2015 College Football Preview

2015 College Football Preview

College football is less than 2 weeks away! Check out our conference previews, which include projected standings for each.

ACC | Big 12 | Big Ten | PAC-12 | SEC

Thursday, September 3, 2015

17 Things to Watch for in Week 1

  1. Jim Harbaugh's debut at Michigan. The coach hasn't spoken to media since early August and hasn't annnounced a starting QB publicly. Michigan opens on Thursday at Utah. 
  2. TCU's road to the CFP begins in Minnesota - a key non-conference game for the Frogs. 
  3. Max Wittek finally plays college football! Former USC recruit starts at QB for Hawaii, who hosts Colorado in a must win for both teams (both teams need strong seasons). 
  4. Boise State opens the season, as usual, against another Power-5 conference team. However, this P5 team happens to be led by former Boise coach Chris Peterson. Expect an emotional night in Boise for the Broncos and the Huskies. 
  5. Former Western Michigan head coach Bill Cubit, takes over at Illinois against Kent State. Cubit was named interim coach less than a week ago after the disastrous Tim Beckman era finally ended. 
  6. Defensive Coordinators John Chavis (Texas A&M) and Wil Muschamp (Auburn) make their debuts - will they be the difference for their teams in games against Arizona State and Louisville, respectively?
  7. 18 year old true freshman, Josh Rosen starts for UCLA against Virginia. 
  8. With so many "cupcake" games, which FCS team has the best chance to pull off an upset? (vote in our poll to the right!)
  9. Ohio State begins their title defense on the road on Monday night against the only team who beat them a year ago, without Joey Bosa (suspended). 
  10. Can Charlie Strong pull off his biggest win at Texas or will Brian Kelly build some very strong, positive momentum to begin 2015? 
  11. Is Steve Spurrier coaching his final season opening game on Thursday?
  12. Several sophomore QBs look to build on small sample sizes from 2014 - Mason Rudolph (OK St), Deshaun Watson (Clemson), 
  13. Against Youngstown State, James Connor begins his campaign for 2,000 yards for what should be an improved and exciting Pittsburgh offense
  14. Oklahoma's offense has a chance to be explosive behind a new OC (Lincoln Riley), new QB (Baker Mayfield), and a returning star at RB (Semaje Perine). The first chapter begins at home against Akron. 
  15. What does Offensive Coordinator Lane Kiffin have up his sleeves for whoever starts at QB for Alabama against Wisconsin?
  16. Temple might have their best team in 30 years and play Penn State, a team they have beaten just once in the past 70 years
  17. BYU wants to prove they belong with the big boys. Game 1 of a brutal September stretch begins in Nebraska, where Mike Riley makes his debut after a decade at Oregon State (who are now led by former BYU coach Gary Anderson).

2016 Coaching Carousel Predictions

Because it's never too early to talk about firing coaches...the 2015 season officially kicks off in one hour, so until than, here's our guesses of who will be coaching certain teams in 2016.

(Please note: this list only includes coaches we think will be fired. If we predict coaches to jump ship, we don't predict that vacancy)

Out: Al Golden
In:Bo Pelini
Initially wanted to say Lane Kiffin, but Bo will be back to coaching FBS in no time, and what better opportunity is there for him to bring the U back to life.

Out: Mike London
In: Justin Fuente (current Memphis HC)
Fuente won 10 games at Memphis. Can revive a dormant Virginia program back to respectability.

Out: Scott Shafer
In:Randy Edsall (current Maryland head coach)
This is our most out-of-left-field prediction but Syracuse is Edsall's alma mater and he's only had moderate success at Maryland. A return to the northeast where he won at Uconn might be best, before Maryland decides to move on from him.

Out: Darrel Hazell
In:  Jeff Brohm (current Western Kentucky head coach)
After WKU wins the CUSA in 2015, Brohm's stock will be red hot. I think Purdue could do well to get him.

Out: Tim Beckman/Bill Cubit
In:  PJ Fleck (current Western Michigan head coach)
Everyone seems to be on the PJ Fleck-to-Illinois bandwagon so we'll hop on as well, though this hire is largely dependent on who the AD is at Illinois..

Out: Kevin WIlson
In:  Bud Foster (Virginia Tech defensive coordinator)
Foster brings defense and toughness to a school that could use both.

Out: Kirk Ferentz
In:  Tom Herrman (current Houston head coach)
Former OSU OC Herrman could be one-and-done in Houston. Iowa needs an offensive-minded guy to bring excitement to a dull program.

Out: Kyle Flood
In: Greg Schiano
Old is new these days. Just ask Louisville and Bobby Petrino. Schiano gets a second run in NJ. 

Iowa State
Out: Paul Rhoads
In:  Mike Norvell (current Arizona St OC)
Rhoads had a nice run, but Norvell is the opposite of Rhoads in so many ways and that's a good thing, at this point.

West Virginia
Out: Dana Holgorson
In:  Doc Holliday (current Marshall HC)
Marshall's head coach has WVU roots and makes a ton of sense here.

Out: Kyle Wittingham
In:  Troy Calhoun (current Air Force head coach)
Calhoun has regional ties that will appeal to Utah and he has been ready for a new challenge for quite some time. But is he up to it?

Out: Derek Mason
In: Mark Hudspeth (current Louisiana-Lafayyete head coach)
After a disastrous two years, Vandy goes to the Sun Belt to get a coach with experience and success.

2015 CFB Preview: PAC-12 Predicted Standings

Stanford 9-3
Oregon 9-3
Washington 7-5
Cal 6-6
Oregon St 5-7
Wash St 5-7

Arizona 9-3
USC 8-4
UCLA 8-4
ASU 7-5
Utah 6-6
Colorado 4-8

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Best Football-Basketball Coaching Combos

Michigan State (Tom Izzo and Mark Dantonio)
  • 494-199, 1 NCAA tournament, 7 Final Four appearances, 7 Big Ten regular season championships, 4 Big Ten tournament championships
  • 75-31, 2 Big Ten Championships

Ohio State (Thad Matta and Urban Meyer)
  • 299-94, 2 Final Four appearances, 4 Big Ten tournament championships. 5 Big Ten regular season championships
  • 38-3, 3 National Championships (1 w/OSU), 1 Big Ten championship

Arizona (Sean Miller and Rich Rodriguez)
  • 163-52, 3 PAC-12 regular season championships, 1 PAC-12 tournament championship
  • 26-14, 1 PAC-12 South championship

Duke (Mike Krzyzewski and David Cutcliffe)
  • 945-251, 5 NCAA tournament championships, 12 Final Four appearancces, 13 ACC tournament championships, 12 ACC regular season championships
  • 40-48, ACC coastal champions

Notre Dame (Mike Brey and Brian Kelly)
  • 431-217, 1 ACC tournament championship, 12 NCAA tournament appearances
  • 45-20, 3-2 bowl games record, 1 Championship game appearance 

Rising Programs: (these are schools who recently hired new coaches in one or both sports and have a chance to be on this list soon enough)

Auburn: Bruce Pearl and Gus Malzahn
Texas: Shaka Smart and Charlie Strong

College Football Rankings with NFL Alumni

Often times college football fans and alum watch the NFL and keep tabs on their favorite college players. One of the great bar debate questions is "which college has produced the best NFL players"?
Below is a ranking of colleges with offensive playmakers only.
NOTE: The players included in this list only include QB, RB, WR, TE. Only teams with all three skill positions can qualify for the rankings.

26. San Diego State:
QB: Ryan Lindley
RB: Ronnie Hillman
WR: Kasim Osgood, Vincent Brown, Brice Butler
TE: Gavin Escobar

25. Utah:
QB: Alex Smith
RB: Matt Asiata
WR: Steve Smith

24. Kansas State
QB: Josh Freeman
RB: Darren Sproles, Daniel Thomas, Bryce Brown
WR: Jordy NElson

23. Arkansas:
QB: Ryan Mallet
RB: Darren McFadden, Knile Davis, Peyton Hillis
WR: Jarius Wright

22. UNC
QB: TJ Yates
RB: Gio Bernard
WR: Hakeem Nicks
TE: Eric Ebron

21. Oregon:
QB: Marcus Mariota, Kellen Clemens
RB: Jonathan Stewart, LaGarette Blount,Deanthony Thomas
WR: Josh Huff
TE: Ed Dickson

20. Florida State
QB: EJ Manuel, Christian Ponder, Jameis Winston
RB: Devonte Freeman, Leon Washington, Karlos Williams
WR: Kelvin Benjamin, Anquan Boldin

19. Michigan State
QB: Kirk Cousins, Brian Hoyer, Drew Stanton
RB: Leveon Bell
WR: Keshawn Martin,
TE: Dion Sims, Kellen Davis

18. UCF:
QB: Blake Bortles
RB: Latavius Murray, Storm Johnson
WR: Brandon Marshall

17. Texas A&M:
QB: Ryan Tannehill, Johnny Manziel
RB: Christine Michael, Javorskie Lane
WR: Mike Evans
TE: Martellus Bennett

16. West Virginia: 
QB: Geno Smith
RB: Charles Sims
WR: Tavon Austin, Stedman Bailey, Kevin White

15. Vanderbilt:
QB: Jay Cutler
RB: Zac Stacy
WR: Jordan Matthews

14. Oregon St:
QB: Derek Anderson, Matt Moore
RB: Steven Jackson, Jacquizz Rodgers
WR: Brandin Cooks, Markus Wheaton

13. Ole Miss:
QB: Eli Manning
RB: Brandon Bolden, Dexter McCluster
WR: Mike Wallace, Donte Moncreif

12. Alabama:
QB: AJ McCarron
RB: Mark Ingram, Eddie Lacy, Trent Richardson, TJ Yeldon
WR: Julio Jones, Amari Cooper

11. Fresno St:
QB: Derek Carr
RB: Ryan Mathews
WR: Davante Adams
TE: Bear Pascoe

10. Notre Dame:
QB: Jimmy Clausen
RB: Jonas Gray, Theo Riddick
WR: Golden Tate, Michael Floyd
TE: Kyle Rudolph, Anthony Fasano, Tyler Eifert, John Carlson

9. Oklahoma State:
QB: Brandon Weeden
RB: Joseph Randle, Kendall Hunter
WR: Dez Bryant, Justin Blackmon
TE: Brandon Pettigrew

8. USC:
QB: Carson Palmer, Mark Sanchez, Matt Cassel
RB: Reggie Bush, Joe McKnight
WR: Marqise Lee, Robert Woods
TE: Jordan Cameron

7. Clemson:
QB: Charlie Whitehurst
RB: Andre Ellington, CJ Spiller
WR: Sammy Watkins, DeAndre Hopkins, Martavis Bryant
TE: Dwayne Allen

6. Stanford:
QB: Andrew Luck
RB: Toby Gerhart, Stepfan Taylor
WR: Doug Baldwin
TE: Coby Fleener, Zach Ertz
Stanford would likely be ranked higher with an improved run game. Gerhart was given a chance to be a full-time starter in 2014 and failed. But Andrew Luck is still good enough to win and lead an offense single handedly.

5. Georgia:
QB: Matthew Stafford
RB: Knowshon Moreno, Todd Gurley
WR: AJ Green, Marlon Brown, Kris Durham
TE: Benjamin Watson
Georgia is very well-rounded with the pass and run game, especially with a 100% Knowshon Moreno. AJ Green is one of the game's best WRs and we have seen how good Stafford can be with Calvin Johnson.

4. Tennessee:
QB: Peyton Manning
WR: Arian Foster
WR: Cordoralle Patterson, Justin Hunter
TE: Jason Witten, Mychael Rivera
The lack of playmaking depth is okay because of the presence of Peyton Manning. Having Arian Foster and Jason Witten certainly helps. Patterson and Hunter have had inconsistent starts to their career.

3. Oklahoma:
QB: Sam Bradford, Landry Jones
RB: Demarco Murray, Adrian Peterson
WR: Kenny Stills, Jalen Saunders, Ryan Broyles
TE: Jermaine Gresham, James Hanna
Even with Bradford's injury history, someone just has to simply had the ball to one of the game's top two running backs. The WRs are okay and the presence of Gresham helps but even if defenses were to line up 11 in the box, Murray or AP could shake them and pick up big yards.

2. LSU: 
QB  Zach Mettenberger, Matt Flynn
RB: Jeremy Hill, Alfred Blue, Stevan Ridley
WR: Jarvis Landry Odell Beckum Jr, Dwayne Bowe, Branden Lafell, Rueben Randle
In 2014, Hill and Blue became first rookie college teammates to run for 150 yards in the same day. Odell Beckum, despite missing most of training camp, proved to be one of the best WRs in all of football. Mettenberger gained quality starting experience and Flynn has similar experience. Either QB could successfully serve as a game-manager with these weapons.

1. California:
QB: Aaron Rodgers
RB: Marshawn Lynch, Shane Vereen, Justin Forsett, CJ Anderson
WR: Desean Jackson, Keenan Allen, Marvin Jones, Jordan Matthews
TE: Craig Stevens, Richard Rogers

Cal is ranked #1 due to their depth and overall strength at each position. Aaron Rodgers is arguably the best quarterback in football and Marshawn Lynch has been among the best running backs. Shane Vereen is a good pass-catching, specialty back and Justin Forsett and CJ Anderson both had breakout years in 2014 as starters. Desean Jackson and Keenan Allen are both quality number one WRs.

2015 CFB Preview: American Athletic Conference

Cincinnati 11-1
Central Florida 7-5
Temple 7-5
East Carolina 5-7
Uconn 4-8
South Florida 4-8

Memphis 9-3
Navy 8-4
Houston 7-5
Tulane 4-8
Tulsa 4-8
SMU 4-8
Offensive Player of the Year: Gunner Kiel, QB, Cincinnati
Defensive Player of the Year: Silverberry Mouhon, DE, Cincinnati
Coach of the Year: Tommy Tuberville, Cincinnati
Offensive Breakout Player: Greg Ward, QB, Houston


1. Cincinnati will win the inaugural AAC championship game and with two wins over Memphis, a win over Miami and their only loss to BYU, will represent the group of five in an Access bowl.

2. ECU will take a major step back with the loss of OC Lincoln Riley and QB Shane Carden, WRs James Hardy and Cam Worthy.

3. Navy will have immediate success in the conference winning 8 games behind the triple option offense.

4. SMU and Tulsa will take baby steps during a transition year with new head coaches and gear up for a run towards bowl eligibility in 2016. Uconn will also show improvement in year 2 of the Bob Diaco era.

5. Temple will play in their fourth bowl game in school history behind the arm and legs of PJ Walker.

Bonus Thought: South Florida will fire Willie Taggert, ending a horrific three year run. And keep an eye out for George O'Leary at UCF, who may opt to retire. That would be a very appealing job for many, although the prevailing thought is that job would go to OC Brent Key. 

2015 College Football Preview: SEC

MotleySports went through the 2015 schedule and picked the winners of every game. The predicted SEC standings are below.

Georgia 11-1
Missouri 10-2
Tennessee 6-6
South Carolina 6-6
Kentucky 6-6
Florida 5-7
Vanderbilt 4-8

Auburn 11-1
Alabama 10-2
Texas A&M 9-3
LSU 8-4
Ole Miss 8-4
Mississippi St 7-5
Arkansas 6-6

Offensive Player of the Year: Jeremy Johnson, QB, Auburn
Defensive Player of the Year: Vernon Hargraeves, CB, Florida

Breakout Players/Players to watch: D'Runnya Wilson, WR, Mississippi St; Alex Collins, RB, Arkansas; Kyle Allen, QB, Texas A&M; Derrick Henry, RB, Alabama; Joshua Dobbs, QB, Tennessee

1. Auburn will beat Georgia in the SEC title game, being the lone SEC representative in the College Football playoff.

1a. QB Jeremy Johnson won't get invited to NYC, but he will be in the Heisman conversation at various points throughout the season Wil Muschamp's defense will be what empowers Auburn.

2. After another 6-6 season, Steve Spurrier will announce 2016 is his final season

3. Inconsistent QB player will hold back Alabama and Lane Kiffin will get a college head coaching job again in 2016.

4. Dak Prescott takes major steps back and regresses and his TD:INT ratio will decrease.

5. Only Florida and Vanderbilt will miss bowl games (and if things fall the right way, Florida may win 6 games without jeopardizing another team's bowl hopes, giving the SEC 13/14 teams in the postseason).

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

College Football Free Agency: QB Carousel

Fans get very excited for free agency in the NFL and NBA because it gives their teams a chance to improve by adding good players from other teams. In college sports, once you commit to a school, you are typically tied to that school for 4-5 years. Although, lately a major trend has been graduate seniors transferring (a trend that began with Russell Wilson a few years ago).

With that process, college football now has it's own type of free agency in place. A way for players to find the best opportunity to succeed and win for their senior seasons. Other guys transfer simply because the coach they liked might have been fired and they might have lost their position. No 5 star QB out of high school wants to sit for 2-3 years. So players get restless and move on.

As the 2015 season kicks off this week, five high profile schools have new starting QBs. All of whom are transfers, not recruits and most came to the schools within recent months (with one notable exception).

Here are the list of the high profile schools/players who will be attending classes at a different University this fall.

Everett Golson, Florida State
2014 Season w/Notre Dame: 3,445 passing yds, 29 TD, 14 INT, 60% comp in 13 games
Golson was named the starter on Monday beating out Sean McGuire to win the starting job. Golson helped lead the Irish to the National title game in 2012, before sitting out all of 2013. He'll finish his career in Tallahassee where he has the responsibility of replacing former Heisman trophy winner Jameis Winston.

Vernon Adams, Oregon
2014 Season w/Eastern Washington: 3,483 passing yds, 35 pass TDs, 6 rush TDs, 8 INT, 66% comp
Adams beat out incumbent Jeff Lockie for the right to replace 2014 Heisman trophy winner, Marcus Mariota. Adams was one of the top QBs in FCS in 2014 and will actually begin his career against his former team this week. Adams has dual threat ability that Lockie didn't have, which made him attractive to Oregon coaches.

Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma
2013 w/Texas Tech: 2,315 yds, 14 TD, 9 INT, 64% comp in 8 games
Mayfield left Texas Tech two years ago and sat out the 2014 season. Trevor Knight's poor performance in 2014 opened the door for Mayfield to win the job and start in 2015. With Semaje Perrine at RB and a new Offensive Coordinator in Lincoln Riley, the Sooners offense has a chance to be extremely prolific, which could make up for the holes they have on defense.

Jake Rudock, Michigan
2014 w/Iowa: 2,436 yds, 16 TDs, 5 INT, 61% comp in 12 games
Rudock played 25 games the last two years for Iowa, which gives him the edge over Shane Morris in the QB battle. Also in his favor is a clean slate by new coach Jim Harbaugh. Despite stats that don't jump off the page, Rudock brings toughness and experience to a Wolverines team in need of both.

Greyson Lambert, Georgia
2014 w/Virginia: 1,652 yds, 10 TD, 11 INT, 59% comp in 9 games
Lambert staring over Brice Ramsey and Faton Bauta is a bit of a surpirse, considering Lambert just joined the Bulldogs less than two months ago. He also joined a top 10 team after losing the QB competition at Virginia, a team who has failed to make a bowl game the last two years. Lambert's role with Georgia will be to simply manage games and hand the ball to RB Nick Chubb. Of course, that was the QB's role last year with Todd Gurley and it still wasn't that simple.

Other QBs from not so major programs include:

Jeff Driskel, Louisiana Tech
2014 w/Florida: 1,140 yds, 9 TD, 10 INT, 53% comp in 9 games
Driskel was atrocious for the Gators in 2014, to put it lightly. After being a highly touted recruit, he was never able to figure it out in Gainseville and a lack of playmakers on offense only added to his troubles.

Max Wittek, Hawaii
Wittek was a 4 star, top 100 prospect out of high school but never panned out at USC. So he will take his talents to the islands of Hawaii and try to revive a program that is 8-29 the last 3 years.

Cody Clements, South Alabama
Clements started 11 games for UAB last year and transferred after the football team disbanded. Joey Jones is a rising head coach and gets a QB who threw for 2,227 yards, 14 TDs and 11 INTs a year ago.

Cameron Coffman, Wyoming
Coffman threw for 2,734 yards and 15 TDs in 2012 at Indiana and will be help further build momentum on an offense that averaged 227 yards passing per game a year ago.

Connor Brewer, Virgina: 
Brewer is now on his third team, and actually replaces Greyson Lambert at Virginia. After beginning his career at Texas and moving onto Arizona, Brewer will backup Matt Johns for his final season.

Daxx Garman, Maryland: 
After losing his starting job at the end of last season to Mason Rudolph, Garman has been competing for the starting job at Maryland, but recently lost out to Perry Hills.

Monday, August 31, 2015

2015 College Football Preview: Mountain West

Boise St 10-2
Utah St 8-4
Colorado St 7-5
Air Force 7-5
Wyoming 5-7
New Mexico 4-8

San Diego State 8-4
Nevada 7-5
Fresno State 5-7
UNLV 4-8
Hawaii 4-8
San Jose St 3-9

1. Despite winning 10 games once again, that won't be enough for Boise State to crack one of the New Year's Six bowls (the AAC winner will claim that prize in 2015).

2. Colorado State takes a slight step back under Mike Bobo, after a highly successful 2014 season.

3. Matt Wells (Utah St) and Troy Calhoun (Air Force) will both move on to new jobs by choice while Bob Davie (New Mexico),  Norm Chow (Hawaii), and Ron Caragher (SJ St) will all move to new jobs, not by choice.

2015 College Football Preview: MAC Standings

Western Michigan head coach PJ Fleck is considered a rising star in the coaching community

Bowling Green 7-5
Ohio 6-6
Buffalo 6-6
Miami (OH) 5-7
Akron 4-8
Kent St 3-9

Northern Illinois 10-2
Western Michigan 7-5
Toledo 7-5
Ball St 6-6
Central Michigan 4-8
Eastern Michigan 2-10