Two weeks from tonight (Thursday) the college football season at long last will be upon us. This week I’ll make my annual predictions about things, and as usual I’ll probably be wrong.
I’ll start things off on the local level with Florida State, Florida and FAMU.
The Seminoles were 11-2 last year and ACC champions. They lost outstanding quarterback EJ Manuel and 10 other players that were drafted by the pros.
Youngsters Jameis Winston and Jacob Coker are battling to be the first team quarterback and though both are talented, both are inexperienced.
The Seminoles have three rough road games beginning Labor Day night when they welcome Pittsburgh to the ACC in the Steel City.
They also play at Clemson and Florida. I think a 9-3 record is the best FSU can do and I don’t think they will play in the ACC championship game.
Florida won’t play in the SEC championship game either.
The Gators won’t be a surprise team like they were last year before bombing out in the Sugar Bowl.
Quarterback Jeff Driskel is back and I think will have better stats than last year. But the Gators play at Missouri, at Miami, at South Carolina, and at LSU.
Plus there’s that annual bash in Jacksonville with hated Georgia and the Seminole game, even though it is in Gainesville.
An 8-4 record might sound disappointing to Gator fans but at the end of the year those same fans may wish Florida was 8-4.
FAMU will be under a new head coach and I think Earl Holmes will have the Rattlers heading a new way.
Last year’s 4-7 record could be reversed and the Rattlers’ fan base may not only enjoy having the band back but could also enjoy the product on the field.
As for the ACC, I think Clemson and North Carolina will play for the ACC title and Syracuse and Pitt will wonder why they joined the conference.
Alabama will topple Texas A&M and Johnny Football early, if he hasn’t already toppled himself, and go on to win the SEC West. They will meet South Carolina from the East and even the ‘Ole Ball Coach won’t be able to stop the Tide from heading to the BCS championship game again. The Gamecocks will beat Georgia early and hold off the Bulldogs, who no doubt play the nation’s hardest schedule especially early when they meet Clemson, South Carolina and LSU.
Who will face ‘Bama for the title? Well, it won’t be Notre Dame, and I don’t think that really bothers the Irish.
It could be Ohio State as the Buckeyes are favored to win the Big Ten. Playing a conference championship game could hurt though, and that extra game may be OSU’s undoing.
My prediction is Louisville will be the Tide’s BCS opponent. The Cardinals showed they are pretty good with the whacking they gave Florida in the Sugar Bowl behind Teddy Bridgewater. They have a very favorable schedule that could allow them to go undefeated especially with the exodus from the Big East. They should win this last Big East title. The conference, by the way, becomes the American Conference next year and Louisville joins the ACC.
Other BCS qualifying conference winners this year will be Texas in the wild Big 12 and a solid Stanford team again in the PAC 12. Both will lose regular season games that will knock them out of the title game.
Oh yeah, let’s go back to that title game. For Louisville there will be no cigar. Though many in the country are tired of hearing about Alabama and the SEC, the Tide will still be the best team in college football’s best conference in the land.