As much as I love college football Saturdays, there are times during the offseason where I feel like the hype is just a little too much. I do not need to read an article or watch a show every day on schedule releases, recruits, Heisman potential, new coaches, etc.
And then the first games are played and I forget all about the annoying offseason.
The season officially started Saturday with two FBS games and they could not have provided a better example of why I love the sport. Sure, Florida’s win over Miami was ugly football at times but it never stopped being entertaining and sometimes those train wrecks are the most fun to watch when it is not your own team. Plus, Hawaii took down Arizona in the late-night game, winning by 1 yard.
Football is back and I am definitely all in at this point. But there’s a good chance if you’re a fan of college football, you better enjoy all you can get for the next three months because that final month of the season will just be setting up another matchup of two teams most of the country is getting tired of.
I’m certainly not one to think the dominance Alabama and Clemson have shown over the last half decade is bad for the sport but I also see where other fans are coming from when they say it’s getting a little annoying. Unfortunately for those fans, they will not be seeing anything new this January.
Making predictions for the College Football Playoff is a little tricky now because you cannot pick against Alabama or Clemson but it’s boring if you pick them. In my predictions last season, I picked Clemson to beat Alabama in the title game so now it’s one of those few picks I can hold onto forever to pretend I am good at this.
The Tigers should make easy work of the ACC again this season and will be right back in the CFP as they go for back-to-back championships for the first time. Trevor Lawrence’s Heisman campaign may look a lot like Tua Tagovailoa’s last year where he plays only one half most weeks but still puts up ridiculous stats.
Speaking of Tagovailoa, he is now the lone wolf at quarterback for Alabama and the Crimson Tide will not get to turn to Jalen Hurts if another injury comes along. I have to admit there have been times where I think Alabama’s playoff streak will come to an end but then I remember the guy in charge in Tuscaloosa so whether it’s a two-loss SEC Champion, a one-loss division runner-up or an undefeated team, Alabama is going to be one of the final four teams playing for the title.
And once again, this is where things can get tricky. While everyone seems to agree on the top two seeds, there are a handful of teams being picked by experts to grab one of the final two spots.
To my dismay (and many of yours probably), I am picking Ohio State to take the No. 3 seed. We still don’t know how good of a quarterback Justin Fields is but he has a better chance at thriving in Columbus, Ohio, than he did in Athens, Georgia. This spot almost went to Oklahoma and Hurts but this decision was made by believing Texas and Iowa State (yes, Iowa State) pose a bigger threat to the Sooners than anything the Buckeyes will face in the Big Ten.
Part of me believes Notre Dame will fill in the fourth spot but I cringe just typing that. So instead, I will use the final spot to have a little more fun and pick a dark horse. (It’s not going to matter; whoever it is will lose to Clemson anyway.)
Last year, I picked Washington to make the playoff but the Huskies lost their season opener to Auburn three days later to really make me look stupid. So, now I’m giving Auburn another chance to make that happen.
Oregon may not be ready to crash the national stage again but it is definitely heading in the right direction. The Ducks have a quarterback who could be going No. 1 in the 2020 NFL Draft but that always comes with some extra pressure. Luckily for Oregon, the Pac-12 should be improved so the schedule will be difficult enough to where one loss should not knock a team from contention.
While the Ducks may be the story of the year if they make it that far, it’s going to still be all Clemson at the end. The Tigers are going to hoist the trophy again with the small twist of defeating Ohio State in the championship instead of Alabama. (Please don’t throw things at me; it’s very unlikely I get this correct two years in a row.)
Caleb Turrentine is a sports writer for The Herald.