As of this Friday, we are 36 days away from the first kick-off of the 2018 College Football season. We here at DaveonCollegeFootball.com cannot wait for the season to begin, but we have some housekeeping to do.
Let’s try to hold me accountable to my predictions from last year and see how I stacked up. I may want to shield my eyes…
Dave’s predicted American Champ: South Florida
Actual American Champ: Central Florida
Rebuttal: Well, I got the state right! But, unfortunately, my prediction is wrong. While it did come down to the final regular season game between South Florida and Central Florida (which was an incredible game to watch) to determine who would represent the east division against Memphis for the conference title, it still is a loss in my book.
Dave’s predicted ACC Champ: Florida State
Actual ACC Champ: Clemson
Rebuttal: Florida State’s hopeful season was dashed in its first game vs Alabama when starting QB Deondre Francois, who was supposed to lead them to ACC and college football playoff glory, injured his patellar tendon against the Crimson Tide which sidelined him for the season. This set off a chain of calamitous events. Follow that game against Alabama, played September 2nd Hurricane Irma came and forced the ‘Noles to not play a game for 2 weeks before retaking the field with true freshman QB James Blackman, who was definitely not ready for big time college football against a battle hardened NC State team who defeated the ‘Noles and continued the tail spin. The Seminoles sputtered to a 3-6 start before rattling off three straight wins to become bowl eligible. That last win didn’t come with Coach Jimbo Fisher on the sidelines, as Fisher bolted for a $75-million (all-guaranteed), ten-year contract with the Texas A&M Aggies. All in all, it was a tumultuous season for the ‘Noles, who saw their title-winning coach hit the road and their high hopes dashed in week one.
Clemson, to their credit, had no issues filling the void left by a lost season in Tallahassee, winning the ACC for the third straight year and making the college football playoff for a third straight year as well.
Dave’s predicted Big XII Champ: Oklahoma State
Actual Big XII Champ: Oklahoma
Rebuttal: Oklahoma State had built up their roster for this specific season. They had a senior and seasoned QB, veteran NFL-ready WRs, and a strong stable of RBs. All that didn’t matter, as Baker Mayfield proceeded to show me and all other doubters wrong as he and the Sooners shredded the Oklahoma State defense in a 62-52 “track-meet” victory in Stillwater. The Sooners continued their Big XII dominance by winning their third straight conference crown. Lesson learned: until further notice, always pick Oklahoma.
Dave’s predicted BigTen Champ: Penn State
Actual BigTen Champ: Ohio State
Rebuttal: The one (more like two) that got away… Penn State had a 21-3 and 28-10 lead in the second quarter against Ohio State in Columbus before the Buckeyes and J.T. Barrett made their comeback to win an exciting game 39-38. But that’s not the worst of it. Penn State had an opportunity to still make the championship game. Following Ohio State being run over by Iowa in Iowa City, 55-24, all Penn State needed was a win vs a stingy, but by no means strong, Michigan State Spartans squad. The Nittany Lions had their Heisman candidate RB Saquon Barkley held to zero yards rushing in the first half and had to wait out a three and a half hour weather delay to lose 27-24. I was close, but no cigar…
If we’re keeping score and this was a ‘best of seven’ series, my opponents would have the broom out sweeping me away, 0-4… yikes.
Dave’s predicted C-USA Champ: Louisiana Tech
Actual C-USA Champ: Florida Atlantic
Rebuttal: No excuses. I should have known that Florida Atlantic HC Lane Kiffin would have run roughshod over C-USA. I won’t make that mistake again, I promise!
Dave’s predicted Independent “Champ”: Army
Actual Independent “Champ”: Army/Notre Dame
Celebratory Gloat: Since FBS Independents don’t have a conference, and these two teams didn’t play each other, I am going to count this as a win for me. Army had a great season that saw them capture the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy for the first time since 1996 and win another bowl game under HC Jeff Monken. Bravo Black Knights!
Dave’s predicted MAC Champ: Toledo
Actual MAC Champ: Toledo
Celebratory Gloat: Ah, feels good to be right! Toledo went 7-1 in conference and were up 38-0 in the third quarter vs Akron in the MAC Championship Game, winning the game 45-28. QB Logan Woodside shredded MAC opponents, throwing for 2,447 yards while also throwing only two interceptions. Hard to beat a good team when they don’t make mistakes.
Dave’s predicted Mountain West Champ: Wyoming
Actual Mountain West Champ: Boise State
Rebuttal: I was sold a bill of goods! Wyoming QB Josh Allen was supposed to be the next Carson Palmer/Andrew Luck according to “experts,” and Wyoming surprisingly went to the Mountain West title game the year prior in Allen’s first year as a starter. But, 2017 was different. New WRs and opposing defenses having sufficient film to prep for Allen made it harder for the Cowboys to get traction in-conference. A respectable 8-5 and bowl win was great, but still didn’t get the job done for me to have a success here! Boise State seems to be on the way back to their Chris Petersen days, as they reclaimed the Mountain West crown for first time since 2014.
Dave’s predicted Pac-12 Champ: USC
Actual Pac-12 Champ: USC
Celebratory Gloat: On the money! Nailed this one. USC won the Pac-12 as Washington couldn’t replicate the production brought by John Ross’ departure to the NFL. Josh Rosen started out unbelievably hot and then faltered with injuries, and a boring Stanford team found its way to the Pac-12 title game to then fall to a superior USC team.
I’d almost call this a “status quo” type season for the Pac-12. USC QB Sam Darnold, while not as impressive as he was the year prior, still had a spectacular season for the Trojans. In conference play, Darnold threw 106 yards less this year and had seven less TD’s while playing one more game than the previous year. Getting shellacked by the Buckeyes in the Cotton Bowl did dampen a nice season for the men of Troy.
Dave’s predicted SEC Champ: Alabama
Actual SEC Champ: Georgia
Rebuttal: C’mon people! Alabama may not have won the SEC, but they ended up beating Georgia in the college football playoff final.. that has to count for something! Georgia finally lived up to its recruiting prowess with an impressive season winning the SEC title over a red hot Auburn Tiger team whom they had lost to earlier that month.
Looking at other predictions about the SEC, it’s hit and miss:
“Teams w/ Question Marks” – Nailed it: Tennessee, Texas A&M, and Florida were listed, all fired their coaches and are starting over.
“Players to Watch” – Georgia QB Jacob Eason got hurt in week one, which led to the rise of Jake Fromm and to Eason’s transfer to Washington. LSU DE Arden Key, who was coming off of a school record twelve sacks, ended up being limited to eight games due to injury and only had four sacks…
Dave’s predicted SunBelt Champ: Appalachian State
Actual SunBelt Champ: Troy/Appalachian State
Rebuttal/Celebratory Gloat: Troy finished 11-2 and 7-1 in conference while App State was 9-4 and 7-1. They did not play each other – which is a shame – but technically, I got this one right. However, if you force-fed me truth serum, I’d agree that it counts as an “L.” Impressive year for UMass Alum and Troy HC Neal Brown, who led Troy to their first SunBelt title since 2009 and a huge upset win at LSU. Oh, and I’m officially counting this a “W.
I had a nice little comeback, winning four of the last six. But, at 4-7 overall in predictions last year, still a “losing” season. We’ll make amends here at DaveonCollegeFootball.com, I can guarantee that!
That’s all for now folks, we’ll be back next week with this season’s conference previews and predictions! See y’all then!