2017 College Football Predictions
by Bob, College Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
The wait is over, the time is here…College football is back! It seems just like yesterday when Deshaun Watson threw the game winning touchdown pass to lift the Clemson Tigers to the National Title over Alabama. Since that time there has been much talk and speculation about this coming season.
Lets take a moment to breakdown the Power Five Conferences and check out my picks for each conference champion, the final four, and the eventual National Champion.
ATLANTIC COAST CONFERENCE (ACC)
ODDS TO WIN THE ACC CHAMPIONSHIP
Florida State +110
Virginia Tech +700
NC State +2500
Georgia Tech +3300
North Carolina +3300
Boston College +20000
Wake Forest +20000
There are many across the nation that feel that the ACC may have passed the SEC as the best conference in college football. With powers like Clemson, Florida State, and Louisville and then the teams back on the rise in Miami, Virginia Tech, and North Carolina, a case could be made that the ACC is the best conference top to bottom.
This season will be interesting. Florida State will open the season as the third ranked team in the nation but in week one they will take on the top ranked and favorite to win it all, Alabama Crimson Tide. Of course this game will have no bearing on the ACC Title but it will be good to see this game and see which of these two teams will set themselves apart early on in 2017.
Now, onto the ACC conference predictions. In the Atlantic Division, the entire country feels that it will come down to Florida State and Clemson with Louisville as a close third to contend. Clemson, of course, will be without Deshaun Watson who is now in the NFL, but that does not mean the Tigers will have much of a drop off. Clemson still brings tremendous talent on both sides of the ball, specifically on the offensive and defensive lines. Football is won and lost in the trenches and it looks like Clemson is primed to hang with just about anyone. However, as talented as Clemson is, FSU may be the best team on paper. Many predict the Seminoles to not only win the ACC Atlantic Division, but to also face off against Alabama a second time for the National Title. This Florida St. team is very talented and as long as they and/or Clemson don’t stumble along the way, the Saturday, November 11th game in Death Valley could be for all the marbles.
The Coastal Division of the ACC is a little more wide open. Seeing as the Atlantic is extremely top heavy, the Coastal Division is open for anyone. Virginia Tech, Miami, Pitt, Georgia Tech, and Duke could all seriously make a run for the division title. Miami seems to be the most poised and most talented but as we have seen, they could lose some games that they shouldn’t which could keep them from bringing home the crown.
The ACC is going to be a fun conference to watch this season and my prediction is that Florida State will return to the top of the Atlantic Division while Virginia Tech scraps and claws their way to the top of the Coastal.
BOB’S ACC PREDICTION:
Florida State Seminoles
Wake Forest Demon Deacons
North Carolina State Wolfpack
Boston College Eagles
Virginia Tech Hokies
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
Duke Blue Devils
North Carolina Tar Heels
ACC CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP: FLORIDA STATE OVER VIRGINIA TECH. Bet YOUR 2017 NCAA football predictions using your credit card and grab a FAT 50% sign-up bonus at a sportsbook where credit cards work for deposits! –> Bovada Sportsbook
BIG TEN CONFERENCE (BIG 10):
ODDS TO WIN THE BIG TEN CHAMPIONSHIP
Ohio State +115
Penn State +500
Michigan State +2000
The Big Ten is beginning to find themselves again as the big boys of college football. Top to bottom I would not compare them to the ACC or SEC just yet, but the conference is becoming very talented at the top and they have a couple of true contenders to play for the National Title come January.
Last year, there was a tad bit of controversy as Penn State not only beat Ohio State in the regular season, but Penn State went on to capture the Big Ten title, yet Ohio State got the spot in the Final Four. That ended up being a huge joke seeing as how Clemson absolutely destroyed Ohio State 31-0. I am pretty sure Penn State would have put up a bit more of a fight…anyhow, lets take a look at this years Big Ten predictions.
Just like the ACC, the Big Ten has lots of talent on one side of the conference while the other side is wide open for the taking. The East, which is comprised of Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan, and Michigan State is the more powerful division and whoever escapes this side should be the favorite to win the Big Ten Championship. The West side of the conference is anyone’s to win. Wisconsin, Northwestern, and Nebraska are the three picked to compete for a trip to the Big Ten Championship game.
Ohio State seems to be the clear cut favorite in 2017 behind senior quarterback, JT Barrett. Not only will Ohio State be talented on offense, but they also boast one of the best defenses in all of college football. The biggest challenge for the Buckeyes will of course be the games against Penn State and Michigan. If the Buckeyes handle business against those two,they should cruise to an East Division Title.
The biggest question mark in the Big Ten however is the Michigan State Spartans. No one could have predicted what happened in 2016 to Sparty. Many had them primed to repeat as Big Ten Champions but in the end Michigan State found themselves sitting at 3-9 overall and just 1-8 in the conference. I do not see that happening again, but is Michigan State ready to bounce back and compete? We will find out here soon.
On the West side of the Big Ten, it appears that Wisconsin is the big favorite. The Badgers got lucky this season seeing as how they do not have to play Ohio State or Michigan in the regular season and then they get to play Michigan State and Iowa at home. The table has been set for Wisconsin to cruise to the West Division crown now they have to just perform on the field.
BOB’S BIG TEN PREDICTIONS
Ohio State Buckeyes
Penn State Nittany Lions
Michigan State Spartans
Rutgers Scarlet Knights
Minnesota Golden Gophers
Illinois Fighting Illini
BIG TEN CHAMPIONSHIP GAME: OHIO STATE OVER WISCONSIN
SOUTHEASTERN CONFERENCE (SEC)
ODDS TO WIN THE SEC CHAMPIONSHIP
Mississippi State +5000
Ole Miss +6600
South Carolina +8000
Vanderbilt +15000. Find these betting odds and more at the website that offers INCREASED PARLAY PAYOUT ODDS: Sportbet!
The SEC and its fans still consider themselves the best conference in football and the Alabama hiccup against Clemson was just that…a hiccup. Of course, Alabama is picked not only win the SEC again, but many publications have them primed to win yet another National Title. Now, we all know Alabama is the team to beat in the SEC but lets take a deeper look at the teams that could challenge them in 2017.
In the Eastern Division, many of the experts are picking Georgia while quite a few think the Florida Gators will take it for the third straight time. Of course, the Tennessee Volunteers are also a pick to at least compete for the division crown although their window may have closed last season when quarterback, Joshua Dobbs, played his final season for the men in orange.
On paper, the Georgia Bulldogs are the most talented team in the East and possible one of the most talented in all of the SEC. With the shocking return of Nick Chubb and Sony Michel, the Dawgs will have one of the best running back units in all of college football. The question marks for Georgia however could be the improvement of sophomore quarterback, Jacob Eason as well as the offensive line. Both parties struggled last season and was the reason for the not so impressive 8-4 record after starting the season 3-0.
Georgia’s main competition in the east will be the Florida Gators. Florida boasts a great defense and an offense with some playmakers. The main question for Florida will be the quarterback. Right now it seems that Notre Dame transfer, Malik Zaire may get the nod, but he is still in competition with freshman, Feleipe Franks. Coming into this season, Franks was highly touted but Zaire is the more experienced at this time and could be the answer to getting the Gator’s offense rolling again.
I do believe the east will come down to the Georgia/Florida showdown in Jacksonville. With that said, Tennessee could make a push as long as they do not stumble against teams they should beat.
The SEC West could be a lot of fun to watch in 2017. Alabama comes in as the clear cut favorite while Auburn and LSU are also selected to make a push for the division crown. The dark horse team of the West could potentially be the Arkansas Razorbacks. Arkansas has been on the cusp of being a good team for a few years now, they just continue to slip up and underacheive year after year. If the Razorbacks do not at least compete for the West in 2017, head coach Bret Bielema could find himself on the hot seat going into the next season.
For the SEC, I am going with Georgia to win the East and Alabama to take home the West. The shocker I am going with however is that this year, Georgia pulls the upset over Alabama. It would be a tremendous second year for head coach Kirby Smart and if Georgia plays their cards right in 2017, they just very well could be in the College Football Playoff.
BOB’S SEC PREDICTIONS
South Carolina Gamecocks
Alabama Crimson Tide
Texas A&M Aggies
Mississippi State Bulldogs
Ole Miss Rebels
SEC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME: GEORGIA OVER ALABAMA
BIG 12 CONFERENCE (BIG 12)
ODDS TO WIN THE BIG 12 CHAMPIONSHIP
Oklahoma State +300
Kansas State +600
West Virginia +2000
Texas Tech +5000
Iowa State +10000
In my opinion, one of the most exciting conferences to watch this season will be the Big 12. Oklahoma is the consensus favorite to win their third straight conference title but this season will not be easy. The Sooners long time head coach, Bob Stoops, announced his shocking retirement in June and the keys to the car have been given to Lincoln Riley who served as Offensive Coordinator under Stoops. The Sooners will return their high powered offense, but in 2017, will their defense be good enough to hold off the rest of the conference?
Other than Oklahoma, many feel that the Texas Longhorns, Kansas State Wildcats, and Oklahoma State Cowboys could have the fire power to give the Sooners a run for their money. Two of the biggest games on the Big 12 slate will be the Red River Rivalry between Texas and Oklahoma and then also the Oklahoma State and Oklahoma game that will be played in Boone Pickens Stadium.
The team that is always scary is Kansas State. Many including myself, believes that Kansas State is the best coached team in the country year in and year out. Coach Bill Snyder always has the team prepared but they will have two really tough tests on the road at Oklahoma State and at Texas. If the Wildcats can manage to get those wins and take care of business they not only could fight for the title, but win it.
In the end, I feel that this conference comes down to Oklahoma and Texas…just like the good old days. Yes, Texas now has Tom Herman as head coach, but I think he is a year or so away from becoming a true title contender. I think Texas is good enough to overcome the rest of the conference and make it to the title game to take on Oklahoma, but the Sooners will be too much for Texas . Behind the playmaking ability of Baker Mayfield, who I believe could make a push for a Heisman in 2017, I like the Oklahoma Sooners to get win the Big 12 for the third straight season.
BOB’S BIG 12 PREDICTIONS:
Kansas State Wildcats
Oklahoma State Cowboys
TCU Horned Frogs
West Virginia Mountaineers
Texas Tech Red Raiders
Iowa State Cyclones
BIG 12 CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP GAME: OKLAHOMA OVER TEXAS
PAC 12 CONFERENCE (PAC 12)
ODDS TO WIN THE PAC-12 CHAMPIONSHIP
Washington State +1400
Arizona State +3000
Oregon State +8000
In 2016, the Washington Huskies not only won the Pac-12, but they got a bid in the College Football Playoff before being eliminated by the Alabama Crimson Tide. 2017 could be a very fun year to tune into the Pac-12. There are quite a few teams that could challenge Washington for the title although I believe the Huskies are the clear cut favorite to repeat.
Washington will still be loaded on offense with the return of quarterback Jake Browning and running back Myles Gaskin, but the defense needs to reload and replace some key players that have been lost. The Huskies need to find some guys that can come in and produce on defense in the absence of Sidney Jones, Bubba Baker, and Sydney King. While Washington needs to fill those spots in the defensive backfield, they are returning a great front seven that should keep the defense in good hands overall.
The only true threat to Washington in 2017 are the USC Trojans. Quarterback Sam Darnold will have the USC offense flying high and if the defense can perform to what they are capable of, this could be a very special season for the Trojans.
Washington and USC are favored to win their respective conferences, but who has the best shot to knock them off? In the North division Stanford appears to be the team that could challenge Washington. Stanford won their last six games in the 2016 season and are returning 16 starters from that squad. The question for the Cardinal is whether or not starting quarterback, Keller Chryst will be able to return early on from a knee injury he suffered in last years Sun Bowl. If Chryst is unable to go, then David Shaw and his staff will look to redshirt freshman, K.J. Costello to take the snaps until Chryst is at full strength.
The rest of the North Division should not pose too much of a threat, but the dark horse could be the Oregon Ducks. For much of the last decade or so, Oregon was not only a Pac-12 power but a national power. The Ducks had a horrible 2016…can they recover? Time will tell.
In the South Division of the Pac-12, as I mentioned earlier, USC is the favorite. Who could challenge the Trojans? Well, unlike Washington who has a legit threat in Stanford, not much stands in the way of USC…except themselves. The only team that could potentially give USC a run are their in-state rivals, the UCLA Bruins. Led by quarterback Josh Rosen, the Bruins have the potential to field a good offense, but the offensive line must improve dramatically from 2016. The Bruins O-Line allowed 24 sacks last season and the Bruins running game averaged less than three yards per carry. This much improve for UCLA to have any chance at all.
In the end, I truly think that USC and Washington are heads and shoulders better than everyone else in their conference. I like the Trojans and Huskies to not only battle for the Pac-12 Championship, but the winner of this will also find themselves in the College Football Playoff.
When the smoke clears, I like the Washington Huskies to win their second straight conference title over USC. Bet your Pac 12 and all college football games at an online sportsbook that offers you a GIANT 100% bonus on your first deposit of $100 to $500! GTBets.
BOB’S PAC-12 PREDICTIONS
Oregon State Beavers
Washington State Cougars
Arizona State Sun Devils
PAC-12 CHAMPIONSHIP GAME: WASHINGTON OVER USC.
Well, there you have it. My prediction for the Power Five Conferences. Now here is the tricky part…who gets left out? This will come down to overall record and the impressiveness of the wins. I believe that Florida State and Ohio State are going to be safe. Florida State will have impressive wins over Clemson, Florida, and Louisville… I also see the Seminoles losing no more than one game during the regular season. Ohio State will probably do the same if not run the table. So now we have two spots remaining for Washington, Georgia, and Oklahoma. Washington will be winning their second straight conference title and I truly believe they will be unbeaten after the season ends. So….Georgia or Oklahoma? I predict both the Sooners and Bulldogs end the 2017 season with two losses each. It will come down to the strength of schedule and impressive wins. I think the win over Alabama will be fresh in the minds of the Playoff Committee and the Bulldogs will get the nod to the Final Four while Oklahoma is left out.
FINAL FOUR PREDICTIONS
1 Ohio State Buckeyes
2 Florida State Seminoles
3 Washington Huskies
4 Georgia Bulldogs
SEMI FINALS ROUND:
OHIO STATE OVER GEORGIA
FLORIDA STATE OVER WASHINGTON
NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME:
FLORIDA STATE OVER OHIO STATE
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Good luck to all of your teams and have a great college season!