2018 college football fearless forecast

FILE - In this Oct. 15, 2016, file photo, Stanford running back Bryce Love (20) celebrates a 2-point conversion during the second half of the team's NCAA college football game against Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind. Love's unusual decision to return to school following a 2,000-yard rushing season that made him a Heisman Trophy runner-up will be validated in December when he walks on stage to receive the prize he came to Stanford to earn. Sure, the Heisman would be great but Love's decision to bypass the draft and play his senior year for the Cardinal was made to earn his degree in human biology. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy, File)

I must admit, watching a football game that actually meant something in the win-loss column was a welcome sight on Friday evening.

The high school’s got it going for real, and the college game will follow suit with its first full slate of games this weekend.

With that, I will give you some of my fearless predictions for the 2018 season. And rankings, everybody loves those, right?

In fact, let’s start with those.

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My Preseason Top 10

1. Alabama

2. Clemson

3. Georgia

4. Ohio State

5. Penn State

6. Washington

7. Michigan

8. Stanford

9. Notre Dame

10. Wisconsin

Just missed the cut: Oklahoma, Auburn, Michigan State, Miami, TCU

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These rankings don’t differ too much from the the AP and Coaches polls and they’re not necessarily where I think these teams will be at the end of the year, but do point to a couple of things.

1. The Big Ten is loaded at the top – Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan, Wisconsin and Michigan State are all legitimate contenders to reach the Playoff. That’s not hyperbole. Now obviously only one or maybe two will, and if you were too ask me which I like the most, I couldn’t tell you. I like them all. They’re all really good and those games where they play each other will be fantastic.

2. Alabama, Clemson top nearly everyone’s list. Don’t pay attention to the quarterback controversies at each school – they’re both going to dominate. The Crimson Tide machine isn’t slowing down anytime soon, and as for Clemson, they have one of the best defensive fronts I have ever seen in college. They will overwhelm a majority of their opponents at the line of scrimmage.

3. Institutions of the highest learning … and highest levels of football. I might be a little higher on Stanford and Notre Dame than most. Stanford coach David Shaw and Notre Dame’s Brian Kelly have higher academic requirements than most Top 25 schools, thus face some recruiting restrictions that others don’t. That being said, Shaw has been a model of consistency and has what I believe to be a future NFL quarterback in K.J. Costello and a Heisman trophy candidate in running back Bryce Love. And as for the Irish … I think this might be their best team since the 2012 team that went to the national title game.

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Preseason Heisman contenders

1. Bryce Love (RB, Stanford)

2. Trace McSorley (QB, Penn State)

3. Dwayne Haskins (QB, Ohio State)

4. Shea Patterson (QB, Michigan)

5. D’Andre Swift (RB, Georgia)

6. Jake Browning (QB, Washington)

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This of course is subject to change. These are simply some of the best players on some of the best teams with the best chance to put up numbers worthy of the Heisman.

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Fearless predictions for 2018

1. The Big Ten will send two teams to the playoff.

2. Tua Tagovailoa will become the full-time QB at Alabama and Jalen Hurts will transfer.

3. One of these highly touted true freshmen QB’s – Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence, Notre Dame’s Phil Jurkovec or Georgia’s Justin Fields will unseat the incumbent at their position at some point this season and start in the national championship game.

4. Scott Frost will turn Nebraska around quickly … although it might not happen in Year One.

5. Chip Kelly will turn UCLA around quickly … and it will happen in Year One.

6. Ohio State won’t miss a beat during the three games it will be without Urban Meyer, and interim coach Ryan Day will become one of the hottest assistants on the market.

7. Texas will take a step forward in Tom Herman’s second season.

8. LSU will continue to underachieve and the fan base will begin to question why they ran Les Miles out of town.

9. Joe Moorhead’s offense will pick up wear it left off at Penn State, putting up huge numbers in Year One at Starkville. 10. Pitt will upset a Top 25 team this season … but still go 6-6.

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