75 F
75.8 F
73.4 F
72.1 F

Yellowhammer’s 2014 Fearless College Football Predictions

Jonathan Biles

Biles SEC

Playoff Four:

Florida State
Higher expectations, same schedule. Returning Heisman trophy winner Jameis Winston has his summer sorted and will presumably sashay through the Seminoles’ list of subpar conference opponents, a down Oklahoma State and a rebuilding Florida. This is the easiest team to pick into the College Football Playoff, which obviously means it won’t make it there. It’s science.

The Crimson Tide has to sort out its quarterback race, but Alabama still has the best shot at winning the conference and clinching a spot in the last four. Auburn lost key players like Tre Mason, Greg Robinson and Dee Ford, but should be competitive again. With Auburn’s schedule how it is, though, it’s inevitable that the Tigers regress from last season. LSU always has the potential to be great with the talent it has on the roster, but the Baton Rouge Tigers will have a better chance next season. This is not to say Alabama will go undefeated, but they will do just enough to get a spot in the playoff.

With returning quarterback Marcus Mariota back in the fold, the Ducks should be reloaded for another run at the title. UCLA has been the trendy Pac-12 pick this preseason but their schedule is ruthless, with games at Texas, versus Oregon and closing the season with a run of games against Arizona, Washington, USC and Stanford. Oregon wins the Pac-12, sneaking past its own rough schedule and makes the last four.

Again, Oklahoma is the trendy pick, but at some point this season, they’ll play like Oklahoma and blow a game against someone they should beat. Baylor has been gaining momentum for years now and quarterback Bryce Petty has returned to give it another shot – and try to increase the amount of zeros on his NFL contract next season. Art Briles is the consummate Texan and will be a joy to see scorch some defenses this season. Their only concern is stopping people.

Florida State beats Baylor. Alabama beats Oregon, giving us the matchup the fans have wanted for a while now.

Biles Playoff

Some random predictions
After taking his talent to the “University of LSU,” Leonard Fournette will have a breakout year and contend for the Heisman Trophy. Florida will no longer be terrible and shouldn’t block other teammates when on offense. And USC will be respectable this year, once they start actually playing football and stop worrying about how Josh Shaw sprained both ankles.

Cliff Sims

Sims SEC

Playoff Four:

Florida State
The Seminoles outclass the rest of the ACC and make it in without much drama, other than a few cringeworthy Jameis interviews throughout the year.

The Tigers have one of the toughest schedules in the country, but get LSU, South Carolina (if they still field after what happened last night) and Texas A&M at home. The toughest road trip for the Gus Bus before its biennial trek to Tuscaloosa will take place in Athens, where the Tigers will rekindle the magic…

Georgia Coaches

That’ll set up an undefeated showdown with the Tide that will make the 2011 LSU vs. Alabama “Game of the Century” look like an early season FCS game by comparison. The Tide squeak by, but in spite of the selection committee’s stated bias toward conference champions, the public will demand the Tigers get their shot after the Pac-12 devours itself.

Michigan State
As Grantland’s Chris Ryan rightly predicts, Rich Homie Quan will not allow Sparty to lose.

But in an unfortunate pre-game incident, Scott Cochran inadvertently knocks Quan out during warmups, taking the wind out of Michigan State’s sails, which brings us to…

After a couple of games of uncertainty while the quarterback situation sorts itself out, the Tide take The Process to new heights and methodically decimate the competition en route to Saban’s fifth national championship, putting him within striking distance of The Bear.

Sims Playoff

Matt Murphy

SEC East: The Dawgs
Even if this wasn’t a complete homer pick, the team is dang good. After a year of devastating injuries, Georgia is healthy on both sides of the ball, particularly on offense. New defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt — who happened to leave the current national championship crab claw thieving Florida State Seminoles to take the job — and a man-beast by the name of Todd Gurley spell trouble for rest of the East. Wild card is Coach Richt. I’ve often said that there’s never a game he can’t lose. (but he’s such a GOOD man….sigh)

SEC West: Bama.
Hell hath no fury like an embarrassed Nick Saban. Two losses in a row to end 2013, (no matter the circumstances) and Saban is red-faced. Something else on his person is red, too. I bet his players know what I’m talking about. The West never had a chance.

SEC Champions: Georgia
The Dawgs avenge the 2012 Championship game by handing Saban his second loss of the season. It’d be nice if Chris Conley could catch the winning TD pass, too. Get on that CFB gods, would ya?

Murphy SEC

Playoff Four:

Florida State
I ain’t dumb. FSU = Good. (Insert favorite stolen crab claw joke here to fill the extra time. I’ll wait.)

My (mild) surprise in the playoff. Schedule sets up well. QB Brett Hundley is the real deal. Besides, I am not now — nor will I ever — pick any damn DUCKS to win anything in football. I mean, DUCKS?!? I’m not going there. Trojans? Maybe. But never ducks. This is not a logical, rational position. But I don’t care.

Michigan State
Lets keep this simple: the Spartans will win ALL of their college football games in 2014 (YES…including against the lowly, yella DUCKS) and get into the championship playoff. They’ll then lose against the Georgia Bullpuppies. But more on that…

Georgia Bulldogs
…NOW. Of COURSE the Dawgs get in. (blah, blah, blah…Murphy’s a homer…blah blah blah)

National Champions: Dawgs
Florida State loses a squeaker to the Hairy Dawgs from the Peach State. Let’s say by 4. Why not? Somewhere Bobby Bowden will smile — a little.

Murphy Playoff

Prediction:I BOLDLY predict South Carolina will look absolutely dreadful in their SEC opener against Texas A&M. Kenny Hill will make Aggie fans quickly lose sight of Johnny Football in their rear-view. And the expert pundits will be embarrassed after uniformly picking South Carolina/Spurrier to dominate the game. I feel supremely confident on this particular exciting surprise pick. I’d lay MONEY on this one. Wanna bet? (Dang…Is it 8:30 Thursday night already??)

Eric Wallace

SEC East Champions: Georgia
The Gamecocks regress in 2014, leaving the door open for Hutson Mason and Georgia to return to the Georgia Dome.

​SEC West Champions: Auburn
Auburn slips up once, but a down season in the SEC West on top of a victory over Alabama in Bryant-Denny Stadium clinches the Tigers’ spot in Atlanta.

SEC Champions: Auburn
The Tigers take this rematch of the 2010 SEC Championship Game behind the aerial attack of Nick Marshall, Sammie Coates and D’haquille Williams. Auburn clinches their place in the first ever College Football Playoff.

Wallace SEC

Playoff Four

FSU, Michigan State, Auburn, Oregon

Jameis and FSU roll through the ACC unopposed yet again, while Michigan State pulls off a similar run now that Braxton Miller is out for Ohio State. Meanwhile Oregon finally exorcises its Stanford demons in winning the Pac-12.

Sparty stuffs the Tigers’ rushing attack and ekes out a tight victory over Auburn in the first national semifinal, while Heisman winner Marcus Mariota out duels Jameis Winston to set up a contrast of styles in the national championship. Mariota and the Ducks prove to be too much, however, as the Spartans are unable to stop two dynamic spread attacks in back-to-back matchups.

National Champions: Oregon

Wallace Playoff

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