DUSTIN JAMES’ 2013 COLLEGE FOOTBALL WRAP-UP!!!!!!

It’s that time of year again. The time of year when the leaves start to re-appear on trees, the sun comes out from behind the gray clouds, and football season disappears into the great abyss for another 9 months. Another fantastic season of college football has come to an end and considering I’m the resident “college football expert” (I use that term loosely) here at the “MAN CAVE”, I figured it was high time to take a look back at the season that was the 2013-14 college football season. This season was filled with lots of highs (the re-emergence of Florida State as a dominating program, Johnny Football ‘s encore act, and Auburn vs. Alabama) and lots of lows (Oregon losing to Arizona, the Florida Gators looking like a division-II team, and more), but looking back at everything, it was another successful and exciting year in the world of college football.

In this column, you will find the final standings for every team in division-I college football, how I did with my original predictions back in August (which can be read here on the MAN CAVE as well), and the players that I felt were the best players from each conference. You will also find a brief synopsis on the major conferences in college ball (sorry Mountain West, but you guys just barely missed the cut….) which is basically me just reviewing how each individual team did. Anyway, considering this column is exceptionally long and may take a while for you to read it all, let’s say we get to the goods already? Sounds good to me…….

SEC:

1. Auburn Tigers: 12-2 (7-1)
My Prediction: 5-7 (1-7)
Predicted Bowl Game: None
Actual Bowl Game: BCS Championship vs. Florida State (L)

2. Missouri Tigers: 12-2 (7-1)
My Prediction: 6-7 (2-6)
Predicted Bowl Game: Liberty Bowl vs. Tulsa
Actual Bowl Game: Cotton Bowl vs. Oklahoma State (W)

3. Alabama Crimson Tide: 11-2 (7-1)
My Prediction: 14-0 (9-0)
Predicted Bowl Game: BCS National Championship vs. Ohio State
Actual Bowl Game: Sugar Bowl vs. Oklahoma (L)

4. South Carolina Gamecocks: 11-2 (6-2)
My Prediction: 12-1 (7-1)
Predicted Bowl Game: Fiesta Bowl vs. Texas
Actual Bowl Game: Capital One Bowl vs. Wisconsin (W)

5. LSU Tigers: 10-3 (5-3)
My Prediction: 11-2 (6-2)
Predicted Bowl Game: Capital One Bowl vs. Wisconsin
Actual Bowl Game: Outback Bowl vs. Iowa (W)

6. Texas A&M Aggies: 9-4 (4-4)
My Prediction: 11-2 (6-2)
Predicted Bowl Game: Chick-Fil-A Bowl vs. Virginia Tech
Actual Bowl Game: Chick-Fil-A Bowl vs. Duke (W)

7. Vanderbilt Commodores: 9-4 (4-4)
My Prediction: 7-6 (2-6)
Predicted Bowl Game: Independence Bowl vs. Maryland
Actual Bowl Game: Compass Bowl vs. Houston (W)

8. Georgia Bulldogs: 8-5 (5-3)
My Prediction: 12-2 (8-1)
Predicted Bowl Game: Sugar Bowl vs. Florida State
Actual Bowl Game: Gator Bowl vs. Nebraska (L)

9. Ole Miss Rebels: 8-5 (3-5)
My Prediction: 8-5 (5-3)
Predicted Bowl Game: Outback Bowl vs. Nebraska
Actual Bowl Game: Music City Bowl vs. Georgia Tech (W)

10. Mississippi State Bulldogs: 7-6 (3-5)
My Prediction: 4-8 (1-7)
Predicted Bowl Game: No bowl game
Actual Bowl Game: Liberty Bowl vs. Rice (W)

11. Tennessee Volunteers: 5-7 (2-6)
My Prediction: 6-7 (3-5)
Predicted Bowl Game: Cotton Bowl vs. Oklahoma
Actual Bowl Game: None

12. Florida Gators: 4-8 (3-5)
My Prediction: 9-4 (5-3)
Predicted Bowl Game: Gator Bowl vs. Michigan State
Actual Bowl Game: None

13. Arkansas Razorbacks: 3-9 (0-8)
My Prediction: 7-6 (2-6)
Predicted Bowl Game: Music City Bowl vs. Wake Forest
Actual Bowl Game: None

14. Kentucky Wildcats: 2-10 (0-8)
My Prediction: 3-9 (0-8)
Predicted Bowl Game: None
Actual Bowl Game: None

CONFERENCE MVP’s:

Quarterbacks:
1. Johnny Manziel (TEXAS A&M)
2. Zach Mettenberger (LSU)
3. Aaron Murray (GEORGIA)
4. AJ McCarron (ALABAMA)
5. James Franklin (MISSOURI)

Running Backs:
1. Tre Mason (AUBURN)
2. TJ Yeldon (ALABAMA)
3. Jeremy Hill (LSU)
4. Rajion Neal (TENNESSEE)
5. Henry Josey (MISSOURI)

Wide Receivers:
1. Mike Evans (TEXAS A&M)
2. Jarvis Landry (LSU)
3. Jordan Matthews (VANDERBILT)
4. Odell Beckham (LSU)
5. Dorial Green-Beckham (MISSOURI)

Tight End:
1. Hunter Henry (ARKANSAS)
2. Arthur Lynch (GEORGIA)
3. Malcolm Johnson (MISSISSIPPI STATE)
4. Evan Engram (OLE MISS)
5. OJ Howard (ALABAMA)

Defensive Line:
1. Michael Sam (MISSOURI)
2. Kelcy Quarles (SOUTH CAROLINA)
3. Dee Ford (AUBURN)
4. Chris Smith (ARKANSAS)
5. Jadeveon Clowney (SOUTH CAROLINA)

Linebackers:
1. Leonard Floyd (GEORGIA)
2. Ronald Powell (FLORIDA)
3. Ramik Wilson (GEORGIA)
4. Jordan Jenkins (GEORGIA)
5. Adrian Hubbard (ALABAMA)

Defensive Backs:
1. Cody Prewitt (OLE MISS)
2. Nickoe Whitley (MISSISSIPPI STATE)
3. Kenny Ladler (VANDERBILT)
4. Jalen Mills (LSU)
5. E.J. Gaines (MISSOURI)

SEC Final Thoughts:

The SEC finishes off the “BCS Era” of college football as the best conference in college football. The dominance of the SEC during this “BCS Era” has been impressive and has reminded everyone that football really is different in the South (outside of breathing and eating, it’s the most important thing in the South). This year was no different as the Auburn Tigers came literally out of nowhere to take home the SEC title and the college football world by storm. What Auburn was able to pull off this year was absolutely incredible. After winning the National Title in 2010, Auburn hit a little bit of a rough patch. A year after winning the BCS title, they went 7-5 and followed that up with a 3-9 season that culminated in the firing of Gene Chizik. The Tigers brought back Gus Malzahn (offensive coordinator during Auburn’s BCS title run) and magic happened. After starting off the season slowly (Auburn almost lost at home to Washington State), the Tigers hit the gas and never looked back. It was definitely a magical season this year in Auburn and it’ll be interesting to see if Malzahn can do what Chizik was unable to do and sustain a winning football program. Something tells me he won’t have much trouble achieving this…….If you were shocked by what Auburn was able to do this year, than you should be amazed at what the Missouri Tigers were able to pull off. When Missouri entered the SEC last season, people scoffed at them. How was a team that had a hard time winning in the BIG 12 going to go into SEC territory and make any kind of noise? Well, they definitely made some noise this season. Missouri ended up going 12-2 and 7-1 in division games and were THIS close to taking home the SEC title in just their second year in the conference. It was an absolutely magical season for a team that was never supposed to amount to anything in the SEC. Unlike Auburn though, there are plenty of skeptics who think Missouri can sustain winning at a level like this in the SEC. I hope you enjoyed what you saw this year Tiger fans because I’m not sure we’ll be seeing you guys at the top of the SEC food chain again anytime soon…….Alabama was my pick to win the National Title this year, but Nick Saban and company came up just short of taking home another BCS Title trophy. It took a miraculous play by Auburn to knock Alabama out of the BCS title game, but Crimson Tide fans shouldn’t be too upset because they will once again be the favorites to win it all next season. Life sure does suck in Tuscaloosa……..South Carolina was about what we expected this year. We knew they were going to be talented, but we also knew they wouldn’t have the talent to win it all. They did finish off the season on a six-game winning streak that culminated with a win over Wisconsin in the Capital One Bowl though. The Cocks will return a crap ton of players on both sides of the ball next season and they could be the early favorites to win the SEC East…….At the beginning of the season, people were talking about LSU as a potential dark horse to win the National Title. They beat Auburn in week 4, but shit the bed the very next week against Georgia in what was a heart breaker for the Tigers. LSU did finish the season with a 10-3 record and that’s impressive for a team that was incredibly young on defense. They will lose QB Zach Mettenberger to the NFL next season and that will likely cause some bumps in the road for next year’s squad. Unfortunately for the rest of the SEC, that young LSU defense will be even more experienced next year and it wouldn’t shock me at all to see LSU as a favorite to win it all next year…….It was another successful year for Texas A&M and Johnny Football. The most recognizable name in college football got even more popular this year thanks to some scandals off the field and some incredible play on the field. Johnny Football is now headed to the NFL (where he will be a bust if he doesn’t learn to play better in the pocket and improve his throws by stop throwing off his back foot) and everyone is questioning where Texas A&M goes without Johnny. Something tells me the Aggies and Kevin Sumlin are likely headed to the SEC cellars (where they were supposed to be when they entered the SEC last season). Sumlin is one of my favorite coaches in college football and I hope he can continue his success at Texas A&M, but it’s going to be tough………Vanderbilt once again came out of nowhere and surprised the masses. Historically, Vanderbilt is an SEC whipping boy and they aren’t supposed to finish 9-4 in the conference, but head coach James Franklin has turned the Commodores into a relatively dangerous little team. Unfortunately for Vanderbilt, head coach James Franklin is taking his talents to Penn State and the Commodores are left having to re-build the skyscraper that Franklin designed. I hope you enjoyed the victories while you had them Vandy fans……..At the beginning of the season, the Georgia Bulldogs were a team that a lot of people considered to be BCS title-worthy. Unfortunately for Bulldogs fans, the team was decimated by injuries and playing arguably the toughest schedule in all of college football didn’t help matters either. It may have been a mediocre season in Georgia, but you have to give some credit to head coach Mark Richt for being able to pull out 8 wins with the schedule they played……..Ole Miss has been a team on the rise in the SEC for sometime now. A lot of experts though this could finally be the year that the Rebels got over the hump and challenged for the conference title. That didn’t happen though. It was another average year for Hugh Freeze and his team, but these guys are on my radar as a team that must be watched next season. They should be returning a crap ton of talent next year and THAT may finally be the season that Ole Miss gets over the hump in the conference……….The Mississippi State Bulldogs and head coach Dan Mullens were pretty much exactly what we thought they were. It was just another average season in Starkville and that trend will likely continue until Bulldogs fans get tired of just being “average” and demand that Mullens be fired. The life and times of a college football coach everybody…….Tennessee, Florida, Arkansas, and Kentucky are all going to act like this season never happened and are already anticipating next season’s arrival to help remove the hideous memories of 2013.

PAC 12:

1. Stanford Cardinal: 11-3 (7-2)
My Prediction: 11-2 (7-2)
Predicted Bowl Game: Holiday Bowl vs. Baylor
Actual Bowl Game: Rose Bowl vs. Michigan State (L)

2. Oregon Ducks: 11-2 (7-2)
My Prediction: 13-1 (9-1)
Predicted Bowl Game: Rose Bowl vs. Michigan
Actual Bowl Game: Alamo Bowl vs. Texas (W)

3. Arizona State Sun Devils: 10-4 (8-1)
My Prediction: 10-4 (7-3)
Predicted Bowl Game: Alamo Bowl vs. Oklahoma State
Actual Bowl Game: Holiday Bowl vs. Texas Tech (L)

4. UCLA Bruins: 10-3 (6-3)
My Prediction: 10-3 (6-3)
Predicted Bowl Game: Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl vs. BYU
Actual Bowl Game: Sun Bowl vs. Virginia Tech (W)

5. USC Trojans: 10-4 (6-3)
My Prediction: 12-2 (7-2)
Predicted Bowl Game: Sun Bowl vs. Duke
Actual Bowl Game: Las Vegas Bowl vs, Fresno State (W)

6. Washington Huskies: 9-4 (5-4)
My Prediction: 7-6 (4-5)
Predicted Bowl Game: Little Casear’s Pizza Bowl vs. Northern Illinois
Actual Bowl Game: Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl vs. BYU (W)

7. Arizona Wildcats: 8-5 (4-5)
My Prediction: 8-5 (5-4)
Predicted Bowl Game: New Mexico Bowl vs. San Diego State
Actual Bowl Game: AdvoCare Bowl vs. Boston College (W)

8. Oregon State Beavers: 7-6 (4-5)
My Prediction: 10-3 (6-3)
Predicted Bowl Game: Las Vegas Bowl vs. Fresno State
Actual Bowl Game: Hawaii Bowl vs. Boise State (W)

9. Washington State Cougars: 6-7 (4-5)
My Prediction: 2-10 (0-9)
Predicted Bowl Game: None
Actual Bowl Game: New Mexico Bowl vs. Colorado State (L)

10. Utah Utes: 5-7 (2-7)
My Prediction: 3-9 (1-8)
Predicted Bowl Game: No bowl game
Actual Bowl Game: None

11. Colorado Buffaloes: 4-8 (1-8)
My Prediction: 2-10 (0-9)
Predicted Bowl Game: No bowl game
Actual Bowl Game: None

12. California Golden Bears: 1-11 (0-9)
My Prediction: 3-9 (2-7)
Predicted Bowl Game: No bowl game
Actual Bowl Game: None

CONFERENCE MVP’s:

Quarterbacks:
1. Marcus Mariota (OREGON)
2. Sean Mannion (OREGON STATE)
3. Connor Halliday (WASHINGTON STATE)
4. Taylor Kelly (ARIZONA STATE)
5. Brett Hundley (UCLA)

Running Backs:
1. Bishop Sankey (WASHINGTON)
2. Ka’Deem Carey (ARIZONA)
3. Tyler Gaffney (STANFORD)
4. Byron Marshall (OREGON)
5. Marion Grice (ARIZONA STATE)

Wide Receivers:
1. Brandin Cooks (OREGON STATE)
2. Paul Richardson (COLORADO)
3. Josh Huff (OREGON)
4. Ty Montgomery (STANFORD)
5. Dres Anderson (UTAH)

Tight End:
1. Austin Seferian-Jenkins (WASHINGTON)
2. Jake Murphy (UTAH)
3. Chris Coyle (ARIZONA STATE)
4. Connor Hamlett (OREGON STATE)
5. Caleb Smith (OREGON STATE)

Defensive Line:
1. Will Sutton (ARIZONA STATE)
2. Hau’oli Kikaha (WASHINGTON)
3. Trevor Reilly (UTAH)
4. Davon Coleman (ARIZONA STATE)
5. Tony Washington (OREGON)

Linebackers:
1. Anthony Barr (UCLA)
2. Trent Murphy (STANFORD)
3. Carl Bradford (ARIZONA STATE)
4. Devon Kennard (USC)
5. Chris Young (ARIZONA STATE)

Defensive Backs:
1. Ifo Ekpre-Olomu (OREGON)
2. Rashaad Reynolds (OREGON STATE)
3. Marcus Peters (WASHINGTON)
4. Steven Nelson (OREGON STATE)
5. Terrance Mitchell (OREGON)

PAC-12 Final Thoughts:

In my opinion, the PAC-12 was the second strongest conference in college football this year, right behind the SEC. The PAC-12 only had 3 teams that weren’t bowl worthy this year and one of those teams (Utah) ended up defeating the best team in the conference earlier in the season. Speaking of the best team in the conference, the Stanford Cardinal once again took home the PAC-12 championship in what was another close race. For as good as Stanford has been the last few seasons, they have been wildly inconsistent and have played down towards their competition and it has hurt their chances of competing for a National title. It seems like Stanford’s main goal is to make sure the PAC-12’s other teams can never win a National title either. The Oregon Ducks have been National Title contenders these last two seasons, but Stanford has taken them out both times and have been unable to capitalize on beating the Ducks when they come out and lay an egg against teams like Utah. Say what you want about Stanford though. They are a well-coached team who’s smash-mouth style of football has taken the Cardinal to two straight PAC-12 titles. That’s not too shabby at all……..The Oregon Ducks were once again one of the best teams in the country, but their biggest problem this year was when QB Marcus Mariota got hurt with a knee injury, the offense stalled big-time. When Mariota was healthy, the Ducks were arguably one of the best teams in the Nation, but once he went down with a knee injury that prevented him from being able to make plays with his feet, the Ducks were too predictable on offense. The good news for Ducks fans is that Mariota decided to return to school instead of heading to the NFL Draft where he had a great chance at being the #1 overall selection. Mariota’s return gives Oregon a top 5 team next season and makes them a favorite to win the National Championship in Mark Helfrich’s second season as head coach……..I picked the Arizona State Sun Devils to win the PAC-12 South and they didn’t let me down. The team was fun to watch on offense, but left you scratching your head at times on the defensive side of the ball (you know your defense is awful when you allow Stanford to score 42 points on you one game and 38 points the next). The good news for Sun Devils fans is that the team did improve in Todd Graham’s second season and if they continue that trend they could be a dark horse team to win the PAC-12 next season……….UCLA Bruins continue to improve under head coach Jim Mora. In just his second-season as Bruins head coach, Mora led the team to a 10-3 finish and with QB Brett Hundley coming back next season, UCLA will field a genuine potential National Championship contender. There’s a reason Mora turned down the head coaching job at the University of Texas (a move that shocked a lot of people). It’s because he’s sitting on something special in Los Angeles………This year was the pure definition of an “up-and-down” season for the USC Trojans. When the year started, head coach Lane Kiffin was on a semi-hot hot seat and needed to produce results to get all the haters off his back. Well, by the time October rolled around, Kiffin was unemployed and the Trojans were left looking for a new head coach. Enter Ed Orgeron who took over the head coaching duties and lit a fire under his player’s asses. Once Orgeron took over for Kiffin, the Trojans went 7-2 and Orgeron became a hero in Southern California. Unfortunately for him, it still wasn’t good enough for him to be named the permanent head coach at USC and now the Trojans will start a new era under Steve Sarkisian. Can Sarkisian bring National Championship dreams back to Los Angeles? Time will tell…….Speaking of Steve Sarkisian, the former Washington Huskies coach took the USC job after another mediocre season up in Seattle. Even though Sark made the Huskies a better team than they were before he got there, he just couldn’t beat any of the big teams in the PAC-12 and that happened once again this season. The Huskies were 0-4 against teams that finished ahead of them in the PAC-12 rankings. Sarkisian went 0-5 against the Oregon Ducks during his time as head coach of the Huskies and apparently that impressed the USC Trojans enough for them to hand the reigns of their team over to him. The Huskies will now have to rely on former Boise State head coach Chris Peterson to try and get the Huskies back up to the top of the PAC-12 or at the very least, get a win or two over those pesky Ducks. It’s a new era in Seattle and it’s much needed……….The Arizona Wildcats were another “up-and-down” team in the PAC-12. The Wildcats shocked the world when they pulled off an upset against Oregon, but they also came up short against the other top dogs in the PAC-12. The team did show some improvement though in Rich Rod’s second year in Tempe and anytime you can beat a team like the Ducks as handily as the Wildcats did, your fan base’s expectations start to go up. Arizona will be expected to compete for a PAC-12 title next season and if Rich Rod can’t improve on the 8 wins he’s reached these last two seasons, the Wildcats fan base may start to get a little uneasy………The Oregon State Beavers were expected to be a top team in the PAC-12 this season, but expectations quickly changed when they got beat by a Division-II team in Eastern Washington in the first week of the season. Beavers fans immediately panicked and expectations went from a potential PAC-12 title to just making a bowl game. The Beavers then rallied off six straight wins to ease those pains and make the Beavers bowl worthy. Unfortunately, the Beavs then lost 5 games in a row (all against the PAC-12’s top teams) and now everyone is left wondering whether or not the team would be better off if they let head coach Mike Riley go and got a new fresh face in his place. I’m not a Beavers fan by any means, but if they have another season like this one next year, I wouldn’t be against them making a move at the head coach position………It was an interesting year for the Washington State Cougars. The Cougs started off the season by almost beating Auburn in the first week of the season and beating USC the very next week. That raised expectations a little and those expectations were met when the Cougs made their first bowl game since 2003. Head coach Mike Leach will now have to live with the horror of trying to get the Cougars to a bowl game every season. A feat that’s much harder to achieve than anyone thinks………Utah, Colorado, and California were all cellar dwellers in the PAC-12 and things don’t look to be improving anytime soon.

BIG 12:

1. Baylor Bears: 11-2 (8-1)
My Prediction: 7-6 (4-5)
Predicted Bowl Game: Holiday Bowl vs. Stanford
Actual Bowl Game: Fiesta Bowl vs. UCF (L)

2. Oklahoma Sooners: 11-2 (7-2)
My Prediction: 11-2 (8-1)
Predicted Bowl Game: Cotton Bowl vs. Tennessee
Actual Bowl Game: Sugar Bowl vs. Alabama (W)

3. Oklahoma State Cowboys: 10-3 (7-2)
My Prediction: 11-2 (7-2)
Predicted Bowl Game: Alamo Bowl vs. Arizona State
Actual Bowl Game: Cotton Bowl vs. Missouri (L)

4. Texas Longhorns: 8-5 (7-2)
My Prediction: 11-2 (8-1)
Predicted Bowl Game: Fiesta Bowl vs. South Carolina
Actual Bowl Game: Alamo Bowl vs. Oregon (L)

5. Kansas State Wildcats: 8-5 (5-4)
My Prediction: 9-4 (5-4)
Predicted Bowl Game: Texas Bowl vs. Indiana
Actual Bowl Game: Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl vs. Michigan (W)

6. Texas Tech Red Raiders: 8-5 (4-5)
My Prediction: 7-6 (3-6)
Predicted Bowl Game: Pinstripe Bowl vs. Houston
Actual Bowl Game: Holiday Bowl vs. Arizona State (W)

7. West Virginia Mountaineers: 4-8 (2-7)
My Prediction: 5-7 (2-7)
Predicted Bowl Game: No bowl game
Actual Bowl Game: None

8. TCU Horned Frogs: 4-8 (2-7)
My Prediction: 9-4 (6-3)
Predicted Bowl Game: Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl vs. Northwestern
Actual Bowl Game: None

9. Iowa State Cyclones: 3-9 (2-7)
My Prediction: 2-10 (1-8)
Predicted Bowl Game: No bowl game
Actual Bowl Game: None

10. Kansas Jayhawks: 3-9 (1-8)
My Prediction: 4-8 (1-8)
Predicted Bowl Game: No bowl game
Actual Bowl Game: None

CONFERENCE MVP’s:

Quarterbacks:
1. Bryce Petty (BAYLOR)
2. Blake Bell (OKLAHOMA)
3. Davis Webb (TEXAS TECH)
4. Jake Waters (KANSAS STATE)
5. Baker Mayfield (TEXAS TECH)

Running Backs:
1. Lache Seastrunk (BAYLOR)
2. Charles Sims (WEST VIRGINIA)
3. James Sims (KANSAS)
4. Desmond Roland (OKLAHOMA STATE)
5. John Hubert (KANSAS STATE)

Wide Receivers:
1. Antwan Goodley (BAYLOR)
2. Tyler Lockett (KANSAS STATE)
3. Eric Ward (TEXAS TECH)
4. Tevin Reese (BAYLOR)
5. Quenton Bundrage (IOWA STATE)

Tight End:
1. Jace Amaro (TEXAS TECH)
2. E.J. Bibbs (IOWA STATE)
3. Jimmay Mundine (KANSAS)
4. John Harris (TEXAS)
5. Zach Trujillo (KANSAS STATE)

Defensive Line:
1. Jackson Jeffcoat (TEXAS)
2. Ryan Mueller (KANSAS STATE)
3. Cedric Reed (TEXAS)
4. Chris McAlister (BAYLOR)
5. Will Clarke (WEST VIRGINIA)

Linebackers:
1. Caleb Lavey (OKLAHOMA STATE)
2. Eddie Lackey (BAYLOR)
3. Michael Reynolds (KANSAS)
4. Jeremiah George (IOWA STATE)
5. Nick Kwiatkoski (WEST VIRGINIA)

Defensive Backs:
1. Sam Carter (TCU)
2. Gabe Lynn (OKLAHOMA)
3. Darwin Cook (WEST VIRGINIA)
4. Chris Hackett (TCU)
5. Ty Zimmerman (KANSAS STATE)

BIG-12 Final Thoughts:

It seems like before the season started, there was no general consensus as to who would win the BIG-12. Opinions were all over the place as to who the best team in the conference was and it looks like everyone was spot on, because here we are with the season officially done and no one still has any idea as to who the best team in the BIG-12 is. What we do know is that the Baylor Bears were able to walk away with the conference title, which was rather shocking to me considering I had Baylor finishing just barely above .500! Baylor were not only contenders to win the BIG-12 but they also became a dark horse to play for a BCS title until they met Oklahoma State in November and laid a massive egg. Baylor has quietly became one of the most exciting teams to watch in college football and it’s going to be fun to see if they can sustain this excitement under head coach Art Briles or whether or not they will come back down to Earth. The BIG-12 is wide open these days and the Baylor Bears are taking advantage of it……..The Oklahoma Sooners have had some down seasons under Bob Stoops these last few years. This year though, the Sooners returned to BCS form and shocked the world when they pounded Alabama in the Sugar Bowl. If it wasn’t for some horrible games against Baylor and Texas, Oklahoma would have played for a BCS title. How does a team smash Alabama in the Sugar Bowl but lose 12-41 to a non-physical team like Baylor? I don’t know, but I do know that the Sooners return a bunch of starters from this year’s team and that spells trouble for the rest of the BIG-12 next season. Watch out for these guys next year……..It must be tough to be a fan of the Oklahoma State Cowboys. It seems like every season, the Cowboys field a team that could win it all, only to come out and poop the bed against a team they should beat. Well, there was more of the same this season. Oklahoma State lost a close game to a non-bowl team in West Virginia back in September and people immediately started scratching their heads. It only got worse when the Cowboys rallied off 7 straight victories to push them back into contention for the BIG-12 title. However, that train stopped when they were bested by Oklahoma in a big rivalry game. Now head coach Mike Gundy is left having to replace a bunch of starters (7 starters on both sides of the ball were seniors this year) in what will likely be a re-building year next season…………What a year it was for the Texas Longhorns and head coach Mack Brown. Texas should always be in contention for a National Title, but that hasn’t happened these last few years under Brown as the team has vastly underperformed. This year was no different as the Longhorns went 8-5 and got the shit kicked out of them by the Oregon Ducks in the Alamo Bowl. All of this culminated with Mack Brown deciding to step down as Texas’ head coach after 16 years in Austin. The Longhorns are now bringing in Lousiville head coach Charlie Strong to help bring the Horns’ back to National relevancy. We have a sleeping giant in Austin, Texas that is getting a little restless. It’s only a matter of time before Texas is back at the big boys table in college football, and the sooner the Longhorns’ fans put this season in the rear-view, the happier they will be………..After last year’s incredible year, it was only natural that the Kansas State Wildcats took a step back. A year after missing the BCS title game by just THIS much, the Wildcats came back down to Earth. Even though K-State got to 8 wins, this season was extremely disappointing for fans in Manhattan, Kansas. The Wildcats’ season started off with an unfortunate loss to North Dakota State and things only got worse from there. As a matter of fact, K-State was 3-5 against teams with winning records and 5-0 against teams with losing records. Sometimes, it’s good to be the best of the worst and that’s what the Wildcats were this season………The Texas Tech Red Raiders had a very up-and-down season this year. New head coach Kliff Kingsbury (who I remember playing QB at Texas Tech like it was yesterday….a true sign that I’m getting old) led his team to 7 straight victories to start off the season, but then they hit a major road bump and ended up losing 5 of their last 6 games. They did make a bowl game though and ended up shocking the world when they crushed Arizona State. This could potentially be a team to look out for in the BIG-12 these next few seasons…….West Virginia, TCU, Iowa State, and Kansas are all slowly counting the clock towards next season so they can quickly put this one in the past.

BIG 10:

1. Michigan State Spartans: 13-1 (8-0)
My Prediction: 10-3 (7-1)
Predicted Bowl Game: Gator Bowl vs. Florida
Actual Bowl Game: Rose Bowl vs. Stanford (W)

2. Ohio State Buckeyes: 12-2 (8-1)
My Prediction: 13-1 (9-0)
Predicted Bowl Game: BCS Championship vs. Alabama
Actual Bowl Game: Orange Bowl vs. Clemson (L)

3. Wisconsin Badgers: 9-4 (6-2)
My Prediction: 10-2 (7-1)
Predicted Bowl Game: Capital One Bowl vs. LSU
Actual Bowl Game: Capital One Bowl vs. South Carolina (L)

4. Nebraska Cornhuskers: 9-4 (5-3)
My Prediction: 10-3 (7-1)
Predicted Bowl Game: Outback Bowl vs. Ole Miss
Actual Bowl Game: Gator Bowl vs. Georgia (W)

5. Iowa Hawkeyes: 8-5 (5-3)
My Prediction: 5-7 (2-6)
Predicted Bowl Game: No bowl game
Actual Bowl Game: Outback Bowl vs. LSU (L)

6. Minnesota Golden Gophers: 8-5 (4-4)
My Prediction: 4-8 (0-8)
Predicted Bowl Game: None
Actual Bowl Game: Texas Bowl vs. Syracuse (L)

7. Penn State Nittany Lions: 7-5 (4-4)
My Prediction: 8-4 (4-4)
Predicted Bowl Game: No bowl game
Actual Bowl Game: None

8. Michigan Wolverines: 7-6 (3-5)
My Prediction: 10-3 (7-2)
Predicted Bowl Game: Rose Bowl vs. Oregon
Actual Bowl Game: Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl vs. Kansas State (L)

9. Indiana Hoosiers: 5-7 (3-5)
My Prediction: 6-6 (3-5)
Predicted Bowl Game: Texas Bowl vs. Kansas State
Actual Bowl Game: None

10. Northwestern Wildcats: 5-7 (1-7)
My Prediction: 6-7 (2-6)
Predicted Bowl Game: Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl vs. TCU
Actual Bowl Game: None

11. Illinois Fighting Illini: 4-8 (1-7)
My Prediction: 2-10 (0-8)
Predicted Bowl Game: No bowl game
Actual Bowl Game: None

12. Purdue Boilermakers: 1-11 (0-8)
My Prediction: 3-9 (2-6)
Predicted Bowl Game: No bowl game
Actual Bowl Game: None

CONFERENCE MVP’s:

Quarterbacks:
1. Nathan Scheelhaase (ILLINOIS)
2. Devin Gardner (MICHIGAN)
3. Christian Hackenberg (PENN STATE)
4. Nate Sudfeld (INDIANA)
5. Connor Cook (MICHIGAN STATE)

Running Backs:
1. Carlos Hyde (OHIO STATE)
2. Jeremy Langford (MICHIGAN STATE)
3. Melvin Gordon (WISCONSIN)
4. Ameer Abdullah (NEBRASKA)
5. James White (WISCONSIN)

Wide Receivers:
1. Jeremy Gallon (MICHIGAN)
2. Allen Robinson (PENN STATE)
3. Cody Latimer (INDIANA)
4. Jared Abbrederis (WISCONSIN)
5. Shane Wynn (INDIANA)

Tight End:
1. Devin Funchess (MICHIGAN)
2. Jacob Pedersen (WISCONSIN)
3. Jeff Heuerman (OHIO STATE)
4. Maxx Williams (MINNESOTA)
5. Justin Sinz (PURDUE)

Defensive Line:
1. Randy Gregory (NEBRASKA)
2. Shilque Calhoun (MICHIGAN STATE)
3. Tyler Scott (NORTHWESTERN)
4. Noah Spence (OHIO STATE)
5. Theiren Cockran (MINNESOTA)

Linebackers:
1. James Morris (IOWA)
2. Dean Lowry (NORTHWESTERN)
3. Ryan Shazier (OHIO STATE)
4. Denicos Allen (MICHIGAN STATE)
5. Jonathan Brown (ILLINOIS)

Defensive Backs:
1. Blake Countess (MICHIGAN)
2. Ricardo Allen (PURDUE)
3. Ciante Evans (NEBRASKA)
4. Stanley Jean-Bapiste (NEBRASKA)
5. Raymon Taylor (MICHIGAN)

BIG-10 Final Thoughts:

Did anyone out there predict that the Michigan State Spartans would be as good as they were this season? Seriously, these guys were scary good. If it wasn’t for an unfortunate game against Notre Dame back in September that the Spartans lost by 4 points, these guys likely would have been playing Florida State for the BCS title and that would have been a much different game than it actually was. The Spartans had an incredible year on defense this season, not allowing more than 28 points scored in any game. This culminated in the Spartans meeting Stanford in the Rose Bowl and Michigan State securing their first Rose Bowl win since 1988. The big question is, can Michigan State sustain this success? The schedule is a little tricky next year (Spartans get to travel to Oregon), but if anyone can do it, it’s Mark D’Antonio and his guys………For most of the season, the Ohio State Buckeyes looked like one of the best teams in the Nation and easily one of the best teams in the BIG 10. The Buckeyes won their first 12 games and then ran into the juggernaut known as Michigan State in the BIG 10 title game and ended up losing their first game under head coach Urban Meyer. The Buckeyes still made the Orange Bowl (but came up short against Clemson), so I would say it was definitely a successful season in Columbus. The Buckeyes will lose a lot of talent on the offensive side of the ball next season, but as long as Urban Meyer is the head man at Ohio State, these guys will be National Title contenders………The Wisconsin Badgers were expected to challenge for the BIG 10 title under first year head coach Gary Andersen, and they did just that for the majority of the season. However, the Badgers were unable to get the job done against teams that people classified as “better than them” and they ended up losing at least 4 games for the second straight season………..Head coach Bo Pelini was underwhelmed during his time as head coach of the Nebraska Cornhuskers and fans in Lincoln are getting restless. There were talks late in the season about Nebraska potentially cutting Pelini loose following another season without a BIG 10 title, but those talks stalled after Nebraska beat Georgia in the Gator Bowl. I understand that fans in Lincoln are unhappy with a 9-win season, but the truth is, we live in a different world these days. The best college players just aren’t heading to Lincoln, Nebraska to play football anymore and the Cornhuskers are no longer a top program in college football. The quicker the fans realize this, the quicker expectations will get lowered and everyone will be happy with a 9-win season………..The Iowa Hawkeyes weren’t expected to do much this year, but they were able to muster up an 8-win season in the 15th year under head coach Kirk Ferentz. Now, we just wait and see if they can sustain this or if they’ll fall back down to Earth and return to barely being a bowl team like they have been the last few seasons………Speaking of teams with low expectations heading into the year, did anyone really see the Minnesota Golden Gophers having this type of season? I predicted the Golden Gophers to get to 4 wins, but they doubled that and made a bowl game for the second straight season. Head coach Jerry Kill has done an excellent job at getting this program turned around so far……….Year 2 of “SANCTION CITY” for the Penn State Nittany Lions went about as swimmingly as one would think. Head coach Bill O’Brien has done an excellent job at Penn State in the wake of the scandal that rocked the University, but he has taken his talents to the NFL and now the team is heading in a new direction. Say what you want about Penn State, but this team has overachieved tremendously, all things considered. It will be fun to see if they can sustain this under new head coach James Franklin……..The seat is getting warm for Brady Hoke and the Michigan Wolverines. When Hoke was hired, people were thinking it was only a matter of time before he brought Michigan back to National relevancy, but that has failed to happen thus far. I had the Wolverines making the Rose Bowl this year, but they severely underachieved and many people think it’s a coaching problem in Ann Arbor. Next year could be the last year for Hoke if he is unable to get Michigan to at least 10 wins and a victory over Ohio State………..The Indiana Hoosiers, Purdue Boilermakers, Northwestern Wildcats, and Illinois Fighting Illini are all happy to see this season end and are more than ready to put in the past and move on.

ACC:

1. Florida State Seminoles: 14-0 (9-0)
My Prediction: 11-2 (7-1)
Predicted Bowl Game: Sugar Bowl vs. Georgia
Actual Bowl Game: BCS Championship vs. Auburn (W)

2. Clemson Tigers: 11-2 (7-1)
My Prediction: 13-1 (9-0)
Predicted Bowl Game: Orange Bowl vs. Louisville
Actual Bowl Game: Orange Bowl vs. Ohio State (W)

3. Duke Blue Devils: 10-4 (6-2)
My Prediction: 6-7 (2-6)
Predicted Bowl Game: Sun Bowl vs. USC
Actual Bowl Game: Chick-Fil-A Bowl vs. Texas A&M (L)

4. Miami Hurricanes: 9-4 (5-3)
My Prediction: 10-3 (6-2)
Predicted Bowl Game: Belk Bowl vs. UCF
Actual Bowl Game: Russell Athletic Bowl vs. Louisville (L)

5. Virginia Tech Hokies: 8-5 (5-3)
My Prediction: 10-4 (7-2)
Predicted Bowl Game: Chick-Fil-A Bowl vs. Texas A&M
Actual Bowl Game: Sun Bowl vs. UCLA (L)

6. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets: 7-6 (5-3)
My Prediction: 5-7 (4-4)
Predicted Bowl Game: No bowl game
Actual Bowl Game: Music City Bowl vs. Ole Miss (L)

7. Boston College Golden Eagles: 7-6 (4-4)
My Prediction: 4-8 (1-7)
Predicted Bowl Game: None
Actual Bowl Game: AdvoCare Bowl vs. Arizona (L)

7. North Carolina Tar Heels: 7-6 (4-4)
My Prediction: 10-3 (6-2)
Predicted Bowl Game: Russell Athletic Bowl vs. Cincinnati
Actual Bowl Game: Belk Bowl vs. Cincinnati (W)

7. Syracuse Orange: 7-6 (4-4)
My Prediction: 4-8 (2-6)
Predicted Bowl Game: No bowl game
Actual Bowl Game: Texas Bowl vs. Minnesota (W)

10. Maryland Terrapins: 7-6 (3-5)
My Prediction: 6-7 (3-5)
Predicted Bowl Game: Independence Bowl vs. Vanderbilt
Actual Bowl Game: Military Bowl vs. Marshall (L)

11. Pittsburgh Panthers: 7-6 (3-5)
My Prediction: 4-8 (1-7)
Predicted Bowl Game: No bowl game
Actual Bowl Game: Little Caesars Bowl vs. Bowling Green (W)

12. Wake Forest Demon Deacons: 4-8 (2-6)
My Prediction: 8-5 (5-3)
Predicted Bowl Game: Music City Bowl vs. Arkansas
Actual Bowl Game: None

13. N.C. State Wolfpack: 3-9 (0-8)
My Prediction: 7-6 (2-6)
Predicted Bowl Game: Military Bowl vs. Louisiana Tech
Actual Bowl Game: None

14. Virginia Cavaliers: 2-10 (0-8)
My Prediction: 4-8 (2-6)
Predicted Bowl Game: No bowl game
Actual Bowl Game: None

CONFERENCE MVP’s:

Quarterbacks:
1. Jameis Winston (FLORIDA STATE)
2. Tajh Boyd (CLEMSON)
3. Tom Savage (PITTSBURGH)
4. Stephen Morris (MIAMI)
5. Logan Thomas (VIRGINIA TECH)

Running Backs:
1. Andre Williams (BOSTON COLLEGE)
2. Kevin Parks (VIRGINIA)
3. Devonta Freeman (FLORIDA STATE)
4. David Sims (GEORGIA TECH)
5. Jerome Smith (SYRACUSE)

Wide Receivers:
1. Sammy Watkins (CLEMSON)
2. Kelvin Benjamin (FLORIDA STATE)
3. Jamison Crowder (DUKE)
4. Rashad Greene (FLORIDA STATE)
5. Allen Hurns (MIAMI)

Tight End:
1. Eric Ebron (NORTH CAROLINA)
2. Nick O’Leary (FLORIDA STATE)
3. Braxton Deaver (DUKE)
4. Manasseh Garner (PITTSBURGH)
5. Clive Walford (MIAMI)

Defensive Line:
1. Jeremiah Attaochu (GEORGIA TECH)
2. Vic Beasley (CLEMSON)
3. Kareem Martin (NORTH CAROLINA)
4. Aaron Donald (PITTSBURGH)
5. Kasim Edebali (BOSTON COLLEGE)

Linebackers:
1. Marcus Whitfield (MARYLAND)
2. Kevin Pierre-Louis (BOSTON COLLEGE)
3. Norkeithus Otis (NORTH CAROLINA)
4. Lamarcus Joyner (FLORIDA STATE)
5. Tyriq McCord (MIAMI)

Defensive Backs:
1. Anthony Harris (VIRGINIA)
2. Kendall Fuller (VIRGINIA TECH)
3. Brandon Facyson (VIRGINIA TECH)
4. Nate Andrews (FLORIDA STATE)
5. Bashaud Breeland (CLEMSON)

ACC Final Thoughts:

Having butt loads of NFL talent every year finally paid off in a big way for the Florida State Seminoles. The Seminoles rode one of the most talented teams I’ve ever seen and a red-hot freshman quarterback all the way to their first National Championship win in years. How impressive was Florida State as a team this year? Well, only two teams scored more than 30 points against their defense (Auburn and Boston College) and all the none of the other teams scored more than 17 points! Not only was the Seminoles defense off the chains this year, but the offense was scoring points with rapid fire thanks to Jameis Winston, Devonta Freeman, and Kelvin Benjamin. The real test starts now for Florida State and Jimbo Fisher though. They will have a target on their backs next season and winning a National Championship gets a little tougher when the 4-team playoff system starts. One thing is for sure though. Florida State football is back and that spells trouble for the rest of the college football world……..The Clemson Tigers were my pre-season pick to win the ACC, but that’s only because I thought they had the most talented team in the ACC thanks to the magnificent duo of Tajh Boyd and Sammy Watkins. Unfortunately for them, they ran into the juggernaut known as Florida State this year and once again “Clemson’ed” their way out of the National Title picture. They were still able to finish off the year strong with a win over Ohio State in the Orange Bowl, but the road ahead will be difficult as head coach Dabo Swinney is left having to reload the team, especially on offense. Clemson may want to get used to staring up at Florida State because next year could be a long season for the Tigers……..Did anyone call the Duke Blue Devils finishing the season with 10 wins and as the third best team in the ACC? If you say you did, shut the hell up because you’re a damn dirty liar. Duke was one of the biggest surprises in college football this year. Head coach David Cutcliffe has done a wonderful job turning the Blue Devils fortunes around as Duke made their second straight bowl game for the first time in over 50+ years! I don’t think Duke is really getting the respect they deserve for what they were able to pull off this season. This is a historically BAD football program that looks like they could be legitmate contenders in the ACC again next season. What the hell is going on?……..The Miami Hurricanes started off the season red-hot as they fired off 7 straight wins to begin the season and entered the top 10 in the college football polls once again. Then the wheels fell off and the team wrecked….bad. I was one of the people who wasn’t sold on Miami as I thought the first half of their schedule was a cake walk and once the competition got a little tougher, Miami failed the test and completely proved me right. I don’t know what the future holds for the Hurricanes, but I can’t see them being a threat to Florida State and the top of the ACC anytime soon………..Eight wins in college football is usually a successful season, but not if you are a fan of the Virginia Tech Hokies. Virginia Tech fans expect their team to constantly be in the top 20 (if not the top 10) of the college football world and that hasn’t happened these last few seasons. This year was another down year for the Hokies and something tells me if head coach Frank Beamer comes out and loses again to teams like Maryland and Duke, Hokies fans may want to start thinking of a possible change in the head coach department………Georgia Tech, Boston College, North Carolina, Syracuse, Maryland, and Pittsburgh were all able to muster up 7 wins and become bowl-eligible this season. That’s perfect if your team’s goal is to achieve medicority……….Wake Forest, N.C. State, and Virginia are all acting like this season never happened because, well, you would to if you were a fan of any of these teams.

AMERICAN ATHLETIC:

1. UCF Knights: 12-1 (8-0)
My Prediction: 9-4 (7-1)
Predicted Bowl Game: Belk Bowl vs. Miami
Actual Bowl Game: Fiesta Bowl vs. Baylor (W)

2. Louisville Cardinals: 12-1 (7-1)
My Prediction: 11-2 (7-1)
Predicted Bowl Game: Orange Bowl vs. Clemson
Actual Bowl Game: Russell Athletic Bowl vs. Miami (FL) (W)

3. Cincinnati Bearcats: 9-4 (6-2)
My Prediction: 11-2 (7-1)
Predicted Bowl Game: Russell Athletic Bowl vs. North Carolina
Actual Bowl Game: Belk Bowl vs. North Carolina (L)

4. Houston Cougars: 8-5 (5-3)
My Prediction: 8-5 (5-3)
Predicted Bowl Game: Pinstripe Bowl vs. Texas Tech
Actual Bowl Game: Compass Bowl vs. Vanderbilt (L)

5. SMU Mustangs: 5-7 (4-4)
My Prediction: 7-6 (5-3)
Predicted Bowl Game: BBVA Compass Bowl vs. Air Force
Actual Bowl Game: None

6. Rutgers Scarlet Knights: 6-7 (3-5)
My Prediction: 5-7 (3-5)
Predicted Bowl Game: No bowl game
Actual Bowl Game: Pinstripe Bowl vs. Notre Dame (L)

7. Connecticut Huskies: 3-9 (3-5)
My Prediction: 5-7 (4-4)
Predicted Bowl Game: No bowl game
Actual Bowl Game: None

8. Memphis Tigers: 3-9 (1-7)
My Prediction: 4-8 (1-7)
Predicted Bowl Game: No bowl game
Actual Bowl Game: None

9. South Florida Bulls: 2-10 (2-6)
My Prediction: 3-9 (1-7)
Predicted Bowl Game: No bowl game
Actual Bowl Game: None

10. Temple Owls: 2-10 (1-7)
My Prediction: 3-9 (0-8)
Predicted Bowl Game: No bowl game
Actual Bowl Game: None

CONFERENCE MVP’s:

Quarterbacks:
1. Teddy Bridgewater (LOUISVILLE)
2. Blake Bortles (UCF)
3. Garrett Gilbert (SMU)
4. John O’Korn (HOUSTON)
5. Brendon Kay (CINCINNATI)

Running Backs:
1. Storm Johnson (UCF)
2. Paul James (RUTGERS)
3. Brandon Hayes (MEMPHIS)
4. Dominique Brown (LOUISVILLE)
5. Kenneth Harper (TEMPLE)

Wide Receivers:
1. Deontay Greenberry (HOUSTON)
2. Keenan Holman (SMU)
3. Jeremy Johnson (SMU)
4. Robbie Anderson (TEMPLE)
5. DeVante Parker (LOUISVILLE)

Tight End:
1. Tyler Kroft (RUTGERS)
2. Gerald Christian (LOUISVILLE)
3. Mike McFarland (MEMPHIS)
4. Blake Annen (CINCINNATI)
5. Alan Cross (MEMPHIS)

Defensive Line:
1. Marcus Smith (LOUISVILLE)
2. Martin Ifedi (MEMPHIS)
3. Lorenzo Mauldin (LOUISVILLE)
4. Silverberry Mouhon (CINCINNATI)
5. Beau Barnes (SMU)

Linebackers:
1. Derrick Mathews (HOUSTON)
2. Jonathan Yenga (SMU)
3. Nick Temple (CINCINNATI)
4. Yawin Smallwood (UCONN)
5. Stephon Sanders (SMU)

Defensive Backs:
1. Bobby McCain (MEMPHIS)
2. Charles Gaines (LOUISVILLE)
3. Terell Floyd (LOUISVILLE)
4. Adrian McDonald (HOUSTON)
5. Zachary McMillian (HOUSTON)

AMERICAN ATHLETIC Final Thoughts:

This was the first year for the American Athletic division and what a year it was. With the Big East gone forever, the AA division needed to have a big year to show everyone that they are just as good as the other big boys in college football (SEC, PAC-12, BIG-12, etc). Unfortunately that didn’t really happen. Even though the UCF Knights and head coach George O’Leary had a fantastic year, the rest of the division (outside of Louisville) was filled with disappointment. Kudos to UCF though. The Knights had arguably their best season ever getting to 12 wins and capping it all off with a huge win against Baylor in the Fiesta Bowl. If it wasn’t for a loss to South Carolina (by 3 points no less) than the Knights very well could have snuck into the BCS Title game. O’Leary has done an excellent job of making UCF into a sleeping powerhouse in college football and it will be interesting to see where they go from here………..The Louisville Cardinals had arguably the most talented quarterback in the country on their roster and a lot of people thought they could ride Teddy Bridgewater all the way to a potential BCS bowl. Well, they were close. If it wasn’t for a 3-point loss to UCF back in October, Louisville very well could have snuck into the BCS Title game (an undefeated AAC team over a one-loss SEC team would have been a good debate). Cardinals fans had to settle for stomping a mudhole through the Miami Hurricanes as a consolation prize. The competition gets tougher for Louisville next season as they join the ACC where teams like Florida State, Clemson, and Virginia Tech are waiting to welcome them with open arms. Something tells me they are going to miss Bridgewater and head coach Charlie Strong (who is headed to Texas) bad next season………..The Cincinnati Bearcats were my pre-season pick to win the AAC, and I was way off. Even though the Bearcats got to 9 wins, they lost games against teams they really should have beat. Head coach Tommy Tuberville’s team lost to Illinois back in September and that wasn’t even the teams worst loss. That came against the USF Bulls in October. The good news for the Bearcats is that the season is over and it’s now in the past. And with Louisville heading to the ACC, the Bearcats are positioned great to become the top dog in the conference for years to come……….The Houston Cougars had a mediocre season last year and barely missed making a bowl game, but that changed this season. The Cougars finished with 8 wins and made it to the Compass Bowl where they came up short against Vanderbilt. The Cougars did field a young team this season and should be much improved next year……….The Rutgers Scarlet Knights barely made a bowl game this season and it’s not going to get an easier for them anytime soon. Rutgers is taking their talents to the BIG-10 next season and if the Scarlet Knights thought winning a conference title in the AAC was tough, just wait. Head coach Kyle Flood will be lucky to make it out of next season with his job in tact. That may be a little harsh, but it’s the truth…………Fans of SMU, UConn, Memphis, USF, and Temple are all glad this season of misery has finally ended. Now that Louisville and Rutgers are leaving the conference, one of these teams may be able to step up and replace them.

MOUNTAIN WEST:

1. Fresno State Bulldogs: 11-2 (7-1)
My Prediction: 11-3 (7-2)
Predicted Bowl Game: Las Vegas Bowl vs. Oregon State
Actual Bowl Game: Las Vegas Bowl vs. USC (L)

2. Utah State Aggies: 9-5 (7-1)
My Prediction: 7-6 (6-2)
Predicted Bowl Game: Famous Idaho Potato Bowl vs. Bowling Green
Actual Bowl Game: Poinsettia Bowl vs. Northern Illinois (W)

3. San Diego State Aztecs: 8-5 (6-2)
My Prediction: 9-4 (6-2)
Predicted Bowl Game: New Mexico Bowl vs. Arizona
Actual Bowl Game: Famous Idaho Potato Bowl vs. Buffalo (W)

4. Boise State Broncos: 8-5 (6-2)
My Prediction: 11-3 (7-2)
Predicted Bowl Game: Poinsettia Bowl vs. Toledo
Actual Bowl Game: Hawaii Bowl vs. Oregon State (L)

5. Colorado State Rams: 8-6 (5-3)
My Prediction: 9-5 (6-2)
Predicted Bowl Game: Armed Forces Bowl vs. Navy
Actual Bowl Game: New Mexico Bowl vs. Washington State (W)

6. UNLV Rebels: 7-6 (5-3)
My Prediction: 2-10 (0-8)
Predicted Bowl Game: No bowl game
Actual Bowl Game: Heart of Dallas Bowl vs. North Texas (L)

7. San Jose State Spartans: 6-6 (5-3)
My Prediction: 9-4 (6-2)
Predicted Bowl Game: Hawaii Bowl vs. East Carolina
Actual Bowl Game: None

8. Wyoming Cowboys: 5-7 (3-5)
My Prediction: 5-7 (2-6)
Predicted Bowl Game: No bowl game
Actual Bowl Game: None

9. Nevada Wolfpack: 4-8 (3-5)
My Prediction: 5-7 (4-4)
Predicted Bowl Game: No bowl game
Actual Bowl Game: None

10. New Mexico Lobos: 3-9 (1-7)
My Prediction: 4-8 (1-7)
Predicted Bowl Game: No bowl game
Actual Bowl Game: None

11. Air Force Falcons: 2-10 (0-8)
My Prediction: 6-7 (3-5)
Predicted Bowl Game: BBVA Compass Bowl vs. SMU
Actual Bowl Game: None

12. Hawaii Warriors: 1-11 (0-8)
My Prediction: 2-10 (1-7)
Predicted Bowl Game: No bowl game
Actual Bowl Game: None

CONFERENCE MVP’s:

Quarterbacks:
1. Derek Carr (FRESNO STATE)
2. David Fales (SAN JOSE STATE)
3. Brett Smith (WYOMING)
4. Garrett Grayson (COLORADO STATE)
5. Sean Schroeder (HAWAII)

Running Backs:
1. Kapri Bibbs (COLORADO STATE)
2. Jay Ajayi (BOISE STATE)
3. Tim Cornett (UNLV)
4. Adam Muema (SAN DIEGO STATE)
5. Joey DeMartino (UTAH STATE)

Wide Receivers:
1. Davante Adams (FRESNO STATE)
2. Chandler Jones (SAN JOSE STATE)
3. Devante Davis (UNLV)
4. Josh Harper (FRESNO STATE)
5. Matt Miller (BOISE STATE)

Tight End:
1. Kivon Cartwright (COLORADO STATE)
2. Crockett Gilmore (COLORADO STATE)
3. Clark Evans (HAWAII)
4. Billy Freeman (SAN JOSE STATE)
5. Marcel Jensen (FRESNO STATE)

Defensive Line:
1. Demarcus Lawrence (BOISE STATE)
2. Brock Hekking (NEVADA)
3. Eddie Yarbrough (WYOMING)
4. Brett Bowers (NEW MEXICO)
5. Beau Yap (HAWAII)

Linebackers:
1. Shaquil Barrett (COLORADO STATE)
2. Ejiro Ederaine (FRESNO STATE)
3. Cory James (COLORADO STATE)
4. Nick Tenhaeff (SAN DIEGO STATE)
5. Kyler Fackrell (UTAH STATE)

Defensive Backs:
1. Derron Smith (FRESNO STATE)
2. Donte Deayon (BOISE STATE)
3. Bene Benwikere (SAN JOSE STATE)
4. Trent Matthews (COLORADO STATE)
5. Bryan Douglas (BOISE STATE)/Nevin Lawson (UTAH STATE)

CONFERENCE USA:

1. Rice Owls: 10-4 (7-1)
My Prediction: 8-5 (7-1)
Predicted Bowl Game: Beef O’Brady Bowl vs. Notre Dame
Actual Bowl Game: Liberty Bowl vs. Mississippi State (L)

2. Marshall Thundering Herd: 10-4 (7-1)
My Prediction: 10-4 (7-1)
Predicted Bowl Game: New Orleans Bowl vs. Louisiana-Lafayette
Actual Bowl Game: Military Bowl vs. Maryland (W)

3. East Carolina Pirates: 10-3 (6-2)
My Prediction: 8-5 (7-1)
Predicted Bowl Game: Hawaii Bowl vs. San Jose State
Actual Bowl Game: Beef O’Brady’s Bowl vs. Ohio (W)

4. North Texas Mean Green: 9-4 (6-2)
My Prediction: 4-8 (3-5)
Predicted Bowl Game: No bowl game
Actual Bowl Game: Heart of Dallas Bowl vs. UNLV (W)

5. Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders: 8-5 (6-2)
My Prediction: 3-9 (2-6)
Predicted Bowl Game: No bowl game
Actual Bowl Game: Armed Forces Bowl vs. Navy (L)

6. UTSA Roadrunners: 7-5 (6-2)
My Prediction: 0-12 (0-8)
Predicted Bowl Game: No bowl game
Actual Bowl Game: None

7. Tulane Green Wave: 7-6 (5-3)
My Prediction: 5-7 (3-5)
Predicted Bowl Game: No bowl game
Actual Bowl Game: New Orleans Bowl vs. Louisiana-Lafayette (L)

8. Florida Atlantic Owls: 6-6 (4-4)
My Prediction: 4-8 (3-5)
Predicted Bowl Game: No bowl game
Actual Bowl Game: None

9. Louisiana Tech Bulldogs: 4-8 (3-5)
My Prediction: 7-6 (5-3)
Predicted Bowl Game: Military Bowl vs. NC State
Actual Bowl Game: None

10. Tulsa Golden Hurricane: 3-9 (2-6)
My Prediction: 11-3 (8-1)
Predicted Bowl Game: Liberty Bowl vs. Missouri
Actual Bowl Game: None

11. UAB Blazers: 2-10 (1-7)
My Prediction: 7-6 (5-3)
Predicted Bowl Game: Heart of Dallas Bowl vs. Ohio
Actual Bowl Game: None

11. UTEP Miners: 2-10 (1-7)
My Prediction: 3-9 (2-6)
Predicted Bowl Game: No bowl game
Actual Bowl Game: None

13. Florida International Golden Panthers: 1-11 (1-7)
My Prediction: 2-10 (1-7)
Predicted Bowl Game: No bowl game
Actual Bowl Game: None

14. Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles: 1-11 (1-7)
My Prediction: 6-6 (5-3)
Predicted Bowl Game: No bowl game
Actual Bowl Game: None

CONFERENCE MVP’s:

Quarterbacks:
1. Shane Carden (EAST CAROLINA)
2. Rakeem Cato (MARSHALL)
3. Derek Thompson (NORTH TEXAS)
4. Taylor McHargue (RICE)
5. Logan Kilgore (MIDDLE TENNESSEE)

Running Backs:
1. Charles Ross (RICE)
2. Vintavious Cooper (EAST CAROLINA)
3. Trey Watts (TULSA)
4. Brandin Byrd (NORTH TEXAS)
5. Essray Taliaferro (MARSHALL)

Wide Receivers:
1. Justin Hardy (EAST CAROLINA)
2. Tommy Shuler (MARSHALL)
3. Ryan Grant (TULANE)
4. Jamarcus Nelson (UAB)
5. Jordan Taylor (RICE)

Tight End:
1. Gator Hoskins (MARSHALL)
2. Jonnu Smith (FIU)
3. Nexon Dorvilus (FAU)
4. Kennard Backman (UAB)
5. Eric Tomlinson (UTEP)

Defensive Line:
1. IK Enemkpali (LOUISIANA TECH)
2. Cory Henry (FAU)
3. Aaron Bellazin (NORTH TEXAS)
4. Terrell Stanley (EAST CAROLINA)
5. Derrick Alexander (TULSA)/Royce LaFrance (TULANE)

Linebackers:
1. Shawn Jackson (TULSA)
2. Derrell Johnson (EAST CAROLINA)
3. Montese Overton (EAST CAROLINA)
4. Leighton Gasque (MIDDLE TENNESSEE)
5. T.T. Barber (MIDDLE TENNESSEE)

Defensive Backs:
1. Lorenzo Doss (TULANE)
2. D’Joun Smith (FAU)
3. Kevin Byard (MIDDLE TENNESSEE)
4. Marcus Trice (NORTH TEXAS)
5. Damon Magazu (EAST CAROLINA)

INDEPENDENTS:

1. Notre Dame Fighting Irish: 9-4
My Prediction: 9-4
Predicted Bowl Game: Beef O’Brady Bowl vs. Rice
Actual Bowl Game: Pinstripe Bowl vs. Rutgers (W)

2. Navy Midshipmen: 9-4
My Prediction: 5-7
Predicted Bowl Game: No bowl game
Actual Bowl Game: Armed Forces Bowl vs. Middle Tennessee (W)

3. BYU Cougars: 8-5
My Prediction: 8-5
Predicted Bowl Game: Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl vs. UCLA
Actual Bowl Game: Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl vs. Washington (L)

4. Old Dominion Monarchs: 8-4
My Prediction: 7-5
Predicted Bowl Game: Not bowl-eligible
Actual Bowl Game: Not bowl-eligible

5. Army Black Knights: 3-9
My Prediction: 3-9
Predicted Bowl Game: No bowl game
Actual Bowl Game: No bowl game

6. New Mexico State Aggies: 2-10
My Prediction: 2-10
Predicted Bowl Game: No bowl game
Actual Bowl Game: None

7. Idaho Vandals: 1-11
My Prediction: 2-10
Predicted Bowl Game: No bowl game
Actual Bowl Game: None

CONFERENCE MVP’s:

Quarterbacks:
1. Tommy Rees (NOTRE DAME)
2. Keenan Reynolds (NAVY)
3. Taysom Hill (BYU)
4. Andrew McDonald (NEW MEXICO STATE)
5. Taylor Davis (IDAHO)

Running Backs:
1. Jamaal Williams (BYU)
2. Terry Baggett (ARMY)
3. Larry Dixon (ARMY)
4. Cam McDaniel (NOTRE DAME)
5. James Baker (IDAHO)

Wide Receivers:
1. TJ Jones (NOTRE DAME)
2. Dezmon Epps (IDAHO)
3. DeVaris Daniels (NOTRE DAME)
4. Cody Hoffman (BYU)
5. Austin Franklin (NEW MEXICO STATE)

Tight End:
1. Troy Niklas (NOTRE DAME)
2. Ben Koyack (NOTRE DAME)
3. Michael LaGrone (IDAHO)
4. Kaneakue Friel (BYU)
5. Andrew Dean (NEW MEXICO STATE)

Defensive Line:
1. Stephon Tuitt (NOTRE DAME)
2. QuayShawne Buckley (IDAHO)
3. Bronson Kaufusi (BYU)
4. Maxx Forde (IDAHO)
5. Remington Peck (BYU)/Robert Kough (ARMY)

Linebackers:
1. Kyle Van Noy (BYU)
2. Alani Fua (BYU)
3. Prince Shembo (NOTRE DAME)
4. Marc Millan (IDAHO)
5. Manoa Pikula (BYU)/Trashaun Nixon (NEW MEXICO STATE)

Defensive Backs:
1. Bennett Jackson (NOTRE DAME)
2. Trey Williams (IDAHO)
3. Parrish Gaines (NAVY)
4. Brendon Clements (NAVY)
5. Matthias Farley (NOTRE DAME)

MAC:

1. Northern Illinois Huskies: 12-2 (8-0)
My Prediction: 11-2 (6-2)
Predicted Bowl Game: Little Caesar’s Pizza Bowl vs. Washington
Actual Bowl Game: Poinsettia Bowl vs. Utah State (L)

2. Bowling Green Falcons: 10-4 (7-1)
My Prediction: 10-4 (6-2)
Predicted Bowl Game: Famous Idaho Potato Bowl vs. Utah State
Actual Bowl Game: Little Caesar’s Bowl vs. Pittsburgh (L)

3. Ball State Cardinals: 10-3 (7-1)
My Prediction: 12-2 (8-1)
Predicted Bowl Game: GoDaddy.com Bowl vs. Louisiana-Monroe
Actual Bowl Game: GoDaddy.com Bowl vs. Arkansas State (L)

4. Buffalo Bulls: 8-5 (6-2)
My Prediction: 6-6 (4-4)
Predicted Bowl Game: No bowl game
Actual Bowl Game: Famous Idaho Potato Bowl vs. San Diego State (L)

5. Toledo Rockets: 7-5 (5-3)
My Prediction: 8-5 (6-2)
Predicted Bowl Game: Poinsetta Bowl vs. Boise State
Actual Bowl Game: None

6. Ohio Bobcats: 7-6 (4-4)
My Prediction: 10-3 (6-2)
Predicted Bowl Game: Heart of Dallas Bowl vs. UAB
Actual Bowl Game: Beef O’ Brady’s Bowl vs. East Carolina (L)

7. Central Michigan Chippewas: 6-6 (5-3)
My Prediction: 3-9 (2-6)
Predicted Bowl Game: No bowl game
Actual Bowl Game: None

8. Akron Zips: 5-7 (4-4)
My Prediction: 3-9 (1-7)
Predicted Bowl Game: No bowl game
Actual Bowl Game: None

9. Kent State Golden Flashes: 4-8 (3-5)
My Prediction: 6-6 (4-4)
Predicted Bowl Game: No bowl game
Actual Bowl Game: None

10. Eastern Michigan Eagles: 2-10 (1-7)
My Prediction: 1-11 (0-8)
Predicted Bowl Game: No bowl game
Actual Bowl Game: None

11. Western Michigan Broncos: 1-11 (1-7)
My Prediction: 6-6 (5-3)
Predicted Bowl Game: No bowl game
Actual Bowl Game: None

12. Massachusetts Minutemen: 1-11 (1-7)
My Prediction: 1-11 (0-8)
Predicted Bowl Game: No bowl game
Actual Bowl Game: None

13. Miami (OH) Redhawks: 0-12 (0-8)
My Prediction: 3-9 (3-5)
Predicted Bowl Game: No bowl game
Actual Bowl Game: None

CONFERENCE MVP’s:

Quarterbacks:
1. Jordan Lynch (NORTHERN ILLINOIS)
2. Keith Wenning (BALL STATE)
3. Matt Johnson (BOWLING GREEN)
4. Joe Licata (BUFFALO)
5. Tyler Tettleton (OHIO)

Running Backs:
1. Branden Oliver (BUFFALO)
2. Travis Greene (BOWLING GREEN)
3. David Fluellen (TOLEDO)
4. Jahwan Edwards (BALL STATE)
5. Cameron Stingily (NORTHERN ILLINOIS)

Wide Receivers:
1. Willie Snead (BALL STATE)
2. Alex Neutz (BUFFALO)
3. Jordan Williams (BALL STATE)
4. Titus Davis (CENTRAL MICHIGAN)
5. Donte Foster (OHIO)

Tight End:
1. Tyreese Russell (EASTERN MICHIGAN)
2. Alex Bayer (BOWLING GREEN)
3. Casey Pierce (KENT STATE)
4. Rob Blanchflower (UMASS)
5. Zane Fakes (BALL STATE)

Defensive Line:
1. Jayrone Elliott (TOLEDO)
2. Jonathan Newsome (BALL STATE)
3. Tarell Basham (OHIO)
4. Ted Ouellet (BOWLING GREEN)
5. Nico Caponi (AKRON)

Linebackers:
1. Khalil Mack (BUFFALO)
2. Justin Cherocci (CENTRAL MICHIGAN)
3. Chase Murdock (TOLEDO)
4. Kenneth Lee (BALL STATE)
5. Justin March (AKRON)

Defensive Backs:
1. Jimmie Ward (NORTHERN ILLINOIS)
2. Jeffery Garrett (BALL STATE)
3. Travis Carrie (OHIO)
4. Xavier Hughes (OHIO)
5. Thad Ingol (OHIO)/Justin Currie (WESTERN MICHIGAN)

SUNBELT:

1. Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin Cajuns: 9-4 (5-2)
My Prediction: 8-5 (6-1)
Predicted Bowl Game: New Orleans Bowl vs. Marshall
Actual Bowl Game: New Orleans Bowl vs. Tulane (W)

2. Arkansas State Red Wolves: 8-5 (5-2)
My Prediction: 6-6 (4-3)
Predicted Bowl Game: No bowl game
Actual Bowl Game: GoDaddy.com Bowl vs. Ball State (W)

3. Western Kentucky Hilltoppers: 8-4 (4-3)
My Prediction: 7-5 (6-1)
Predicted Bowl Game: No bowl game
Actual Bowl Game: None

4. ULM Warhawks: 6-6 (4-3)
My Prediction: 8-5 (6-1)
Predicted Bowl Game: GoDaddy.com Bowl vs. Ball State
Actual Bowl Game: None

4. Troy Trojans: 6-6 (4-3)
My Prediction: 4-8 (3-4)
Predicted Bowl Game: No bowl game
Actual Bowl Game: None

4. South Alabama Jaguars: 6-6 (4-3)
My Prediction: 2-10 (1-6)
Predicted Bowl Game: No bowl game
Actual Bowl Game: None

7. Texas State Bobcats: 6-6 (2-5)
My Prediction: 3-9 (3-4)
Predicted Bowl Game: No bowl game
Actual Bowl Game: None

8. Georgia State Panthers: 0-12 (0-7)
My Prediction: 3-9 (0-7)
Predicted Bowl Game: No bowl game
Actual Bowl Game: None

CONFERENCE MVP’s:

Quarterbacks:
1. Corey Robinson (TROY)
2. Kolton Browning (LOUISIANA-MONROE)
3. Terrance Broadway (LOUISIANA-LAFAYETTE)
4. Ross Metheny (SOUTHERN ALABAMA)
5. Brandon Doughty (WESTERN KENTUCKY)

Running Backs:
1. Antonio Andrews (WESTERN KENTUCKY)
2. Alonzo Harris (LOUISIANA-LAFAYETTE)
3. Robert Lowe (TEXAS STATE)
4. Elijah McGuire (LOUISIANA-LAFAYETTE)
5. Michael Gordon (ARKANSAS STATE)

Wide Receivers:
1. Eric Thomas (TROY)
2. Jamal Robinson (LOUISIANA-LAFAYETTE)
3. Rashon Ceaser (LOUISIANA-MONROE)
4. Shavarez Smith (SOUTHERN ALABAMA)
5. Bryan Holmes (TROY)

Tight End:
1. Wes Sexton (SOUTHERN ALABAMA)
2. Darion Griswold (ARKANSAS STATE)
3. Mitchell Henry (WESTERN KENTUCKY)
4. Bradley Miller (TEXAS STATE)
5. Jacob Maxwell (LOUISIANA-LAFAYETTE)

Defensive Line:
1. Alex Page (SOUTHERN ALABAMA)
2. Romelle Jones (SOUTHERN ALABAMA)
3. Tyler Roberts (TROY)
4. Pat Moore (SOUTHERN ALABAMA)
5. Ryan Carrethers (ARKANSAS STATE)/Montavious Williams (SOUTHERN ALABAMA)/Justin Hamilton (LOUISIANA-LAFAYETTE)/Antonio Gillespie (TROY)

Linebackers:
1. Xavius Boyd (WESTERN KENTUCKY)
2. Bar’ee Boyd (WESTERN KENTUCKY)
3. Michael Orakpo (TEXAS STATE)
4. Cameron Blake (LOUISIANA-MONROE)
5. David Mayo (TEXAS STATE)

Defensive Backs:
1. Cam Thomas (WESTERN KENTUCKY)
2. Isaiah Newsome (LOUISIANA-MONROE)
3. Tyree Robinson (WESTERN KENTUCKY)
4. Justin Iwuji (TEXAS STATE)
5. Arius Wright (WESTERN KENTUCKY)

And that’s that! Once again, I would like to thank all the readers at the MAN CAVE for taking some time and reading this column. Another college football season is in the books and as much as I hate to see it go, it will be great to welcome it back come August. As for me, I’ll be seeing all of you guys in April or May with my inaugural MOCK DRAFT which is sure to get plenty of press from all the major sports outlets (a man can dream, right?). STAY CLASSY!!!!!

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