With most of the spring games wrapping up a few weeks ago, I’m starting to get a little antsy waiting for college football to start up once again. The NFL Draft is over, and the AAF has already folded (not that anyone was REALLY paying attention). So here I am, just biding my time until the best part of the year returns. Because I have the greatest sport in America (fight me if you disagree) on my mind, I decided to jot down some of my more adventurous predictions heading into the 2019 college football season. Hopefully, some of these takes are hot enough to be discussed amongst you and your buddies at the bar while you painstakingly wait for August 24th to roll around. Because we all know that arguing about sports is the only way that void in your heart can be filled… kinda.
#1: Neither Tua Tagovailoa or Trevor Lawrence will win the Heisman Trophy
You read that right. I would not put money on either of these guys to actually bring home the Heisman after the 2019 season. I realize that both of these guys have the highest odds to win it as of right now (Tua at 5/2, Lawrence at 7/2), but that’s never how the Heisman actually works. Take Lamar Jackson, for example. He came into 2016 with 50/1 odds to win the Heisman, compared to the early favorite Leonard Fournette (9/2). Yet, he went on to win it pretty handily. Why? Because the Heisman is as much of a popularity contest as it is a decision of who the best player on the field is. The voters LOVE the storyline where a relatively unknown player comes in and puts the college football world on notice. I’m not saying Tua or Lawrence won’t the best players in the nation next year, I’m saying they won’t get the votes over the outsider. It’s all in the level of expectations.
#2: Georgia will get over the hump and beat Bama in the SEC Championship
Ya know, I don’t really have a TON of information to back this one up other than Jake Fromm entering his third year as the starter in Athens. Fromm is an cold-blooded S.O.B. who continues to do a great job leading that Bulldog offense. I just have a gut feeling that he’s not gonna let Bama get the best of him for the third straight year. Georgia has been nipping at the heels of the Crimson Tide for a few years now, both on the field and on the recruiting trail. My gut is telling me they’ll pull it out this year, especially since Bama won’t have Jalen Hurts to bail them out again. The Crimson Tide would still have a shot of making the CFP even if they lose to Georgia, though, which we can all agree would be the most Bama thing ever.
#3: Michigan won’t end up in the Top 15 by the end of the season
Yeah, my bias is showing. So what? I just don’t buy the Shea Patterson hype. He’s fine and all. Some might even say he’s competent, which is a step up from guys like John O’Korn and Wilton Speight. But Harbaugh has been and will continue to be underwhelming due to his boring as f**k offense. At the very least, it seems like the play-calling is unimaginative when it really counts. Plus, losing guys like Rashan Gary, Devin Bush, David Long, and Chase Winovich on the defensive side of the ball might be too much to recover from. Sure, Donovan Peoples-Jones is an incredible talent, but he alone can’t save the offense. Also, the Wolverines always seem to find a way to collapse at the end of the year. Last year, they lost to Ohio State (shocker) and Florida in their bowl game to close out the season. What’s the most predictable thing in sports? A Jim Harbaugh-led Michigan team underachieving. And because of that, I believe the Wolverines will end up just barely breaking into the Top 25 at the end of the year.
#4: The Pac-12 will be left out of the Playoff AGAIN
Listen, Washington is fine. They’re like that kid you knew in high school who you absolutely love being around in class, yet you never made an effort to hang out outside of school. They’ve been VERY good the past few years, and Chris Petersen is one of the best in the country at bringing the absolute best out of players that didn’t come in as highly touted recruits. But “very good” is the enemy of “elite”. Their schedule is never incredibly tough, and I just don’t see them making the CFP over teams like Oklahoma or Ohio State (or even Alabama if my second prediction comes true). Also, if you look at the other teams in the Pac-12, it’s pretty clear that Washington is the best chance the conference has of being represented in the Playoff. I love Mike Leach, but Wazzou just won’t have what it takes. USC? No thank you. Oregon? Justin Herbert is talented, but that’s not quite enough. Arizona State? I’m still not sure if Herm Edwards has ANY clue what he’s doing. The Pac-12 is getting left out again, and that’s that (unless I’m wrong, in which case I’ll just come back and edit this article to make it look like I was right. The word “integrity” isn’t in my vocabulary).
#5: Nebraska won’t live up to the hype
Scott Frost is great. Adrian Martinez looked good last year. But Rome wasn’t built in a day. Name me the last time a second-year head coach that took over a disaster of a program actually had the season people are saying the Huskers are going to have. Even Nick Saban took a few years to get Bama to where they are, and that program was no where near as much of a dumpster fire as what Scott Frost inherited. Dabo Swinney was at Clemson eight seasons before making it to a title game. Let’s just pump the brakes for a second and be realistic. I think 8-4 would already be a pretty drastic improvement over their 4-8 season last year.
#6: Pitt is gonna pull some s**t… AGAIN
Okay Pitt fans, I’ll throw you a bone. I know that your QB is Kenny Pickett, who isn’t exactly an elite talent, which is fine. I know that you’re losing Qadree Ollison to the draft. I know that your wide receivers, while talented, are still extremely young. But I know y’all are gonna beat a ranked Syracuse or Miami team or win the ACC Coastal while only going 7-5 or something like that. You guys are annoyingly good at pulling something out of nowhere (2016 Clemson, 2017 Miami, 2007 West Virginia) , which I guess I have to give you props on. I just know it’s gonna happen again in some way, shape, or form, and I know it’s gonna make me sick (no matter how good those new uniforms look).
#7: Penn State’s Sean Clifford is going to be pretty damn good
With Tommy Stevens transferring, the Clifford era in Happy Valley will officially begin. And I’m stoked for it. I’m predicting this kid will throw for over 3,000 yards. I’m also predicting a 10-2 record behind a defense that got tons of experience last year and a young (but explosive) offense. I realize it’s probably wishful thinking, but I can only be hopeful.
#8: We’ll get at least ten classic Mike Leach moments
Not exactly a hot take, considering we all know what this brilliant man is capable of.
Only 107 days left until college football, and my shakes are only getting worse.