College football’s first week of the season is in the books, and there were already a few upsets that could shake up the College Football Playoff race. Every year a preseason top-10 team finishes the year unranked, which is a scary position to be in for fans of those teams.
Today we will look at the teams most likely to finish outside of the top-25 AP poll, and which team we think it will definitely happen to.
The Gators won a sloppy game against the Miami Hurricanes in Week 1 before rolling Tennessee-Martin, but we aren’t sold on the offense. Felipe Franks has grown as a player but is still incredibly inconsistent, and Dan Mullen’s teams don’t always set the world on fire to start the season. One alarming stat in their Week 1 win was the play of the offensive line.
The Gators averaged just 1.8 yards per carry against Miami, and if they can’t run the ball effectively, this could be a four or five loss team. The remaining tough games on the schedule include back-to-back games against Auburn and LSU, then the annual rivalry game against Georgia.
Every year seems to be “Michigan’s year.” The year they will win the Big Ten, beat Ohio State, and make the College Football Playoff. Shea Patterson leads the Wolverines, and while he has tons of talent, he doesn’t show the consistency needed to win big games.
The Wolverines struggled against Tennessee State in their first game, needed overtime to beat Army, and they still have six (!) games against teams in the AP top-25 rankings. We see them losing at least four of them (Notre Dame, Penn State, Ohio State, Michigan State).
Head coach Jim Harbaugh could be on the hot seat if the Wolverines stumble to another lackluster finish, and we are predicting seven wins from the team in Ann Arbor.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish
We think the Fighting Irish will take care of business against Michigan, but Notre Dame has at least two other games they could easily lose during the regular season. A meeting with Georgia on Sept. 21 is the first true test for the Fighting Irish.
We think that game could turn into a bloodbath, as the Bulldogs have landed top-5 recruiting classes each of the last two seasons. Kirby Smart knows how to coach in big games, and we think his defensive mind against Brian Kelly’s offensive scheme will be an excellent chess game.
Ian Book will have to play the game of his life to lead Notre Dame to victory, and we don’t see it happening. Expect a few stumbling blocks along the way to Stanford, with the Fighting Irish finishing 6-6 and outside of the college football top-25 rankings.
Our pick: Texas Longhorns
The Longhorns have a great head coach in Tom Herman, but here are the reasons we think they will finish unranked:
- Underwhelming offensive line
- two potential matchups against Oklahoma
- trap games against Baylor and West Virginia
Two matchups against Oklahoma could be likely, as we could see both teams face off against each other in the Big 12 championship game. Oklahoma’s offense looks dangerous with Jalen Hurts at the helm, and those could be two games where the defense gives up 50 easily.
Before facing the Sooners in the Red River Shootout on Oct. 12, the Longhorns take on Oklahoma State and West Virginia. The Mountaineers have a new head coach, but they still have explosive players on the offensive side of the ball. Oklahoma State under coach Mike Gundy is always a dangerous opponent.
Baylor is growing into a competent team under Matt Rhule, and if Texas is overlooking them before finishing the season against Texas Tech, it could be a major upset.