The long, insufferable wait between March Madness and college football is finally over. Although week 0 is just two games, it is a taste of what is to come. There are a lot of questions coming into this season. Will Bama and Clemson continue to dominate? Who will have the better season, Tua or Trevor? Will Harbaugh finally win a big game? Will the inevitable Clemson-Bama V matchup happen or can a team step up and shock the world? Who will beat the spread in this week’s two games? Let me attempt to provide some answers so we can start the football year on a winning note….
Can anyone dethrone the two dominant teams?
The level of recruiting and the depth of talent at Clemson and Alabama is staggering. It is hard to imagine either of these two teams being left out of the final four at the end of the year. I think the bigger question is, can anyone beat these teams to get into the final and win it all? I believe a few teams have a real shot at doing this. Georgia is my pick to win it all this year. They have a future pro in Jake Fromm, a stable of great running backs, and strong offensive and defensive lines, coupled with a schedule that gives them a real shot to run the table (Florida is their toughest game away and they have Notre Dame and A&M at home). The four other teams I give a shot at for that coveted fourth spot are Michigan, Ohio State, LSU and Oklahoma.
Who wins the Heisman?
I know Tua tailed off the last couple games, but I really think he did enough to win it last year. He had 46TDs/6INT’s on a team that made it to the final. That’s pretty darn impressive. Trevor Lawrence, in my opinion, is the next Tom Brady. A year from now, NFL teams will trying their best to go 0-16 to have the chance at grabbing him for the next decade. Other than these two, there are a host of talented players that just don’t have the talent around them to make a run at a 10 win season. I still think a Heisman can be won from a player on a mediocre team, but they really have to blow the stats out of the water. AJ Dillon from BC and Jonathan Taylor from Wisconsin are two players that come to mind. Also, Adrian Martinez will light it up but I think he is still a year away from making a run at it. If Georgia makes the run I think they can, be on the lookout for Jake Fromm or D’Andre Swift.
Time for Michigan to finally break through?
Jim Harbaugh can’t seem to get over the hump. I think with Urban Meyer leaving OSU, his best window to make a move is this year. I think the entire year is predicated on how well Shea Patterson plays. If he struggles a bit early, it will be very interesting to see if Harbaugh makes a move to Dylan McCaffrey. I think he is the more dynamic of the two and will ultimately be a very good QB for Michigan. If the offense sputters, look for new O-Coordinator Josh Gattis to mix it up by injecting McCaffrey into the games more often.
Time to make some money…..
Miami +7.5 vs. Florida – This is a great opening game for the college season. I was shocked to see Tate Martell was not given first crack at the QB position after he transferred from Ohio State. Starting Freshman Jarren Williams is a big risk for first year coach Manny Diaz. I love Shaquille Quarterman at linebacker for the Canes and I think their defense will step up. I also think they will be the better team by the end of the year. This is just a tough game to open the season with. Florida is ready to make the jump to the top 10 and is more stable at the QB position for this game. I like the Gators in a relatively low scoring game, though I have Miami covering the spread.
Florida 23 Miami 17
Hawaii +11 vs. Arizona – Year two for Kevin Sumlin. Can he get more out of Khalid Tate? After Tate’s breakout freshman year, he seemed to regress a bit in Sumlin’s offense. Hawaii is at home and Cole McDonald should put up some points on Arizona. Enough to stay within a few scores. In the end, Tate and Arizona’s great linebackers are too much for the Rainbows. Arizona wins, but not by double digits. Take the points.
Arizona 42 Hawaii 34
Follow Hot Rod on Twitter @HotRodsPicks