2017 College Football Crystal Ball
Predicting the top 25 things that will or won’t happen this season
1. For the first time ever, a two-loss team will make the college football playoff.
2. No FBS team will finish undefeated this season.
3. Texas will improve by at least 4.3 wins in Tom Herman’s first season, which is the average win improvement of every FBS school he has coached for as an assistant or head coach.
4. Oklahoma will not play in the inaugural Big 12 championship game.
5. Mark Dantonio will “retire” as Michigan State football coach and be replaced by Pittsburgh coach Pat Narduzzi.
6. This will be Bill Snyder’s final season as a college football coach.
7. USC will be preseason top five but will fail to make the college football playoff. Since 2007, the Trojans have been preseason top five three times, and only once finished in the top 20 at the end of the season.
8. Kevin Sumlin will be fired as Texas A&M football coach and replaced by North Carolina coach Larry Fedora.
9. Jim Mora will be fired as UCLA football coach and replaced by former Oregon coach Chip Kelly.
10. Notre Dame will rebound this season under Brian Kelly, and then he will leave to pursue a job in the NFL.
11. Bob Stoops will turn down Notre Dame and all other college coaching overtures. The Irish will hire Maryland’s D.J. Durkin instead.
12. After losing four games in a season only once between 1969 and 2001, Nebraska will lose at least four games for the 14th straight season.
13. Alabama and Washington will be the only repeat Power Five conference champions.
14. Jim Harbaugh will get his first win over Urban Meyer on November 25th.
15. For the 14th consecutive season, the Miami Hurricanes will not win double-digit games in the regular season.
16. The Heisman Trophy finalists will be (in alphabetical order): Saquon Barkley (Penn State), J.T. Barrett (Ohio State), Jake Browning (Washington), Lamar Jackson (Louisville), and Mason Rudolph (Oklahoma State).
17, Mason Rudolph will be the first Oklahoma State player to win the Heisman Trophy since Barry Sanders.
18. All three service academies will qualify for bowl games for the second year in a row. That has never happened before.
19. After last year’s banner season for the ACC, Florida State will be the only team in the league to win double-digit games in the regular season.
20. The results of the top five early non-conference games will be:
Alabama over Florida State…These two teams are evenly matched everywhere except in the trenches, where games like these are won.
Ohio State over Oklahoma…New Sooner coach Lincoln Riley gets a baptism-by-fire in Columbus.
Texas over USC…The Trojans have the style but the Longhorns have the substance, and the sport’s next transformational coach.
Michigan over Florida…Wolverines have the edge in coaching and quarterback in a battle of big-name, but very young, power-five brands.
Auburn over Clemson…Huge advantage at quarterback is why Tigers come out of Death Valley alive.
21. Virginia Tech, Tennessee, and Colorado will begin the season ranked in the top 25 but will not finish there.
22. Notre Dame, N.C. State, and Toledo won’t be ranked in the preseason top 25 but will finish there.
23. The following first year coaches will lead their teams to bowl games this season: Tom Allen (Indiana), Major Applewhite (Houston), P.J. Fleck (Minnesota), Tom Herman (Texas), Lane Kiffin (Florida Atlantic), Tim Lester (Western Michigan), Lincoln Riley (Oklahoma), Mike Sanford (Western Kentucky), Charlie Strong (South Florida), and Willie Taggart (Oregon).
24. Liquidate these teams that will win at least two fewer games than they did last season: Clemson, Colorado, Georgia Tech, Temple, Vanderbilt, Wake Forest, Western Kentucky, and Western Michigan.
25. Invest in these teams that will win at least two more games than they won last season: Auburn, Florida Atlantic, Iowa State, N.C. State, Northwestern, Northern Illinois, Notre Dame, Oregon, Oregon State, UCLA, and Texas.