Alex Scheer, College Football Analyst
The first week of college football has come and gone, and by the time most of you are reading this we will more than likely be deep in the heart of Week 2. We will begin to see the formation of what will (more than likely) unfold and who will be hoisting the CFP Championship Trophy in January. Here are five safe, and not so safe predictions on the season, as well as the conference champion predictions for each of the conferences.
1. There are only 2 playoff spots up for grabs. Whether it be teams from the B1G, the Big XII, or *gasp* the PAC-12, we can all but guarantee that the SEC and ACC Champions (Alabama and Clemson) will be in the playoffs yet again, while the other three Power 5 Conferences try their best to ward off bids for the other three conferences, the Group of Five hopefuls and the runner ups of the ACC and SEC, respectively.
2. A team from neither the ACC or SEC will win the CFP National Championship.
Which conference, or which team? Who knows. But, this is the year a team not named Alabama or Clemson will win the national championship for the first time since the 2015 season.
3. Notre Dame will miss the playoffs again.
Yes, you heard correctly. Notre Dame plays a schedule with just 3 Top 25 opponents, 2 of them in the (current) Top 10. There is also the ever tough rivalry match up with USC. While this Notre Dame team is strong, they won’t run the gauntlet to get to the playoffs. They will have a slip up either on the road, or lose a game they have no business losing (looking to you, Bowling Green or Duke) sending them back to South Bend without the hope of seeing the CFP for yet another season.
4. Michigan will not win the Big Ten.
Most everyone is picking Michigan to win the Big Ten, however, Michigan has won exactly 3 times in The Game since the year 2000, the last year of the John Cooper era. Michigan’s last conference title? A 2004 split title with Iowa, a season where Ohio State embarrassed heavily favored Michigan 37-21 in the Horseshoe. Michigan last won in the rivalry in 2011, against an Ohio State dealing with the coaching woes of Luke Fickell. Michigan cannot beat Ohio State, which in turn means they can‘t win the Big Ten and until Jim Harbaugh can crack that code, it’ll be another year without a title for the Wolverines.
5. UCF can make the playoffs this year.
UCF is the darling of the non Power Five schools. The little engine that could. While they currently have only one ranked opponent on their schedule, there’s no reason to think Cincinnati couldn’t be ranked by their match-up, giving them at least two potential Top 25 wins to add to the resume. If this team goes undefeated yet again, it would be really hard for the committee to leave them out, especially given the body of work they have put together over the last several years.
Conference Champion Quick Predictions:
Big 12: Oklahoma
Big Ten: Ohio State
Conference USA: UAB
MWC: Boise State
PAC 12: Washington
Sun Belt: Georgia State
Alex Scheer - Across The Board