Category Archives: College Football

2016 College Football Preview

2016 COLLEGE FOOTBALL PREVIEW-1

2016 College Football Preview

Welcome to the 2016 College Football Preview from SportsFormulator.  We’ve analzyed the data and predicted the 2016 season.  Get the info you need to win this season in our college football preview.

We head to another college football season asking if Alabama can repeat.  The Tide won another National Championship last season with a close win over Clemson.  While stocked with talent, they again will be breaking in a new QB and play in the toughest division in college football.

The Tide aren’t #1 in our 2016 Preseason Power Rankings though.  They’re not far from the top spot but another team from last year’s playoff sits atop our rankings.

The scandal at Baylor has left a lot of questions in Waco.  With Art Briles out as coach and Jim Grobe in, what changes will there be with the Bears?  They’ll be glad when the games get here but what kind of focus will this team have after this upheaval?

See how the Bears will do in our conference predictions.  We’ve got predicted records and conference standings for all 128 college football teams this season.

2016 College Football Conference Predictions

ACC Football Predictions
Big 12 Football Predictions
Big Ten Football Predictions
Pac-12 Football Predictions
SEC Football Predictions
Independent Football Predictions
American Football Predictions
Conference USA Football Predictions
MAC Football Predictions
Mountain West Football Predictions
Sun Belt Football Predictions

2016 All-Americans

DeShaun Watson, Christian McCaffrey and Leonard Fournette are the preseason favorites to win the Heisman Trophy.  All made our 2016 Preseason All-American team though one is on the second team.  Can one of them put his team on his back and carry them to the College Football Playoff?

2016 College Football Postseason

So who’s going to the postseason?  Which four teams will make the college football playoff?  Many teams will be under consideration for the final four.   Find out who makes the 2016-17 college football playoff as we examine the contenders and tell you the match-ups.

See who’s going bowling in our 2016-17 bowl projections.

2016 Week 1 College Football Predictions

The 2016 college football season kicks off August 25 with Hawaii vs. California then the following weekend we get these marquee match-ups:

  • Alabama vs. USC
  • LSU vs. Wisconsin
  • Oklahoma vs. Houston
  • Notre Dame vs. Texas
  • Ole Miss vs. Florida State

Get our data driven week 1 college football predictions for all of the games above and more.

What games will shape the 2016 college football season?  See our list of the 16 biggest non-conference games this season.

College Football Pick ‘Em Contest

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Get more of SportsFormulator’s data driven college football predictions all season long.

2016 College Football Predictions – Week 1

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College Football starts in Australia with Cal vs. Hawaii.

The true Week 1 of the 2016 season is loaded with big match-ups including Alabama vs. USC, LSU vs. Wisconsin at Lambeau Field, Clemson at Auburn, Florida State vs. Ole Miss, Oklahoma vs. Houston, UCLA at Texas A&M and more!  We’ve crunched the numbers and here are our week 1 college football predictions.

Data Driven Week 1 College Football Predictions
friday night football
Friday, August 26, 2016
RANK TEAM WIN % SCORE VEGAS LINE
26 California 79% 43
115 Hawaii 21% 16
thursday night football
Thursday, September 1, 2016
RANK TEAM WIN % SCORE VEGAS LINE
60 Indiana 66% 39
105 Florida International 34% 25
127 Charlotte 8% 8
37 Louisville 92% 46
108 Tulane 36% 18
92 Wake Forest 64% 31
124 Rice 8% 14
31 Western Kentucky 92% 52
73 South Carolina 50% 20
85 Vanderbilt 50% 21
103 Oregon State 27% 16
52 Minnesota 73% 37
friday night football
Friday, September 2, 2016
RANK TEAM WIN % SCORE VEGAS LINE
116 Ball State 32% 19
90 Georgia State 68% 36
94 Army 29% 15
41 Temple 71% 34
93 Colorado State 43% 24
83 Colorado 57% 30
80 Kansas State 22% 18
7 Stanford 78% 44
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saturday football
Saturday, September 3, 2016
RANK TEAM WIN % SCORE VEGAS LINE
59 Georgia Tech 55% 23
75 Boston College (in Ireland) 45% 18
115 Hawaii 5% 5
11 Michigan 95% 45
110 Miami (OH) 15% 10
25 Iowa 85% 42
67 Western Michigan 46% 24
65 Northwestern 54% 27
40 Bowling Green 30% 21
3 Ohio State 70% 40
109 Kent State 19% 7
44 Penn State 81% 35
71 Missouri 33% 14
21 West Virginia 67% 30
104 New Mexico State 57% 35
123 UTEP 43% 29
113 SMU 55% 34
126 North Texas 45% 30
117 South Alabama 10% 12
20 Mississippi State 90% 48
128 Texas State 24% 18
89 Ohio 76% 41
51 Southern Miss 52% 30
72 Kentucky 48% 29
63 Louisiana Tech 34% 24
16 Arkansas 67% 39
38 Toledo 61% 37
86 Arkansas State 39% 26
101 Massachusetts 23% 11
34 Florida 78% 36
4 Clemson 64% 35
48 Auburn 36% 22
19 UCLA 52% 28
39 Texas A&M 48% 26
91 San Jose State 43% 30
82 Tulsa 57% 36
46 Appalachian State 38% 22
14 Tennessee 62% 33
100 Rutgers 19% 14
17 Washington 81% 42
9 LSU 54% 26
13 Wisconsin (at Lambeau Field) 46% 22
6 North Carolina 57% 30
23 Georgia (at Georgia Dome) 43% 24
1 Oklahoma 65% 38
18 Houston (at NRG Stadium) 35% 25
118 Fresno State 15% 14
42 Nebraska 85% 47
15 USC 38% 21
2 Alabama (Neutral Site) 62% 32
35 Boise State 74% 41
107 Lousiana-Lafayette 26% 18
33 BYU 58% 35
62 Arizona 42% 28
79 Northern Illinois 62% 33
111 Wyoming 38% 22
sunday football
Sunday, September 4, 2016
RANK TEAM WIN % SCORE VEGAS LINE
10 Notre Dame 62% 34
53 Texas 38% 23
monday night football
Monday, September 5, 2016
RANK TEAM WIN % SCORE VEGAS LINE
5 Ole Miss 50% 27
8 Florida State 50% 28

Get ready for the season with our 2016 College Football Preview

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2016-17 Preseason College Football Playoff Contenders

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Who will the committee choose for the 2017 College Football Playoff?  We examine our preseason contenders and try to predict the college football final four.

Oklahoma and Florida State

We predict two power five conference teams, Oklahoma and Florida State, go undefeated.  The committee won’t leave undefeated power 5 conference champions out of the playoff so OU and FSU are in the college football playoff.

Boise State

One group of five school we predict will be undefeated in 2016, Boise State.  The Broncos should run the table but don’t have a marquee game that can grab the committee’s eye.  The Broncos we think will be left out when compared to one-loss power 5 teams.

One- Loss Power 5 Teams

There are several one-loss power 5 conference teams that could be considered.  We know from the previous two years the committee rewards a team for winning its conference championship.

This knocks Alabama, UCLA, Michigan, Clemson and North Carolina out of consideration.  We see three of those four still going to New Year’s Six Bowls.

Ohio State and LSU are conference champions but Notre Dame is projected to go 11-1 as well.  The Buckeyes only 2016 loss is at Oklahoma.  Notre Dame loses it’s season finale at USC.  LSU loses in SEC play.  The late season loss knocks Notre Dame out.  Ohio State and LSU make the college football final four.

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College Football Playoff Match-ups

We have Florida State, Oklahoma, LSU and Ohio State in the college football playoff.  The committee will have a tough time seeding these teams.

Florida State comes in with an undefeated season the includes great non-conference games against Ole Miss, Florida and South Florida.

Oklahoma brings in a win over another CFB Playoff team, Ohio State and a Big 12 conference championship where you beat every other team in the league.

LSU comes in as SEC Champions, the toughest league in college football and a non-conference win over Wisconsin.

Ohio State comes in as Big Ten Champs and a loss only on the road at fellow playoff team Oklahoma.

The committee won’t want to repeat a season a regular season match-up so Oklahoma and Ohio State will only replay if in the national championship.

Due to this, Ohio State has the better loss compared to LSU and will get the 3 seed.  Oklahoma will then be the 1 seed.

Look for Oklahoma vs. LSU and Florida State vs. Ohio State in this season’s College Football Playoff.

Get more in our 2016 College Football Preview

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2016-17 College Football Bowl Projections

2016 COLLEGE FOOTBALL PREVIEW-1

The 2016-17 bowl season is packed with bowls again.  Who’s going bowling?  Who makes the College Football Playoff?  Find out in our 2016-17 bowl projections.

2016-17 Bowl Projections

Gildan New Mexico Bowl

Saturday, December 17, 2016
University Stadium, Albuquerque, NM, 2:00 ET, ESPN
Louisiana Tech vs. Nevada

Las Vegas Bowl

Saturday, December 17, 2016
Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas, NV, 3:30 ET, ABC
San Diego State vs. Arizona State

Raycom Media Camellia Bowl

Saturday, December 17, 2016
Cramton Bowl, Montgomery, AL, 5:30 ET, ESPN
Western Michigan vs. Troy

AutoNation Cure Bowl

Saturday, December 17, 2016
Citrus Bowl Stadium, Orlando, FL, 7:00 ET, CBS Sports Network
Temple vs. Arkansas St.

R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl

Saturday, December 17, 2016
Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, LA, 9:00 ET, ESPN
Southern Miss vs. Georgia St.

Miami Beach Bowl

Monday, December 19, 2016
Marlins Park, Miami, FL, 2:30 ET, ESPN
South Florida vs. Ohio

Marmot Boca Raton Bowl

Tuesday, December 20, 2016
FAU Stadium, Boca Raton, FL, ESPN
Memphis vs. Florida Atlantic

San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl

Wednesday, December 21, 2016
Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, CA, 9:00 ET, ESPN
Colorado St. vs. Maryland

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl

Thursday, December 22, 2016
Albertson’s Stadium, Boise, ID, 7:00 ET, ESPN
Bowling Green vs. Utah St.

Popeyes Bahamas Bowl

Friday, December 23, 2016
Thomas Robinson Stadium, Nassau, Bahamas, 1:00 ET, ESPN
Cincinnati vs. Toledo

Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl

Friday, December 23, 2016
Amon G. Carter Stadium, Fort Worth, TX, 4:30 ET, ESPN
Navy vs. Buffalo

GoDaddy Bowl

Friday, December 23, 2016
Ladd-Peebles Stadium, Mobile, AL, 8:00 ET, ESPN
Central Michigan vs. Appalachian St.

Hawai’i Bowl

December 24, 2016
Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, HI, 8:00 ET, ESPN
Western Kentucky vs. San Jose St.

St. Petersburg Bowl

Monday, December 26, 2016
Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, FL, 11:00 am ET, ESPN
Tulsa vs. Northern Illinois

Quick Lane Bowl

Monday, December 26, 2016
Ford Field, Detroit, MI, 2:30 ET, ESPN
Minnesota vs. Washington St.

Camping World Independence Bowl

Monday, December 26, 2016
Independence Stadium, Shreveport, LA, 5:00 ET, ESPN2
NC State vs. Old Dominion

Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl

Tuesday, December 27, 2016
Cotton Bowl Stadium, Dallas, TX, 12:00 ET, ESPN
Indiana vs. Middle Tennessee

Military Bowl Presented By Northrup Grumman

Tuesday, December 27, 2016
Navy-Marine Corps. Stadium, Annapolis, MD, 3:30 ET, ESPN
Wake Forest vs. Connecticut

National Funding Holiday Bowl

Tuesday, December 27, 2016
Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, CA, 7:00 ET, ESPN
Michigan St. vs. Stanford

Motel 6 Cactus Bowl

Tuesday, December 27, 2016
Chase Field, Phoenix, AZ, 10:15 ET, ESPN
Baylor vs. California

New Era Pinstripe Bowl

Wednesday, December 28, 2016
Yankee Stadium, Bronx, NY, 2:00 ET, ABC
Pittsburgh vs. Northwestern

Russell Athletic Bowl

Wednesday, December 28, 2016
Orlando Citrus Bowl, Orlando, FL, 5:30 ET, ESPN
Louisville vs. West Virginia

AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl

Wednesday, December 28, 2016
NRG Stadium, Houston, TX, 9:00 ET, ESPN
Texas Tech vs. Arkansas

Birmingham Bowl

Thursday, December 29, 2016
Legion Field, Birmingham, AL, 2:00 ET, ESPN
Houston vs. Georgia Southern

Belk Bowl

Thursday, December 29, 2016
Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC, 5:30 ET, ESPN
North Carolina vs. Georgia

Valero Alamo Bowl

Thursday, December 29, 2016
Alamodome, San Antonio, TX, 9:00 ET, ESPN
TCU vs. USC

Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl

Friday, December 30, 2016
Nissan Stadium, Nashville, TN, 3:30 ET, ESPN
Mississippi St. vs. Nebraska

AutoZone Liberty Bowl

Friday, December 30, 2016
Liberty Bowl, Memphis, TN, 12:00 ET, ESPN
Kansas St. vs. Air Force

Hyundai Sun Bowl

Friday, December 30, 2016
Sun Bowl Stadium, El Paso, TX, CBS
Virginia Tech vs. Utah

NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl

Friday, December 30, 2016
Arizona Stadium, Tucson, AZ,
Marshall vs. New Mexico

Foster Farms Bowl

Friday, December 30, 2016
Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, CA, ESPN
Wisconsin vs. Oregon

Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl

Saturday, December 31, 2016
Camping World Stadium, Orlando, FL, 11:00 ET, ABC
Tennessee vs. Iowa

TaxSlayer Bowl

Saturday, December 31, 2016
EverBank Field, Jacksonville, FL, 11:00, ET, ESPN
Georgia Tech vs. Florida

Outback Bowl

Monday, January 2, 2017
Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, FL, 1:00, ET, ABC
Penn St. vs. Ole Miss

New Year’s Six Bowls

Capital One Orange Bowl

Saturday, December 30, 2016
New Miami Stadium, Miami Gardens, FL, 8:00 ET, ESPN
Clemson vs. Notre Dame

Rose Bowl

Monday, January 2, 2017
Rose Bowl, Pasadena, CA, 4:30 ET, ESPN
Washington vs. Michigan

Allstate Sugar Bowl

Monday, January 2, 2017
Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, LA, 8:30 ET, ESPN
Alabama vs. Oklahoma St.

Goodyear Cotton Bowl

Monday, January 2, 2017
AT&T Stadium, Arlington, TX, 1:00 ET, ESPN
Boise St. vs. UCLA

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College Football Playoff

Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl

Saturday, December 31, 2016
Georgia Dome, Atlanta, GA, 3:00 or 7:00 ET, ESPN
Florida St. vs. Ohio St.

Fiesta Bowl

Saturday, December 31, 2016
University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, AZ, 3:00 or 7:00 ET, ESPN
Oklahoma vs. LSU

College Football Playoff National Championship

Monday, January 9, 2017
Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, FL, 8:30 ET, ESPN
Oklahoma vs. Ohio State

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2016 Preseason American Athletic Football Predictions

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The AAC is ready for a very competitive football season.  We project three teams winning at least 10 games in 2016.  Houston is the team garnering all the attention in the preseason as they are coming off an impressive bowl victory over Florida State. We don’t have the Cougars winning the American Athletic Conference though in our AAC football predictions.

With eight predicted bowl teams, the AAC is gonna be a tough each week.  Who wins the league?  Find out in our 2016 AAC predictions below.

2016 Predicted Records and Standings for American Athletic Football:
RANK AAC EAST W L CONF W CONF L
41 Temple Owls 11 1 7 1
30 USF Bulls 9 3 6 2
76 Connecticut Huskies 7 5 4 4
57 Cincinnati Bearcats 7 5 4 4
60 East Carolina Pirates 5 7 3 5
121 UCF Knights 2 10 1 7
RANK AAC WEST W L CONF W CONF L
18 Houston Cougars 11 1 8 0
27 Navy Midshipmen 10 2 7 1
36 Memphis Tigers 7 5 4 4
82 Tulsa Golden Hurricane 7 5 4 4
108 Tulane Green Wave 2 10 1 7
113 SMU Mustangs 2 10 0 8

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2016 AAC EAST PREVIEW

1. Temple Owls – Ten wins last year including a 27-10 win at Penn State have expecations high for 2016.  The Owls will have a target on them this season but should handle it as the toughest AAC games are at home.  If they can hold off a Penn State team focused on revenge, a undefeated season could happen.

2. South Florida Bulls – With 14 returning starters, the Bulls have high hopes to win the AAC in 2016.  Willie Taggert is preaching caution to his team as he knows, they’re not going to sneak up on anyone this season.  Look for the Bulls to improve upon last season.

3. Connecticut Huskies – UConn’s defense kept them in many gmes last year as the offense struggled mightily.  Nine starters are back on offense which could help.  They ruined Houston’s perfect season late in 2015 and ended up in a bowl.  The Huskies are ready to take a step forward in 2016.

4. Cincinnati Bearcats – After a record setting offensive season in 2015, the Bearcats break in several new starters this year.  Gunner Kiel is back at QB but has a new coordinator.  With a pro-style attack now, numbers will probably be down which means it’ll be tougher to get wins.  With the top two tacklers back, it can try to lean on the defense to pick up the slack.

5. East Carolina Pirates – New HC Scottie Montgomery is focused on balancing out the offense.  The Pirates will have several new starters in 2016 and face a brutal road schedule.  They’re going to have to find an upset on the schedule to get bowl eligible this season.

6. UCF Knights – The Knights can only get better right?  After a 0-12 season in 2015, UCF is trying to rebound from a surprisingly winless season.  Scott Frost has arrived after being Oregon’s offense coordinator.  He plans a spectacular offensive attack similar to the one he ran with the Ducks.  This is a roster still with talent.  Frost’s biggest challenge is building confidence with the team.  They’ll win this year, just not much.

2016 AAC WEST PREVIEW

1.  Houston Cougars – Houston thought it was headed toward crashing the college football playoff last season before dropping a game to UConn by 3.  They rebounded and won out including a convincing win over Florida State in the Peach Bowl.  They’ve got to replace several starters but with Greg Ward back at QB, they’re contenders.  A win week 1 against Oklahoma would make them playoff contenders from the start.

2.  Navy Midshipmen – The Midshipmen had a great first season in the AAC in 2015.  They come off a 11 win season but have nearly an entirely new set of starters on offense.  The system should make it an easy transition but they’ll need new playmakers to repeat 11 wins.

3.  Memphis Tigers – Justin Fuente left for Virginia Tech but leaves a team with 14 starters back.  Mike Norvell takes over for Fuente and must replace Paxton Lynch.  Norvell recruited Riley Ferguson, a former Tennessee recruit, to come in and start.  How does Memphis handle the transition?  They’re going back to a bowl but won’t be contenders for the AAC West.

4.  Tulsa Golden Hurricane – With 13 starters back, the Golden Hurricane look to go back to a bowl game after making their first in 2015 in a few years.  They should be competitive on both sides of the ball but with the top tier AAC games hosting the Golden Hurricane this season, it’ll be tough to improve much on last year’s record.

5.  Tulane Green Wave – Willie Fritz takes over at Tulane in 2016 and wants to install the winning attack used at Georgia Southern.  Fritz inherits a team that will get turned around eventually but looking for a winning season right away is a major ask.  The defense should be able to keep them in some games but the offense will take a while to be ready.

6.  SMU Mustangs – Chad Morris should have an offense to help keep them competitive but can the defense keep them from having to win shootouts every week.  For the Mustangs, it’s going to be a long season and the schedule does them no favors.

2016 AAC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME

Temple vs. Houston

2016 AAC CHAMPIONS

Houston Cougars

Get bowl projections, preseason All-Americans and more in our 2016 College Football Preview. 2016 COLLEGE FOOTBALL PREVIEW-1

2016 Preseason ACC Football Predictions

2016 COLLEGE FOOTBALL PREVIEW-1

The ACC has three legit contenders for the college football playoff in 2016.  Clemson nearly brought home the national championship for the conference last year and once again will be in contention.  Florida State and North Carolina will be right there battling for the conference as well.  Who takes the ACC in 2016?  Find out in our ACC football predictions below.

2016 Predicted Records and Standings for ACC Football:
RANK ACC ATLANTIC W L CONF W CONF L
8 Florida State Seminoles 12 0 8 0
4 Clemson Tigers 11 1 7 1
37 Louisville Cardinals 9 3 6 2
47 NC State Wolfpack 6 6 4 4
92 Wake Forest Demon Deacons 6 6 3 5
74 Boston College Eagles 5 7 1 7
87 Syracuse Orange 1 11 0 8
RANK ACC COASTAL W L CONF W CONF L
6 North Carolina Tar Heels 11 1 7 1
50 Pittsburgh Panthers 8 4 5 3
56 Virginia Tech Hokies 7 5 5 3
58 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets 7 5 4 4
55 Duke Blue Devils 5 7 3 5
63 Miami Hurricanes 5 7 3 5
75 Virginia Cavaliers 2 10 0 8

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2016 ACC ATLANTIC PREVIEW

1. Florida State Seminoles – The Noles are loaded on offense.  Dalvin Cook will be the focal point against for FSU and he can carry them to the ACC Championship and possibly a trip to the playoff.  On defense there are some holes to fill, but Jimbo Fisher has recruited well and simply reloads season after season . The disappointing performance in the bowl game should have the Noles motivated for the 2016 football season.

2. Clemson Tigers – DeShaun Watson is back so Clemson is going to be in every game this season.  He showed in the national championship game, he would rise to the occassion.  The offense has eight starters back and will be potent.  The defense has some question marks.  They lost NFL talent on that side of the ball so huge holes are going to need to be filled.  Talent is there but can they handle the target that will be on their back all season?

3. Louisville Cardinals – Bobby Petrino has a team that could surprise this season.  The Cardinals have sixteen starters back with eight on each side of the ball.  Lamar Jackson should great promise as a freshman and returns at QB.  Davonte Fields, a preseason All-American, leads the defense that makes them contenders.  Look out for the ‘Ville in 2016, this is a dangerous football team.

4. NC State Wolfpack – The Wolfpack are trying to make the leap up to the top of the division.  With eight starters back on defense, it’ll be the strength of the team.  The offense though has a new, inexperienced QB and offensive line.  The Pack will go bowling but a .500 season looks to be their destiny.

5. Wake Forest Demon Deacons – The Demon Deacons bring 15 starters back from a 3-9 team in 2015.  The schedule is much better and should lead them to a bowl game.  The -13 turnover margin hurt last year, but with a more experienced team look for that to be turned around and the Demon Deacons to head to a bowl.

6. Boston College Eagles – The offense simply has to get better.  The defense was outstanding last year yet the Eagles only won 3 games.  Steve Addazio can coach so he’ll have his offense better but expecting a huge turnaround to make them contenders simply isn’t going to happen.  If the Eagles can pull an upset, they could go bowling.

7. Syracuse Orange – The Orange come off a 4-8 season and face one of the toughest schedules in the country.  With 15 starters back they’ll be more competitive, but the record will show more losses.  Dino Babers will get the ‘Cuse headed in the right direction but with this schedule, it’ll be a long season ahead.

2016 ACC COASTAL PREVIEW

1. North Carolina Tar Heels – The Heels were a bit of an under the radar team last season.  A loss in the opener against South Carolina, kept the country from noticing them winning the next 11 and playing in the ACC Championship Game.  The Heels must break in a new QB but with the offensive line back and Larry Fedora coaching, the Heels will be just fine on offense.  Gene Chizik coordinates the defense for the second consecutive season and should have it ready despite the turnover on that side of the ball.  UNC is a good team but not ready to beat the Atlantic Division Champ for the ACC title.

2. Pittsburgh Panthers – Pat Narduzzi is hoping James Connor can make a full recovery from injury and illness to lead his team.  They have several starters back and hope to challenge for a spot in the ACC Championship Game.  Look for another eight win season from the Panthers.

3. Virginia Tech Hokies– Frank Beamer retired last season.  The Hokies are now led by Justin Fuente who was hired away from Memphis.  With eight starters back, it might be easier to transition to Fuente’s offense.  Bud Foster still coordinates the defense so it should be solid again.  They play Tennessee in week 2 so you’ll find out a lot about the Hokies early in the season.

4. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets – The Jackets will have many new starters in 2016.  After a 3-9 2015 that might not be a bad thing.  Have ACC defenses finally figured out how to stop their option attack?  It has to get better in 2016.  Bringing back Justin Thomas at QB has to help and they have experience on the offensive line.  The Jackets get back to a bowl after missing one last season for the first time in 18 seasons.

5. Duke Blue Devils – An exciting OT win last year let Duke head to the off-season with eight wins.  Thomas Sirk injured himself during workouts in February and is a question mark to start the season.  They’ve seen changes on the coaching staff so there are questions for Duke, not to mention seeing new starters at over half the positions on the field.

6. Miami Hurricanes – Mark Richt is now the HC at the U.  He played there and fans are excited.  He’s gotta transition this team though.  The 3-4 of Al Goden is out on defense.  The offensive line must improve.  Richt will win with the ‘Canes eventually but this year will see the pains of transition as we don’t think the ‘Canes go bowling.

7. Virginia Cavaliers – Bronco Mendenhall left BYU to take over the program at UVA.  He inherits a team needing direction.  He hopes to bring over the success he had at BYU.  With only 10 starters back, he’s got to get a lot of people to buy in right away and lean on the job.  It’s gonna take some time to rebuild this program in this division.

2016 ACC Championship Game

Florida State vs. North Carolina

2016 ACC Champions

Florida State

Get bowl projections, preseason All-Americans and more in our 2016 College Football Preview. 2016 COLLEGE FOOTBALL PREVIEW-1

2016 Preseason Big Ten Football Predictions

2016 COLLEGE FOOTBALL PREVIEW-1

The Big Ten comes down to two teams this year, Ohio State and Michigan.  They’re the league’s two best and will collide in the season finale with a spot in the league title game and potentially a college football playoff spot on the line.  Big Ten football should be strong this season with 11 bowl teams and 11 preseason All-Americans.

2016 Predicted Records and Standings for Big Ten Football:
RANK BIG TEN EAST W L CONF W CONF L
3 Ohio State Buckeyes 11 1 9 0
11 Michigan Wolverines 11 1 8 1
44 Penn State Nittany Lions 8 4 6 3
28 Michigan State Spartans 8 4 6 3
59 Indiana Hoosiers 8 4 5 4
81 Maryland Terrapins 6 6 3 6
100 Rutgers Scarlet Knights 2 10 0 9
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RANK BIG TEN WEST W L CONF W CONF L
25 Iowa Hawkeyes 10 2 7 2
13 Wisconsin Badgers 7 5 5 4
64 Northwestern Wildcats 7 5 4 5
42 Nebraska Cornhuskers 6 6 4 5
67 Illinois Fighting Illini 5 7 3 6
78 Minnesota Golden Gophers 6 6 3 6
99 Purdue Boilermakers 2 10 0 9
2016 Big Ten East Preview

1. Ohio State Buckeyes – Urban Meyer knows how to win so the lack of returning starters shouldn’t damper expectations.  The roster is loaded with talent and J.T. Barrett is experienced at QB and knowing the job is his alone, look for a big season from him.  A trip to Norman to face the Sooners on September 17 could be the difference between a playoff appearance and a bowl game.

2.  Michigan Wolverines – Jim Harbaugh dominated the offseason by consistently stirring the pot.  He’s recruited well and bring back 14 starters.  The Wolverines schedule sets up nicely for them to make a run to the season finale against the Buckeyes which could have a trip to the Big Ten Championship Game on the line.

3.  Penn State Nittany Lions – Christian Hackenberg is in the NFL so the Nittany Lions will have a unfamiliar signal caller for the new, no huddle spread offense.  The skills positions are talented but how quickly will the new offense take hold?  The defense has a new coordinator as well.  The talent is there to win but they’re not ready to challenge the top teams in the Big Ten yet.  The schedule is favorable with Ohio State, Iowa and Michigan State coming to State College. 

4.  Michigan State Spartans – Are the Spartans haunted by the 38-0 beatdown Alabama game them in the college football playoff?  The offense has a lot of new faces so they’ll need to come together quickly.  The defense should again be solid but the Spartans will take a step back record wise in 2016.

5.  Indiana Hoosiers – The Hoosiers got to a bowl last season but lost it OT to Duke.  The key to the season will be at QB.  If coach Kevin Wilson can find a consistent passer, a return bowl trip should easily be attainable.  The Hoosiers have talent and a schedule that should give them the opportunity to take another step forward this season.

6.  Maryland Terrapins – D.J. Durkin is the new coach in College Park, coming over from Michigan.  He doesn’t inherit much talent though and the schedule is brutal.  The Terps need to adjust to the new schemes this season and gain experience but we think they surprise and get to six wins and a bowl game.

7.  Rutgers Scarlet Knights – Rutgers comes off a 4-8 season with 15 starters back.  They’re implementing a new uptempo spread offense which needs a talent to be effective.  The defense welcomes back Darius Hamilton so the front four should be solid.  The schedule is brutal and will make for another losing season.

2016 Big Ten West Preview

1.  Iowa Hawkeyes – The Hawkeyes won the West last year and return most of a defense that will anchor the team in 2016.  While the offense will have several new faces, QB C.J. Beathard returns and should give them the leadership to return to the Big Ten title game.

2.  Wisconsin Badgers – Paul Chryst must improve his offense.  The Badgers won 10 games last year largely because of the defense.  They keep them in games and didn’t make the offense light up the scoreboard.  With several new faces on the defense in 2016, the offense will need to help if they’re to contend.  The schedule is challenging and will keep the Badgers from a double digit win season.

3.  Northwestern Wildcats – The Wildcats surprised last year with 10 wins.  The schedule gets much more difficult in conference with games at Iowa, at Michigan State and at Iowa State all in October.  They’re looking for playmakers this season to help a passing attack and take some of the pressure off the defense.   Northwestern will be good but the record will not be like it was in 2015.

4.  Nebraska Cornhuskers – Tommy Armstrong impressed in the bowl game and will look to continue that into his senior season with the Huskers.  They must find a way to win the close games.  While they went 6-7 last year, they had four games they lose by 3 or fewer points.  Losing last year’s opener on the hail mary to BYU, the Huskers never seemed to recover.  A game hosting Oregon on September 17 will tell us a lot about this year’s squad.

5.  Illinois Fighting Illini – The Illini surprised many by hiring Lovie Smith as their new head coach.  Smith took the Chicago Bears to the Super Bowl but how will he do in college football after a 21 year absence?  He has talent on the defense and an experience QB in Wes Lunt.  Can he get them to a bowl game?  It’s gonna take an upset or two but the potential is there.

6.  Minnesota Golden Gophers – The Golden Gophers return 14 starters and don’t see Ohio State or Michigan on the schedule in 2016.  With experienced QB Mitch Leidner, they have a stead hand to lead them in close games.  The Gophers will go bowling.

7.  Purdue Boilermakers – Darrell Hazell is feeling the pressure to win in 2016.  A 2-10 2015 has not inspired confidence so 2016 needs to see a major upgrade.  We just don’t predict improvement for the Boilermakers.  They will continue to struggle and go 2-10.

2016 Big Ten Championship Game

Ohio State vs. Iowa

2016 Big Ten Champions

Ohio State

Get bowl projections, preseason All-Americans and more in our 2016 College Football Preview. 2016 COLLEGE FOOTBALL PREVIEW-1

2016 Preseason Big 12 Football Predictions

2016 COLLEGE FOOTBALL PREVIEW-1

The Big 12 has our preseason #1, the Oklahoma Sooners.  It’s been a long offseason for the Sooners after another blowout postseason loss to Clemson.  Bob Stoops has to be wearing out his team with reminders over that but he’ll like what he sees in our 2016 Big 12 football predictions.

Baylor dominated the offseason news with controversy that led to Art Briles being dismissed as head coach.  How do they respond?

In our Big 12 football predictions, we see seven of the league’s 10 teams going bowling.  It should be the another good year for Big 12 football.

2016 Predicted Records and Standings for Big 12 Football:
RANK BIG XII W L CONF W CONF L
1 Oklahoma Sooners 12 0 9 0
22 Oklahoma State Cowboys 10 2 7 2
12 TCU Horned Frogs 10 2 7 2
21 West Virginia Mountaineers 9 3 6 3
49 Texas Tech Red Raiders 7 5 5 4
80 Kansas State Wildcats 6 6 4 5
29 Baylor Bears 6 6 3 6
52 Texas Longhorns 5 7 3 6
84 Iowa State Cyclones 4 8 1 8
125 Kansas Jayhawks 1 11 0 9
2016 Big 12 Football Preview

1. Oklahoma Sooners – With Baker Mayfield and Samaje Perine back, the Sooners offense should again put up big numbers.  The questions will be on defense as their top playmakers on that side of the ball are gone.  Who steps up to leader the OU defense this season?  They’re the class of the Big 12 again and we predict an undefeated season for the Sooners.

2. Oklahoma State Cowboys – Three straight losses to end last season, after 10 wins to start, showed the Cowboys aren’t quite ready for primetime.  They were blown out by Oklahoma and Ole Miss so they’ve had all offseason to deal with the disappointment of coming up short in the biggest games.  With sixteen starters back, the Cowboys should again be a double digit win team.  Will the defense step up and not make the offense win shootouts seemingly every week?  That’s the key to the 2016 season.

3. TCU Horned Frogs – Nearly an entire offensive team will be replaced in 2016 for TCU.  Texas A&M QB transfer, Kenny Hill, looks to take over the offense and keep things rolling for the Horned Frogs.  They come off an epic bowl comeback win that should have kept the Horned Frogs optimistic for 2016.  The defense will be solid as always under Gary Patterson.  Who makes plays for the offense?  If they can score like they did in 2015, they’re Big 12 contenders.

4. West Virginia Mountaineers – Again for West Virginia, the defense is the concern heading into the season.  Three starters are back from a unit that played well at times last season.  They’re probably going to have to win on offense again this season.  A favorable schedule gives them potential at easily making a bowl and finishing in the top half of the Big 12.

5. Texas Tech Red Raiders – The Red Raiders had a frustrating 2015.  They had outstanding offense and dismal defense.  Giving up nearly 44 points a game, the Red Raiders had to light up the scoreboard to get bowl eligible.  The schedule gives them big games at home but can the defense keep them in games against the top tier of the Big 12?

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6.  Kansas State Wildcats – Bill Snyder has taken criticism throughout his career for a Charmin soft non-conference schedule.  He’s upgraded it this year, at least in week 1 as he takes his Wildcats to Stanford.  With single digit starters coming back from a losing season, fans are cautious about 2016.  He’s got to find playmakers.  He’s always found them in the past but they were lacking last season.

7.  Baylor Bears – Baylor is easily the most difficult team to predict in 2016.  Scandal rocked the program and forced Art Briles out and Jim Grobe in just a few months before the season kicks off.  Will this team be motivated?  Are they focused?  They have the talent to win double digit games but so many questions surround this team.  It will be a lost season for the Bears.

8.  Texas Longhorns – Charlie Strong needs to win this season or he’s out.  They open with Notre Dame in Austin.  A win there can cool down the critics for at least a few weeks.  A change on offense should be a major upgrade since things can’t get much worse than last year’s .  A freshman at QB could make for a rocky start for the Longhorns.

9.  Iowa State Cyclones – New coach Matt Campbell is focused on running the football.  That will be tough for a team that finds itself down in a lot of games against explosive Big 12 competition.  The defense returns eight starters but ranked 107th nationally in 2015.  It must make a drastic improvement for the Cyclones to go to a bowl.

10.  Kansas Jayhawks – What can you say about the Jayhawks 2015 season?  One letter is all you need to describe it, L.  12 games.  12 losses.  Most weren’t close either.  We predict the Jayhawks beat FCS Rhode Island week 1, but is followed by 11 straight losses.

Get bowl projections, preseason All-Americans and more in our 2016 College Football Preview. 2016 COLLEGE FOOTBALL PREVIEW-1

2016 Preseason Conference USA Football Predictions

2016 COLLEGE FOOTBALL PREVIEW-1

Conference USA Football is looking to grab some attention this with games against power 5 conferences.  Western Kentucky and Southern Miss both have chances to knock off SEC foes in Vanderbilt and Kentucky.  If both can get W’s, it’ll help bolster a conference that looks to have seven bowl teams in 2016 according to our Conference USA football predictions.

2016 Predicted Records and Standings for Conference USA Football:
RANK C-USA EAST W L CONF W CONF L
31 Western Kentucky Hilltoppers 11 1 8 0
69 Marshall Thundering Herd 8 4 6 2
77 Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders 7 5 6 2
102 Florida Atlantic Owls 6 6 4 4
114 Old Dominion Monarchs 6 6 4 4
105 Florida International Panthers 4 8 3 5
127 Charlotte 49ers 3 9 1 7
RANK C-USA WEST W L CONF W CONF L
51 Southern Miss Golden Eagles 10 2 8 0
62 Louisiana Tech Bulldogs 8 4 5 3
124 Rice Owls 5 7 3 5
112 UTSA Road Runners 4 8 3 5
123 UTEP Miners 2 10 1 7
126 North Texas Mean Green 1 11 0 8
2016 CONFERENCE USA EAST PREVIEW

1.  Western Kentucky Hilltoppers – The defending Conference USA champs will be breaking in several new starters but with the entire offensive line returning, they should find the transition easier.  The defense will keep them in games so they just need to find new playmakers to help the offense.

2.  Marshall Thundering Herd – With eight starters back, the Herd look to have a stellar offense again this season.  The defense has question marks.  If it can come together, the Herd could surprise and make an appearance in the C-USA Championship Game.  They test themselves outside of conference with games against Louisville and at Pitt.

3.  Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders – Only five home games, make the 2016 season a challenge.  The defense has question marks but Tyrone Nix should get the best out of them.  Can Brent Stockstill and Richie James continue where they left off as freshman?  If they do, C-USA better look out.

4.  Florida Atlantic Owls – FAU installed an up-tempo offense and hopes to improve upon it’s 3-9 2015 season.  They have the playmakers to be tough weekly in conference and should win enough to make a bowl appearance.

5.  Old Dominion Monarchs – ODU enters its fourth year in the FBS and comes off a 5-7 season.  With sixteen starters back, a bowl appearance is in sight.  The key to the season will be QB.  If they get solid play there, they break even and go bowling.

6.  Florida International Panthers – With a three year starter back at QB, the Panthers are hoping he can lead them to a bowl appearance.  FIU has been cursed with inconsistent play so getting everyone to show up on the same Saturday will be the key to the season.  If they do, a bowl isn’t out of the question.

7.  Charlotte 49ers – The 49ers come off their first season in the FBS.  Players now know what to expect week to week and bring back 16 starters.  That experience will help be more competitive but they’ve still got to upgrade talent to compete in C-USA.

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2016 CONFERENCE USA WEST PREVIEW

1.  Southern Miss Golden Eagles – We project double digit wins for the Golden Eagles in 2016.  Nick Mullens is back to lead the offense attack that was explosive last season.  The defense improved a great deal last season and looks to continue that in 2016.  They open at Kentucky and could make a big statement with a road win at an SEC opponent to start the season.

2.  Lousiana Tech Bulldogs – The Bulldogs will see a lot of new starters in 2016.  This has become a consistent winning program in the Group of 5.  Anything less than a winning season is a disappoint.  They have the talent to again be winners.  The defense is the key to the season.  If they gel early, this team could equal last year’s 9 wins.

3.  Rice Owls – The offense is trying to rev up and go fast in 2016.  A new QB will take over but being a senior, Tyler Stehling should be able to use his mobility to keep the game moving fast for the offense.  With 15 starter returning, they should be better on the field but a tough schedule that includes Baylor and Stanford in the non-conference makes a bowl trip look unlikely.

4.  UTSA Roadrunners – Frank Wilson comes over to UTSA from an assistant job at LSU and should focus on the ground attack.  Look for him to use a ball control offense and try to control the line of scrimmage.  The defense will need to step up and help them out.  Look for them to improve on last year’s 3-9 record but it’ll take Wilson a couple more years to recruit a roster that can challenge in C-USA.

5.  UTEP Miners –  The Miners are going through changes on defense changing the scheme and with seven starters back should still see some pains in the transition.  The offense will focus on running the ball which means they’ve got to have the defense keep them in games early as playing from behind isn’t their strong suit.

6.  North Texas Mean Green – After only one win last year, they can only go up in 2016 right?  We look for the status quo and one win for the Mean Green.  The schedule is difficult.  It’s loaded with tough road games and some of the upper tier C-USA teams visit.

CONFERENCE USA CHAMPIONSHIP GAME

Western Kentucky vs. Southern Miss

CONFERENCE USA CHAMPIONS

Western Kentucky Hilltoppers

Get bowl projections, preseason All-Americans and more in our 2016 College Football Preview. 2016 COLLEGE FOOTBALL PREVIEW-1

2016 Preseason MAC Football Predictions

2016 COLLEGE FOOTBALL PREVIEW-1

Are you ready for another season of MAC-tion?  The MAC is usually one of the most fun conferences to watch season after season.  This year they’ve got several teams that are pretty evenly matched and could lead to great games.  With so many teams rated closely to one another, making our MAC football predictions was not easy.  We call for an end to Northern Illinois dominance.

2016 Predicted Records and Standings for MAC Football:

RANK MAC EAST W L CONF W CONF L
40 Bowling Green Falcons 9 3 7 1
89 Ohio Bobcats 8 4 5 3
97 Buffalo Bulls 6 6 4 4
88 Akron Zips 4 8 3 5
110 Miami (OH) RedHawks 3 9 2 6
109 Kent State Flashes 2 10 0 8
RANK MAC WEST W L CONF W CONF L
38 Toledo Rockets 11 1 8 0
73 Central Michigan Chippewas 8 4 6 2
66 Western Michigan Broncos 8 4 6 2
79 Northern Illinois Huskies 7 5 5 3
119 Eastern Michigan Eagles 3 9 1 7
116 Ball State Cardinals 2 10 1 7

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MAC EAST PREVIEW

1.  Bowling Green Falcons – Dino Babers is gone but Mike Jinks has come aboard and is familiar with the system the Falcons have been running on offense.  He will need to break in a new QB but having a senior to do so should help.  The Falcons are defending MAC Champs and should be back in the hunt again this year.

2.  Ohio Bobcats – The Bobcats return a dozen starters, split equally on both sides of the ball.  The Bobcats will be MAC title contenders this year but the schedule will make it tough for them to win the division and advance.  If Bowling Green slides, the Bobcats will be ready to pounce and take the MAC East.

3.  Buffalo Bulls – The Bulls have nearly an entire new starting crew on offense while the defense brings most starts back.  Look for the Bulls to challenge teams this year but aren’t ready to contend for the MAC title this season.

4.  Akron Zips – Terry Bowden has turned the program around.  Eight wins last year was a breakthrough for the Zips.  A lot of the starters from that team are gone though and that leaves a lot of questions.  Thomas Woodson is back at QB which can help adjust but the entire offensive line is new.  The Zips will need to pull some upsets to get back to a bowl game this year.

5.  Miami RedHawks – The RedHawks return a slew of starters including 4 of 5 on the O-Line along with their QB.  The depth of talent still isn’t there though.  The schedule is going to be a challenge so improving upon last year’s 3-9 record will be difficult.

6.  Kent State Golden Flashes – The Golden Flashes return 17 starters from a 3-9 team in 2015.  Coach Pay Haynes is in a make or break season.  If he can’t turn 17 returning starters into a bowl team, he’s probably out.  QB play will be crucial.  The offense simply has to get better.  They were shut out 3 times last season and also had a 3 point game and two 7 point games.  It’s hard to win not scoring in double digits.

MAC WEST PREVIEW

1. Toledo Rockets – Jason Candle is the new head coach and should keep a steady hand on the Rockets.  The offense will feature a new QB but a lot of experience around him.  Toledo should still be able to dominate the line of scrimmage and makes them our pick to win the MAC East.

2.  Central Michigan Chippewas –  With 14 starters back, the Chippewas like their chances.  With Cooper Rush, they’ve got a QB that can win them games which you can’t say for most of the MAC.  The defense should be bolstered by the return of Joe Ostman to the D-line.  If they can pull the upset at Toledo, they could be in the MAC Championship.

3.  Western Michigan Broncos – After back to back eight win season, expectations are high heading to 2016.  The Broncos schedule features two games on the road at Big Ten foes.  Do they treat them as make or break for the season?  If they stay focused, they’re a team that will be in the hunt in the MAC West.

4.  Northern Illinois Huskies – Northern Illinois headed into the off-season with three straight losses.  Injuries at QB led to much of that as they started a walk-on freshman in the MAC Championship.  The schedule is manageable and could propel them back into MAC contention.  Questions though on defense we think hold them back this season.

5.  Eastern Michigan Eagles – With a 3-21 record the past two seasons, bringing back 15 starters isn’t generating a lot of excitement for Eastern Michigan football.  Giving up 42 points a game in 2015, the focus starts there.  Coming off a 1-11 season, they should expect to see an improvement in the record but not much.  They’ll have to focus on not having to score in the mid-40’s to win.

6.  Ball State Cardinals – The defense returns nine starters but a scheme change keeps the questions on that side of the ball.  They’ve got to improve the 5+ rushing yards per carry and 70% completion rate that was allowed last year.  Mike Neu is ready for the challenge.  His offense should be steady but it’s gonna be a year of transition for the Cardinals.

2016 MAC Football Championship Game

Bowling Green vs. Toledo

2016 MAC Football Champions

Toledo Rockets

Get bowl projections, preseason All-Americans and more in our 2016 College Football Preview. 2016 COLLEGE FOOTBALL PREVIEW-1