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College Football Predictions (Power Five Conferences)

Alabama Football

Alabama vs. Georgia St.” by Peter Pajor is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

By RahimAli Merchant

As the College Football season approaches, we are now looking forward to seeing who the top teams will be. How will the College Football Playoff look this season?

Will it be another pair of SEC teams battling in overtime? How about Clemson and Alabama for another round? Can Ohio State overcome all their offseason issues and make it to the playoffs again? How about Oklahoma and the Big 12? Or maybe we’ll finally see the Pac-12 back on the playoff scene with actual relevance?

I will break down each of the Power Five conferences and give you my predictions of who will win each division and conference. We will also be taking a look at the four playoff teams for this season.

First, will be the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC). We’ll look at where the Clemson Tigers will finish and who will win the Coastal region.

ACC

ACC Atlantic:

  1. Clemson (12-0)
  2. Florida State (9-3)
  3. North Carolina State (8-4)
  4. Wake Forest  (7-5)
  5. Boston College (6-6)
  6. Louisville  (6-6)
  7. Syracuse (6-6)

Clemson will once again dominate the ACC Atlantic. This year they won’t lose in an upset to the last place team like Syracuse. In fact, the only real competition is Florida State, who looks to rebound from an upsetting 2017. Of course, this will be the return of Deondre Francois. Clemson’s Kelly Bryant will be connecting with Hunter Renfrow all season long while the Clemson defense connects to shut out their opponents. Regardless of what Clemson does to the Atlantic conference, we’ll see them in the ACC title game again.

ACC Coastal:

  1. Miami  (11-1)
  2. Georgia Tech (9-3)
  3. Virginia Tech (8-4)
  4. Pittsburgh (6-6)
  5. Duke  (6-6)
  6. North Carolina (4-8)
  7. Virginia (4-8)

Miami’s tough defense will manage to get them through the long season with some even tougher opponents. They’ll only get one loss to FSU that will come off a surprise play of the year connection between Francois and receiver Keith Gavin. Georgia Tech and TaQuon Marshall will find the winning ways again, but still fail to be the bigger competition like Miami and Clemson. Miami will take advantage of it and find themselves in the ACC Championship game against the undefeated Clemson Tigers.

ACC Championship Game: Clemson (12-0) vs. Miami (11-1)

BIG 10

The Conference with all the issues is the BIG 10. Regardless of what Ohio State is dealing with off the field, we could still see them be the best team in the BIG 10 East.

Big 10 East:

  1. Ohio State (11-1)
  2. Michigan  (10-2)
  3. Penn State (9-3)
  4. Michigan State (9-3)
  5. Maryland (6-6)
  6. Indiana (6-6)
  7. Rutgers (4-8)

Though the Buckeyes are playing games under interim head coach, Ryan Day, they’ll still manage to make it back to the conference championship game with their one loss to Penn State. Unfortunately, Penn State will lose to Michigan and Wisconsin in Conference to keep them back. Michigan will beat Wisconsin, but lose to in-state rival, Michigan State. Head coach Jim Harbaugh still won’t be able to get wins over his two biggest rivals. Until he can do so, he’ll always be third best to Urban Meyer and Mark Dantonio.

Big 10 West:

  1. Wisconsin (11-1)
  2. Iowa (8-4)
  3. Purdue (7-5)
  4. Northwestern (6-6)
  5. Nebraska (6-6)
  6. Minnesota (6-6)
  7. Illinois (3-9)

Wisconsin will cruise through their division, but be slowed down by Penn State and Michigan. They’ll get past Penn State by letting running back Jonathan Taylor have a Barkley type game we saw all last season. Iowa and Purdue try to make a name for themselves, but the power in the East part of the conference will knock them out.  Most eyes will be on Nebraska and their new head coach, Scott Frost. Frost led the University of Central Florida to a perfect season and a huge bowl win against SEC powerhouse Auburn. Unfortunately, Frost and the Corn Huskers won’t be making any noise in the BIG 10 this season.

Big 10 Championship: Ohio State (11-1) vs. Wisconsin (11-1)

Pac-12

The Pacific 12 Conference is the power five conference with the least experience in the College Football Playoff, but they will look to change that this year. The Pac-12 has a good chance to make the playoffs again this year, but who will it be?

Pac-12 North: 

  1. Washington (11-1)
  2. Stanford (10-2)
  3. Oregon (8-4)
  4. California (7-5)
  5. Washington State (6-6)
  6. Oregon State (2-10)

Washington takes the season-opening loss against Auburn as fuel to the fire and they won’t look back. The only real competition they have all season after week one will be division rival, Stanford. Stanford will fail to pick up the victory against Washington, which leads to the Huskies going to the conference championship. Stanford losses a non-conference game to Notre Dame and picks up the early win over USC. Washington will take their top-10 defense into the championship game, where quarterback Jake Browning looks to take his team to the playoffs.

Pac-12 South:

  1. USC (9-3)
  2. Utah (8-4)
  3. Arizona (8-4)
  4. UCLA (6-6)
  5. Colorado (6-6)
  6. Arizona State (5-7)

Despite a loss to Stanford, USC will still be in the conference championship. USC will take over the weak South and take care of their opponents. USC will also lose to Notre Dame, as Stanford will. They will overcome the quarterback battle as they seek to find a replacement for Sam Darnold. After a difficult first month for USC, the rest of the season will look to be easier for USC to defend as Pac-12 South champs.

Pac-12 Championship: Washington (11-1) vs. USC (9-3)

BIG 12

The only conference without more than one team to have made the playoff is the Big 12. The only team in the Big 12 who has been in the College Football Playoff is Oklahoma, and they could have the best chance to do it again. Let’s see how the rest of the conference finishes.

Big 12 Conference Standings:

  1. Oklahoma (10-2)
  2. Texas (9-3)
  3. West Virginia (8-4)
  4. TCU (8-4)
  5. Oklahoma State (8-4)
  6. Iowa State (7-5)
  7. Kansas State (6-6)
  8. Baylor (6-6)
  9. Texas Tech (5-7)
  10. Kansas (2-10)

Oklahoma may possibly be able to go undefeated this season, but with a different quarterback not named Baker Mayfield, they will have some slip-ups that will cost them a game or two. They do have a talented receiving core that could make it easy on the QB though. TCU, Texas, and West Virginia are three teams looking to take over the Big 12, but they will all be knocking each other out. TCU will also lose to Ohio State, while Texas takes advantage of USC in their matchup. That early USC win for Texas gives them the edge over West Virginia and TCU, and they will meet Oklahoma in the conference championship.

Big 12 Championship Game: Oklahoma (10-2) vs. Texas (9-3)

SEC

Now let’s see what the defending champions and runner-ups are up to in their conference. By now, I hope that all the UGA fans are over the disappointment of losing to a backup quarterback in double overtime of a National Championship game. Oh, who am I kidding? As a former student of the University of Georgia, I will never get over it. But it’s okay because this could be the year where they get it done. Who will be in their way to making it back to the playoffs? Alabama or the field? Let’s find out.

SEC East:   

  1. Georgia (11-1)
  2. Florida (8-4)
  3. Missouri  (8-4)
  4. Tennessee (7-5)
  5. South Carolina  (6-6)
  6. Kentucky (6-6)
  7. Vanderbilt (4-8)

Georgia should have an easy road to perfection this season. The SEC South is the weaker of the two divisions and Georgia should run through them all. They will have a tough time with LSU and Auburn, which will result in at least one loss. Florida and Missouri could also be a tough matchup for the Bulldogs, but Kirby Smart will find a way to get back to the SEC championship game.

SEC West: 

  1. Alabama (11-1)
  2. Auburn (10-2)
  3. Mississippi State (9-3)
  4. LSU (8-4)
  5. Texas A&M (8-4)
  6. Arkansas (5-7)
  7. Ole Mississippi (5-7)

This is where all the excitement will happen in the SEC. We expect to see Alabama win the West again after beating Auburn in the Iron Bowl. Alabama will lose a game against LSU as they look to make another comeback in the SEC under head coach Ed Orgeron.  Auburn will beat Georgia, but lose to Mississippi State under head coach Joe Moorhead. Mississippi State will lose to LSU and Alabama, keeping them out of the SEC picture. LSU also takes a loss to UGA and Auburn. They will also lose the season opener against Miami, dropping them out of the conference early. So we’ll have a rematch of last year’s National Championship as our SEC Title game, but will both teams make it back to the playoffs?

SEC Championship Game: Georgia (11-1) vs. Alabama (11-1)

Now that we know which teams have earned the right to play for their conference titles,  let’s see which ones make the playoffs.

 

College Football Playoffs:
  1. Georgia vs. 4. Washington
  2. Miami vs. 3. Wisconsin

Unfortunately, Oklahoma and the Big 12 will be left out of the playoffs this year, but that’s not the only surprise we’ll see in the playoff. We have a few first timers, and hopefully the committee will actually get it right.

National Championship:

1. Georgia vs. 2. Miami

Let us know who you got winning the conference titles and who will be in the College Football Playoff? Do you agree with who we’ve got? Share your comments below!

 

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4 Responses

  1. WowCors says:

    You think FSU will bounce back after their lackluster season?

    • RahimAli Merchant says:

      I think they could have a real chance, especially if Francois can be healthy for them. Who knows how they would’ve done with him last year

  1. September 8, 2018

    […] With Washington’s loss to Auburn last week, the Pac-12 could come down to this game. Whoever wins could play a huge role in the conference championship. Although, I wouldn’t count out Washington yet. They haven’t played a conference game, but will likely have the best chance to win. But let’s see where USC and Stanford go after this game. USC struggled early and let UNLV stay with them close at the half before pulling away with the 43-21 victory. Stanford also started off slow, going down 7-0 early before taking a 9-7 lead into the half and winning the game 31-10. We could expect a slow start to this game, and look for one of them to take control over the Pac-12. For my winner, click here. […]

  2. September 28, 2018

    […] With Washington’s loss to Auburn last week, the Pac-12 could come down to this game. Whoever wins could play a huge role in the conference championship. Although, I wouldn’t count out Washington yet. They haven’t played a conference game, but will likely have the best chance to win. But let’s see where USC and Stanford go after this game. USC struggled early and let UNLV stay with them close at the half before pulling away with the 43-21 victory. Stanford also started off slow, going down 7-0 early before taking a 9-7 lead into the half and winning the game 31-10. We could expect a slow start to this game, and look for one of them to take control over the Pac-12. For my winner, click here. […]

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