The 2017 Daly Dose College Football Preview: The Big 12

Big 12

The Big 12 is in a bit of a funk. They aren’t pulling the recruits that they are used to getting. They have only made it to the College Football Playoff one single time, when Oklahoma got blown out 37-17 in 2015. Many accuse the conference of being out of date, and not appealing to the younger generation, but we aren’t buying it. Then again, their most esteemed coach is sporting a mullet. So, we could be mistaken.

Big12

1. Oklahoma Sooners

Predicted finish: 11-1

Bob Stoops might be gone, but the expectations for the Sooners remain the same. QB Baker Mayfield should contend for the Heisman with this high- powered offense. OU should roll to their third straight Big 12 championship, and then this group will get blown out in a playoff game. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

2. Oklahoma State Cowboys

Predicted finish: 9-3

The Cowboys could boast the nation’s best offense behind QB Mason Rudolph. The offensive line that used to be a weakness has grown into a The problem is that the defense will once again be very ugly. Not unlike a certain someone’s hair.

3. Kansas State

Predicted finish: 8-4

The Wildcats were playing very good football coming down the stretch in 2016, and they are hoping it will continue in 2017. Is there a chance that K-State could sneak up on everyone, and actually win the Big 12? Well, it hasn’t ever happened before, but who are we to crush their dreams?

4. Texas Longhorns

Predicted finish: 8-4

The Longhorns will face a challenging schedule that will see them play Kansas State, Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State in consecutive weeks. New head coach Tom Herman inherits a talented group that outgoing coach Charlie Strong said should win 10 games in 2017. Oh sure, now he says that.

5. TCU Horned Frogs

Predicted finish: 7-5

The Horned Frogs could be a surprise in the conference, if they could get some decent play from senior QB Kenny Hill. Or if the defense could step up, and get some stops….okay, who are we kidding? I just wanted to see if I could say something about a Big 12 defense without laughing. I couldn’t.

6. West Virginia Mountaineers

Predicted finish: 7-5

The Mountaineers have a chance to surprise this year, because they are possibly the only team in the entire conference that actually plays anything resembling defense. Last year, they allowed just 24 points per game. So it is almost like defense. Like Dana Holgorsen almost has hair on top of his head.

7. Baylor Bears

Predicted finish: 6-6

Baylor hired former Temple coach Matt Rhule, who has no ties to Art Briles, or Baylor, or even Texas. Rhule and his staff were given mops, and lysol, and hazmat suits upon arrival in Waco, “Get that mess all cleaned up, Matt, and let’s never bring it up again.”

8. Texas Tech Red Raiders

Predicted finish: 4-8

Head coach Kliff Kingsbury is entering his 5th season in Lubbock, and his tenure has been a mixed bag. The Red Raiders have posted some amazing passing numbers, but inconsistencies in the running game, and poor defenses have been the cause of a below .500 record. Kingsbury’s job could be on the line this season, and considering the holes on this roster, he may want to update that resume very soon.

9. Iowa State Cyclones

Predicted finish: 4-8

The Cyclones went 3-9 last season, and that included a home loss to FCS school Northern Iowa. The good news is that this team should be able to get four or five wins. The bad news is that those pesky Northern Iowa Panthers are on the schedule again.

10. Kansas Jayhawks

Predicted finish: 1-11

Head coach David Beaty has actually done a pretty amazing job assembling some semblance of talent in Lawrence. You might not be able to tell, because he has gone 2-22 in his two seasons there. There is some actual progress here, and this year when the Jayhawks win three games, it will all come to fruition.

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Next up: The Daly Dose most notable teams from outside the Big 5 conferences!

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The 2017 Daly Dose College Football Preview: The Big 10

The Big 10 Conference

It was just a few seasons ago that the Big 10 was being talked about as being too slow, and too out of date. Then Urban Meyer went to Ohio State, and the Big 10 won a national title, and has been to all three of the College Football Playoffs. Just forget the fact that they have been outscored 69-0 in the past two. Okay?

Big-Ten-Teams

East Division

1. Penn State Nittany Lions

Predicted finish: 11-1

The Nittany Lions are for real. After going 11-3 in 2016, and beating Ohio State, they are looking for more in 2017. Penn State returns 16 starters from that team, including QB Trace McSorley, but this team will see something this year that they haven’t seen since like 2009. Actual expectations. So, a 7-5 season is probably coming.

2. Ohio State Buckeyes

Predicted finish: 10-2

Urban Meyer will return a ton of talent from a team that went to the College Football Playoff last year including a terrific defensive front and QB JT Barrett. The Buckeyes should once again find themselves in the…wait a second…JT Barrett? He’s still around? How old is that guy? What is he, like a seventh-year redshirt senior? I think he was handing off to Eddie George as a freshman.

3. Michigan Wolverines

Predicted finish: 9-3

2016 has to feel like a missed opportunity for the Wolverines, who probably lost too much to contend in 2017. The schedule looks to be too difficult for this team, that will be talented, but inexperienced. But at least Michigan has head coach Jim Harbaugh. Remember when that used to be worth getting excited about?

4. Indiana Hoosiers

Predicted finish: 9-3

The Hoosiers are heading into unfamiliar territory this year, as they actually have an aggressive, stingy defense. If the offense could generate a running game, IU could find themselves in even stranger territory, with a shot at a big bowl game. If not, they will struggle to finish above .500. Now that, they’re used to.

5. Michigan State Spartans

Predicted finish:: 7-5

The Spartans knew they would need to rebuild in 2017 anyways, so they decided to  go 3-9 in in 2016 too, just to hurry the process along. Now they actually don’t have much talent returning. If you thought head coach Mark Dantonio was grouchy before…

6. Maryland Terrapins

Predicted finish: 5-7

Head coach DJ Durkin inherited a mess when he took the job in College Park, but he somehow got the Terrapins to be competitive, in his first season at the helm. Durkin’s enthusiasm helped bring in a solid recruiting class, and could propel this team back to another bowl game. Unfortunately, the schedule has visits to Texas, Ohio State, and Wisconsin on it. That should sap that darned enthusiasm.

7. Rutgers Scarlet Knights

Predicted finish: 4-8

The Scarlet Knights still have a ton of work to make themselves look like an actual Big 10 football program, but we are saying that they are going to double their win total from a season ago. So that’s something.

 

West Division

1. Wisconsin Badgers

Predicted finish: 10-2

Don’t be surprised to see the Badgers have an excellent season, as they return talent on both sides of the ball. The defense should be terrific, and the offense could take some major strides, if they can develop a running game. A more manageable schedule, could be a recipe for another loss in the conference championship game. Keep your fingers crossed!

2. Nebraska Cornhuskers

Predicted finish: 9-3

The Cornhuskers haven’t been to a conference championship since 2012 when they lost to Wisconsin 70-31. They have a fair amount of transition to overcome this season, so at least they shouldn’t have to worry about another embarrassing loss like that in a championship game for a few more years.

3. Northwestern Wildcats

Predicted finish: 8-4

Northwestern just keeps surprising everyone, going to back-to-back bowl games in 2015, and 2016. Could this be the year that they actually contend for a Big 10 championship? Considering their first two conference games will be against Wisconsin, and Penn State, no….no, it will not.

4. Iowa Hawkeyes

Predicted finish: 7-5

As a true Kirk Ferentz team should be, the 2017 Iowa Hawkeyes football team will be tough. They will have a physical defensive front, and a solid running back tandem in Akrum Wadley, and transfer James Butler. That should be enough to get them to another crappy bowl game that no one cares about.

5. Minnesota Golden Gophers

Predicted finish: 6-6

New head coach PJ Fleck has proven himself up to the challenge of getting a program like Western Michigan into the national conversation. But that change didn’t happen overnight, and neither will this one. The Golden Gophers have a number of questions on both sides of the ball, but could be scrappy enough to go 9-3, or thin enough to go 3-9. So we will just save some time, and split the difference.

6. Purdue Boilermakers

Predicted finish: 4-8

Purdue hired what may have been a steal in Western Kentucky coach Jeff Brohm. He has proven to be a very capable offensive mind, and could eventually get the Boilermakers back to a level of respectability. At least, until he leaves for a better job.

7. Illinois Fighting Illini

Predicted finish: 3-9

How can a football program located in such a talent-rich state like Illinois manage to be terrible every single year? Focus and determination, mostly. And you probably thought we were going to say something negative here, didn’t you? Nope. We are glass half-full at the Daly Dose.

 

Did you miss the Daly Dose ACC preview?

Coming tomorrow: the Daly Dose Big 12 preview!

The 2017 Daly Dose College Football Preview: The Atlantic Coast Conference

Atlantic Coast Conference

With Clemson beating Alabama in the National Championship game last season, there is talk that the ACC might be the perennial conference in the nation. With the likes of Florida State, Clemson, Miami, and Louisville, consistently being ranked in the Top 25, it is easy to see why this is a hotly debated subject. Just don’t snooping around, and finding the Boston Colleges, and Syracuses.

ACCHelmets_zps8e2d9a13

Atlantic Division

1. Florida State Seminoles

Predicted finish: 11-1

Florida State is absolutely loaded this year, returning 14 starters from a team that finished 10-3 a year ago. QB Deondre Francois becomes the next in a line of FSU quarterbacks taken in the first round of the NFL Draft. Will he be of the Christian Ponder/EJ Manuel ilk? Or more of a Jameis Winston-type? My advice would be to start stealing crab legs, kid.

2. Clemson Tigers

Predicted finish: 11-1

The Tigers surprised everyone in 2016 by winning their first national championship since 1981. Dabo Swinney has done an amazing job of recruiting, but with the losses of DeShaun Watson and Mike Williams, it’s hard to think they could contend again. Then again, we just keep doubting Dabo, and that little weirdo just keeps proving us wrong

3. Louisville Cardinals

Predicted finish: 10-2

Despite rising as high as No. 3 last season in the national rankings, the Cardinals stumbled down the stretch, and finished 9-4. Some of that stemmed from the fact they fumbled the ball 30 times. Heisman winning QB Lamar Jackson is back, and head coach Bobby Petrino has a history of success in his third year, so maybe we should give Louisville a higher ranking. Of course, they would probably just fumble it away if we did.

4. North Carolina State Wolfpack

Predicted finish: 8-4

NC State returns 22 seniors from a team that went 7-5, and won the Independence Bowl, so why are we predicting just a one-game improvement in 2017? Well I mean, this is NC State, folks, what did you really expect?

5. Wake Forest Demon Deacons

Predicted finish: 5-7

Head coach Dave Clawson has done an admirable job of making the Demon Deacons a respectable program. Wake actually went to a bowl game last year. Unfortunately, this is a young team facing a very difficult schedule but hey, going to that bowl game last year was fun, right?

6. Syracuse Orange

Predicted finish: 4-8

The Orange actually returns some players with experience, but they will face one of the toughest schedules in the country. Syracuse will play Clemson, Louisville, Florida State, Miami, and LSU. With some luck, maybe the NCAA will force them to vacate some of those losses, at a future date.

7. Boston College Eagles

Predicted finish: 5-7

The Eagles were beaten by Louisville, and Florida State last year by a combined score of 97-14. Yet, they still managed to still go 7-6, and win the Quick Lane Bowl. This is the state of college football today. Mediocrity is celebrated, and rewarded. Or maybe that’s just the state of Boston College football today.

 

Coastal Division

1. Miami Hurricanes

Predicted finish: 11-1

The Canes lost some talent to the NFL, but Mark Richt has done a good job of restocking the shelves in Coral Gables. If they can find a quarterback… they could be back to their old obnoxious selves, that we all hate, very soon.

2. Virginia Tech Hokies

Predicted finish: 9-3

It is never easy to be the guy that replaces the guy, but Justin Fuente took over for longtime head coach Frank Beamer, and had a very successful opening season. The Hokies won the Coastal Division in 2016, and should be in the hunt again this season.  If this group can find a QB, they could challenge Miami. Or they could beat Miami , and then just lose to freaking Syracuse again, like they did last year.

3. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

Predicted finish: 8-4

Nothing makes sense when you are talking about Georgia Tech. They are located in Atlanta, which is  a great recruiting spot, yet they rarely get any of the top players.  In a world of passing offenses, they are still running the triple option. And opposing teams dread seeing the Yellow Jackets on the schedule, yet they usually end up beating them.

4. Pittsburgh Panthers

Predicted finish: 6-6

The Panthers have the distinction of beating both Penn State, and Clemson in 2016. They finished the season with an 8-5 record, and went to a bowl game. So, how will they follow up such a surprising season? Most likely, by returning to reality.

5. North Carolina Tar Heels

Predicted finish:6-6

Head coach Larry Fedora has done a nice job of making the Tar Heels a solid contender each year, but there may be too many questions this season. Can the offense find enough play-makers? Can the defense provide any spark? And when in the world are the NCAA sanctions going to rain hell on all of the UNC sports programs?

6. Virginia Cavaliers

Predicted finish: 5-7

Last year, Bronco Mendenhall came to Charlottesville from BYU, where he had annually produced solid teams that went to bowl games. He moved to Virginia, in hopes of finding a new challenge with the Cavaliers, and then went 2-10 in his first season. Challenged yet?

7. Duke Blue Devils

Predicted finish: 4-8

Big surprise that a David Cutcliffe-offense should continue to be a dangerous unit in 2017. Unfortunately, the defense is going to struggle, and the overall toughness of this team might not be that high either. Sort of sounds like another Duke team, doesn’t it? Maybe one that got beat by South Carolina in the NCAA Basketball Tournament?

 

Coming on Saturday: The Daly Dose Sports Big 10 preview!