In the 1993 Movie, “The Program” There is a dialogue that was way ahead of its time.
Regent Chairman: “This is not a football vocational school. It’s an institute for higher learning.”
Coach Winters: “ Yeah, but when was the last time 80,000 people showed up to watch a kid do a damn chemistry experiment? Why don’t you stick the bow-tie up your a**!”
Make no mistake about it, College Football is a business first and a sport second. According to Associated Press reporter Antonio Gonzalez, Alabama football made over $143 million in revenue for the 2015 season. That is more than most hockey teams and NBA franchises.
With the College Football going to the 4 Team playoff system the stakes have never been higher and fans Love it. Every game means something.
Below is my pre-season Top 25
- 1) Clemson Tigers: Clemson lost to Alabama 45-40 in last year’s National Championship Game. QB Deshaun Watson is coming off one of a magical season. Watson threw for over 4,100 yards, 67% completions, Had 47 total touchdowns and 13 interceptions. He also ran for over 50 yards in ten games last year. I expect the Heisman Trophy Award to be a 3-man race between Watson, Stanford RB, Christian McCaffrey and LSU RB, Leonard Fournette. Clemson lost a few playmakers on defense but head coach Dabo Swinney no longer rebuilds, he retools. He is building one of the best programs in the country and their mantra in spring practices has been “unfinished business.” They have the best offense in the country and if they get consistent play from their cornerbacks they can get back to the National Championship.
- 2) Alabama Crimson Tide: No matter who plays for Bama one thing is certain, to paraphrase Al Davis, “They just win baby.” Nick Saban has won 4 National Championships in 7 years. He may be the greatest coach in college football history. His reign at Alabama can be categorized as a dynasty. They are the only team in CF that can win a game 7-6 or 48-45. Last year Alabama scored 1st in every game except the home loss to Ole Miss. Look for offensive coordinator, Lane Kiffin to want to make a statement against his old school USC on September 3rd.
- 3) Oklahoma Sooners- Almost every year Bob Stoops and LSU coach Les Miles share one thing in common, they lose a game they are supposed to win. quarterback Baker Mayfield could carry Oklahoma to another playoff berth. Mayfield had 43 total touchdowns and only 7 interceptions in 2015. If he can improve on an already high 68% completions, they could run the table in the Big 12.
- 4) Stanford Cardinals: Stanford has won 3 out of the last 4 PAC-12 titles and RB Christian McCaffrey may be the best and most exciting player in the country. He can return punts and kicks, catch the ball out of the backfield and last season averaged 6 yards per carry. The PAC-12 used to be a great conference but losing Chip Kelly, Jim Harbaugh and, Pete Carroll has hurt them over the past 5 years. This is an out of the box prediction. I don’t think anyone has them getting to the Final Four.
- 5) LSU Tigers: Other than Alabama there hasn’t been a school over the past 10 years to send more quality players into the NFL than LSU. Yet, they have one national championship under Les Miles. Leonard Fournette had 300 carries last season as was the team’s absolute workhorse. He averaged over 6.4 yards per carry and 22 touchdowns. If they can get quality QB play they have a chance of winning the SEC.
- 6) Ohio State Buckeyes: Urban Meyers has only 6 returning starters from last year. I think this will be positive because in 2015 the OSU players were playing for the name on the back of their jerseys not the name on the front. They seem to just want to play for their draft status. This team is young but talented and will get better as the season goes on.
- 7) Florida State Seminoles: FSU is in a weird position; they have a question mark at QB. Jimbo Fisher wins ten games on a down year so look for the talented roster to stay in the top 7 all season long.
- 8) Michigan Wolverines: There aren’t many coaches in the college or pro level better than Jim Harbaugh. He ruffles some feathers and wears out his welcome but the man can flat out coach. With each recruiting class, the Wolverines will get better and better. If things break a certain way they can play in the Final Four. That would be ahead of schedule for any Michigan fan.
- 9) Notre Dame: This may be a surprise pick for some but Brian Kelly is one of the most underrated coaches in all of college football. Despite having super high academic standards and a tough schedule every year, Kelly wins 9 to 10 games a year.
- 10) Ole Miss– The Rebels lost a ton of talent to the NFL but they still have the best quarterback in the SEC. Chad Kelly threw for over 4,000 yards and had 31 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. His completion percentage was 65.1. It seems like every week Ole Miss is under some sort of NCAA investigation. It will be interesting to see how this affects the school, coaches, and players.
The rest of the Top 25:
- Georgia – Look for Kirby Smart to take this good program to the next level.
- Oregon – Head Coach Mark Helfrich continues to take this program in a downward spiral. Players will always want to play at Oregon for their uniforms and facilities. But, Chip Kelly had three deep at every position, Helfrich doesn’t. CHIP KELLY WHY CAN’T I QUIT YOU!
- Michigan State- 3rd best team in the Big 10
- Arkansas- Is this the Year Bret Bielema breaks into the top 10.
- Oklahoma State
- West Virginia- This has got to be the year where the Mountaineers win 9 to 10 games.
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