#Pac12 Football Best/Worst Case 2017

We all know the East Coast Bias, it is real. This conference had something with the #pac12afterdark campaign. I wish they’d just run with that instead of trying to trim it down some. So who can make a run at the Playoff this year? Washington made it, only to run into the Alabama buzz saw. That same buzz saw gave USC its worst season opening loss…EVER. The Trojans did rebound though, finishing #3 in the final AP poll and winning the Rose Bowl. In fact, there were 3 Pac-12 teams in the top 12: USC (3), Washington (4), and Stanford (12). This season much is expected out of those 3 as well as Washington State. As of right now Stanford has already drubbed Rice 62-7 so they look the part of a top contender. We are going to go team by team and project a best case and a worst case scenario. We will take a look back at how we fared last season and see if we were way off the mark or spot on. This is not a preseason bowl projection, just a general outline of how the season could go. In this outline, key games will be highlighted as well as any schedule quirks, if any.


Last season: 3-9

Vegas projection: 5.5

The worst case of stumbling to a less than .500 record happened. Injuries seemed to take their toll on the team but hey they got well enough to whip State 56-35 in the season finale. Maybe they can use that as a springboard to a more successful season. Then you look at the schedule and see 6 road games as well as talented Houston coming to town Sep 9. I don’t understand scheduling UTEP the week after on the road on a Friday (Sep 15). I guess I’ll never understand the why of schedule making…Best case: bowl eligibility. Worst case: replicating last season’s 3-9 record (but not beating Arizona State).

Arizona State

Last season: 5-7

Vegas projection: 5

It started out so well, 5-1 start with wins over Texas Tech, Cal, and UCLA. Then all of a sudden it was a 6 game losing streak to end the year and with the rival knocking them from a bowl Arizona State was left to ponder what if. This was somewhere between best and worst case we thought. It probably felt like the worst case scenario to be 5-1 then not in a bowl. I think a fast start is in the cards again, but a 4 game stretch of at Stanford (Sep 30), home Washington (Oct 14), at Utah (Oct 21), and home USC (Oct 28) will be difficult. They could go from 4-0 to 4-4. Can they stop a losing streak, they could not last year. Best case: Bowl eligibility. Worst case: finishing under the 5 win Vegas projection.


Last season: 5-7

Vegas projection: 3.5

The worst case scenario was to bottom out to 4 wins, Vegas seems to think that this season will be even tougher. First of all, whoever decided to schedule a game in North Carolina against the Tar Heels at 12.20 PM EST should be fired. That is a 9:20 AM California time kickoff, these kids won’t even be awake. So yeah, maybe Vegas is on to something about how bad this season could go. Best case: getting more than the 3.5 wins Vegas predicts. Worst case: 2-3 win season.


Last season: 10-4 (Defeated by Oklahoma State in the Valero Alamo Bowl)

Vegas projection: 7.5

They did more than exceed the 4.5 win prediction from last season, they doubled it. What a fantastic season for Colorado. Eventually something positive had to happen after so many years of subpar play. Get this, the last time Colorado had a winning season: 2005. Way back when life was good in the Big 12. Sidebar-maybe the Big 12 should recruit them back with Colorado State…hmmm. Good news, Colorado could be undefeated all the way through October if they get by Colorado State (Sep 1). The only speed bumps are home Washington (Sep 23) and at Washington State (Oct 21). Best case: Rose Bowl. Worst case: low tier bowl.


Last season: 4-8

Vegas projection: 8

Last year at this time I said that something is wrong in Eugene, it still kinda feels that way. Even after changing coaches the Ducks stayed in the news with a flurry of weird off the field incidents. They could put that all behind them and get up to that Vegas win projection or they could have another very bad 4-8 year. The nonconference games will not be easy. Home Nebraska (Sep 9) and at Wyoming (Sep 16). They won’t have the best player on the field in that second game. Best case: 8 wins. Worst case: going 4-8 again or worse.

Oregon State

Last season: 4-8

Vegas projection: 5.5

We are making progress in Corvallis. They did not exceed 4 wins, but they got there and that doubled the win total from the previous season. Double it again and the Beavers are in a pretty good bowl. But, lets temper expectations. As of this writing they’ve already lost at Colorado State 58-27. There are winnable games on the schedule, the next 2 are both home games against Portland State (Sep 2) and Minnesota (Sep 9). The gauntlet starts after that: at Washington State (Sep 16), home Washington (Sep 30), at USC (Oct 7), home Colorado (Oct 14), and home Stanford (Oct 26). Baby steps. Best case: making it to a bowl. Worst case: the first game was an indication of how poorly the season will go.


Last season: 10-3 (Defeated North Carolina in the Hyundai Sun Bowl)

Vegas projection: 8.5

Is it just me or has Stanford been the most consistent team in the conference basically since Andrew Luck was in town? Lose him, Christian McCaffrey, it doesn’t matter. They blew out Rice 62-7 in the season opener. While they didn’t make it back to the Rose Bowl, they have a chance to make noise again this season. Next game up is the USC game (Sep 9). Its at the Coliseum and if Stanford can win that then the only game left to circle is with Washington (Nov 10). Best case: New Year’s 6. Worst case: slipping to an 8-4 regular season.


Last season: 4-8

Vegas projection: 6.5

Making it back to the Foster Farms bowl was the worst case scenario and last season was way worse than that. Injuries derailed this team. It’s kind of a wait and see with UCLA this season. If they are healthy they may have enough talent to compete in the conference. I think Coach Mora is on the hot seat. This is another example of poor scheduling: Sep 16 at Memphis for a high noon kickoff local time-DUMB. That is right before the Stanford game (which is also on the road). Someone fix this crap. Best case: making it to 7-8 wins. Worst case: falling back to a 4-8 type of year.


Last season: 10-3 (Defeated Penn State in the Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual)

Vegas projection: 9.5

While they just missed our best case scenario, I think USC is happy about how last season turned out. They got back to being USC. It seems they have the right no nonsense guy at the helm-both at Head Coach and Quarterback. It could be a really, really good year. After facing Western Michigan (Sep 2) it is Stanford (Sep 9) and Texas (Sep 16). I think there is a chance for an undefeated year and facing the Stanford/Washington North division winner in the Pac-12 title game. Best case: National Championship Game. Worst case: Returning to the Rose Bowl.


Last season: 9-4 (Defeated Indiana in the Foster Farms Bowl)

Vegas projection: 6.5

Well they didn’t play in the Las Vegas Bowl again, but getting a bowl win is always a good thing. I think this program could be a very good one, they have been pretty good recently. Can they sustain elite success though? What I like is no back to back road games. They do have 2 tough back to back portions: first – home Stanford (Oct 7) and at USC (Oct 14) second – home Washington State (Nov 11) at Washington (Nov 18). Best case: Getting to 8-4. Worst case: barely making a bowl.


Last season: 12-2 (Defeated by Alabama in the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl – CFP Semi Final)

Vegas projection: 10

Vegas likes Washington again, projecting them to have the most wins. We went out and said that this team was the Pac-12 favorite and the best case was the College Football Playoff. Well we nailed that. This schedule maker has the right idea, go to the coast but get the game at a manageable 8 PM EST time. That’s the Rutgers game to start the year (Sep 1). The two games to circle again are Friday Nov 10 down on the farm at Stanford and of course the Apple Cup which is home Nov 25. Best case: College Football Playoff. Worst case: Rose Bowl.

Washington State

Last season: 8-5 (Defeated by Minnesota in the National Funding Holiday Bowl)

Vegas projection: 7.5

While they didn’t take a step forward really, they didn’t take a step back either. You could argue that after starting 8-2 there was a possibility to get to the Rose Bowl, and there is merit there. This season they don’t play a road game until a back to back road game swing against Oregon (Oct 7) and Cal (Oct 13) – yes that Cal game is a Friday the 13th game. I expect a 6-1 start with a chance to have a great season. Best case: making it back to and winning the Holiday Bowl. Worst case: starting 5-2 and finishing 5-7.


Unless Stanford or Washington State do anything about it, Washington is on a collision course to meet USC in the Pac-12 title game. It would not surprise me if USC vs Washington was a #1 vs #2 game with both being 12-0. If that plays out can you make an argument for both to be in the College Football Playoff? I’m going to give USC a slight edge in that matchup.


#Big12 Best/Worse Case 2017

Lots of intrigue in the Big 12 this year, for the first time since 2010 the conference will have a championship game. There will be two first timers in the annual Red River Rivalry, there is a sweet mullet on the loose in Stillwater. The 10 teams will play the round robin and then the two left standing will fight for all the marbles and possibly a Playoff berth, could we get Bedlam twice? I’m going to go off on a slight tangent and say that I felt the conference should have at least added BYU and Cincinnati to balance everything out. I’ve written about how those two and some others would be excellent fits for the conference. Having said that, we have what we have. We are going to go team by team and project a best case and a worst case scenario. We will take a look back at how we fared last season and see if we were way off the mark or spot on. This is not a preseason bowl projection, just a general outline of how the season could go. In this outline, key games will be highlighted as well as any schedule quirks, if any.


Last season: 7-6 (Defeated Boise State in the Motel 6 Cactus Bowl)

Vegas projection: 7.5

It is a new beginning in Waco, and it was needed. After reaching new program heights the last few years it was a year of transition. While it was not as bad as the worst case scenario, it was basically a worst case scenario for Baylor. Vegas still likes the talent that is left and new head man Rhule to keep the ship afloat. After 2 very winnable games to open the Bears find themselves going to Duke (Sep 16). The three games after are home Oklahoma (Sep 23) then at Kansas State (Sep 30) and at Oklahoma State (Oct 14). Getting to 3-3 and having the rest of the season to right everything might be the best scenario. Best case: Mid tier bowl. Worst case: replicating last season’s 6-6 regular season.

Iowa State

Last season: 3-9

Vegas projection: 5.5

It wasn’t the worst case scenario, but they only managed 3 wins again in Ames (although one of those wins was a crazy 66-10 win over Texas Tech). The last time the Cyclones made a bowl was 2012 when they reached the Liberty Bowl. While getting to that bowl may be a reach, perhaps another bowl is in play. Finishing up with the last two games on the road at Baylor (Nov 18) and at Kansas State (Nov 25) isn’t good but the rest of the schedule isn’t horrible. Best case: getting to bowl eligibility. Worst case: another 2-3 win season.


Last season: 2-10

Vegas projection: 3

The highlight of the year was probably beating Texas and getting Charlie Strong fired for the Jayhawks. We stated that beating anyone on the schedule would be the best case, well they got the Texas win and a win against Rhode Island. It is really difficult to predict any positives for this program, they could have another year of 2 win futility. Best case: matching the 3 win projection. Worst case: 0-12 and in the discussion for worst program in college football.

Kansas State

Last season: 9-4 (Defeated Texas A&M in the Advocare V100 Texas Bowl)

Vegas projection: 8

It was another good season in the Little Apple. The best case was to get to 8-4 and get to a better bowl than the Liberty, well the Texas Bowl is in the same tier so we’ll call that a push. They are the yin to the Big 12’s yang and it has worked. Every now and again they will rise up and challenge for the conference crown. Darkhorse? Going to Nashville and beating Vanderbilt (Sep 16) would be a good start. BTW: Can we get a Kansas State-Arkansas matchup at Arrowhead to start the year? That would be awesome. Best case: reaching double digit wins. Worst case: stumbling down to 6-6.


Last season: 11-2 (Defeated Auburn in the Allstate Sugar Bowl)

Vegas projection: 9.5

We thought the best case scenario for the Sooners would be to get back in the Playoff. Early season losses to Houston and Ohio State derailed that, but afterwards it was all Sugar as they won every game. With Bob Stoops stepping down, there is familiarity but proximity to greatness does not make you great. We will wait and see. The return game with Ohio State at the Shoe (Sep 9) in primetime on ABC will tell us if Coach Riley is ready for the big stage. Best case: New Year’s 6. Worst case: 8-9 wins in a transition year.

Oklahoma State

Last season: 10-3 (Defeated Colorado in the Valero Alamo Bowl)

Vegas projection: 9

Getting to the Alamo Bowl is not a bad thing, but it was worse than our worst case scenario last season. The loss to Central Michigan still probably stings, however they should use that to play with fire all season in my opinion. With Texas and Oklahoma bringing in new head coaches now is the time for the Cowboys to run the table. A weird non conference schedule sees them going on the road back to back against South Alabama (Sep 8) and Pitt (Sep 16). Another tough two week road stretch against Texas (Oct 21) and West Virginia (Oct 28) is really tough the week before Bedlam (Nov 4). Best case: running the table and getting in the Playoff. Worst case: Back in the Alamo Bowl.


Last season: 6-7 (Defeated by Georgia in the Autozone Liberty Bowl)

Vegas projection: 7.5

It went from slightly off, to kinda bad last year for the Frogs. They finished under .500 and lost the bowl game. That was the worst case scenario, maybe they’ll get it back on track. Going to Fayetteville to play Arkansas (Sep 9) will be a litmus for both teams. I think the winner may be in for a bounce back and the loser will be in for a long season. I believe in Coach Patterson, now that no one is expecting anything they might be right for a great season. Best case: double digit wins. Worst case: finishing 6-6 again.


Last season: 5-7

Vegas projection: 7.5

They had a bowl game in sight, then they lost their last 3 games in a row to finish. Changing coaches might do the trick, we said that last time. Vegas likes them, as does the preseason polls, but I’m not sold until the Longhorns show me something. Taking a trip to USC (Sep 16) would be a good place to show something. They get Kansas State (Oct 7), Oklahoma (Oct 14), and Oklahoma State (Oct 21) all on home/neutral. There would be another spot to show the world something. Best case: Have a winning season. Worst case: Having another non-winning season.

Texas Tech

Last season: 5-7

Vegas projection: 5.5

It was worse than the worst case scenario and now darling hot shot Kingsbury is on a very hot seat. They refuse to play defense in Lubbock. In the non conference they get Arizona State (Sep 16) at home and go to Houston (Sep 23) the week after. More bad news, Patrick Mahomes II is a Kansas City Chief. Best case: getting to a bowl. Worst case: Kingsbury gets fired midseason.

West Virginia

Last season: 10-3 (Defeated by Miami in the Russell Athletic Bowl)

Vegas projection: 7

It was not quite the best case scenario last year, but winning 10 games is a good season. In conference the Mountaineers only lost to the Oklahoma schools (no shame there). Vegas doesn’t seem to think that kind of success is repeatable – they projected 6.5 wins last year. Opening the season against Virginia Tech (Sep 3) will give us a good indication of how this season will shake out. Both teams are coming off a good year and the winner could jump in the top 15 of the polls. Best case: Getting back to double digit wins. Worst case: hitting the 7 win projection.


While there is more intrigue in this conference this year, I still think that Bedlam decides the conference. I don’t trust the newbies in Austin or Norman yet, so I think the Oklahoma State Cowboys win the Big 12 with a possible Playoff berth.



#BigTen Football Best/Worst 2017

.Ohio State did not win the Big Ten, so the committee put them in the playoff. Michigan and Penn State made major bowls. Will those 3 remain at the top? Challengers such as Wisconsin should also be feared in this conference. Over the course of the last few seasons the Big Ten has put teams on the field that can play with anyone. This conference is miles ahead of where it was before the Playoff started. We should also expect a bounce back season from Michigan State, and you can never count out Iowa. We are going to go team by team and project a best case and a worst case scenario. We will take a look back at how we fared last season and see if we were way off the mark or spot on. This is not a preseason bowl projection, just a general outline of how the season could go. In this outline, key games will be highlighted as well as any schedule quirks, if any.


Last season: 3-9

Vegas projection: 3.5

In the outlook before last season, we said the worst case scenario would be winning 5 or less games. It was worse than that. In every loss except for the loss to Iowa, when they were defeated 28-0, the Illini gave up more than 30. Fixing the defense should be priority number one if they expect to surpass last season’s woes. The schedule is not kind, going to a ranked South Florida on a Friday night (Sep 15) will not be easy, they probably won’t even be the favored team. When is basketball season start? Best case: winning as many games as last season. Worst case: 0-12 and being in the discussion for worst program in football.


Last season: 6-7 (Defeated by Utah in the Foster Farms Bowl)

Vegas projection: 6

The Hoosiers got back to a bowl game, which was the best case scenario. Now after two straight 6-7 seasons (and losing the bowl game in each) the goal should be to WIN a bowl game. It will not be easy however, 6 road games is not the way you want your schedule to go and on top of that Ohio State comes to Bloomington to start the year off (Aug 31). Michigan pays a visit (Oct 14). To get back to a bowl, the Hoosiers are going to have to be road warriors. Best case: 3 bowls in a row. Worst case: 4 wins or fewer.


Last season: 8-5 (Defeated by Florida in the Outback Bowl)

Vegas projection: 6.5

Iowa managed to fit somewhere in the middle of the scenarios, probably a testament to Coach Ferentz’s consistency for almost the last 2 decades. This year starts off with a very tough game against potential Top-5 pick in the NFL draft QB Josh Allen (no kidding, he’s legit that good) and Wyoming (Sep 2). The following week is the annual rivalry with Iowa State (Sep 9) in the battle for the CyHawk. If Iowa would like a good season, it would be best to avoid going 0-2 here. Best case: Low Tier Bowl. Worst case: watching bowl season from their living rooms.


Last season: 6-7 (Defeated by Boston College in the Quick Lane Bowl)

Vegas projection: 3.5

The best case scenario was to get over Vegas’ 4.5 win projection last year, well good job. This year Vegas is again hinting that the world should not fear the Turtle (sorry SVP). Last year Maryland decided to schedule road games with small schools. Well they’ve chucked that out the window and week one decided to go to Austin and play Texas (Sep 2). One really good thing about Maryland’s schedule is they finish up with 5 of their last 7 games at home. Best case: getting back to a bowl. Worst case: the wheels fall off…when does basketball season start?


Last season: 10-3 (Defeated by Florida State in the Capital One Orange Bowl)

Vegas projection: 9

After whipping Florida in the bowl coming in to last season, then getting off to a 9 game win streak. There was an exhale by the Wolverines such as: “we’re back”. Can’t do that against good teams like Ohio State and Florida State. If your worst case scenario is making a New Year’s 6 bowl and you get there, is that really a bad thing? That’s what happened, its just how they got there that probably soured the fan base just a fraction. We believe in Harbaugh. They open with the Gators (Sep 2) and two of the road games will be difficult: at Penn State (Oct 21) and at Wisconsin (Nov 18). That Badger game is the week before Ohio State comes to town (Nov 25). Best case: Back in the New Year’s 6. Worst case: Hitting 9 wins.

Michigan State

Last season: 3-9

Vegas projection: 6.5

Okay lets just forget last year happened in East Lansing. We’ll chalk it up to a Playoff hangover, kinda like the Super Bowl loser hangover. (Sorry Falcons) Seriously, Murphy’s Law bit the Spartans at every turn. We stated the worst case scenario would be stumbling to 6-6, and they’d have taken that over what transpired. I think the game of the year for them and the opponent will be Notre Dame game (Sep 23). Both teams are looking for a good showing against a quality opponent and both will point to this game as the turning point for another lost season or the bounce back. Best case: beating the Vegas projection and getting back in a low tier bowl. Worst case: another year of bad luck…when does basketball season start again?


Last season: 9-4 (Defeated Washington State in the National Funding Holiday Bowl)

Vegas projection: 7.5

Is it okay to say ROW THE BOAT or is that just a Western Michigan thing? I love this Fleck dude. It’s sad that you can win 9 games at a major program and be relieved of duties…reminds me of another article I wrote about Nebraska…I digress. The best case last year was a New Year’s Day game, well the Holiday Bowl is no slouch. The schedule sets up nicely as well. They avoid Ohio State and get Wisconsin at home to end the year (Nov 25). The toughest road game is at Michigan (Nov 4). If Fleck can energize everything then the stars could align for a Big Ten Darkhourse. Best case: Big Ten Championship Game with an eye on a bigger prize. Worst case: It becomes a mediocre 6-6 year.


Last season: 9-4 (Defeated by Tennessee in the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl)

Vegas projection: 7

Speaking of the Cornhuskers, they exceeded mine and Vegas’ outlook last year. Winning 9 and being rewarded by going to Tennessee to play the Volunteers in a virtual road bowl game. No wonder they got shellacked by 2 touchdowns. Now for all that scheduling they’ve done, now they have to go to Oregon (which may or may not be a good thing) (Sep 9). They could start off the year 5-0 heading in to the Wisconsin and Ohio State back to back (Oct 7 & 14). If they can manage a split then the sky is the limit until they travel to Penn State (Nov 18). Best case: Big Ten Championship Game with a chance at a special season. Worst case: Taking a step back to Vegas’ 7 win projection.


Last season: 7-6 (Defeated Pitt in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl)

Vegas projection: 8

A year after notching 10 wins, we had high hopes for Northwestern. The 6-6 regular season worst case scenario came to fruition. Vegas likes them this year though, and for good reason. Outside of a two week stretch when they play Wisconsin and Penn State back to back (Sep 30 & Oct 7), Northwestern should be favored in every game. The return trip to play in a Who’s SAT is higher game against Duke (Sep 9) should also be interesting. Northwestern won by 11 last year. Best case: getting back to 10 wins. Worst case: Squeaking in a bowl at 6-6 again.

Ohio State

Last season: 11-2 (Defeated by Clemson in the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl – CFP Semifinal)

Vegas projection: 10.5

The Buckeyes should play like their collective hair is on fire this season after basically not showing up against the eventual national champion Clemson Tigers. Making the Playoff was the best case scenario, however we did not envision a beatdown like that. There is every reason to believe a 12-0 season is not only capable, but should be expected. Ohio State should be favored in every game including a home date with Oklahoma (Sep 9)  a home date with Penn State (Oct 28) and the last roadie of the year against Michigan (Nov 25). Best case: National Championship Game. Worst case: New Year’s 6.

Penn State

Last season: 11-3 (Defeated by USC in the Rose Bowl game presented by Northwestern Mutual)

Vegas projection: 9.5

After a slow 2-2 start, Penn State did not lose again until the Rose Bowl. Blowing away the mid tier best case we thought could happen. Clearly Coach Franklin has this program heading in the right direction. The season hinges on a back to back with Michigan and Ohio State (Oct 21 and 28) with the former being a home game. If Penn State can win both then they will be the undefeated Big 10 rep in the Playoff more than likely. Best case: College Football Playoff. Worst case: New Year’s 6.


Last season: 3-9

Vegas projection: 2.5

We said the best case would be winning more than 3 games, and they could only manage to match that total. It has been awhile since Purdue has been relevant. The non conference slate features games against Louisville (Sep 2), Ohio (Sep 8), and Missouri (Sep 16). This could be a very, very long season. Best case: not finishing 0-12. Worst case: 0-12 possibly worst program in the country…when does basketball…oh they lost a first round draft pick in that sport.


Last season: 2-10

Vegas projection: 3

The worst case scenario last season was bottoming out to 2-3 wins. They got there, bad news is this year could even be worse. Last season we did not know how good the Washington team was that was on the schedule, we do now. At least its a home game? That game is Sep 1. Lets count the top 11 preseason poll matchups – 4. Sorry Rutgers, too bad y’all don’t have Purdue on the schedule rotation to find out who the worst Power 5 program is. Best case: not finishing 0-12. Worst case: finishing 0-12 possibly worst program in the country.


Last season: 11-3 (Defeated Western Michigan in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic)

Vegas projection: 9.5

They. Just. Know. How. To. Do. It. Pencil the Badgers in for double digit wins again folks. They exceeded even our best scenario and made the New Year’s 6. Avoiding Ohio State until potentially the Big Ten Championship Game is huge, as well as avoiding Penn State until potentially the same game. The only one of the Big 3 in the East they draw is Michigan (Nov 18) and that is a home game. The toughest road game might be the BYU trip (Sep 16). Best case: 12-0 in the Big Ten Championship Game. Worst case: New Year’s 6.

Conclusion: I think that Wisconsin will play either Ohio State or Penn State in the Big Ten Championship Game with both teams entering that game 12-0 and staring the Playoff right in the face. Michigan can’t be counted out, and I think Minnesota is a darkhorse but they aren’t on the level of the Badgers, Buckeyes, or Nittany Lions.



#ACC Football Best/Worst 2017

After losing the title game back to the SEC in 2016, the ACC stole it back in 2017. Same teams in the game just a different outcome. Now some, including Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher, have went on to say that the ACC is the best conference in college football. This is a debate for a different time, however I will say that the ACC has a ways to go before it can start pounding its collective chest. Get The U back and we will be on to something. How many of us saw Lamar Jackson coming? I thought Watson would win the Heisman, he wasn’t even the best QB in the conference. Now that Jackson has had all the success, will be continue that or go on a Manziel -ish Heisman slump? How will Clemson fair as the hunted? Is The U back? Honestly I think Florida State is probably the team to beat this year. We are going to go team by team and project a best case and a worst case scenario. We will take a look back at how we fared last season and see if we were way off the mark or spot on. This is not a preseason bowl projection, just a general outline of how the season could go. In this outline, key games will be highlighted as well as any schedule quirks, if any.

Boston College

Last Season:  7-6 (defeated Maryland in the Quick Lane Bowl)

Vegas projection: 4

They made the best case scenario last season. The best case was to make a bowl and they did that. Vegas liked them last season, but not so much this season. With 5 true road games, including trips to Clemson (Sep 23) and Louisville (Oct 14), wins will be tough to come by. To get off to a good start this season will be imperative, if they want to build on the bowl victory momentum. So, winning at Northern Illinois (Sep 1) and the following week when they host Wake Forest (Sep 9) will be the key to the season. Best case: Making it back to a bowl. Worst case: matching Vegas’ 4 win projection.


Last Season: 14-1 (defeated Alabama in the National Championship Game)

Vegas projection: 9.5

Double digit wins for 6 consecutive seasons now, with no signs of slowing down. That is how you get your program to be in the elite status. In those 6 seasons, Clemson is 70-13. The last two seasons they have won 28 of 30. I feel as though the 9.5 may be a bet you could take the over on. After kicking off the season with Kent State, Auburn comes to town (Sep 9) then a trip to Louisville (Sep 16). The only other games that should be iffy are a roadie at NC State (Nov 4) followed by a visit from the Seminoles (Nov 11). The Florida State game has decided the ACC for the last few seasons now and I do not expect it to change this season. Best case: College Football Playoff. Worst case: not reaching 10 wins for the season.


Last Season: 4-8

Vegas projection: 5.5

It was a forgettable season for Duke, the worst case scenario was to see them struggle to 4 wins and we pretty much nailed that. Somehow they squeaked by Army and UNC to get there. There is reason for optimism again this season. Vegas thinks they can get back in the bowl picture. 3 home games to start the season should help, the first road game is not until going to UNC (Sep 23). That means they won’t leave the state until going to Virginia (Oct 7). That is a huge opportunity to rack up the wins before the latter part of the season which has 3 of the last 4 games on the road against Virginia Tech (Oct 28), Army (Nov 11), and Wake Forest (Nov 25). By the way, can we make UNC-Duke the last game please? Best case: making a bowl. Worst case: a repeat of last season’s 4-8 disaster.

Florida State

Last season: 10-3 (defeated Michigan in the Capital One Orange Bowl)

Vegas projection: 9.5

We said that the year prior to last season was an off year because 3 losses happened in the same season for the first time since 2011. Lo and behold it happened again. However, they are not coming off a big time bowl loss. They are coming off a big time bowl win so it feels better. Like Clemson, the Seminoles have been in the elite stratosphere for some time now. Opening with Alabama is the matchup we’ve been waiting on since Jameis Winston was in town. The game will undoubtedly go a long ways in determining the quartet that competes for a championship in January. The other important game is going to Clemson (Nov 11). If both are undefeated it will be a de facto ACC Championship Game. Best case: College Football Playoff. Worst case: New Year’s 6.

Georgia Tech

Last season: 9-4 (defeated Kentucky in the Taxslayer Bowl)

Vegas projection: 6.5

It was a bounce back year, but not back to a major bowl. 9 wins is not something to snuff at but I expect more out of this program. Hell I expect more out of both major programs in this state but we’ll save the Bulldog talk for another day. After scuffling to a 3-3 start they managed to win 6 of 7, carrying that momentum into a neutral opener against Tennessee would be a nice way to kick off the year. A weird road game at Central Florida is the only road game until a date at Miami (Oct 12). The schedule is backloaded with road games: 3 of the last 5. They go host Georgia (Nov 25) at the end though in what is always a barnburner. Best case: getting back to 9 wins. Worst case: scraping to reach a bowl.


Last season: 9-4 (defeated by LSU in the Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl)

Vegas projection: 9.5

Lamar Jackson had the Heisman in his pocket by November but after that Louisville exhaled and suddenly it was 3 losses in a row and the scoreboard read LSU 29 Louisville 9 in the last game of the season. Reaching as good of a bowl game that they reached was the best case scenario and they have the guy at QB back. If there is no exhaling then this team could reach new heights but going to NC State on a Thursday (Oct 5) then 2 weeks later going to Florida State (Oct 21) will be challenging. I just don’t know if they have the elite talent to be considered for a playoff spot. Best case: New Year’s 6. Worst case: the exhaling doesn’t stop and they slip back to 8-4.


Last season: 9-4 (defeated West Virginia in the Russell Athletic Bowl)

Vegas projection: 9

They made the best case scenario, winning the bowl game should carry into this year. Coach Richt may not have all the pieces in place to get the U back to being THE U but he’s just warming up. The rest of the ACC better enjoy this while it lasts, I think it is just a matter of time before we get another THE U 30 for 30 on how dominant they were. For some reason they will travel to another Sun Belt school, this time going to Jonesboro to play Arkansas State (Sep 9) the week after they travel to Florida State (Sep 16). Whoever made that schedule should be fired. Miami should be favored in every game after that though. Best case: New Year’s 6. Worst case: nailing the 9 win projection.

North Carolina

Last season: 8-5 (defeated by Stanford in the Hyundai Sun Bowl)

Vegas projection: 7

Following an 11 win campaign with an 8 win campaign seems like a big letdown. Especially when your QB went #2 in the NFL draft. This is kind of an erratic team, they seem to have enough talent to play with just about anyone. Starting the season with two early kickoffs against Cal (Sep 2) and Louisville (Sep 9) could be major. There is no Clemson, no Florida State on the schedule. If they want to get back to double digit wins then this is the year to do it. Best case: ACC Championship Game with a chance at a major bowl. Worst case: Vegas has them pegged right and its continued erosion to a 7-5 season.

North Carolina State

Last season: 7-6 (defeated Vanderbilt in the Camping World Independence Bowl)

Vegas projection: 7.5

Vegas was just about right last season, 6 regular season wins followed by a bowl win. I don’t see 7.5 projection. Even though the Wolfpack have made 3 straight bowls, it was 4 years ago they went 3-9. I don’t know if I dreamed this or not but I think I’ve heard gasbags saying this could be a darkhorse in the ACC. I just don’t see it. When you have to go on the road 4 out of 5 week late in the season, disaster could creep in. From Oct 14 to Nov 18 they go to Pitt, Notre Dame, Boston College, and Wake Forest. Oh, and just for fun in the middle is a home game with Clemson. Good luck. Best case: making it a 4th straight bowl year. Worst case: not making a bowl.


Last season: 8-5 (defeated by Northwestern in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl)

Vegas projection: 7

Last year they exceeded Vegas’ win projection again, Vegas projected 7 and they got 8. They play an unusual schedule. games in September. The good news about that is later in the season they will be fresh for the 3 games in November because of some bye weeks. I honestly don’t know what to make of this team, if they can navigate the rough September then this could be the ACC darkhorse. Best case: ACC Championship Game with chance at major bowl. Worst case: they stick the landing with another solid 8 win season.


Last season: 4-8

Vegas projection: 4.5

They met expectations: getting to 4 wins in back to back years may not seem like much. But before that it was a 3 win season that fans don’t want to bear. If they want to get to where they were last season they better get them early. 3 cupcakes (can I use that term referring to Syracuse opponents?) to start then the gauntlet starts. At LSU, at NC State, home Pitt, home Clemson, at Miami, at Florida State = BRUTAL. Best case: they improve by one more win and get to 5-7. Worst case: after the 3 cupcakes they go on a 9 game losing streak.


Last season: 2-10

Vegas projection: 5

It was a long year for the Cavaliers, and with the recent events last week maybe the Vegas projection for 5 wins can get help with the healing – at least for 3-4 hours on Saturday afternoons. Maybe there is reason for optimism. No Clemson and no Florida State should be reason enough for it. If they win all of their home game they would exceed expectations. The roadies aren’t fun: at Boise State (Sep 22), at UNC (Oct 14), at Pitt (Oct 28), at Louisville (Nov 11), and at Miami (Nov 18). I want to be an optimist. Best case: 7-5 with a decent bowl bid. Worst case: well worst case isn’t football related is it…

Virginia Tech

Last season: 10-4 (defeated Arkansas in the Belk Bowl)

Vegas projection: 9

When you get a high powered offensive scheme married to a Bud Foster defense then you get double digit wins. That is exactly what happened for the Hokies last year. They blew away the 6.5 win projection last season, as well as the best case scenario. Vegas is a lot higher on them now. Now we get to see what will happen when you attach expectations to a program again. It starts with a visit from Clemson (Sep 30). I never like seeing a schedule that finishes up with 3 of 4 on the road and that’s what we have here. At Miami (Nov 4), at Georgia Tech (Nov 11) and at Virginia (Nov 24). Best case: New Year’s 6. Worst case: major letdown and back to a .500 record.

Wake Forest

Last season: 7-6 (defeated Temple in the Military Bowl presented by Northrop Gumman)

Vegas projection: 5.5

They met and exceeded the best case scenario from a year ago by not only going to, but winning the bowl game. Even if Temple’s heart wasn’t in it because of their coach leaving. Have they turned a corner here? They did finish the regular season on a 3 game losing streak and the last one to BC. This season there is a bad stretch of games from Sep 30 to Nov 4 – home Florida State, at Clemson, at Georgia Tech, home Louisville, at Notre Dame – ouch. Other than that though the rest of the schedule should be winnable and toss up games. 7 regular season wins is obtainable. Best case: 7-5 regular season. Worst case: tumbling back down to 3-9.

Notre Dame

Last season: 4-8

Vegas projection: 7.5

We were so wrong about the Irish last season. We said best case scenario was the Irish in the Playoff and the worst case was a New Year’s 6. 4-8 doesn’t cut the mustard anywhere and Brian Kelly knows that. One more season like that and cousin Chip will be taking over (I couldn’t resist). Maybe there was enough subtraction that it will actually be a positive at the QB position. Maybe defined roles will spread all across this team and things will stabilize. As always, this is probably one of the toughest schedules in college football with every date a land mine of a game. Best case: exceeding Vegas’ expectations and flip flopping the record back to 8-4. Worst case: Chip Kelly replaces Brian Kelly (is that really a bad thing?)


While Virginia Tech, Miami, and Louisville may make a little noise, the former 2 are probably still a year away from making real noise. The latter is just not in the same realm as Clemson and Florida State. The game of the year will be 11/11/2017 when the Seminoles come to Death Valley to face the defending National Champion Clemson Tigers. I think that these are the only two teams in this conference with a legitimate chance to be in the College Football Playoff discussion.



Its that time again. Time to show how much none of us know about picking games a month in advance of any real football being played. Lots of things can twist and turn over the course of a 16 week regular season. We are going to attempt to ride that roller coaster all the way through and predict who can (maybe no one) can unseat the Patriots as they look to defend their Super Bowl championship. We will see who the division champions are, wild card teams, playoff matchups, all the way through Super Bowl 52.

NFC East

New York Giants 11-5

Dallas Cowboys 7-9

Philadelphia Eagles 7-9

Washington Redskins 7-9

This is probably the toughest division to call, I like the Giants to catch the breaks and separate themselves.

NFC West

Seattle Seahawks 13-3

Los Angeles Rams 7-9

Arizona Cardinals 6-10

San Francisco 49ers 0-16

Surprised about the Rams? Wade Phillips is a defensive genius and he will get that unit to keep them in every game.

NFC North

Green Bay 13-3

Detroit Lions 9-7

Chicago Bears 3-13

Minnesota Vikings 3-13

This is a reflection of one thing: QUARTERBACK. You either have or you have not.

NFC South

Atlanta Falcons 11-5

Carolina Panthers 11-5

New Orleans Saints 10-6

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 7-9

I believe that Cam Newton is going to have a bounce back year, too bad for the Saints to get to 10 wins and not even be top 2 in the division.

NFC Playoff Picture

1 – Green Bay – North Champion – (beat Seattle head to head)

2 – Seattle – West Champion – (best record after Green Bay)

3 – New York – East Champion – (better conference record than Atlanta or Carolina)

4 – Atlanta – South Champion – (by the slimmest of margins)

5 – Carolina – Wild Card – (best record of non division champions)

6 – New Orleans – Wild Card – (only other NFC team to reach 10 wins)

NFC Wild Card

3 New York defeats 6 New Orleans

5 Carolina defeats 4 Atlanta – (rematch of game played Week 17)

NFC Divisional

1 Green Bay defeats 5 Carolina

3 New York defeats 2 Seattle

NFC Championship Game

3 New York at 1 Green Bay

Giants and Packers on the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field. Just like it should be. You can see the breath of the players as game time temperatures fall below 10 degrees. Scoring is limited, after the Packers take a 14-10 lead with 3 minutes left Eli Manning gets one last shot to lead the victory charge. The tandem of Odell Beckham, Jr. and Brandon Marshall prove to be too much for Green Bay’s secondary as Marshall catches a lob touchdown pass as time expires. The New York Football Giants win the NFC.

AFC East

New England 16-0

Buffalo Bills 7-9

Miami Dolphins 5-11

New York Jets 4-12

This is not a prediction, this is how it is going to be. I’m not sorry about saying the Patriots will go undefeated.

AFC West

Kansas City Chiefs 10-6

Oakland Raiders 9-7

Los Angeles Chargers 8-8

Denver Broncos 7-9

Another division that lays claim to “toughest division in the NFL”. They have a legitimate case.

AFC North

Pittsburgh Steelers 12-4

Cincinnati Bengals 9-6-1

Cleveland Browns 5-10-1

Baltimore Ravens 5-11

The tie is the ugliest game in the NFL this season. Possible last hurrah for Big Ben.

AFC South

Tennessee Titans 13-3

Jacksonville Jaguars 10-6

Indianapolis Colts 7-9

Houston Texans 4-12

The Titans end a Colt and Texan stranglehold on the division and I think that the Jags invested in enough defense that Bortles will not be enough of a negative to keep them from winning games.

AFC Playoff Picture


1 New England Patriots – East Champion – (they will go 16-0)

2 Tennessee Titans – South Champion – (best record after New England)

3 Pittsburgh Steelers – North Champion – (best record after Tennessee)

4 Kansas City Chiefs – West Champion – (they get to host)

5 Jacksonville Jaguars – Wild Card – (best record of non division winning teams)

6 Cincinnati Bengals – Wild Card – (percentage points gets them in over Oakland)

AFC Wild Card

3 Pittsburgh defeats 6 Cincinnati

5 Jacksonville defeats 4 Kansas City

I expect both of these games to be old fashioned two chin strap type of slugfests.

AFC Divisional

1 New England defeats 5 Jacksonville

2 Tennessee defeats 3 Pittsburgh

Tennessee has built a really, really good football team and I’m expecting big things this year…until…

AFC Championship Game

2 Tennessee at 1 New England

Tennessee has built a team for cold weather postseason football, however these are the effing Patriots. They take teams like this and beat them in a dome, hardwood, grass, pitch, arena, etc. and make them like it. Belichek and his minions craft a defense and save it for this game against Mariota and win. New England Patriots win the AFC.

Super Bowl 52 – Minneapolis, Minnesota

New York Giants vs New England Patriots

We get the rematch that maybe some of you will throw up at. I want this game. I want another perfect season on the line against the Manning quarterback that Brady has yet to conquer. I know Coughlin is not there and this isn’t the same type of team. On the other sideline, this is the same type of team. The Patriots are 18-0 at this juncture and with an offense that has set records. Brady has 45-50 touchdowns, they’ve scored 600 points over the course of the regular season. There wasn’t a preview in the regular season finale, nothing to gain confidence from. Aside from the fact that Eli has been there and done that. If Odell wants to be highest paid player in the league then there will not be a bigger game for him to showcase his abilities that this one. I think he will, I think the Giants have all the right parts.

Giants 23 Patriots 20

For the 3rd time, the Giants defeat the Patriots in the Super Bowl and for the second time derail a perfect Patriot season. They can party in Miami.





This is the pipe dream of all pipe dreams.

I’m not even a Knicks fan, but someone has to take control of this toxic situation. All the talk of trading Melo not trading Melo, they are never going to recoup all that was lost from the trade that went down in February of 2011. “The Nuggets traded Melo to the New York Knicks tonight, a league source said. Denver gets Wilson Chandler, Raymond Felton, Danilo Gallinari, Timofey Mozgov, the Knicks 2014 first-round draft pick, the Warriors’ 2012 second-round pick, the Warriors’ 2013 second-round pick and $3 million in cash.” That is a ton for 1 player and the Knicks aren’t getting that back no way and no how. So instead of trying to unload Melo to either the cap strapped Cavs or the asset poor Rockets (even though the GM there pulls rabbits out of hats on the regular), I am proposing an alternate reality. TRADE FOR LEBRON! The Cavs have hit their ceiling. Did they pay attention to what happened in 5 games against the Warriors? It’ll be a sweep next year. Who should the Cavs target in a potential trade? Kristaps Porzingis. The NBA Trade Machine accepts this trade as successful. How would Knicks’ fans like to see this on the bottom line: The New York Knicks acquire Lebron James from the Cleveland Cavaliers for F Kristaps Porzingis, C Joakim Noah, and F Lance Thomas. From the Cavs’ perspective this makes sense. You have a young unicorn to put with Love and Kyrie. Also you are working on a separate deal with Houston to trade Iman Shumpert. Swapping out role players for role players. Players need a change of scenery sometimes and getting someone from a team that made the playoffs in the West isn’t a bad thing. From the Knicks’ perspective this is a no brainer. Pairing Lebron and Melo is half of the banana boat gang and another piece has been posting snapchat videos about how lonely he is. I feel as though Dwayne Wade is going to be bought out by Chicago and if/when that happens New York becomes the number one landing spot for Wade. The trade machine showed an 11 win improvement based on that one move for Lebron. So that get the Knicks to 42-40. We didn’t start this to make a 7 seed in the East. Adding Wade for nothing but money adds another 6 wins. Now we are up to 48-34. That puts us right in the 4-5 matchup. Now having Wade, James, and Anthony on the same team guarantees nothing. But, the East is even weaker now since more and more good players are heading that way. Another trade proposal in addition to the other moves is necessary to make this a more formidable roster. It is in the rumors that Derrick Rose and Milwaukee have mutual interest, and Detroit is hard capped and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is a RFA. Here is the deal: In a 3-team trade the New York Knick acquire Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Greg Monroe, The Detroit Pistons acquire Michael Beasley, and the Milwaukee Bucks acquire Derrick Rose. According to the trade machine we added another win which brings us to the 49-50 range. The trade machine can only look at one move at a time. So let us gather what we have done in a single roster and see what the analytics say about it. Rotational Depth (these are the dudes getting the most minutes per night):

Guards-Dwyane Wade, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Courtney Lee, Chasson Randle, Ron Baker

Forwards-Lebron James, Carmelo Anthony

Bigs-Greg Monroe, Kyle O’Quinn, Willy Hernangomez

That’s a 10-man rotation that can compete with ANY team in the NBA. We know that Caldwell-Pope and Lee are shooters: Caldwell-Pope shot 35% and Lee shot 40% from distance last season. You could start both of them with James and Anthony and Monroe and bring Wade in as the 6th man. Can you imagine Wade as the 6th man on this team? Baker and Randle would have to improve their shooting, especially with the open looks they would be getting playing on this roster. Greg Monroe decided to become a defensive and rebounding monster last season and the Bucks benefitted from this player. For this team, in the weakened East, I’m seeing 60 wins as a lock. Maybe 65 if things break right. Predicting the playoffs after this team is constructed and peering into the rest of the league’s rumors sets up as follows:

1 New York

2 Boston

3 Washington

4 Cleveland

5 Toronto

6 Charlotte

7 Miami

8 Milwaukee

I think the Knicks would set themselves up for a good 2-3 years of Eastern Conference dominance with these moves and possibly more. Keys would be not shipping out draft picks, sign ring chasers on the cheap, and health. Health would probably be number one on my concern list but its fun to dream isn’t it?





#MLB Expansion

Last season I wrote of how expansion in MLB could work. I feel as though we need to expand upon my original idea. This past week we witnessed the Oakland Raiders obtain a vote to leave and turn the Silver State (Nevada) into the Silver and Black State. That’s right if you haven’t heard the Raiders are ¡Viva Las Vegas! now. I know that song is now stuck in your brains. So now that that has happened, the Athletics should get some sweet new digs or at the very least renovate. They have a few years to figure this all out, but I’m sure it’ll happen. That was one part of my solution that I thought would figure itself out. Another part of the problem we have is the Tampa Bay Rays. Despite them being well run for many years and being smart and all that, they still ranked 29th in attendance last season. They’re always in the bottom third of MLB and more often than not they are in the bottom 2. Again I say move to Montreal! Let’s bring back the Expos! The next two spots I proposed to expand were Portland and Vancouver. I’ve read recently that now Commissioner Manfred is thinking that Las Vegas could be a possibility for MLB. There are certainly pros and cons here. Once the Raiders (again with the football, geez) and UNLV move into their new fancy stadium, that opens the possibility for Sam Boyd Stadium to be turned into a fine MLB facility. It has the capability to seat 40,000 fans and this isn’t a from-the-ground-up kinda deal. Honestly this could work. On the other hand, how can we expect Las Vegas to support 3 major sports franchises? I know that Las Vegans know that their city is growing, but they don’t quite have the infrastructure ready. They may have put the cart ahead of the horse with the Raiders and may have looked over some key things such as education and whatnot. So let’s not get too carried away. Plus, would you want to play baseball in July and August when the average temperature is 103-106 degrees? I think not. So we can keep Portland and Vancouver on our short list. Now we keep our lineup of divisions as follows:
AL East-Baltimore-Boston-New York-Toronto
AL North-Chicago-Cleveland-Detroit-Minnesota
AL South-Houston-Kansas City-Los Angeles-Texas
AL West-Oakland-Portland-Seattle-Vancouver
NL East-Montreal-New York-Philadelphia-Pittsburgh
NL North-Chicago-Cincinnati-Colorado-Milwaukee
NL South-Atlanta-Miami-St. Louis-Washington
NL West-Arizona-Los Angeles-San Diego-San Francisco

How would we fit 162 games? First we will have a home and home 3 game series. So if you take 1 team and do that against every other non divisional league member that’s 12 teams times 6 games and that equals 72 games. Then you factor in the regionalized inter-league play. Say you play in the AL South, you play a home and home against the NL South. That equates to 6 games times 5 teams. There’s another 30 games and we are at 102 games. Now divisional play: 15 games apiece against every divisional opponent makes the last 60. As for playoff structure we will have 4 divisional champions seeded 1-4 and 2 wild card winners seeded 5-6. Earning a division championship should at the very least earn you a home field advantage. The top 2 seeds in each league shall earn a bye from the new wild card format. I think everyone is in agreement that the winner take all wild card games are must see TV. So let’s expand upon that. So seed 3’s will play seed 6’s and seed 4’s will play 5’s. I proposed a Thursday thru Sunday 4 game stretch of prime time games. So Thursday AL-3 vs AL-6, Friday NL-3 vs NL-6, Saturday AL-4 vs AL-5, Sunday NL-4 vs NL-5. The 3/6 winner plays the 2 seed and the 4/5 winner plays the 1 seed. Just for fun let’s seed the teams that would’ve participated in the playoff last season.

AL-1 Texas Rangers (South Champ)
AL-2 Cleveland Indians (North Champ)
AL-3 Boston Red Sox (East Champ)
AL-4 Seattle Mariners (West Champ)
AL-5 Baltimore Orioles (Wild Card)
AL-6 Toronto Blue Jays (Wild Card)

NL-1 Chicago Cubs (North Champ)
NL-2 Washington Nationals (South Champ)
NL-3 Los Angeles Dodgers (West Champ)
NL-4 New York Mets (East Champ)
NL-5 San Francisco Giants (Wild Card)
NL-6 St. Louis Cardinals (Wild Card)

Thursday prime time
Blue Jays @ Red Sox

Friday prime time
Cardinals @ Dodgers

Saturday prime time
Orioles @ Mariners

Sunday prime time
Giants @ Mets

I think that we have solved some things here. I need a grassroots movement to help me propose my plan to the powers at MLB. I’m sure ESPN, Fox, and TBS would get in a bidding war to broadcast those Thursday-Sunday night winner take all wild card games. Maybe even another network might get in the bidding for something like that. I know I’d be glued to them. My wife would no doubt hate that. But she does like baseball so maybe we are on to something.

Follow me @originaldaveo on Twitter