#1: Oklahoma State wins the Big 12 and makes the College Football Playoff:
Okay, we all know the Pokes’ offense is loaded. They finished 10-3 in the 2016 season, and are led by Mason Rudolph and James Washington, arguably one of the top-rated QB/WR combos in the nation this year. Rudolph threw for over 4,000 yards, 28 TDs and only 4 INTs this past season, to go along with a 63.4% completion rate.
Washington accumulated almost 1,400 yards receiving last season to go along with 10 TDs, according to Sports Reference CFB. If the defense comes to play and decides to force some key turnovers, they could very easily find themselves in the College Football Playoff.
#2: A Non-Quarterback will win the Heisman Trophy:
Quarterbacks these days are almost a lock to win one of college football’s most coveted awards. This might be because they touch the football on almost every play and are the key decision-makers on offense.
However, with so many high-profile quarterbacks possibly stealing votes from one another, I think there’s a very good chance a non-qb could grab the trophy.
Saquon Barkley, Derrius Guice, Bo Scarbrough, and Derwin James are a couple names that come to mind. According to an article written a few years ago by Bleacher Report, one of the ways a running back could win the award is by being versatile, meaning they do much more in offense or on special teams than just simply running the ball.
Also, coming up big in the games later on in the season could be a good way to sway some voters (hint hint Big 10 Championship game Barkley?).
#3: Auburn will win the Iron Bowl, but Alabama will win the SEC:
Although I believe Alabama will still win the vaunted SEC this year, I do believe Auburn will upset them in the Iron Bowl. Auburn had a good defense last season, and return almost all of that talent for 2017.
Throw in their perennially great running game, coupled with the newest addition of former prized-recruit Jarrett Stidham, and I think Auburn legitimately has some talent on their roster.
According to Team Rankings, Auburn’s defense was 40th in total yards allowed per game. If they can improve on that slightly, and improve in strides on offense, this team could make some noise in 2017.
As is the case with these rivalry games every year, the records can be tossed right out the window. Plus, Auburn gets Alabama at home in this year’s Iron Bowl.
#4: Wisconsin wins the Big 10:
Okay, hear me out. Look at Wisconsin’s schedule for 2017 and tell me which games they’ll struggle with. On November 18th, Michigan comes to town, and this is a year in which the Wolverines have to replace 10 starters on defense. TEN!
On offense they return some pieces, but still have an extremely young roster which will need to seriously gel by the time November rolls around.
Wisconsin’s second-hardest game on the schedule? September 16th at BYU, a game that immediately follows the Cougars playing LSU and Utah, so BYU will more than likely be a little beat up by the time the Badgers come to Provo.
Wisconsin avoids Penn State and Ohio State (unless they meet up in the Big 10 Title game). What a nice easy schedule for the Badgers to coast through.
#5: NC State springs a couple of big-time upsets:
The Wolfpack are a team slowly on the rise. While they may not win the ACC anytime soon, or even their own division (thanks a lot Louisville/Florida State/Clemson), NC State is still sneaky enough to pull off a couple upsets. According to SB Nation, NC State has improved dramatically, as the Wolfpack’s S&P+ rankings over the past three seasons were 46th, 41st, and 25th.
One of NC State’s biggest strengths is their front seven, which could cause some disruption against opposing teams. Louisville comes to town on October 5th and Clemson on November 4th, giving NC State a couple of key opportunities to show that their program is moving in the right direction.
If the Wolfpack want to improve on their 7-6 record from this past season however, they must become more consistent on the offensive side of the ball. Doing just that could spell some key upsets for the team this season.