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Last night, I was given some Valium after getting LASIK eye surgery done. Not by, like, a pusher or anything. It was prescribed, and it has now left my system. However, during the time I was in my less-edgy state, I wrote down some predictions for the college football season. I can't say I agree with all of them looking back now. Actually, screw it: this is my Nostradamus moment. All or most of these things will come true. I think...
1. Oregon will lose two games this season. The logic seems to be, "well, they have to win it all SOMETIME, right?" No, they don't, actually. This team will regress yet again under Mark Helfrich, and I can't help but feel like the Ducks are capable of once again getting their doors blown off randomly at least once, like they did against Arizona last year. Granted, Marcus Mariotta was dinged up for that game, but the one thing Oregon has taught me to believe over the years is not to believe in Oregon in the national title hunt.
I think Oregon is this year's Clemson. A highly-rated QB who loses his luster as he can't keep up with his team's at-times porous defense. In fact...
2. Michigan State will beat Oregon. So, there's one loss. Sure, Pat Narduzzi's D lost some in the secondary, but MSU still has one of the best defensive ends in the country in Shillique Calhoun. That offense was vastly improved at the end of last season. It will be a statement win for the B1G (if that's your thing), and Sparty will instantly become a favorite to make the CFB Playoff.
3. Penn State will be a top 10 team by seasons end. First of all, I know the polls are utterly meaningless at this point, but with an early win over UCF, Christian Hackenberg putting up nice numbers, and James Franklin being the media darling that he is, the voters will be paying attention. The Nittany Lions will be ranked by the time they play Michigan, who they will beat on the road. That could be enough to put them in the Top 10 in one of the now not-so-major polls. Losses to Ohio State and Michigan State will keep them out of it at season's end. But Penn State in the top 10 before season's end will be a thing. Prepare your outrage/glee accordingly.
4. Brett Hundley will win the Heisman Trophy. First of all, he gets marquee matchups with Oregon, Stanford, and USC - all at home, of which, I think the Bruins will win two if not all three. He stayed in school, he'll carve up PAC 12 defenses, and he's in L.A, so the hype machine won't be a problem. I think there will be a groundswell of support among the Heisman voters to purposely not elect another redshirt freshman, and reward one of the stayed-in-school types who didn't rip off a Publix in the offseason.
Translation: People who wanted to vote for Marcus Mariota will vote for Hundley instead.
5. Ohio State will struggle with either Navy or Virginia Tech. I don't know if you're aware, but redshirt freshman QB J.T. Barrett will get the start for the injured Braxton Miller. Did anyone bring this up already? Has anyone started making Buckeye Kool-Aid for us all to sip on so we'll feel better?
Oh, they did. Ok then.
As much as I want to believe all the good vibes coming from the Woody, and have nothing but the highest of hopes for Barrett, I still remember what it was like for Braxton when he first had to run Urb and Herm's offense in a real live game. It might take a few weeks to work out the kinks. Plus, the Midshipmen have a weird offense with a talented quarterback. Virginia Tech will Tressel Beamer-Ball the crap out of any team on a given day. Either team could do just enough right to be within a field goal in the fourth quarter of their game with the Buckeyes. They won't beat OSU (please God, no), but one of them will find a way to make things close.
That is, unless J.T. Barrett pulls off a Johnny Manziel -Jameis Winston - Kenny Hill impersonation. If so, you're welcome for the reverse jinx.
6. LSU will be the best team in the SEC. Umm...just because it's their turn, right? Auburn had too many close wins last year, I feel like Saban and Co are due for a clunker three-loss season, and LSU gets Bama at home. Their road games at Auburn and Texas A&M should be magic spectacles of Verne Lundquist flop sweat (not to mention fantastic games), but I think the Tigers survive with one loss. Which will be good enough in the SEC. Speaking of LSU...
7. An SEC running back will rush for over 2000 yards. T.J. Yeldon at 'Bama. Todd Gurley at Georgia. Highly touted freshman Leonard Fournette at LSU. All those teams are starting replacements for multi-year starters at the QB position. All those offenses will want to slow the game down with their pro-style attacks. All those guys have the moves and power to get to 2K. Plus, the defenses in the SEC do actually suck for the most part.
8. Texas will win 10 games. Charlie Strong gets the buy-in from his team, and with good defense and a solid rushing attack, they can surprise a few teams. In fact, most of the teams on their scheudle. They'll lose to Oklahoma and UCLA. But they'll beat everyone else, including Baylor, which means that Dairy Queens in Salem, Oregon will be very sad...or will they?
9. Indiana will lead the conference in scoring. Last year, Ohio State scored 637 points, a clip of over 45 points per game. No one came close to matching the Buckeyes, but the second best team was Indiana, averaging over 38 points per game. With Braxton out, it might open the door for someone other than the Buckeyes to lead the conference in scoring.
Enter Kevin Wilson, who is no longer playing with 18 different quarterbacks, which should help Nate Sudfeld up his over 2600 yards passing he achieved last season. Running back Tevin Coleman should be a breakout player in the Big Ten this year. I make no promises about the defense, which will still probably suck.
10. Bo Pellini will get fired this season. He may eat a live chicken, feathers and all, in a pre-game meeting. He could decide to have his team wear lime green uniforms he made from scratch out of eucalyptus leaves and outdoor carpeting. He might cuss out one of the water bottle girls. On a bus. In Chicago. While she's on vacation.
The point here, is that Bo Pellini is insane. And will be the year he does something to get fired.
What's next for Ohio State? Urban Meyer said JT Barrett moved ahead of Cardale Jones on the depth chart, but what do we know about JT Barrett?