Ok, I got the hint and it is earlier than usual, but never too early for the passion known as college football. Over the years we have established a band of avid fans who really know the game. I appreciate the deference to begin the thread.

We begin 2017 with the team from Upstate SC, Clemson (Climpson to their most passionate fans) as defending champs. The Tigers have lost superstar and soul of team leader in Deshaun Watson, but they still have tons of talent left. The other teams who have achieved massive success in the three years of the playoff are Alabama, Ohio State and FSU, the top three in preseason polls. Camp has begun and as W+A pointed out, we have a monster first weekend in store.

Perusing the coaches hot seat list, NDs Brian Kelly tops the list. In the league I know best, Kevin Sumlin, Bret Biliema, Butch Jones (please no more corny champions of life quotes) and maybe Orgeron and Malzahn could be at risk. That is the peril of going against the all mighty Nick Saban. The ACC does not have many at the top of the list showing their coaching prowess and good record to date.

Let's play.
Original Post
It's time to speculate on what actually will transpire on the field. My first attempt, as always, will be on the SEC since that is what I follow the most.

The SEC was down last season with every team except Alabama suffering at least four losses. The Tide returns their army of highly rated recruits, but the question to me is did Dabo topple the dynasty last season. Nick Saban has had a long run of success at the highest level, but will it begin to subside. The best challenge will probably be Auburn due to their addition of former Baylor five star QB Jarrett Stidham who was shockingly named the starter yesterday. Gus Malzahn has had his best years on the Plains with good QBs. LSU has talent and a good new OC in Matt Canada, but I still do not buy Coach O. Both Kevin Sumlin (A&M) and Bret Bielema (Arky) could be on the hot seat and are wild cards. The two Mississippi schools could have tough seasons.

As for the East, Jim Mcelwain likes his team this year. The Gators will be improved offensively no matter who is the QB, but they will not be really good unless Felipe Franks becomes good. Florida is depending on young guys on the defense. Regardless of this season's results, recruiting is getting better and the Gators are building. Kirby Smart is recruiting lights out at Georgia (not exactly the hardest task), but can he coach. The cocktail party game in Jax will likely determine the East. Butch Jones keeps saying soundbite phrases, but can the Vols replace Josh Dobbs and Alvin Kamara. SC and Kentucky are total wild cards, and Vandy could upset someone this season. Missouri could have a long year.
Here is my take on the ACC this season, a league which probably was the best last season. This is based on having two bell cows, very similar to their traditional hoops legacy, in Clemson and FSU. The T-I-G-E-R-S are the defending champs and return a ton of talent. However, they have lost their best player in school history in Deshaun Watson, so finding a QB is paramount. FSU also has a top five roster with QB Deondre Francois returning. The Seminoles may be a bit uncertain at OL, but they are favored to win the league. We will know what they have at the get-go against Bama.
The other Atlantic teams are led by Louisville and returning Heisman winner Lamar Jackson. The Cards will score because Bobby Petrino knows how to score the football.

The maligned Coastal division should be competitive again between Miami, Va Tech, Ga Tech and UNC. Mark Richt is in year two at his alma mater and is doing his usual job of good recruiting (again, not the hardest thing when you can drive an hour and field a great team). However, Richt always seems to lose when it counts the most. Justin Fuentes is building up in Blacksburg and I expect the Hokies to be a force very soon. Playing those Thursday night games in Lane Stadium amidst the "Sandman" entrance is not appealing to opposing teams. Paul Johnson uses the triple option to negate talent deficiencies and make Ga Tech a tough team to prepare for in a week's span. UNC can score but can they stop anyone. They did lose QB Mitch Tribusky the 2nd pick in the NFL draft.

The ACC is a solid league with great coaches. Fisher and Swinney are only two of four active coaches with titles. The other schools have upped their coaching hires so it should be a fun year.
quote:
Originally posted by jburman82:
I think the ACC falls off quite a bit this year. Last year they had great QB play. I think they lose 4 of the top 5 in QBR. Plus, I'm just not sold on Francios and FSU. I think Dalvin Cook erased a lot problems last year and he's gone.


Hey, can you change your moniker to louholtz82? Big Grin Big Grin

FSU should lose game 1 and then run the table (though I can still pray they lose that last regular season game)
I do love me some Lou Holtz.

Seriously though, Francois is a very inaccurate passer and reports are that he hasn't really improved in that aspect. Starting some WR's who aren't midgets should help but Im far from sold on him. The o-line wasnt great last year and unless they get a lot of organic, year over year growth from people they wont be great again. Defense should be championship caliber but they were supposed to be that last year and couldn't stop anyone with a mobile QB.

One positive is UF and UM don't have QB's so our streak should continue.
We had a soft opening for action yesterday to get things started. Colorado State was impressive in opening a new stadium in downing Oregon State 58-27. South Florida, in its first year under Charlie Strong and predicted to possibly go 12-0, was down to San Jose St 16-0 before rallying to a 42-22 win. BYU was sluggish in downing Portland St 20-6. Finally, in Sydney, Australia, Stanford whupped Rice 62-7.
quote:
Originally posted by scbeerman:
We had a soft opening for action yesterday to get things started. Colorado State was impressive in opening a new stadium in downing Oregon State 58-27. South Florida, in its first year under Charlie Strong and predicted to possibly go 12-0, was down to San Jose St 16-0 before rallying to a 42-22 win. BYU was sluggish in downing Portland St 20-6. Finally, in Sydney, Australia, Stanford whupped Rice 62-7.


Not a good day for my Beavers. I watched the first half and they looked decent -- down by 4 at halftime I believe. They must have stunk up the joint in the second half. Their current coach has yet to win a road game at OSU. Was glad to see Strong get his first win.
quote:
Originally posted by ThistlinTom:
Season really gets going this weekend. Have the Florida-Michigan game, will see if inexperienced Michigan team can stay with Florida.


Don't forget the Buckeyes open up Thursday, a nice warm up before locking up with Oklahoma
quote:
Originally posted by patespo1:
quote:
Originally posted by ThistlinTom:
Season really gets going this weekend. Have the Florida-Michigan game, will see if inexperienced Michigan team can stay with Florida.


Don't forget the Buckeyes open up Thursday, a nice warm up before locking up with Oklahoma


quote:
Originally posted by sarbuze:
quote:
Originally posted by patespo1:
quote:
Originally posted by ThistlinTom:
Season really gets going this weekend. Have the Florida-Michigan game, will see if inexperienced Michigan team can stay with Florida.


Don't forget the Buckeyes open up Thursday, a nice warm up before locking up with Oklahoma



Wow, seven vomits! Hang in there, buddy, 'cause I'm getting the sense that you're gonna' have to deal with hearing a lot about the Buckeyes this year. Razz The more I hear from the grapevine, the more I think this may be a special team in Columbus. I can't wait to see a) how they use a myriad of talent on the defensive line, b) how the offense (especially play-calling, and especially the fluency/rapidity that was absent the last two years) changes under Kevin Wilson, and c) how the QBs perform under the tutelage of Ryan Day. I'm expecting to be impressed in all three areas.
quote:
Originally posted by jburman82:
quote:
Originally posted by ThistlinTom:
Season really gets going this weekend. Have the Florida-Michigan game, will see if inexperienced Michigan team can stay with Florida.


Good test of what's more of a liability, losing everyone or bringing everyone back. Razz


Who's bringing everyone back?
quote:
Originally posted by scbeerman:
I have not gotten to the Pac 12, but Washington is coming off of a playoff appearance and USC is projected top 5, so how can they be considered surprises?

Simply because nobody on the East Coast (particularly, fans of the SEC) give them even a half-thought.
quote:
Originally posted by patespo1:
quote:
Originally posted by jburman82:
Well, looks like FSU/Bama may be #1 vs #2 after all. Razz

Buckeyes started slow, then cruised to a 49-21 victory over a solid Indiana team that should win 7+ games this year.

Indiana has played us tough the last few years, especially in 2015, when they started the game up 10 points, and it took a defensive stand on the last play of the game to beat them. Last year I said something to the effect that they were the best 6-6 team in the country, losing two of those games by 5 points, giving us fits for the first half (not unlike last night), beating Michigan State, and taking Penn State to a 45-31 loss and Michigan to a 20-10 loss, respectively. They've made a habit of playing very good teams very well.

I honestly think we got out-coached/out-prepared for the first half. It's tough to make in-game adjustments with so many new starters, especially in the first half of their first game. I thought the halftime adjustments showed the real difference in these teams, especially the depth of talent and conditioning, as Indiana couldn't maintain the pace they had set for themselves in the first half. The Buckeyes ended the game with 29 unanswered points.

It's nice, when you can sit your starting tailback (tight hammy, only 80% at gametime), and your true freshman back-up rolls for over 100 yards... yeah, actually 181 yards! I know Meyer likes a lot of 1-back sets, but with a healthy Mike Weber (starter), I think it would be foolish not to get them onto the field together.

My biggest concern is that this team didn't look at all like a group of 19-21 year olds playing (and winning!) a game they loved. Somewhat dispassionate, "professional" attitude. It's nice for resilience and composure, but when you face a talented, truly fired-up opponent (like IU), you may be in danger, which seemed to be the case for the first half.
quote:
Originally posted by wine+art:
Went out to dinner with friends last night and just got home from lunch. LOTS of Michigan and Florida fans in Dallas including of own scbeerman! Cool


Im so torn on this game. Im used to rooting for UF to lose but I expect Bama to beat FSU so it will be better for us to play a higher ranked UF team at the end of the season to help with playoff chances.
quote:
Originally posted by jburman82:
quote:
Originally posted by wine+art:
Went out to dinner with friends last night and just got home from lunch. LOTS of Michigan and Florida fans in Dallas including of own scbeerman! Cool


Im so torn on this game. Im used to rooting for UF to lose but I expect Bama to beat FSU so it will be better for us to play a higher ranked UF team at the end of the season to help with playoff chances.


You know..back when UF was up there competing for the NC, I had similar thoughts with FSU, especially back when SOS was important.

What I did was contemplate it long enough to take a sip of my Pinot Noir and realize it would bring me bigger joy to see FSU lose than worry about beating a stronger FSU team. I expect you to come to a similar conclusion Smile

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