By: Billy Toohey
Well, it’s finally back, the College Football season kicks off this weekend, and the last year of BCS madness begins in another four weeks. The excitement that will ensue from opening week until January 6th will be crazy. Last year at this time, we were unaware of who Johnny Manziel was, hard to think right? Also, we were all expecting another underachieving year from Notre Dame, who surprised us all by going to the BCS title game; we all know how that ended. I’m hoping that this season brings us more surprises and drama, just like every year since the BCS first started in 1998.
Unfortunately, the start of the season leaves us with few surprises. The SEC has half of their conference ranked in the top 30. Notre Dame is given another top15 ranking, in both the AP and Coaches poll. Alabama is ranked #1. One surprise is there, and it’s Northwestern. Yes, that nerdy university on the north shore has a very good football team this year and is a team to watch! Pat Fitzgerald has worked wonders since taking the helm four years ago, and this year he hopes to have a breakthrough season.
Now it is time to give my predictions and bold statements for the college football season. I’ll start by giving you my overrated team this year. A bias aside here, my overrated team for this year is Michigan. The uncertainty at quarterback and with the rest of the team is too much. Notre Dame will storm past them in the last meeting between the two schools for who knows how long.
My team to watch out for this year is Vanderbilt. If you aren’t familiar with seeing the Commodores on the national spotlight for football, you are not alone. The Harvard of the South does indeed have a great football team. This is a team with a young coach who has made great strides with this program and will only begin his third year as head coach this season. A 10-win season is not out of the question with this team. Also, remember the name Jordan Matthews, the 2012 SEC receptions leader looks to have an even bigger 2013 and who knows maybe that helps the team make a BCS bowl! The Commodores have the team to do it; hopefully, they do not crumble under the hype this year.
My pick to win the national title is not a shocker; the Alabama Crimson Tide will be hoisting the BCS title one last time, and for the 3rd straight season. My Heisman winner will be Ja’Deveon Clowney out of South Carolina, marking the first time that a pure defensive player brings home hardware from the New York Athletic Club.
If I give you college football predictions, that only means I have to give you NFL predictions. The NFL season is only a week away from beginning and already the hype is there just like it is every year around this time. From opening night, on September 5th to February 2nd the NFL will be one of the most talked about sports throughout the world.
Let’s start with the NFC preview. I believe this will be another surprising season, in this conference. In the South, I feel Matt Ryan will lead his flock of Falcons to another division title, but following close by will be those New Orleans Saints, who if it weren’t for a bounty-gate scandal, would have been in the post-season last year.
In the North, it will be another run away and hide division title for the Packers, following them a few wins behind will be the Vikings. Aaron Rodgers is just too good of a QB and the emergence of a running game this off-season along with Randall Cobb as a premier WR just makes me wonder how good this team can be. Greg Jennings, who?
In the East, it will be another ferocious battle as division games amongst each other always decide who wins the division either in WK 16 or 17. My pick to win is the Giants, followed closely by the Redskins, who will miss the playoffs because of RG3. I do not see RG3 having a good season and the Redskins will suffer with him missing a few games here and there.
In the West, it will be a blow out. By week eight we will already know who the champ is, and that will be the 49ers; once again. As far as playoffs go, my NFC championship will be the Green Bay Packers playing the Seattle Seahawks, with the Packers coming out on top, because of real refs.
In the AFC, there are the clear favorites that are just head and shoulders above their competition and are the reason why the NFC is the better of the two conferences. In the South, it is going to be the Texans and Colts coming out and going to the playoffs. Andrew Luck and Arian Foster, are too good not to lead their teams into post-season play. In the North, it will be a close race between the Ravens and the Bengals, as both teams make the playoffs. In the East, there is nothing to get excited about as the Patriots, even without Gronk, Hernandez, and Welker will find a way to win the division, they have a certain Hall of Fame QB helping them out in Tom Brady. In the West, it’s going to be the Broncos again. Peyton will fall in love with Welker just as Brady did, and lead the Broncos into the post-season once again.
In the playoffs, there will be a ton of drama, as I have the Broncos facing the Texans in the championship game with the Texans coming out as champs. In the Super Bowl, I predict the Packers to oust the Texans in the snowy Meadowlands, as the Frozen Tundra moves east to help lock up yet another title for the Packers! This will be another exciting season and I hope you are just as excited as me. I hope you are as excited about football season starting up as I am!