College Football Top 10: The BGPR (#4)

1. Alabama (8-0, previously #1)

Let’s be honest, huh? The Tide didn’t play Saturday because they got promoted to Sundays and are playing the Bears, right? Ok, not really; but Alabama is still clearly the best team in the country. Big road game next Saturday night in Death Valley against LSU.college-football-schedule

2. Clemson (8-0, previously #2)

Couple big resume-building wins over Louisville and at FSU make up for the lackluster performances early on the season against the likes of Auburn, Troy, and NC State. When the lights are bright, Clemson comes ready and can hang with anyone.

3. Louisville (7-1, previously #3)

Didn’t expect Louisville to be trailing Virginia in the final 30 seconds, but Lamar Jackson answered the bell and kept the Cardinals playoff hopes alive and well.

4. Michigan (8-0, previously #4)

An unimpressive 32-23 win over rival Michigan State won’t do much to convince those who were suspect of U-M. The Wolverines didn’t play particularly well in the second half, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Questions will remain until they go on the road and win handily (and let’s agree that we can’t count Rutgers).

5. Washington (8-0, previously #5)

The Huskies needed a punt return for a touchdown in the final four minutes to top Utah. Nevermind the blocks in the back that weren’t called. Hey — a win’s a win. And on another note, quarterback Jake Browning is gaining serious steam as a Heisman contender.

6. Ohio State (7-1, previously #6)

At the Horseshoe against Northwestern and Urban Meyer’s squad could only manage a 24-20 win? Buckeyes seem a little off. They’ll need to hurry up and find themselves before Nebraska visits the Shoe next Saturday or else any hopes of the playoff or a Big Ten title will be dashed.

7. Wisconsin (6-2, previously #9)

The eye test is a powerful thing. And the Badgers pass it. Even in losses to Michigan and Ohio State, Wisconsin was in those games right to the very end.

 8. Texas A&M (7-1, previously #8)

Routing New Mexico State a week after getting drilled by Alabama was step one in the recovery process for the Aggies. Three of their final four games are against teams that A&M should beat — but they could be tested. They still have a lot to play for, with the inside track to a New Year’s Six bid.

9. Nebraska (7-1, previously #7)

Nebraska might have proven more in their loss this past weekend at Camp Randall than they had in their previous 7 wins.

10. Florida (6-1, previously not ranked)

If it weren’t for a total meltdown defensively in the 4th quarter of the Tennessee game, we’d be talking about Florida being 7-0. Few really believe the Gators are playoff-worthy or will pose anything threat to Alabama, if the two meet in the SEC Championship Game. But for now, I’m not sure any other team deserves this spot.

 

Feedback is always welcome through the website in the comments box or on my Twitter feed — @brian22goodwin.

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College Football Top 10: The BGPR (#2)

1. Alabama (7-0, previously #1)

There’s Alabama and then there’s everyone else. That’s not to say Alabama is unbeatable and another team Football Close Up on Fieldcouldn’t and wouldn’t beat them head-to-head, but the Crimson Tide seem like they have a whole other level they can go to when they choose to.

2. Ohio State (6-0, previously #4)

Two very good road wins in Norman and Camp Randall boost the Buckeyes to the 2 spot this week. J.T. Barrett is making himself a very worthy Heisman candidate.

3. Clemson (7-0, previously #2)

Tough (and lucky) win at home against N.C. State this weekend. First game in weeks that Clemson didn’t look like a national championship-caliber team. That happens though. When they’re on, the Tigers can play with any team in the land — the Louisville win proved as much.

4. Louisville (5-1, previously #3)

Like Clemson, Louisville was unimpressive in their win this past week. But there’s no need to worry or kill them for it — this team shows up for the big games.

5. Texas A&M (6-0, previously #5)

If A&M wants to remain in the discussion for the playoff, they have one job and they know what it is, all too well — beat Alabama. After the trip to Tuscaloosa, the schedule becomes very manageable for the Aggies. This Saturday’s game could be Texas A&M’s season.

6. Michigan (6-0, previously #7)

The Colorado win and the Wisconsin win are gifts that keep on giving — both the Buffs and the Badgers appear to be legit. That only helps the U-M resume. But in all honesty, forget the resume — beat OSU in November and the Wolverines will be in the playoff. Not much else on the schedule should hold them back.

7. Washington (6-0, previously #6)

Washington’s lone resume-building win, Stanford, doesn’t really do much now that the Cardinal sits at 4-2 after getting taken apart by Washington State and squeaking past the Irish Saturday night. But the Huskies have utterly dominated every team they’ve played, aside from an OT thriller in the desert against the Wildcats. If they keep winning like they’ve been, it’s, soon, going to be hard to keep them out of the top-4.

8. Nebraska (6-0, previously unranked)

Nebraska doesn’t have that scary, light-you-up offense that every team in college football seems to need in order to be a top-tier team. They should enjoy another week in the top-10, as the Cornhuskers prepare for Purdue — who just canned their head coach. After that, however, back-to-back trips to  Camp Randall and the Horseshoe will give us a really good idea of how good this Nebraska team is.

9. Wisconsin (4-2, previously #10)

Losses to two top-4 teams by a combined 14 points stings for Badger fans, but they can take solace in knowing they’ve got a solid top-10 team in the country.

10. West Virginia (5-0, previously unranked)

The Mountaineers haven’t really been tested, but their schedule gets real busy in the season’s last month — at Texas and home against Oklahoma and Baylor. If they manage to navigate through that stretch, the Mountaineers will have, certainly, earned playoff consideration.

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College Football 2016 Predictions

Conference Races

ACC — This conference comes down to Clemson and Florida State. North Carolina might be a cute story again like ncaa-football-cfp-national-championship-media-day-1-590x900they were in 2015, but the ACC is a battle between the two goliaths. However, Clemson has the difference-maker in quarterback DeShaun Watson.

BIG 10 — There are 4 teams worth talking about when it comes to winning the Big 10: Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, and Ohio State. First off, it’s going to be tough for Iowa to replicate it’s magical 2015 season. Secondly, Michigan State is in a bit of a reboot/reload season. The Spartans will still be very good; they just might not be as good as we’ve seen them in recent years. That leaves rivals OSU and U-M. The easy, fun, most intriguing route is that the two are both undefeated when they meet in Columbus to end the regular season, before the winner moves on to Indy for the conference title game. So let’s go with that. Michigan’s going to be very good, but Urban’s boys are still a bit better and they have the better QB — JT Barrett.

BIG 12 — Oklahoma looks to be the dominant team in the conference. Baylor’s offseason will likely derail any hopes they may have had, and Oklahoma State has potential to be a sleeper team if they get out of the gates strong. TCU will serve as the Sooners’ biggest threat. But the Big 12 should be Oklahoma’s to lose.

PAC 12 — The conference is totally wide open. Stanford, with Christian McCaffrey as a Heisman candidate and Keller Chryst throwing the ball, has probably the best team overall. Their schedule is daunting, but 2 losses might okay. UCLA will have a nasty defense and Josh Rosen at QB, but they have ran out of gas — or started without gas — over the past few years when expectations were high. With few people picking the Ducks this year, Oregon may be primed for a great year. But in the end, Stanford has the most pieces in place to win the conference.

SEC — Every year it feels like we search and search for someone to dethrone Alabama. LSU always has a shot because Les Miles recruits so well; Texas A&M has the offense to go toe-to-toe with the Crimson Tide; and Ole Miss has proven they can beat ‘Bama. But let’s face it, Alabama should roll along — probably losing one game during the season that will cause Nick Saban to tear into his team and re-focus them — and find themselves in the top 4 and playing for the conference championship in December.

 

College Football Playoff

Clemson — Unlike 2015-16, the Tigers aren’t going to surprise anyone or be that team that looks good and strong but no one really expects them to win it all. Clemson will be and should be the definitive favorite going into the playoff.

Ohio State — I can see Ohio State dropping one of those “sleepwalking” games, as I call them — like an Illinois game or Northwestern. The ones where you are a big favorite but aren’t totally focused for whatever reason; and maybe there’s other factors at play — like bad weather.  Ohio State also has a tough stretch where they go on the road to play Penn State and Wisconsin in back to back games. I think they get to the U-M game at the end with a blemish on their record. But a win against Michigan, who should be ranked in the top 2 in the nation, will propel the Bucks into the playoff.

Alabama — The Tide are always good for a loss along the way, but it never seems to derail their title hopes. In fact, Nick Saban uses the loss better than any coach in America uses losses to motivate his team. Alabama will be there in the end, but this is a Tide team that may struggle running the ball more than any ‘Bama team has in the recent past. However, it’s not a playoff if Alabama’s not in it.

Michigan — This final spot could easily be Oklahoma’s. But I have a difficult time picking Bob Stoops’ teams to contend on the national level — especially 2 years in a row. Plus, the Wolverines have a very nice schedule until mid-October when they travel up to East Lansing to play the Spartans. They also have to go to Iowa. But I expect Jim Harbaugh’s guys to come away with Ws in both those affairs, setting them up as a top 2 team in the country when the Big Game calls in Columbus. A loss against the Buckeyes will sting, but a 1-loss Michigan team won’t fall out of the top 4.

 

National Champion

DeShaun Watson is the best player in college football — the most exciting and the most fun to watch. He was good enough to win the National Championship against Alabama last January, but fell just short. Scratch that — he wasn’t just good enough, he was great. He will be great again this year en route to the Heisman Trophy and a National Title. Clemson beats Alabama in a rematch for the ages.

 

Feedback is always welcome through the website in the comments box or on my Twitter feed — @brian22goodwin.

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