This season for college football has already kicked off with drama as eighth-ranked Florida took down Miami in an ugly mistake-filled contest. Then, Hawaii held off Arizona 45-38 where Arizona quarterback Khalil Tate tried to run into the endzone on the last play of the game, but he was tackled at the one-yard line. This season looks to be one filled with inevitability, as the two current giants of college football, Alabama and Clemson, appear to be on a collision course for yet another championship showdown. With Trevor Lawrence, Tee Higgins, Travis Etienne, Justyn Ross all returning from their 44-16 win over Alabama in last year’s national championship game, Clemson looks to be even stronger and repeat as champions. However, with the return of Tua Tagovailoa and Jerry Jeudy, Alabama looks to get payback from last year’s humiliating defeat.
Two teams that look to challenge these two giants are Oklahoma, with new transfer quarterback from Alabama, Jalen Hurts, and Georgia, who have choked twice in 11 months at Atlanta versus Alabama. But with the return of Jake Fromm and a stellar defense, they look to prove third time is a charm.
Here are my predictions for each Power-5 conference and the New Year’s Six Bowls, including the College Football Playoff. With this season being top-heavy, do not expect many surprises this season as college football falls into a pattern of predictability.
ACC: Clemson over Miami
Clemson will roll through everyone in the ACC as they have the best team in college football. Miami will get to Charlotte for the title game as their freshmen quarterback Jarren Williams will improve throughout the season and have their toughest remaining games at home.
Big 12: Oklahoma over Texas
With new quarterback Jalen Hurts and returning playmaker CeeDee Lamb, Oklahoma should be able to keep on rolling to yet another Big 12 championship. They will once again beat Texas, who will be tested vs LSU but with a returning dual-threat quarterback Sam Ehlinger, and an improved defense, Texas should once again be relevant in the national picture.
Big Ten: Ohio State over Wisconsin
Ohio State got a huge boost this past offseason as they landed former top quarterback high school prospect Justin Fields via transfer from Georgia. With he and JK Dobbins in the backfield, expect Ohio State to run wild in the Big Ten, including yet another crushing win versus Michigan. While I think Michigan State is a very underrated team, even they will not be able to keep up with the attack of the Buckeyes, Wisconsin with star running back Jonathan Taylor will be able to survive the slugfest of the Big Ten West.
PAC-12: Washington over Utah
Star transfer quarterbacks are becoming a trend in college football and Washington is no exception as they will replace four-year starter Jake Browning with former Georgia quarterback Jacob Eason, who led them to nine wins in 2016. Utah will win the weak PAC-12 south as they return stars Zack Moss and Tyler Huntley.
SEC: Alabama over Georgia
This will be the third time Alabama will break Georgia’s hearts in Atlanta as they will not have the personnel to be able to stop the explosive Alabama attack. However, Georgia will come into this game undefeated and will join Alabama in the playoff.
Heisman: Tua Tagovailoa. With payback fueling his whole season and having an insanely fast wide receiving corp, he will dominate as he will become Alabama’s first quarterback to win the Heisman.
New Year’s Six Bowls
Cotton Bowl: UCF vs Michigan State
UCF with their top two quarterbacks sidelined due to leg injuries, they will turn to Notre Dame transfer Brandon Wimbush to lead them back to the New Year’s Six. They will play Michigan State, who will beat Michigan at home and field one of the most well-rounded and returning rosters in college football.
Orange Bowl: Notre Dame vs Michigan
Michigan will have yet another good season but lose to Ohio State. Their consolation prize will be their second matchup with Notre Dame this season, who they face off against in October. Notre Dame returns Ian Book who will help the Irish cruise through most of their independent schedule
Rose Bowl: Ohio State vs Washington
These two will square off in the Rose Bowl for the second straight year as it will be the battle of Georgia transfer quarterbacks.
Sugar Bowl: LSU vs Texas
It’ll be another rematch as these two will square off twice. LSU bolsters an elite defense and will be strong when they are playing everyone not named Alabama. Texas with experience will get back to the Sugar Bowl for the second straight season.
Fiesta Bowl: Clemson over Oklahoma
Clemson will dominate Oklahoma just liked they did in the 2015 Orange Bowl and will cruise to the National Championship Game.
Peach Bowl: Alabama over Georgia
It’ll be Alabama’s fourth victory over Georgia in the same stadium within two years as this will go down as one of the sports’ most lopsided postseason records, with the Pens-Capitals, Yankees-Twins, Patriots-Steelers.
National Championship Game at New Orleans, Louisiana: Clemson 38 Alabama 31
Clemson will cement themselves as one of the greatest teams of all-time as Trevor Lawrence will continue to be hyped as the next great NFL quarterback, and will have many questioning Tua’s ability to start and finish in big games as he enters the NFL.