Cavalcade Kickoff Part 2 - 10 Big Predictions

Cavalcade of Whimsy Kickoff, Part 2 - Ten Big Predictions

Cavalcade of Whimsy

Kickoff 2014 - Part 2

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- 2013 Cavalcades 

Cavalcade of Whimsy
- Part 1 - Josh Shaw, playoff talk, and there's a new network?  

The C.O.W. airing of the grievances followed by the feats of strength
The ten big calls that won't happen, but I'll take credit for when they do ...

10. The big national narrative will be …
Does a 13-0 Marshall team that rips apart everyone in its path by 20 deserve a shot in the CFP Four? The opinions outside of Huntington will range from No to Hell No, but there’s going to be a backlash against the whole Power 5 thing, and a team like Marshall could quickly become the outsider that could be a champion for a cause. However, with a schedule of at Miami University, Rhode Island, Ohio, at Akron, at Old Dominion, Middle Tennessee, at FIU, Florida Atlantic, at Southern Miss, Rice, at UAB, WKU, and, most likely, the Conference USA championship, it’s going to be an impossible sell.

9. The national championship game will be fantastic
And not because the two best teams in the country will be playing. Under the old system, even before the BCS era, teams would have weeks off between their final game of the regular season and their bowl game. Even with a conference championship, it was possible to go six weeks in between games, which was good for healing up the bumps and bruises, but bad for the team’s timing and mojo. This year, the playoff games might be a wee bit ragged with all of the time off, but the distance between the semi-final game and the championship - 11 days - is just enough to get everyone close to healthy but still keep the edge. There won’t be time to get fat and happy.

8. The most fun bad team will be …
(tie) Illinois and Indiana. Start with a desperate coaching staff on its last legs, a terrific quarterback in Oklahoma State transfer Wes Lunt, no defense whatsoever, and an offense that’s going to bomb, bomb, bomb away in a hopeless attempt to keep up the pace, and you have an Illinois team that’s not going to win anything, but it’ll be entertaining in doing it. Indiana also falls into the category for the same reasons, only without the hot seat coaching staff situation. The Hoosiers will put up a bazillion points and a gajillion yards per game, but with their style of play they’ll have the ball for about four minutes a game while the defense gives up a bazillion-and-one points and a gajillion-and-50 yards.

7. The next program to get sucked up by the Power 5 will be …
Cincinnati. The Big 12 didn’t get Louisville, but Cincinnati has a decent TV market - No. 34 - and geograpically fits in as a natural rival to West Virginia. On the field, the Bearcats have quietly become a bit of a powerhouse winning nine games or more in six of the last seven seasons, and this year’s team is good enough to take the American Athletic. Tommy Tuberville might be known now as America’s fill-in coach until something better comes along, but the guy has won 139 games over 19 years and has a terrific team coming back after going 9-4 last year. Toledo, Miami University, at Ohio State, Memphis, at Miami, at SMU, USF, at Tulane, East Carolina (with a week off to prepare), at Connecticut, at Temple, at Houston. That smells like 10-2, or 9-3 with a chance at a tenth win in a good bowl game, and then it’s realignment time.

6. Charlie Strong will be fantastic
Here’s the problem: everyone liked Mack Brown. Even the detractors didn’t want to see the guy run out of town on a rail, but when Strong comes in and starts to run a tighter ship and instills a higher level of discipline, that’s sort of an indictment on the end of the Mack era. It wasn’t enough to just get by on talent – the team had to actually tackle someone. It might not happen right away, but at some point in the season, everyone will do a collective, “oh, so that’s what Texas should look like.”

5. The second best team in the ACC will be …
North Carolina. So being the No. 2 team in the ACC this year is sort of like Melissa McCarthy coming in second to Kate Upton in a Kate Upton lookalike contest, but the Tar Heels really do appear to be poised and ready to take the next step forward under Larry Fedora. He has a nice array of athletes across the board, and he has a burgeoning franchise quarterback in Marquise Williams to grow as the team’s signature star. There might be a 45-10 whupping from Florida State at the end of the rainbow, but North Carolina is turning into a power.

4. Devin Gardner will be fantastic
It took me ten years, but I finally made Michigan State into a Rose Bowl winner by picking it every year to be one of the top contenders - I willed it so. I’m still forcing the second Heisman for Tebow prediction, and I’ll go to my grave believing that no one will ever, ever, ever win a championship with Peyton Manning as its quarterback – yes, I’m aware. I’m now going to single-handedly turn Michigan’s Devin Gardner into a must-have NFL quarterback. All the tools are there to be special with size, athleticism, arm strength, and after this year, more than enough experience. He might be wildly indecisive, he has to make his reads far quicker, and he can’t be so inconsistent, but I’ll keep thinking he’s going to be special and it’s all going to turn. First, for this to happen, he has be his own man and ditch Tommy Harmon’s number.

3. Cavalcade of Whimsy 5th Annual Sure Thing Heisman Pick Is …
The Field. Again. The R, S, T, L, N, E givens are Jameis Winston, Marcus Mariota, Todd Gurley, Brett Hundley, Nick Marshall and Bryce Petty. Go ahead and name five other star candidates, and none of them will win. Winston last year? If you had that, you were being quirky. Johnny Manziel? Nope. A quarterback from Baylor?! Yeah, right. A JUCO transfer who got booted from Florida? A running back from an Alabama program that never wins Heismans? And it’s not just the winners. Honk if you knew who Andre Williams was last year at this time. Of course you had Tre Mason pegged as a lock for New York. Sure, defensive players like Manti Te’o and Ndamukong Suh could be in the running. You want to make a case for J.T. Barrett? Go for it. How about Jacob Coker? Who’s stopping you? Kenny Hill? Stranger things have happened. I’ll still take rest of the college football world.

2. Colorado, Kentucky or South Florida …
Won’t necessarily become this year’s Duke and in the hunt for a conference championship, but one of these teams with a terrific second-year coach will be this year’s out of leftfield shocker. I’m just not sure which one it’ll be. All three programs are building to something decent, and the timetable will be accelerated for one of them.

1. Not only will the SEC not get two teams into the playoff, there’s going to be a reasonable debate about whether or not it should get in one
Work with me here. Florida State goes unbeaten, or is 12-1 with an ACC championship – no question it’ll be in the CFP Four. The Big Ten champion goes unbeaten or is 12-1 – no question. Oregon or UCLA wins the Pac-12 title at 12-1 and the champion of a mediocre Big 12 is 12-0. Meanwhile, the SEC champion is 11-2. Even if the two losses are more than acceptable, You can’t really put in a one loss SEC team that doesn’t win a championship in over a one-loss or unbeaten Power 5 champion. Can you imagine if the committee put in an 11-2 SEC champion Georgia over an 11-1 Big 12 champion Oklahoma that lost to, say, Baylor in the final moments or a 12-1 Michigan State that lost at Oregon? This would be worth it just to hear about the damage done by SEC executives as they break tasteful things.

C.O.W. shameless gimmick item … The weekly five Overrated/Underrated aspects of the world
1) Overrated: Chick-fil-A in Atlanta … Underrated: Popeye’s in the Bahamas
2) Overrated: Blake Sims … Underrated: Jacob Coker
3) Overrated: Josh Gordon pumishment ... Underrated: Ray Rice suspension
4) Overrated: Being the best Little League team in the United States ... Underrated: Actually winning the Little League World Series
5) Overrated: Christmas Day ... Underrated: Saturday, August 30th 

"If it were me, I'd bet everything. But that's me. I'm an aggressive gambler. Mr. Vegas. Come on. Go for it. Go for it. Yes, yes, there we go. I'm in." … and away we go with another year of making you filthy, stinking rich …

1) Alabama -26 over West Virginia
2) Ohio +3 over Kent State
3) Florida -36.5 over Idaho
4) Washington -17 over Idaho
5) Ohio State -16.5 over Navy

Sorry this column sucked, it wasn't my fault … I’m embarrassed after it was revealed that my first kiss was with Clint Trickett.

- Part 1 - Josh Shaw, playoff talk, and there's a new network?  

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