The goal of this piece is not accuracy. If that were the case, I should quit right now: college football is — almost by definition — completely unpredictable and this season has been about as crazy as it can get, even rivaling the so-called “Year of the Upset” in 2007.
From Hail Marys to the rise and fall of BYU to Mississippi State rising to number one to the look on Lou Holtz’s face when Notre Dame’s game-winning touchdown against Florida State was called back, it’s been one hell of a ride and the train of incomprehensibility looks poised to keep rolling until January.
With that in mind, why play it safe with predictions? Why not go over the top and let imagination do the talking? If you’re never going to forecast the rest of the season correctly, you might as well have a little fun with it.
Here are my five bold, crazy and utterly unreasonable predictions for the remainder of the college football season.
The SEC only gets one team into the inaugural College Football Playoff
The goliaths in the SEC West currently have three teams in the top 4 and four in the top 6, but most of them still have to play each other. Consider this scenario: Mississippi State trips up against Alabama and Ole Miss, Auburn falls to Georgia but beats Bama and the Tide take down LSU.
Now, every team in the SEC has at least two losses while Oregon, Michigan State, Florida State, and TCU all finish with no more than a single blemish. What’s the committee going to do? In a shocking turn of events, the SEC champion (probably Auburn) gets in, but FSU, Oregon and MSU take the other three slots. TCU gets a short straw, but their complaints are drowned out by louder screams a few hundred miles to the east.
You thought the South was mad in 1860? Just wait until the final rankings come out.
Utah wins the Pac-12
Some of you might be thinking, “Wait, I thought you said Oregon would be in the Playoff a little earlier?” In response, I say stop reading so carefully.
There’s always a team of destiny in the Pac-12. Stanford was that team in 2012 and 2013, but now its Utah’s turn. In fact, the Utes look eerily similar to the 2012 Cardinal: They have a very good defense, a strong power running game and a quarterback that does just enough.
The Utes have a tough two weeks coming up with showdowns in Oregon and Stanford, but I expect Devontae Booker to continue pounding his way forward and Kyle Whittingham to bring back some of the magic of the 2005 Fiesta Bowl season.
Jim Harbaugh leaves the 49ers and goes to Michigan.
Just like the last time he took over a struggling FBS program with a proud history, Harbaugh infects his alma mater with a fierce competitiveness and brings Michigan back into the national spotlight. Two years later, the Wolverines take on Stanford in Pasadena, in what will soon be dubbed the “Rags to Roses Bowl.”
Duke defeats Florida State in the ACC Championship Game
With Stanford’s season in a tailspin, somebody’s got to step up for the nerds and Duke has by far the best shot — it only has one loss and I’m pretty convinced that David Cutcliffe has super powers.
Stanford blows out its remaining three opponents by an average of 40 points and Condoleezza Rice leverages her connections in the U.N. to get the Cardinal into the College Football Playoff. Stanford goes on to shut out Oregon in a playoff rematch before bringing Florida State to its knees before halftime in the National Championship. Kevin Hogan wins the Heisman.
A man can dream, right?
Little does Vihan Lakshman know, but President Obama is secretly scheming to get his alma mater Columbia into the College Football Playoff. Tell Vihan why former Stanford quarterback Brett Nottingham should have stuck it out just a bit longer with the Lions at vihanl ‘at’ stanford.edu.