The opening of the 2015 college football season is here. Some readers and I thought it would be fun to come up with a list of the top 10 questions to be answered answered. Thanks for the input of many, that have helped construct this list. I provided my prediction as to the answers.
#10 WHAT NEW PLAYER WILL HAVE THE BIGGEST IMPACT ON HIS TEAM? Vernon Adams of Oregon. Adams steps into perhaps, the most potent offense in the nation. Surrounded by a super talented cast of characters led by running backs Royce Freeman and Thomas Tyner. He also inherits a top notch receiving corps, that returns the top five guys! Adams transferred in from Eastern Washington, where he passed for 10,436 yards, with a 110-31 touchdown to interception ratio. He was twice the runner-up for the Walter Payton award, which is the FCS version of the Heisman.
#9 WHICH POWER FIVE COACHES ARE UNDER FIRE? My guess is Mike London of Virginia. London, enters his sixth season with a 23-38 record in that span. The Cavaliers have not been to a bowl game since 2011. He is a solid recruiter, yet that has not translated to wins on the field. Tim Beckman of Illinois was deleted from this list already.
#8 WILL THE BIG 12 FINALLY EXPAND? I think that playing in a conference with 10 teams, and no championship game is hurting the conference. My solution would be add two teams. The perfect fit, would be to add BYU from the independent ranks. Then add Marshall from CUSA. Marshall would be a natural rival with West Virginia. This would create a twelve team league, setting up two divisions of six. The two division winners, would then meet in a championship game.
#7 WHICH SEC TEAM WILL RISE ABOVE? I love Auburn here. The quarterback play of Jeremy Johnson will be the key. He has a better arm than his predecessor Nick Marshall. I think that will be showcased this season. Gus Malzahn will have that offense clicking on all cylinders. Will Muschamp will make a huge difference on the defensive side of the ball. This Tiger team has all the tools to win the SEC crown.
#6 WHICH TEAM RANKED IN THE PRE-SEASON POLL, WON’T BE THERE IN DECEMBER? My pick is Arkansas, ranked #18 in the AP and #20 in the coaches poll. I believe the Razorbacks will take a step back this season. They won’t sneak up on teams like they did last season. I expect them to finish at 6-6.
#5 WILL NOTRE DAME CONTEND FOR A PLAYOFF SPOT? The Fighting Irish have a very strong team. Seventeen starters return, including 10 on a defense that should be much improved. Quarterback Malik Zaire should be solid, and he has some nice weapons to work with. They draw USC and Texas at home, and travel to Clemson and Stanford. I think 10-2 is in reach. Is that good enough for the playoff? Probably not.
#4 IS THE SEC STILL THE TOP CONFERENCE IN THE NATION? Top to bottom it is. The SEC West is loaded, and is arguably the top division, but the Pac-12 South could be equally as good. In the pre-season AP poll, there are five teams from the SEC West. Four teams are ranked in the poll from the Pac-12 South.
#3 WHO ARE THE TOP TEAMS FROM THE GROUP OF FIVE? Boise State is again in the driver seat. The Broncos feature a new quarterback and running back. Ryan Finley is set to replace Grant Hedrick at quarterback, and I think he could be better than the departed Hedrick. The loss of leading rusher Joe Ajayi to the NFL, could be the toughest challenge facing the Broncos. Stanford transfer Kelsey Young should be the feature back. I also like Utah State, also out of the MWC. If Aggie quarterback Chuckie Keeton can stay healthy, they will have a chance at a magical season. Western Kentucky, from (CUSA) also has a chance to do something special — Quarterback Brandon Doughty will play on Sundays. They have a shot at winning ten games, and could be the best team in the state of Kentucky. The Cincinnati Bearcats from the AAC, also have a great shot at an 11-win season.
#2 WHO WILL WIN THE HEISMAN? I believe this is a three-man race. My front-runner is Cody Kessler, quarterback from USC. The Trojans are loaded on offense and should score a ton of points. He has several marquee games on the schedule to really showcase himself. He was incredible last season, and there is no reason to think he will regress. My second choice would be Ezekiel Elliott, running back, from Ohio State. He rushed for 1,925 yards last season, while scoring 18 touchdowns. He runs behind an offensive line that returns four starters. Also in consideration is Georgia running back Nick Chubb. Chubb rushed for 1,547 yards in just eight games last season!
#1. WHO WILL BE IN THE PLAYOFF Drum roll please,,,,,,,,,,,,BAYLOR, AUBURN, USC AND OHIO STATE!
Please feel free to leave comments. Each and every week, I will be at a different game across the country. I will do a game day story form each contest I cover throughout the season, featuring plenty of pictures, and interesting tidbits about the university.
Each week I will also provide an article about which games, I’ll be watching, featuring projected scores. Last season my UPSET EXPRESS winners were 11-3 on the season.
The first three games I will be attending will be September 3rd TCU at Minnesota, September 5th Stanford at Northwestern and September 12th Oregon State at Michigan. If you will be at attendance at these games and would like to meet, you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org