College Football Outlook

Division Winners

1. ACC Atlantic– Florida State Seminoles: This is their division for the taking. With Clemson expected to take a significant step back after losing their entire offensive core, it’s hard not to pick against Jimbo Fisher and these Florida State Seminoles. Jimbo has become a top three coach in the country and after what he did in a rebuilding year after losing Jameis Winston to the NFL should show you everything you need to know about him right there. All eyes will be on Deondre Francois who now has a full year of playing experience under his belt and he has to be at his best so the entire football team can be at their best. Dalvin Cook may be gone, but Cam Akers is more than capable of being the main option to carry the ground game. Their defense is what I’m looking forward to the most and the return of Derwin James, the safety that everyone will be talking about. For a while, they were expected to be one of the best teams in the country and this year, they could return to do just that.

2. ACC Coastal– Miami Hurricanes: After years of struggling, many questioned whether the legendary football institution that has groomed up some football legends would ever be relevant again. They are headed in the right direction under Mark Richt and with some others entering the year with questions at quarterback. Mark Walton replaces Brad Kaaya and The U has one of the best defensive fronts in college football. Watch for Christopher Herdon IV, a tight end replacing David Njoku, a guy who was a big part of the Hurricanes offense in 2016.

3. Big Ten East– Ohio State Buckeyes: After an embarrassing effort in the playoff game against Clemson last year, I expect Urban Meyer to have his boys ready to go and play with a serious chip on their shoulder and an angry Urban Meyer is a site you don’t want to see. J.T. Barrett needs to get off to a good, yet consistent start at the beginning of the season. It will all start with him and end with him if they want to win another national championship. 16 starters from last season return and the Buckeyes are loaded with a lot of young talent that will look to make an immediate impact when the season begins. This is the one team I can count on to win a big game and win the games they are supposed too when it matters and that’s why I give them an advantage over the Michigan Wolverines in the conference.

4. Big Ten West– Wisconsin Badgers: Paul Chryst did a phenomenal job with this team last year. They are the top dog in this division. In their last three seasons, they have a record of 32-9. Only Alabama, Clemson, Florida State and Ohio State have more wins. They will win the Big Ten West by a physical ground game, dominating the line of scrimmage with the offensive line and a defense that has one of the toughest fronts in college football. They’ve been considered to be a dark horse playoff team if all can go well for them.

5. Big-12– Oklahoma Sooners: There will be a new look as far as coaching is concerned. Bob Stoops decided to call it a career and retire and Lincoln Riley is now the new head coach and the youngest coach in the country at 33 years old. I don’t see this team really missing a beat this year, especially when you have a dynamic playmaker in Baker Mayfield as your quarterback and I expect him to have another big year in Norman for the Sooners. They look to get back to the playoffs and hopefully advance and get to the national title game. Will this be the year where they simply dominate the Big-12 and have people talking about them as a serious contender?

6. Pac-12 North– Washington Huskies: If you weren’t a believer of theirs last season, you still have time to get on the train and believe. They surprised a lot of people and not only won the Pac-12 North, but they got to the conference title game and ended up being selected as one of the four for the college football playoff. Despite losing John Ross, all the pieces still remain in place to be successful once again. Azeem Victor returns for the defense which will give them a huge boost on that side of the football.

7. Pac-12 South– USC Trojans: This is another team that I’m extremely high on entering the 2017 season. Clay Helton has shown what a great hire the university made and he made the bold decision to bench Max Browne and start Sam Darnold and it’s paid off because when Sam finally got his chance to shine, he took advantage of it and never looked back. The offensive line this season will be the strong point and Darnold enters the year as a projected favorite to win the Heisman trophy.

8. SEC East– Georgia Bulldogs: I’ve really enjoyed watching what Kirby Smart has built up in Athens since taking the job to become their head coach. Jacob Eason has taken some tremendous strides and enters his second full season as the team’s starting quarterback. This team needs a healthy Nick Chubb to be successful. I look for their defense to take the next step and improve in the fall.

9. SEC West– Alabama Crimson Tide: Was this even worth typing and writing about? You can just automatically pencil them into winning this division. This year, they’ll have a different mindset coming into the season. Fresh off losing in the national title game in January (which happened to be the university’s first loss in a title game under Saban), I expect them to play angry and with that chip on their shoulder. A loss in a big game one year can be used as fuel to your engine the following year and this is exactly what Alabama will do. An angry Nick Saban won’t be a good sight at all.

Conference Championships

ACCFlorida State defeats The U

Big TenOhio State defeats Wisconsin

Pac 12USC defeats Washington

SECAlabama defeats Georgia

Oklahoma wins Big-12 outright