1. Stanford (10-2) - Having the best player in the conference and perhaps the nation helps with RB Christian McCaffrey. If you look on paper it looks like a rebuilding season for the Cardinal but they simply reload and most importantly don't beat themselves.
2. Oregon (8-4) - If the Ducks had any spec of a defense they would be a top 5 team. But they don't. In fact their defense is awful. RB Royce Freeman is back after setting a school record with 1836 rushing yards.
3. Washington (8-4) - The Huskies are still on the rise in Chris Petersen's third season in Seattle but they still don't have the talent up front to compete with Stanford. Watch out for QB Jake Browning. Only a sophomore, Browning could have a better season overall than the more heralded Josh Rosen.
4. Washington State (7-5) - Good for the Cougars and the Pirate Mike Leach stopping their 11 straight non winning seasons with a 9-4 season last year. This year the schedule does them no favors.
5. California (5-7) - Cal will have to out shootout other programs because to put it mildly their defense is average. Expect a lot of 50-45 scores in Berkeley.
6. Oregon State (2-10) - Coach Gary Anderson is going to be taking his lumps this season in a tough North division. He's got Utah St transfer Darrell Garretson at QB but I don't see them winning a PAC 12 game.
1. UCLA (9-3) - If only Josh Rosen had USC's receivers. Rosen will put up good numbers and will continue to open up his mouth when not necessary.
2. Utah (8-4) - Just another run of the mill 8-4 solid season for coach Kyle Whittingham. The Utes aren't as flashy as their Los Angeles counterparts but they tend to beat them up in the trenches.
3. USC (7-5) - The schedule is by far the hardest in the nation with out of conference games vs Alabama, Notre Dame and Utah State. Max Browne will get the snaps after waiting for what seems like half a decade to start for the men of Troy. If he's smart he will target WR JuJu Smith-Schuster at least 15 times a game.
4. Arizona State (6-6) - It's going to be another mediocre season for the Sun Devils as they break in a new QB.
5. Arizona (5-7) - Sorry RichRod but these Wildcats are on the proverbial decline.
6. Colorado (4-8) - Remember when Colorado was good? Yeah that was 25 years ago. Now a good season is not losing double digits so I got them making slight improvements this year.
OVERRATED TEAM - Oregon is still living off the hype that Chip Kelly/Marcus Mariota brought to Eugene.
UNDERRATED TEAM - Utah has a great defense and might have the best offensive line in the conference.
BEST OFFENSIVE PLAYMAKER - Stanford's Christian McCaffrey set an NCAA record for all-purpose yards (3864) and finished 2nd for the Heisman Trophy.
BEST DEFENSIVE PLAYMAKER - USC's Adoree' Jackson is a track star who can also return kicks for touchdowns when not playing a really good corner.
TOP FRESHMAN - Cal's WR Demetris Robertson shocked pretty much everybody when he decided to leave the South and go all the way out to Berkeley. He should be a featured product on the field.
COACH OF THE YEAR - As much as it pains me to type this it has be Stanford's David Shaw. 4 of the past 5 seasons the Cardinal have won at least 11 games.
FINAL PREDICTION - Stanford (10-2) wins the PAC 12 again by beating UCLA (9-3) but misses out on the playoffs. Rose Bowl bound.
Get the official Team Kizaire t-shirt by ordering here!
Notre Dame has released it's first depth chart for 2016 season.
Josh Adams OR Tarean Folston
Weak-side defensive end
Daelin Hayes OR Jay Hayes
Strong-side defensive end
CJ Sanders OR Dexter Williams
1. TCU (10-2) - Horned and Dangerous. Last season the Horned Frogs won 11 games and would have easily won the Big 12 if not for Trevone Boykin getting injured. They also lost a ton of players due to injuries but it helped build the depth for this season. I see their defense stepping up big time and new QB transfer Kenny Hill being effective while leading the Horned Frogs to the outright Big 12 title.
2. Oklahoma (9-3) - Sooners have high expectations coming off a playoff loss to Clemson. Heisman contender Baker Mayfield is back and should lead a potent Sooners offense. The Sooners got a ton of breaks last year including a last second win vs Tennessee and a one point win over TCU. The law of averages catches up with them this year and they lose some heartbreakers to Houston, Ohio State and TCU before recovering in October.
3. Oklahoma State (8-4) - The Cowboys jumped to 10-0 last year before dropping their final 3. The same could be said this year as the schedule sets up favorably going into late November. QB Mason Rudolph is back along with his favorite target WR James Washington. The offense should click all season but their defense will again be their achilles.
4. Texas (8-4) - It's kind of sad to think this is an optimistic prediction for Longhorns football but here we are as Charlie Strong enters his third season in Austin after 6-7 and 5-7 seasons. It looks like Texas is going to go with the true freshman Shane Buechele who from all reports has been outstanding. If Texas can pound the rock and play some good defense (watch out for LB Malik Jefferson) they could win 10 games.
5. Texas Tech (8-4) - QB Patrick Mahomes is going to put up Heisman worthy numbers in Kliff Kingsbury's system. The problem is the Red Raiders have no defense. I see a lot of 40-60 point shootouts in Lubbock this fall.
6. Baylor (7-5) - Art Briles is gone. He's the best coach by far in Baylor history. The team lost a ton of starters on both lines of the football. QB Seth Russell is back from injury but this is going to be a tough season for Baylor after a tumultuous offseason of sexual misappropriation.
7. West Virginia (7-5) - Head coach Dana Holgorsen has his work cut out for him as he tries to find a way to replace some talented defensive players on the back end. Team captain QB Skyler Howard is back and the Mountaineers return most of their offensive playmakers.
8. Kansas State (6-6) - Bill Snyder is still coaching this team, his 25th in Manhattan. The Wildcats were dealt some awful blows with multiple QB injuries where they were forced to convert WR Kody Cook to behind center to finish the season. This year QB Jesse Ertz returns and should help the timing with the offense.
9. Iowa State (4-8) - First year coach Matt Campbell comes from Toledo where he led the Rockets to 4 straight winning seasons. He's got his work cut out for him as the Cyclones have only won a combined 8 games the last 3 seasons. The key is to get the ball into WR Allen Lazard's hands. Kid is special.
10. Kansas (2-10) - There is nowhere but up after Charlie Weis torpedoed the Jayhawks into Big 12 oblivion and first year coach David Beaty went 0-12 last season. Their 5 year record is 9-51. Wow. Did I mention how much Weis shit on this program? Kind of reminds me of what Ty Willingham did to Washington after he got fired from Notre Dame. Hmm.
OVERRATED TEAM - Oklahoma is top 5 in most preseason polls and it doesn't usually bode well in scoreboard results for Bob Stoops teams. I see them losing 3 early games.
UNDERRATED TEAM - I got TCU winning the conference despite being picked middle of the pack by most experts. The talent and the coaching is there and they are coming off 12 and 11-win seasons.
BEST OFFENSIVE PLAYMAKER - Oklahoma's Samaje Perine has over 3000 yards rushing in his first two seasons in Norman.
BEST DEFENSIVE PLAYMAKER - Sophomore LB Malik Jefferson is an animal. Texas should take off the chain and let him wreak havoc this fall.
TOP FRESHMAN - Texas QB Shane Buechele will start vs Notre Dame. No pressure kid.
COACH OF THE YEAR - TCU coach Gary Patterson will again get the Horned Frogs back into playoff contention. No wonder they have a statue of him outside their stadium.
FINAL PREDICTION - TCU (10-2) edges out Oklahoma (9-3) for the Big 12 Title but misses out on the playoffs. Cotton Bowl bound.
Here are ten 2016 College Football BOLD PREDICTIONS:
1. Tennessee will finally beat Florida. I shit you not it's been 11 years since Rocky Top has been sung in victory at the end but somehow, someway Butch Jones manages not to fuck up this game and the Vols come out with a HUGE W.
2. Houston QB Greg Ward will be the early Heisman Trophy favorite after his Cougars upset Oklahoma and he outplays top Heisman candidate Baker Mayfield.
3. LSU will fire Les Miles after he again goes through a 3-game losing streak in November capped off by a devastating loss in Fayetteville. It will also end Leonard Fournette's Heisman run.
4. Your 2016 College Football National Champion will come from the ACC conference or at least a team with an ACC affiliation. Whether it's Clemson, FSU or Notre Dame it remains to be seen who can stay injury free but one of those programs will win it all.
5. Houston head coach Tom Herman will take the LSU job after they fire Miles and it will be a huge story in regards to whether he coaches the Cougars in their bowl game or leaves early.
6. The PAC 12 and Big 12 conferences will be shut out of the CFB Playoffs.
7. Michigan and Jim Harbaugh will be a major disappointment this year. A lot of pundits have the Wolverines pencilled in for the playoffs but despite a great start to the season against a weak schedule they crash and burn by the last week of October.
8. There will be three 2000 yard rushers (Fournette, Royce Freeman, and Dalvin Cook) and none of them will win the Heisman.
9. UCLA QB Josh Rosen will talk about skipping his junior season in 2017 and instead prepare himself for the NFL Draft through a "QB guru" and workouts off campus.
10. Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn will save his dead man walking job by beating an undefeated Alabama in the Iron Bowl.
1. Ohio State (11-1) - You can never underestimate an Urban Meyer led football program but I feel a lot of pundits are doing just that. The Buckeyes are 50-4 since Meyer took over. They should again win the conference with playmakers like QB JT Barrett and LB Raekwon McMillan back.
2. Michigan State (10-2) - Sparty should have one of the better defenses in the college game led by DE Malik McDowell. They get Wisconsin, Michigan and Ohio State all at home which should help.
3. Michigan (9-3) - Road games at Iowa, Michigan State and Ohio State will torpedo a tremendous first half start by the Wolverines because of the lack of good QB play.
4. Penn State (7-5) - As the norm the Nittany Lions have a tremendous group of linebackers and a great tailback in Saquon Barkley. Problem is the rest of the roster is very young and will be starting a new QB.
5. Indiana (6-6) - The Hoosiers have one of the better offensive lines in the conference and should score a lot of points. If the defense can step up they could make another bowl game.
6. Maryland (6-6) - I might be underestimating the Terps with new coach DJ Durkin. They got talent but they still don't have a QB.
7. Rutgers (4-8) - All I can say is good luck to new coach Chris Ash. He's got a complete rebuild in store for him and the schedule does him no favors.
1. Iowa (10-2) - Hawkeyes again will benefit from a joke of a schedule with their toughest road game being in Happy Valley. Desmond King is surprisingly back at cornerback and many pundits are high on QB C.J. Beathard.
2. Wisconsin (9-3) - The early season schedule is brutal for the Badgers with LSU in the opener and Michigan State, Michigan, and Ohio State all before mid October. If they can manage to pull off a couple of upsets they should finish strong.
3. Nebraska (8-4) - I feel like the Cornhuskers are a legit QB from wining this division. Tommy Armstrong Jr put up some decent stats last year on paper but if you watched him live you would say why is this guy even playing much less starting for Nebraska.
4. Northwestern (8-4) - Pat Fitzgerald is one of the better coaches in the conference and has a big time LB in Anthony Walker leading the defense. If they can pound the ball with RB Justin Jackson I could see them pulling off some upsets including 1 of the road games vs Iowa, Michigan State and Ohio State.
5. Minnesota (7-5) - Like Iowa the Gophers play a joke of a schedule and they get the three worst teams in the East Division instead of the best.
6. Illinois (4-8) - It's a total rebuild for new coach Lovie Smith who hasn't coached at the collegiate level since 1995. I like who Lovie brought in as assistants but it's going to take some time to get their talent up to winning standards.
7. Purdue (4-8) - Purdue is 1-11, 3-9, and 2-10 the last 3 seasons. Holy shit they are terrible! Congrats Boilermakers you win 4 games this season.
OVERRATED TEAM - Michigan is top 5 in the nation in the preseason polls but I got them finishing third in their division because of their QB play or lack thereof.
UNDERRATED TEAM - Wisconsin is being written off of their schedule but talent and coaching wise they could be the best team in the Big Ten West Division.
BEST OFFENSIVE PLAYMAKER - Ohio State's J.T. Barrett was a top 5 Heisman vote getter his redshirt freshman season. This year he has the starting job and should put up monster numbers.
BEST DEFENSIVE PLAYMAKER - Sparty's Malik McDowell is basically unblockable at times and should rack up double digit sacks.
TOP FRESHMAN - Michigan got the #1 recruit in the nation in DT Rashan Gary who is expected to contribute right away.
COACH OF THE YEAR - Ohio State coach Urban Meyer. He's 50-4 as the Buckeyes coach and has 3 Natty's under his belt.
FINAL PREDICTION - Ohio State (11-1) beats Iowa (10-2) to advance to the College Football Playoffs.
1. Clemson (12-0) - Just a couple of plays away from completing a dream 15-0 season, Deshaun Watson and Dabo Swinney are back to complete the mission.
2. FSU (11-1)- Any other division besides the SEC West would have FSU #1 in it. QB Deondre Francois will be the X Factor. If he can play smart football and get the ball into Dalvin Cook's hands watch out for the Seminoles.
3. Louisville (9-3)- QB Lamar Jackson is a stud but Louisville's defense is down right terrible at times.
4. NC State (7-5) - Huge October home game vs Notre Dame could be breaking point for the Wolfpack to get to a New Years Day bowl game.
5. Boston College (6-6) - It will be interesting to see how they replace their great DC in Don Brown.
6. Syracuse (5-7) - The Orangemen seem to be heading in the right direction with Dino Balbers
7. Wake Forest (3-9) - Honestly can't name a player or coach off the top of my head.
1. Pitt (10-2) - 16 returning starters. Great offensive line. John Conner beat cancer and is back at tailback. The defense should be good enough to win the division.
2. North Carolina (9-3) - Elijah Hood is the best back who many people haven't heard of.
3. Georgia Tech (8-4) - Just a gut feeling but I think QB Justin Thomas and head coach Paul Johnson have Tech bounce back in a big way after struggling to a 3-9 record last season.
4. Miami (8-4) - New coach Mark Richt has his work cut out for him. If he can close the southern Florida borders he should have plenty of talent to work with.
5. Virginia Tech (7-5) - Another new coach in Justin Fuente who is drawing rave reviews so far in Blacksburg. Gotta find a QB and they could build something special.
6. Duke (6-6) - I'm probably underestimating David Cutcliffe and his team here but I'm sure they don't mind playing the underdog role.
7. Virginia (4-8) - Bronco Mendenhall is another new coach in the Coastal but he will have the most daunting task of filling up a roster full of average at best players.
OVERRATED TEAM - North Carolina. I see them taking a step back this season.
UNDERRATED TEAM - Pat Narduzzi will get Pitt to the ACC Championship when most pundits have them finishing 5th or lower in the Coastal.
OFFENSIVE PLAYMAKER - Tie between Deshaun Watson and Dalvin Cook. Both are home run threats whenever they have the pigskin in their hands.
DEFENSIVE PLAYMAKER - FSU Safety Derwin James is a bad, bad manchild.
TOP FRESHMAN - Dexter Lawrence should make an immediate impact on Clemson's defensive line.
COACH OF THE YEAR - Pitt Coach Pat Narduzzi.
FINAL PREDICTION - Clemson (12-0) beats Pitt (10-2) and advances to the College Football Playoff Final 4.
Afraid to admit but I actually like these new Adidas Chrome uniforms more than the regular red unis Nebraska wears. What do you think? For one game vs Northwestern these are tight!
With the Coaches and AP preseason polls both out I figured I would look at the programs who are the most underrated going into the 2016 season. These teams are all predicted to either finish middle of the road or near the bottom of their respective conferences despite their numerous starters returning and top head coaching ability.
1) Pittsburgh Panthers - Pitt went 8-5 in their first season under coach Pat Narduzzi. They return 8 starters on each side of the ball including cancer survivor James Conner, the ACC Player of the Year in 2014. I could see them contending for the ACC Coastal division even though many pundits have them finishing near the bottom half of the division.
2) Wisconsin Badgers - The Badgers won 10 games in their first season under coach Paul Chryst. They have a roster capable of winning the Big Ten North over Iowa. If they can somehow manage to beat LSU in their opener at Lambeau Field I could see them upsetting the likes of Michigan and Ohio State this year because of the confidence factor.
3) TCU Horned Frogs - TCU is projected to finish 5th in their conference behind Oklahoma, Baylor, Oklahoma State and even Texas (a team they beat 50-7) despite winning 11 and 12 games the last two seasons. You know head coach Gary Patterson is going to have them ready to make some noise and it wouldn't shock me to see them win the Big 12 even with Kenny Hill at QB.
4) Utah Utes - The Utes have the best defensive talent in the PAC 12 and return a veteran offensive line from a team that won 10 games last season including beating the likes of Michigan and Oregon by 42 points in Eugene! But still most pundits have them finishing in the back of the PAC 12 South. If they can find a consistent QB and some solid playmakers on offense I don't see any reason why they can't contend for a PAC 12 Title under coach Kyle Whittingham.
5) BYU Cougars - Taysom Hill is back at QB! BYU also returns 16 starters and while their coaching staff is brand new and the schedule is rather brutal the first half I can see them upsetting the likes of Utah, UCLA, West Virginia, Michigan State and Mississippi State. They should score a ton of points under first year coordinator Ty Detmer's offense.