Predicting the college football season

  • Article by: CHIP SCOGGINS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 24, 2014 - 11:31 PM

A new college football season — now available with playoffs! — is days away. To celebrate, here’s a primer on the season and predictions on how the new final four will end in January.

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Jimbo Fisher guided Florida State to the final BCS national title and will try to make the Seminoles the first champion of the College Football Playoff.

Photo: Phil Sears, ASSOCIATED PRESS

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13 thoughts

Hallelujah that college football decision-makers finally wised up and created a playoff, but crowning a true champion won’t stop the controversy. Rest assured, fans of the No. 5 team will scream at the top of their lungs once the pairings are announced. …

 

Amazing what a 45-31 victory against Alabama in the Sugar Bowl has meant to Oklahoma’s preseason expectations. The Sooners are a popular pick to make the four-team playoff behind sophomore quarterback Trevor Knight. …

 

Initially, I projected Ohio State as one of the four playoff teams, but that changed with the season-ending injury to Braxton Miller. The Buckeyes remain loaded with talent and Urban Meyer’s system still will be difficult to defend, but Miller was one of the best players in college football. Hard to include the Buckeyes in the national title discussion without him. ...

 

Remember when Florida ruled college football? The Gators went 4-8 last season, including a loss to Georgia Southern. The seat couldn’t be any hotter for Will Muschamp. …

 

Florida State needs some young receivers to emerge, but Jameis Winston has the best offensive line in college football, the best tight end (Nick O’Leary) and his favorite receiver (Rashad Greene) returning. …

 

Here’s a championship formula: The Seminoles ranked second nationally in scoring offense (51.6 points) and first nationally in scoring defense (12.1) last season. …

 

Mark it down, Charlie Strong will win big at Texas. Some argue that Strong is a bad fit because his personality doesn’t mesh with all the outside responsibilities — media, boosters, promotional appearances, etc. — required of the Texas coach. So what? The guy is a good coach and terrific recruiter. …

 

No matter what mess he makes, Lane Kiffin always manages to land in a good place. Nick Saban hired Kiffin to run Alabama’s offense as coordinator. …

 

I’d rank the major FBS conferences this way: 1. SEC. 2. Pac-12. 3. Big Ten. 4. Big 12. 5. ACC …

 

The battle for Los Angeles has become interesting with the rebuilding job that Jim Mora has overseen at UCLA. USC is coming off severe NCAA sanctions; the Bruins are good enough to win the Pac-12 and earn spot in the playoff. …

 

Here’s a fast climber: In 2009, Derek Mason served as the Minnesota Vikings assistant defensive backs coach. Now, he’s in his first season as Vanderbilt’s head coach. …

 

Nebraska’s Bo Pelini received a contract extension through 2018. Yet a number of preseason publications listed Pelini as a coach on the hot seat. Complicated relationship between Pelini and Cornhuskers fan base. …

 

And finally, how can you not love Steve Spurrier? Here was the Ol’ Ball Coach’s response to a question about a trophy named in honor of a soldier who died at the Alamo being awarded to the winner of the new “rivalry game” between South Carolina and Texas A&M: “I’m actually from Tennessee,” Spurrier said. “I always thought Davy Crockett was the hero of the Alamo, he and those 33 Tennessee guys that came in there and got killed and so forth.”

The Super Six

 

Every year, we create a list of Heisman Trophy candidates in this space. Every year, we’re flat wrong. Or more accurately, we fail even to mention the eventual winner. We had no clue about Johnny Manziel in 2012. Or Jameis Winston last season. Cam Newton’s personal bio in Auburn’s media guide took up only one line the season he won the Heisman, 2010. His bio included his birthdate and the names of his parents. So, we’ve learned our lesson. We have no clue which player will take home the Heisman this winter. But here are six players who college football fans will love to watch this season:

1. Jameis Winston, Florida State

Duh. He took the college football world by storm last season, passing for 4,057 yards and 40 touchdowns as a freshman. What does he have in store for an encore?

2. Marcus Mariota, Oregon

If he can stay healthy, the Ducks quarterback will amass Heisman-worthy statistics in a fast-break offense.

3. Todd Gurley, Georgia

Best running back in college football. He battled injuries last season, but he’s a force as a runner and receiver out of the backfield.

4. Vic Beasley, Clemson

Explosive pass rusher at defensive end. Collected 13 sacks, 23 tackles for loss, six pass breakups and four forced fumbles last season.

5. Amari Cooper, Alabama

He’ll have a new quarterback throwing him passes, but Cooper is electric when he gets the ball in his hands.

6. Bryce Petty, Baylor

Like offense? So does Petty. He passed for 4,200 yards and 32 touchdowns and also rushed for 14 TDs last season.

The Road to Arlington

One man’s view of how inaugural playoff could unfold:

The Biggies

Four games that will affect playoff chase:

Oct. 11: Oregon at UCLA: Ducks throttled UCLA last season, but Jim Mora has Bruins thinking big.

Nov. 8: Baylor at Oklahoma: Winner of Big 12 showdown could stay alive in national race.

Nov. 8: Ohio State at Michigan State: Spartans likely will be favored with possible playoff berth at stake. Not bad.

Nov. 29: Auburn at Alabama: Iron Bowl can’t possibly top last season, but this could propel one of them into playoff.

Playoff predictions

National semifinal 1: Florida State vs. Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl, Jan. 1 in New Orleans.

Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston returns to an offense that averaged 51.6 points per game last season. The defending national champion Seminoles expect to be as good, if not better. The Sooners made believers out of many by the way they handled Alabama in the Sugar Bowl. Expectations are high, but Florida State has championship experience.

Winner: Florida State

 

National semifinal 2: Alabama vs. Oregon in the Rose Bowl, Jan. 1 in Pasadena, Calif.

For once, Alabama doesn’t enter the season as an overwhelming favorite, largely because the Crimson Tide must replace A.J. McCarron. Don’t bet against Nick Saban, especially with the way things ended last season: back-to-back losses. No one recruits like ‘Bama. Oregon’s offense will score tons of points behind QB Marcus Mariota. Ducks defense needs to prove it can stop the run.

Winner: Alabama

National championship: Florida State vs. Alabama Jan. 12 in Arlington, Texas

Alabama has terrific skill players in tailback T.J. Yeldon and wide receiver Amari Cooper, but we’ll give the nod to Florida State, despite the inherent challenge any team faces in defending its title. Winston showed that he can thrive under pressure and Jimbo Fisher has made the Seminoles a dominant, confident program again.

Winner: Florida State

















 

 

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Vancouver
St. Louis 9:30 PM
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Michigan 21
Louisville 28 1st Half 3:47
Western Ky 18
Mount St Marys 12:00 PM
American Univ
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Boise State
UMass Lowell 12:00 PM
Duquesne
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IUPUI
Ohio State 12:00 PM
North Carolina
Massachusetts 12:00 PM
Providence
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Villanova
Citadel 12:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Belmont 12:30 PM
Fairfield
St Bonaventure 1:00 PM
Binghamton
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Delaware 1:00 PM
Fair-Dickinson
South Florida 1:00 PM
Florida State
Vanderbilt 1:00 PM
Georgia Tech
SC State 1:00 PM
Houston
Missouri 1:00 PM
Illinois
Truett-McConnell 1:00 PM
Jacksonville
Toledo 1:00 PM
McNeese State
Elon 1:00 PM
UNC Greensboro
Drexel 1:00 PM
Penn State
St Francis-PA 1:00 PM
Rutgers
Albany 1:00 PM
Yale
PSU-Beaver 1:00 PM
Longwood
Eastern Ill 1:05 PM
Indiana State
Indiana 1:30 PM
Butler
Marshall 2:00 PM
Arkansas State
Lafayette 2:00 PM
Kansas
Oral Roberts 2:00 PM
Memphis
Western Mich 2:00 PM
Northwestern
Delaware State 2:00 PM
Oregon
Fla Atlantic 2:00 PM
St Francis-NY
Arkansas Tech 2:00 PM
Stephen F Austin
Howard Payne 2:00 PM
Texas-Arlington
UMBC 2:00 PM
Kennesaw St
St Josephs (IN) 2:05 PM
Chicago State
Eastern Mich 2:05 PM
Missouri State
UCLA 2:30 PM
Kentucky
UC Davis 3:00 PM
Air Force
Houston Baptist 3:00 PM
UC Riverside
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Coll of Charleston
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NC Central 3:00 PM
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Illinois State 3:00 PM
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Louisiana 3:00 PM
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Florida
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Sam Houston St
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Akron
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Columbia
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Dayton
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George Mason
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IUPU-Ft Wayne
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Kansas State
Morgan State 6:00 PM
Manhattan
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Marist
East Carolina 6:00 PM
UNC-Wilmington
Richmond 6:00 PM
Pepperdine
La Salle 6:00 PM
Towson
Incarnate Word 6:05 PM
UMKC
CS-Bakersfield 6:30 PM
Idaho State
Iowa 6:30 PM
Northern Iowa
Milwaukee 6:30 PM
SIU Edwardsville
Long Beach State 7:00 PM
Texas
TX-San Antonio 7:00 PM
TCU
SE Missouri St 7:30 PM
Arkansas
Lehigh 8:00 PM
Arizona State
New Mexico 8:00 PM
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Oklahoma 8:00 PM
Washington
Utah Valley U 8:00 PM
Weber State
Jacksonville St 8:00 PM
Northern Colorado
St Edwards 8:00 PM
Grand Canyon
NC State 8:30 PM
West Virginia
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Ball State 9:00 PM
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South Dakota St 9:05 PM
Utah State
Stanford 10:00 PM
BYU
Utah 10:30 PM
UNLV
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Louisiana 10
Utah State 1:20 PM
Texas-El Paso
(23) Utah 2:30 PM
Colorado State
Western Mich 4:45 PM
Air Force
South Alabama 8:15 PM
Bowling Green
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North Carolina
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UCF
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UNC Greensboro 32
Loyola-Chicago 24 1st Half 5:06
Dartmouth 21
Georgia Tech 17 1st Half 3:30
St Francis-NY 23
Auburn 18 1st Half 3:49
St Johns 31
East Tenn St 20 1st Half 5:11
Jacksonville St 13
Western Mich 26 1st Half 5:13
Detroit 21
Cal-Irvine 20 1st Half 3:33
Wright State 32
Gardner-Webb 21 1st Half 3:33
Kennesaw St 19
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(11) Tennessee
Alabama A&M 12:00 PM
Ole Miss
Central Michigan 12:00 PM
(1) South Carolina
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George Mason 12:05 PM
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Austin Peay 9:00 PM
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Idaho
(21) Miss State 9:30 PM
Illinois-Chicago
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<
Gophers Football Time W L Score
2014 season     
Aug 28 - vs. E. Illinois 6 pmX42-20
Sep 6 - vs. M. Tennessee St. 2:30 pmX35-24
Sep 13 - at TCU 3 pmX30-7
Sep 20 - vs. San Jose St. 3 p.m.X24-7
Sep 27 - at Michigan 2:30 pmX30-14
Oct 11 - vs. Northwestern 11 amX24-17
Oct 18 - vs. Purdue 11 amX39-38
Oct 25 - at Illinois 11 amX28-24
Nov 8 - vs. Iowa 11 amX51-14
Nov 15 - vs. Ohio State 11 amX31-24
Nov 22 - at Nebraska 11 amX28-24
Nov 29 - at Wisconsin 2:30 pmX34-24
Jan 1 - vs. Missouri noon

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