The Corn Nation Staff takes a crack at what will happen in the 2015 College Football season. Lets bring this up in January and point out what went right and what the hell happened to the wrong.
Mister Mike: Clemson
Salt Creek: Georgia Tech
David: I don’t know...Georgia Tech has been close the past few years. They’ve got a QB that can run that lovely option offense pretty well. How about them? It’ll probably be Florida State, but I’ll roll with the Yellow Jackets.
Nathaniel: Florida State by a nose hair.
Pat Janssen: Georgia Tech. Anyone still running the option has my vote.
Husker Mike: Clempson. There, I said it.
Brian: I really don’t think Clemson can win it, but who else is gonna step up? Florida State has too many distractions, Georgia Tech is…. well, hi Paul Johnson. Louisville is too inconsistent, and Miami are a bunch of underachievers.
Big 12 Champion:
Mister Mike: Baylor
Salt Creek: Kansas
David: Baylor thought they were screwed after last season and showed the world by choking away the Cotton Bowl vs. Michigan St. I think Art Broyles has his boys ready to go again and the showdown vs. TCU the day after Thanksgiving in Fort Worth cements their ticket to the playoffs.
Nathaniel: I think this is TCU’s year. I could see them the Championship.
Husker Mike: I’ll take TCU.
Pat Janssen: I just can’t see anyone other than TCU winning the league this year. Too much talent. Too much motivation.
Brian: TCU is as good as Baylor is on Offense, but has a actual D, not a smokeshow. Yes, Baylor seems to own them every year, but that game is in Fort Worth this year. Oklahoma isn’t going to be better on Offense quite yet.
Mister Mike: Auburn
Salt Creek: Texas A&M
David: I picked Mississippi St. to win it last year and it almost looked brilliant until Dak Prescott got hurt. I’ll jump on that ticket again. Prescott is back. I like the addition of Manny Diaz as DC. The Bulldogs, picked by many to finish at the bottom of the SEC West, will be the surprise of CFB and beat Georgia or Mizzou or somebody in the SEC Title Game.
Nathaniel: Auburn over Georgia in the title game.
Brian: Auburn’s D was the issue last year, and now you have a decent DC coming in. I think they come out of the West and win, while the East is a travesty, so that means Mizzou gonna win that side again. War Eagle wins the SEC.
Pat Janssen: Maybe it’s all of the mid-August Octoberfest beer I’ve been drinking this week, but I’m taking Arkansas. I think the pot-bellied pigs have it in them. 1.) They weren’t that far off last year. 2.) I don’t think anybody in the SEC took huge steps forward. This feels like a sleeping giant waiting to wake up, drink a bunch of celebratory beers and meet a hot chick in Vegas.
Pac 12 Champion:
Mister Mike: Oregon. Until proven otherwise.
Salt Creek: Arizona State.
David: Oregon is the easy pick. USC is the next easiest. Arizona St. is the trendy pick. I’m not picking any of those. I’m going with Arizona. Rich Rodriguez had been building that thing back up since he got the boot at Michigan. This will be their breakthrough year.
Nathaniel: Everyone will be shocked if it isn’t Oregon.
Husker Mike: Oregon
Pat Janssen: The Fightin’ RichRods of Arizona!
Brian: Thinking Oregon takes a decent step back this year, and the Arizonas will fight for the P12 South. Arizona should be pretty good, so I’ll take them. I do think USC is the other team to beat, but Zona is just too good.
Big Ten Champion:
Mister Mike: Duh...tOSU
Salt Creek: Nebraska.
David: Feel free to take the obvious pick here, but Michigan State is laying in the weeds. They should be undefeated in conference play when they head to Columbus in game 11. By then, MSU will be a top 5 team and will be more than capable of handling the Buckeyes in Columbus. They may have the best QB in the conference if not the country in Connor Cook and that defense will be nasty again. MSU takes the Big Ten crown.
Nathaniel: Ohio State
Husker Mike: Ohio State, of course.
Pat Janssen: Heart--Nebraska. Head--Ohio State. So I’ll split the difference and say Illinois.
Brian: It’s going to take a monster failure for Ohio St. to not win the show. Maybe Michigan St, but replacing Narduzzi is going to be an issue.
Heisman Trophy Winner:
Mister Mike: Ezekiel Elliot
Salt Creek: Mike Riley
David: Dak Prescott wins this if he stays healthy. Maybe easily.
Nathaniel: *insert most popular QB here*
Pat Janssen: TOM-MY ARMSTRONG *clap clap clap clap clap*
Husker Mike: Whomever starts at quarterback for "the" Ohio State Buckeyes. Unless Urbz decides to platoon J.T. Barrett and Cardale Jones, in which case it’ll be Ezekiel Elliott.
Brian: I’m going to say Trevone Boykin out of TCU. He could easily do what any Ohio St QB does and maybe better without the hype train of the Ohio St press. No slight to either Barrett or Jones at tOSU, but Boykin is as good if not better than either one.
Most underrated team:
Salt Creek: America.
David: They’ve made a couple appearances (and will make one more) in my responses already, but how many teams are picked to finish last in their division and have a Heisman frontrunner on the roster? Mississippi St. is my team this year that everyone is sleeping on. It’s a deep, REM cycle type of sleep. The kind of sleep where if you wake up in the middle of it you feel more tired than when you went to bed and are grumpy for the rest of the day.
Nathaniel: Texas A&M could surprise a lot of folks this season.
Pat Janssen: Miami. People forget that Nebraska didn’t exactly run them out of the building last year. It took a heroic effort from Ameer Abdullah in the second half, along with a couple big turnovers (including one questionable one) for Nebraska to gain some separation late in the contest. With a year of seasoning for Brad Kaaya, this is a team that could take a huge leap. Or they could just collapse in a heap of Al Golden’s ties. Who knows. They’re hard to peg, but I’ll take the Canes.
Husker Mike: Well, I’m not exactly happy with this one, but I’ll take Arkansas. Bert’s been building this one from the bottom, and was the one SEC West squad that didn’t drop a turd in the New Years’ punchbowl.
Brian: I’m going to agree with Mike here in Arkansas. Bert has put his identity on this team, and they are getting better and better.
Most Overrated Team:
Salt Creek: Ohio State.
David: Michigan. Maybe Harbaugh gets it rolling in year two or three, but I don’t think it will be this year. Seems like a lot of people are getting lost in the hysteria, which is par for the course anymore.
Nathaniel: Notre Dame. they are overrated every year so hopefully they will fall back down to earth sooner than expected.
Pat Janssen: Both Mississippi schools (Ole Miss & Mississippi State. Sorry Southern Miss, you’re not really a school if Brett Favre graduates from you). They both made huge leaps last year, and then crashed back to earth. I tend to believe the crash is more indicative of their actual worth, especially now that the SEC house of cards doesn’t seem to have the same media base propping it up that it had last year. It won’t take much to get those same media folks back behind the SEC, but if that happens, that will mean teams like Arkansas and Texas A&M are trending upward (along with success from the Alabama schools), which will spell doom for those not-quite-as-good-as-everyone-thought-they-were teams from last year.
Husker Mike: Give me Mississippi State. Dak Prescott might be back, but almost nobody else from a team that got throttled by Georgia Tech.
Brian: I’ll go with Tennessee on this one. A 7-6 team that got stomped at Oklahoma, lost a sleeper fest to Florida with a dead man walking for coach, and lost their last 2 before looking competent vs. a underachieving Iowa team in the Taxslayer Bowl. They play Oklahoma again, go to Florida, to Alabama and to Missouri. They’re in a stretch with Kentucky as to most overblown SEC team right now.
Head Coach that will be fired first:
Salt Creek: Mike Riley.
David: Tim Beckman. It’s a dumpster fire at Illinois, that’s not limited to the football offices, the whole Athletic Department’s a mess. There will be a new Athletic Director there soon, presumably. Some think Illinios is pretty talented but if the Illini don’t return to a bowl game, Beckman could be updating that resume over the holidays. He may want to do that now, just to get a jump on things.
Pat Janssen: Maybe not first, but most inevitable: Kirk Ferentz. Iowa fans are still pretty chapped that Eichorst called them out as second-class citizens. But for once, they’re chapped for the right reasons. In their current state of affairs, they are second class citizens. Normally, this is the type of year where Ferentz does enough to rally the troops and garner another year or seven (also known as extreme Pelini-ing), but there is a real perception issue in Hawkeye land, and it’s going to take a supremely good year for Ferentz to survive. But first to go? Definitely Beckman.
Husker Mike: Definitely Beckman. He really needs to give Illinois a reason NOT to fire him.
Brian: Either Beckman or Mike London at Virginia is gone first. Beckman is a fraud, and London just can’t do anything with what he’s created. Larry Fedora may join them soon if he can’t start fast at North Carolina.
College Football Playoff Qualifiers, and National Champion:
Salt Creek: #1 Nebraska vs #4 Georgia Tech, #2 Arizona State vs #4 Texas A&M; Nebraska over A&M for all the waffles.
David: Playoffs: #1 Michigan St. vs. #4 Arizona, #2 Baylor vs. #3 Mississippi St.
National Championship: MSU over MSU, 31-14.
Yep, Michigan St, Arizona, Baylor and Mississippi St. will be your playoff teams this year. What a world!
Nathaniel: Auburn, Oregon, TCU, Ohio State. Ohio State over TCU in the final.
Pat Janssen: Heart or head? Heart or head? Heart or head? I don’t want to choose!
Heart! #1 Nebraska vs. #4 Miami (the Canes rebound from their only loss to a dominant Huskers team while the SEC crumbles around them, allowing them to sneak into the playoffs). #2 Southern Miss (the Golden Eagles rebound from their only loss to a dominant Huskers team while the SEC crumbles around them, allowing them to sneak into the playoffs) vs. #3 BYU (The Cougars rebound from their only loss to a dominant Huskers team while the SEC crumbles around them, allowing them to sneak into the playoffs. They also get all their suspended dudes bak). HUSKERS OVER COUGS IN THE FINAL!
Head: Hell if I know. This season feels as wide open as any in recent memory.
Brian: Auburn, Ohio State, TCU and Clemson. Back to back for Ohio State as the Buckeyes beat TCU for all the Cheetos.