Tony DeMeo

2015 College Football Preview

The 2015 College Football Season is almost here & it looks to be as exciting as ever. The Playoffs were a huge success & really added to College Football. The fact is without the playoff system Ohio St. would never have been National Champs. This is how I see the 2015 season shaping up.

The Big 10 – as I said last year the Big 10 has made the greatest improvement as a conference over the past couple of years. This year that trend will continue.

1) Ohio State is LOADED. Urban Meyer has more weapons than The Navy Seals. They are so good a great QB Braxton Miller was moved to WR! Ezekial Elliot may be the best back in the USA. T.J. Barrett is a threat at QB as is Cardale Jones – Big Games: 10/17 vs PSU & 11/21 vs MSU

2) Penn State is young, talented & hungry a bad combo for rest of the Big 10. James Franklin has put together 2 great recruiting classes & has increased the team speed dramatically. Chris Hackenburg is a key guy but the O. Line will give him protection & a run game. The “D” will be PSU “D” – Big Games 10/17 vs OSU & 11/28 vs MSU

3) Michigan State plays hard – nosed “D” & a pounding “O” which is perfectly suited for Big 10 weather in November. Mark Dantonio is an underrated HC because he isn’t flashy but the Spartans will be a team to watch.

The ACC – as a conference may be overrated. Clemson never achieves what is predicted & Miami is permanent potential. UNC despite Ryan Switzer took a couple of steps backward. Two teams have a shot to the Final Four:

1) Florida State loses Winston at QB but has great talent returning. They have a GREAT O. Line coached by Rick Trickett that will be the key to their “O” But unless Jimbo gets a grip on team discipline FSU will start to decline.

2) Georgia Tech – By the end of 2014 they may have been a handful in the playoffs. If Paul Johnson can get off quickly they could take the ACC. Justin Thomas is the best QB PJ has had at Tech – he can read, run & pass – well. Big Game 10/24 vs FSU

The PAC 12 could be ripe for a shake-up in 2015. Some of the upstarts are catching up to the old guard.

1) Oregon – still loaded but are they moving away from The Chip Kelly Way? Royce Freeman is a force to be reckoned with at RB BUT NO MARCOS MARIOTA! They’ll have a talented QB but it won’t be the same. Also no Nick Aliota as a DC will be a factor in slipping from The Kelly Way. Big Game 11/4 vs Stanford who defends the Ducks well.

2) Arizona – Could surprise a lot of people this year. Rich Rod has increased their talent pool yearly & this could be a break out year. Scooby Wright is a treat to watch at LB. If the Cats can stay healthy they could be in the hunt for the PAC crown. Big Game 11/21 vs ASU

The Big 12 was a disappointment in a number of ways. No team underachieved more than Oklahoma. The Sooners really went downhill. As a conference other than their top 2 or 3 teams there does not seem much growth. There are exceptions.
1) TCU is loaded for bear. Gary Patterson has TCU as the power of the conference & a legit Final Four threat. They have Trevon Boykin back at QB & he can light it up. TCU always plays good “D” & this could be the year of the Frog. Big Game 11/27 vs Baylor

2) Baylor has strung together good seasons under Art Briles but an off season scandal could derail the Baylor program. Coaches can’t control players’ off field behavior but if they know a guy is a criminal then he better steer clear – it is as simple as that.

The SEC is still the premier conference in CFB however there is NO way they should ever have 2 teams in the Final Four. This year it’s who will challenge Bama? UGA always has a preseason All American TB & always underachieves. LSU could be a threat but last year was not LSU – they became a finesse team & the Tigers were kittens – if they go back to Tigers they could challenge.

1) Alabama – Nick Saban is at the top of the heap & the Tide will roll again. Watching the Tide play “D” is like watching The Rolling Stones rock out in their prime. They are a well- schooled unit. On “O” they have a bevy of great RBs to bludgeon defenses into the ground. Big Game 11/28 vs Auburn

2) Auburn – Gus Malzahn’s unorthodox offense is the kind of thing that causes Nick Saban’s Defense problems. You won’t beat The Tide with a conventional approach. Plus this year Wil Muschamp will add something to the Tiger Defense. Muschamp, a flop as a HC, is still an excellent DC. Big Game 11/28 vs Alabama

Others to Watch:
1) Marshall – Doc Holiday has done a great job building Marshall into a Top 2nd Tier Team. The Herd had a great year last season & has big Mo on their side.

2) Navy – Coach Ken maybe THE BEST option coach in America & he has Keenan Reynolds pulling the trigger. This adds up to another Commander in Chief Trophy for The Middies in 2015.

3) Air Force – Troy Calhoun has come from the Fischer DeBerry School of option football which is different from the other option teams. The Falcons have Nate Romine at QB & some talented skill.

4) Army – The second year of the Jeff Monken Era should see a lot of improvement. Monken’s Cadets were competitive versus most of their opponents & will close the gap even more in 2015

5) New Mexico – Bob Davie has brought the Option to New Mexico & the Lobos are competitive. Though not challenging for a title the Lobos are fun to watch & in every game.

This is how I see the 2015 College Football season shaking out. There will be upsets & surprises but this is a pretty good peek into my “Crystal Ball” – email me your thoughts & your picks – I’m very interested & we’ll compare at the end of the year.