Trojans have no excuse to not go undefeated this year. The Pac-12 is going to be down this year, and the Trojans avoided playing the 2nd best team in the conference, Washington, until they likely meet in the Pac-12 Championship. QB Sam Darnold is far and away the favorite to not only bring home the Heisman, but also to be the #1 pick in the NFL draft. With Darnold leading the way, the Trojans should dispatch teams like UCLA, Stanford, Notre Dame and Cal.. but look for Texas and Utah to give the Trojans problems when they meet up.
#2 Alabama Crimson Tide: 11-1
I like the Tide to run through their competition for the first 11 weeks, with games against FSU, LSU, Arkansas and Ole Miss giving them their toughest tests along the way. Alabama lost an absurd amount of talent on both sides of the ball to the NFL, Reuben Foster LB (1st round), OJ Howard TE (1st round), Cam Robinson OT (2nd round), Marlon Humphrey CB (1st round), Eddie Jackson S (4th round due to injury*), Tim Williams LB (3rd round), Ryan Anderson LB (2nd round), Dalvin Tomlinson DT (2nd round), ArDarius Stewart WR (3rd round) and Jonathan Allen DT (1st round). But expect sophomore QB Jalen Hurts to return much improved, and Nick Saban has an endless pipeline of talent that shouldn’t have a problem replacing the departed Tide. Expect a thriller in the Iron Bowl to ruin the perfect season as well as a chance at another SEC championship… But their resume speaks for itself, which will result in a 4th straight playoff appearance.
#1 Ohio State Buckeyes: 13-0
Urban Meyer had the countries youngest team last season and was still able to make a playoff appearance (only to get shelled by Clemson). Like Alabama, Ohio State lost star after star to the NFL this past April, including three DB’s in the first round. Marshon Lattimore CB (1st round), Malik Hooker S (1st round), Gareon Conley CB (1st round), Curtis Samuel RB/WR (2nd round), Raekwon McMillon LB (2nd round) and Pat Elflein C (3rd round). The Buckeyes high powered offense will be led by the top QB/RB combo in the country of senior QB JT Barrett and sophomore RB Mike Weber. Sophomore Binjimen Victor will headline a talented WR corps that includes 5 star freshman Trevon Grimes. OSU returns 4 starters on the offensive line, and enters the season with arguably the most feared defensive line in the country, led by seniors Sam Hubbard, Michael Hill, Tyquan Lewis and sophomore Nick Bosa. The one question for OSU was how will Urban Meyer replenish his depleted secondary? That question is easy, he has 4 upperclassman that’ll start, and brought in a whopping 6 blue chip recruits, including two 5 star players. They’ll be tested early and often by Oklahoma, Penn State, Michigan State, Iowa and Michigan. But this roster is too good to not prevail (doesn’t hurt that they have Urban Meyer on the sideline too).