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Staff Predictions: The 2014 NCAA Football Season

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In the first of our two prediction pieces for the season, the Corn Nation staff makes their call on what's going to happen in the world of College Football this year.

WELCOME TO THE TERRORDOME
WELCOME TO THE TERRORDOME
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

What’s your overall feeling of the NCAA Football season that starts this week?

Jon: That it’s about damned time. I’ve never felt an offseason that lasted so long. It wasn’t about anticipation of the 2014 season, it was about too many lawsuits, too many lawyers, and too much hyperbole, i.e. IMPENDING DOOM OF COLLEGE FOOTBALL. Now that the season is here we can finally get to SPORT!

Cobcast Ryan: I already know what’s gonna happen, so I really only care about the Huskers. I think they’ll win 10 or 11 games this year. The rest will be (undeserved) SEC propaganda because ESPN is their official sponsor. They are the Runza of the entire conference.  Three 2 loss SEC teams get into the playoffs against FSU. You heard it here first.

Ranchbabe: The Huskers have won two straight off-season national championships (with an assist from Team Jack and cats). Everyone else is only thinking up to January but Nebraska plays the long game. This regular season is all about securing an unprecedented THIRD straight offseason trophy. I’m pretty sure this ends in Bo being the surprise singer at some unsuspecting Husker fan’s wedding and the Internet really does explode after Vine clips of Bo singing "Who let the dogs out?" go viral. The cat is miffed at the song choice and returns to Faux Pelini.

Cheeseandcorn: I’m with Jon. There’s a time for hand-wringing and soul-searching and talking, and a time for the playing the games. It’s time to play the games. I’m not overly optimistic about the season, but I’m just excited to watch football again.

Brian: All I know is that we’re less than a week from surviving another offseason and have something to do every Thursday and Saturday till December and I’m alright with that.

Your Heisman Trophy contenders are…..

Jon: Ameer Abdullah. I GOT HIM FIRST! He’s going to get 2,000 yards this season, and win the Heisman.

Cobcast Ryan: Abdullah.

Ranchbabe: Abdullah personifies everything that the Heisman is meant to be. However, we all know it will go to whichever lucky redshirt freshman that ESPN chooses to hype 24/7 this year.

Cheeseandcorn: I don’t really have any reason for this, but I’m going to say the Heisman comes out of the Pac-12 this year - either Marcus Mariota or Brett Hundley. The SEC has the hype and a lot of candidates, but the defenses are a lot stronger there than last year, and I think a lot of their candidates will stumble.

Brian: I want to say Ameer because he’s going to need a monster year again like last year to get Nebraska in position for the Big 10 crown. However, I also worry about him being rode down like Rex was a couple years ago. Mariota is a good candidate, and Jameis Winston is a money bet to repeat. However, I’ll take a darkhorse candidate from the QB pool, say Brett Hundley or Bryce Petty. Hundley is the real deal, and Petty is going to have ungodly numbers from that offense in Waco.

Conference Predictions: (every conference is "eligible" to make the playoff, so we predict every FBS conference)

ACC (Atlantic Coast Conference):

Jon: FSU should win it, but they’ll be felled by a revelation of academic fraud late in the season that makes 23 players ineligible, then lose the conference championship game to Virginia Tech.

David: I like Clemson. That whole drive around the stadium in a bus to run down the hill thing is kinda weird, but I think they’re going to have a big year.

Cobcast Ryan: FSU and then Winston is gone. Clemson next year maybe?

Ranchbabe: Duke scares FSU in the conference championship game, but the Seminoles pull out a close one on a last minute field goal.

Cheeseandcorn: No need to get out-think myself. FSU is the call.

Husker Mike: No reason to buck this trend. FSU

Brian: I have to agree with Florida State, only because no one else is good enough to dethrone them.

AAC (American Athletic Conference):

Jon: Houston wins this over UCF and Cincinnati by having the best offense in the AAC.

David: This is the football division of the Big East, right? So, I guess that means Creighton is out.

Cobcast Ryan: I’m going with UCF but solely because I like Joe Rogen

Ranchbabe: With a website URL like theamerican.org they should all win. ‘Murica.

Cheeseandcorn: Central Florida, I guess?

Husker Mike:  Who the hell is left there?  Give me Cincinatti

Brian: Great Basketball conference. Football? meh…. Central Florida, cause why not.

Big Ten:

Jon: Nebraska!!!! WOOHOOOOOO!!!! I’m a homer! Nebraska beats Michigan State in the Big Ten title game after losing to them on the road in the regular season.

David: I think MSU defends their title. I don’t think Nebraska beats MSU twice.

Cobcast Ryan: Nebraska. We lose to to an underdog and then beat Michigan State twice because I’m not convinced that they are that good.

Ranchbabe: I tried to find out if there was a correlation between having the world’s best zoo and conference championships. Surprisingly, I could not find that stat. Mostly, I’m looking forward to going down to Doorly and seeing how many Iowa fans are walking around saying "Our zoo is just as good." Huskers squeak out the West division title and lose to Ohio State in the CCG.

Cheeseandcorn: Ohio State. Even without Braxton, they’re still the most talented team in the Big Ten, and possibly the best-coached, too.

Husker Mike: Nebraska beats Michigan State twice to win the B1G.  Yep...homer pick.

Brian: Michigan State. Because JT Barrett is good but not that good yet, and D’Antonio loves the underdog role.

Big Twelve:

Jon: Oklahoma!!!! That’s it, that’s all I got.

David: KState and Grandpa Snyder work their magic again. EMAW!

Cobcast Ryan: Not Texas and thats all that matters.

Ranchbabe: I have no idea who is going to win, but Kansas will long for the good ole days under Turner Gill.

Cheeseandcorn: Oklahoma. I think it’s a down year for the conference, and Oklahoma will roll over a lot of teams.

Husker Mike: Oklahoma

Brian: I’ll take Oklahoma as well, but TCU is a darkhorse here because 1) they play D in that conference and 2) Matt Joeckel can make that O a lot better.

Conference USA:

Jon: Florida Atlantic… no… Marshall, because once again, offense rules and the Thundering Herd’s offense will be the best by far in the CUSA.

David: I don’t even know who’s in this conference.

Ranchbabe: Me either.

Cheeseandcorn: Marshall! Sure.

Brian: I’ll go on that limb. NORTH TEXAS and the FIGHTIN’ MCCARTNEYS.

MAC:

Jon: Northern Illinois because it’s pretty much always the Huskies, isn’t it? Jordan Lynch may be gone, but it won’t make much a difference. They’ll just run over everyone else.

David: I think it’s Bowling Green’s turn.

Cobcast Ryan: I have no idea.

Ranchbabe: Frank Solich and the Bobcats unearth another overlooked, tenacious quarterback and work their way back into the national consciousness.

Cheeseandcorn: I think it’ll be Bowling Green. Somebody smart said that at some point, I think.

Husker Mike: No reason to not pick Northern Illinois

Brian: Bowling Green gonna roll over everyone. /puns

Mountain West:

Jon: Fresno State, because it will make Nebraska’s schedule look that much better. Plus, Boise State is breaking in a new coach and will be depressed that they never got picked up by a bigger conference.

David: Is Drake Martinez eligible yet at SJSU? Or are they in the Sun Belt?

Cobcast Ryan: Fresno State

Ranchbabe: North Dakota State. (10 years in the future).

Cheeseandcorn: Boise State. They get both Fresno and BYU at home, and that may be the difference.

Husker Mike: Boise State

Brian: Fresno State. Because lets pump up Nebraska’s schedule while we’re at it.

Pac Twelve:

Jon: UCLA beats Oregon 82-78 after both teams’ defenses are exhausted and the teams combine for 53 points in the fourth quarter.

David: I think Stanford grinds teams into fine dust this year.

Cobcast Ryan: Not Colorado and thats all that matters.

Ranchbabe: As a Husker fan, it all comes down to whether I believe more in Brett Hundley (the quarterback that beat us twice) or Scott Frost (the quarterback that led us to our last NC). So, I’ll go with Stanford (who beat us out for an awesome O-line recruit despite the fact his brother and cousin were already in Lincoln).

Cheeseandcorn: I could see any of UCLA/Stanford/Oregon winning it, but I’ll go with UCLA, though Stanford will maul some people.

Husker Mike: UCLA

Brian: Oregon has one rough road game vs. UCLA in the Rose Bowl. Get by that, and they are in San Fran winning the title game and in the playoff.

SEC:

Jon: Georgia, because it’s their turn. They beat Alabama in the SEC title game after ‘Bama has all their quarterbacks injured and they’re forced to play a converted linebacker at QB, even though there isn’t that much of a drop off.

David: Alright, serious prediction time. Mississippi State.

Cobcast Ryan: Mizzou BECAUSE THE ENTIRE CONFERENCE IS OVER RATED.

Ranchbabe: They all win because SEC! SEC! SEC! Except Arkansas. Because Bert. #karma

Cheeseandcorn: Bama will tear the SEC limb from limb on Nick Saban’s Revenge World Tour 2014.

Husker Mike: Georgia

Brian: Saban has a 2 loss season and has to reinvent the wheel at Alabama? Right, that’s necessary. South Carolina is the sexy pick cause OBC is a good presser but overrated coach still. Give me the Tide as long as they are upright and breathing.

Sun Belt:

Jon: The Sun Belt? Dammit, really? Is Appalachian State in the Sun Belt? I pick them.

David: Uh...how about, I don’t know, do we play any teams from there?

Cobcast Ryan: The Lincoln High Links?

Ranchbabe: Um what? Is the Sun Belt that big shiny thing they give out in professional wrestling?

Cheeseandcorn: Easy. Louisiana-Lafayette.

Husker Mike: Arkansas State

Brian: Did you know Idaho and the Kibbie Dome is in this conference? Me neither. Makes as much sense as West Virginia in the same conference as Texas Tech. Louisiana Lafayette for the win here.

Your Four College Football Playoff teams, and who will win the National Championship:

Jon: Should we just pick four SEC teams here, because ESPN would do that, and they’re in charge of everything. I pick Georgia, Alabama (because you can’t have a playoff without them), UCLA and Oklahoma.

David: Let’s see, I picked Miss. St. to win the SEC, KState to with the Big 12, MSU to win the Big 10, Clemson to win the ACC and Stanford to win the Pac 12. I mean...RATINGS! So, let’s see: I think Miss. St. and probably Bama makes it in. The Bulldogs will face Clemson and Bama will take on Stanford.

I think Clemson beats Miss St and Bama rolls Stanford with the Tide doing the same to the Tigers in the title game. Bama is your national champ. Yeesh.

Cobcast Ryan: Alabama, Mizzou, Auburn, FSU. FSU wins it all. It should be Oklahoma, Auburn, FSU and Oregon or something but it won’t be because THE SEC IS OVERRATED.

Ranchbabe: Georgia, Stanford, FSU, and Oklahoma. OK beats Georgia in the title game. They build statues of Bob Stoops in Norman and the Dawgs run Mark Richt out of town, which lead to ‘Richt to NU’ rumors. Shawn Eichorst has no comment.

Cheeseandcorn: Bama, UCLA, Oklahoma, FSU. OSU loses twice on the way to the Big Ten title and gets shut out. I’ll say Bama meets Oklahoma in the title game and blows’ em up. Roll Tahd.

Husker Mike: UCLA beats Oklahoma, Georgia beats Florida State...and then UCLA beats Georgia

Brian: I had Oklahoma out of this before Braxton Miller got hurt. Now I think that Oklahoma, Alabama, Oregon and Florida State get in. Alabama and Oregon get in the title game, we spend a week hearing Saban tell us how Oregon’s offense is going to get someone killed someday, and the over is hit in a 4+ hour game in Arlington in January, with the Ducks winning and Saban firing everyone on his staff before they hit DFW to fly home. Lane Kiffin is stuck somewhere at a Irving Waffle House, calling his dad to pick him up and stay at the house before the Cowboys hire him to replace Scott Linehan.