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

Monday, August 24, 2015

2015 CFB Preview: Big 12 Projected Standings

MotleySports went through the 2015 schedule and picked the winners of every game. The predicted Big 12 standings and five additional thoughts and awards are below.

TCU 11-1
Baylor 11-1
Oklahoma 10-2
Oklahoma State 9-3
West Virginia 7-5
Texas 7-5
Kansas State 7-5
Texas Tech 5-7
Iowa State 1-11
Kansas 0-12

Offensive MVP: Trevone Boykin, QB, TCU
Defensive MVP: Shawn Oakman, DL, Baylor
Coach of the Year: Art Briles, Baylor
Breakout Offensive Player of the Year: Seth Russell, QB, Baylor
Newcomer of the Year: Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma

Five Motley Thoughts:
1.  TCU AND Baylor will both make the college football playoff. After a controversial 2014 season where neither made it, the committee will select both teams, despite having one loss and no conference title game.

2. TCU's one loss will be to Oklahoma and Baylor's one loss will come to TCU

3. Despite several holes on defense, Oklahoma's offense explodes, averaging over 35 ppg with Baker Mayfield at QB and Semaje Perrine in the backfield leading the Sooners to 10 wins. 

4. Dana Holgorson and Paul Rhoads will both be fired after disappointing seasons.

5. Charlie Strong will continue to push Texas in the right direction, despite only 7 wins.

2015 CFB Preview: ACC Projected Standings

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

Clemson 10-2
Florida St 10-2
NC State 8-4
Louisville 8-4
Boston College 5-7
Syracuse 4-8
Wake Forest 2-10

Virginia Tech 10-2
Georgia Tech 8-4
Duke 7-5
UNC 7-5
Pittsburgh 7-5
Miami 5-7
Virginia 5-7

Offensive MVP: James Connor, RB, Pittsburgh
Defensive MVP: Kendall Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech
Breakout Offensive Player: DeShaun Watson, QB, Clemson
Breakout Defensive Player: Shaq Lawson, DE, Clemson 
Coach of the Year: Dabo Swinney, Clemson

Five Predictions
1. The winner of Clemson-Florida State will win the ACC in 2015.
2. James Connor will rush for 2,000 yards for Pittsburgh
3. Jacoby Brissett will finish 2015 with the highest TD:INT ratio in the country
4. QB Sean McGuire will start more games for the Seminoles than Everett Golson
5. Al Golden (Miami), Mike London (Virginia), and Scott Shafer (Syracuse)will all be fired at year's end (if not sooner)

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

CFB 2015 - Not Buying the Hype: USC in Playoffs

USC might win 8-9 games in 2015, but it's hard to see them winning 10-11 games. Steve Sarkisian has never been a "big game" coach and the offense lost playmakers

Yes, Cody Kessler is back and he is a Heisman candidate but he lost a lot of his 2014 firepower - Buck Allen and Nelson Agholor as well as George Farmer and Randall Teller. The Trojans will also be without mamouth DT Leonard Williams, who was the heart of their defense a year ago.

USC gets Stanford and Arizona at home but must go to Notre Dame and to Oregon as well as a sneaky game at Arizona State.

There's no doubt USC will have a successful 2015 season, but don't expect to see them in the four team playoff New Year's Eve. 

Saturday, August 15, 2015

CFB 2015 Preview: Returning to the Bowl Eligiblity

Several teams missed bowl games in 2014 that will look to bounce back and return to the postseason in 2015. 

The Owls went 6-6 in 2014 but still missed a bowl game. With a lot of the team returning, expect the Owls to get to 7-8 or possibly even 9 wins in a weak conference. The AAC has 9 bowl affiliations in 2015 so Temple should go bowling for the first time since 2011 and only the 5th time in school history.

They better go bowling, or Mike London is undoubtedly fired. The Cavs went 5-7 after a 3-9 campaign in 2013. London is on thin ice entering the year and needs to find stability and consistency from the quarterback position. Their OOC schedule includes UCLA, Boise State and BYU, so they will have no gimmes before entering ACC play.

Texas Tech
Since starting the 2013 season 7-0, Kliff Kingsbury's record is 5-13. The Red Raiders should have more depth and more experience and both sides of the football to win just enough games to return to bowl eligibility.

After an amazing run by the Wildcats, Northwestern has narrowly missed bowling two consecutive years.

The first two years of the Sonny Dykes era have not gone very well in Berkley but there is plenty of reason for optimism in year 3. Jared Goff is one of the top QBs in the country but RB Daniel Lasco might be the key to Cal's success on offense as Dykes will need a balanced attack.

Oregon State
The Beavers had a rare off year in 2014 but new coach Gary Anderson will look to help the Beavers return to a bowl game. They'll need to replace Sean Mannion at QB and have a young team but Anderson has had a lot of success and should build on the last decade plus that Mike Riley built in Corvalis.

Mark Stoops enters his third year in Lexington. The Wildcats started 5-1 in 2014 before ending the year on a 7 game losing streak. But expect Kentucky to get to 6 wins and return to the postseason in 2015.

Monday, August 3, 2015

CFB 2015: QBs to Watch

Ohio State
JT Barrett and Cardale Jones are competing for the starting job. Braxton Miller withdrew his name from the competition to move to H-Back, as an offensive weapon. Whoever starts at QB for the Buckeyes will be an instant Heisman favorite IF they start every game. JT Barrett likely would have been a finalist in 2014 if he didn't get injured in the season finale. Cardale Jones went 3-0 winning the B1G championship, Sugar Bowl, and National Championship.

Christian Hackenberg, Penn State
PSU OL should be much improved in 2015 and in year 2 of James Franklin system, Hackenberg should show his potential as 2016 first round pick in NFL draft.

Jared Goff, California
Goff spent a couple of years on bad Cal teams but this year's team should get to bowl eligiblity and Goff will be on NFL radar all year. 3,973 yards with 35 touchdowns and seven interceptions as a sophomore.The only thing working against him on NFL radars is if he can manage an pro-style offense as opposed to the gimmicky air raid that Sonny Dykes runs at Cal.

Gunner Kiel, Cincinnati
Kiel is only beginning his second year as a starter, though it feels like he's been around so much longer. Cincinnati's top 6 WRs return and top 4 RBs return to a team that should compete for Access Bowl. Kiel set UC TD record (31) in 2014 and should top that in 2015. If Cincy wins 10+ games, expect the Junior QB to go pro following this season.

Deshaun Watson, Clemson
Watson showed so much potential as a freshman but dealt with injuries all year, starting only 5 games. If healthy, he could put up Heisman-esque numbers.

Anu Solomon, Arizona
Year 2 as starter in Rich Rod system should help him improve. If mechanics and accuracy improve, Solomon will be on one best QBs in country and Arizona will get close to 10 wins again. 4,000 yds and  30 tds in 2014 and can only get better. Especially with  the return of RB Nick Wilson  and WR Cayleb Jones amongst a deep receiving corps.

Brad Kaaya, Miami
Miami lost their top three weapons from 2014 (Duke Johnson, Philip Dorsett, Clive Walford). Coach Al Golden's job is no doubt on the line in 2015 and Kaaya's play in 2015 may control his fate.

Kyle Allen, Texas A&M
Allen was the number one recruit in 2014 started second half of the year after Kenny Hill was benched, and later suspended. A&M has some really good WRs (Malcolm Kennedy, Speedy Noil among them) and Allen got some great experience that should translate to an improved A&M record in 2015.

Joshua Dobbs, Tennessee
Dobbs 11 TD and ran for 8 more in 5 starts, going 4-1 for the Vols to end 2014 on a high note.

Joshua Johnson, Auburn
See Nick Marshall and Gus Malzahn for why you should believe the hype in Josh Johnson.

Josh Rosen, UCLA
True freshman is expected to replace Brett Hundley and has all the tools to succeed right away. He also has Jordan Payton, which helps.

Greg Ward, Houston
New head coach Tom Herrman is an offensive guru (previously OSU OC) and should maximize Ward's potential. For examples, see what he did last year with a couple of inexperienced Ohio St QBs?

Jacoby Brissett, North Carolina St
Had 23 TDs and 5 INTs in 2014 and should really improve with more experienced weapons. Brissett was one of the better QBs statistically but was hardly ever mentioned amongst the "best". Expect Brissett to become a household name and a hot DFS commodity in 2015.

Maty Mauk, Missouri
All Mauk has done is help lead Missouri to consecutive SEC title games. Only a junior, Mauk has 36 TD and 15 INT for his two year career.

Brandon Daughty, Western Kentucky
Had a great 2014 campaign that was overshadowed by being in the same conference as Marshall and QB Rakeem Cato. But WKU enters 2015 as the CUSA favorites and Daughty will try to improve on his 49 TD passes from a year ago.
Luke Falk, Washington State
Falk flashed some potential replacing Connor Halliday at the end of the 2014. Falk will lead a high octane, pass happy offense coached by Mike Leach. His numbers have a chance to be video game-esque if he can stay healthy.

Patrick Towles, Kentucky
Towles was a big part of how Kentucky started 2014 5-1. He has a similar body build to former SEC QB Tim Tebow and is the same kind of dual-threat.

Jacob Coker, Alabama
The projected starter for 2014 lost to Blake Sims in a training camp battle. The former FSU QB will be without WR Amari Cooper but has TE OJ Howard and Heisman candidate RB Derrick Henry at his disposal. Offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin should maximize Coker's talents, just like he did Sims a year ago

Nate Sudfeld, Indiana
Missed 6 due to injuries in 2014 and the Hoosier offense suffered mightily, despite the presence of 2,000 yard RB Tevin Coleman. With Coleman gone (along with WR Shane Wynn) the keys to the offense, and perhaps coach Kevin Wilson's future, lies in the arm of Sudfeld. 

Brandon Allen, Arkansas
Run-dominant, defensive-minded team but Allen is one of the SEC's top returning QBs.

Friday, July 31, 2015

CFB 2015: WRs to Watch

Here is the MotleySports Wide Receivers' Watch List for 2015.

Duke Williams, Auburn
Pharoah Cooper, South Carolina
Nelson Spruce, Colorado
Corey Coleman, Baylor
Josh Doctson, TCU
Sterling Shepard, Oklahoma
Tyler Boyd, Pittsburgh
Mekale McKay, Cincinnati
Rashard Higgins, Colorado St
Laquon Treadwell, Ole Miss
De’Runya Wilson, Mississippi State
Jordan Payton, UCLA
Byron Marshall, Oregon
Leonte Carroo, Rutgers
DaeSean Hamilton, Penn State
 Mike Williams, Clemson
Josh Reynolds, Texas A&M
Michael Thomas, Ohio State
Mike Dudek, Illinois
KD Cannon, Baylor
Artavis Scott, Clemson
Quinshad Davis, North Carolina
Corey Robinson, Notre Dame
Corey Davis, Western Michigan
JuJu Smith, USC
Pig Howard, Tennessee
Travis Rudolph, Florida State
Cayleb Jones, Arizona
Speedy Noil, Texas A&M
Tawan Taylor, Western Kentucky
Travin Dural, LSU 

Thursday, July 30, 2015

NFL Running Back Situations: AFC East

Division-by-division, MotleySports takes a look at the running back situations around the NFL.

Bills - LeSean McCoy
Not much debate here. Bills acquired McCoy and gave him a huge new contract so lead the team in carries.

Only competition entering training camp is who backs up McCoy - Fred Jackson, Anthony Dixon, Bryce Brown, Karlos Williams. With needs at other positions and McCoy the undisputed lead back, our money would be on only two of these five making the week 1 roster. Expect Jackson and rookie Karlos Williams to backup McCoy, although Bryce Brown could be an option IF the Bills keep four RBS. Expect the Bills to shop Dixon for a late round draft pick in August.

Jets - Chris Ivory, Bilal Powell, Steven Ridlay, Zac Stacy
The Jets have a lot of redundancy in their backfield. Don't expect all four of these men to make the final roster. Ivory and Powell should have secure spots which leaves Ridlay and Stacy battling for a backup role. Our money would be on Stacy to win the job, given the uncertainty with Ridlay's injury.

Patriots - LeGarrette Blount 
Blount is unquestionably the Patriots lead back, but who will be the passing back that replaces Shane Vereen? The candidates includes 2014 draft pick James White, former Saint Travaris Cadet and long-time Pats RB Brandon Bolden. Jonas Gray may be dealt in training camp as he fell out of favor with the coaching staff after a 200-yard breakout performance last season. Expect White and Bolden to lead the Pats in catches, while Blount leads the team in carries and TDs again.

Dolphins - Lamar Miller
Miller should remain the #1 RB, but like with the other teams in this division, the backup spot is up for grabs. 5th round draft pick Jay Ajayi is a strong candidate. Damien Williams, LaMichael James and Mike Gillislee will also receive consideration. 

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

2015 Fantasy Football: Rookie Running Backs

Now that the NFL draft has come and gone and the off-season is coming to a close, let's take a look at the rookie running backs in 2015.

1. Melvin Gordon, Chargers
Despite being the second RB drafted, Gordon should be the first rookie running back taken in fantasy drafts.

2. TJ Yeldon, Jaguars
Head coach Gus Bradley has been wanting to commit to the run since being in Jacksonville and now finally has a quality running back to run his gameplan. The former Alabama RB is projected to open the season atop the depth chart as a three-down back with little competition for carries. Yeldon should take a lot of pressure off second year QB Blake Bortles as well.

3. Tevin Coleman, Falcons
Devonta Freeman is a change of pace back and Coleman will have very little competition to win the starting job. Falcons need more balance to take pressure off of Matt Ryan

4. David Cobb, Titans
Cobb is the bruising back the Titans needed, to compliment Bishop Sankey.Even if Sankey improves in his sophomore season, Cobb should be the goal-line back.

5. Ameer Abdullah, Lions
Abdullah is a rich man's Theo Riddick and Reggie Bush. He will compliment Joique Bell well and can be the recieving back the Lions lacked in 2014.

*Todd Gurley, Rams
Don't expect Gurley to make much of an impact in 2015, but if you are in a keeper league, consider Gurley with a late round pick to stash for 2016.

Monday, June 22, 2015

NBA Mock Draft

Karl-Anthony Towns, C, Kentucky
Jahlil Okafor, C, Duke
D'Angelo Russell, SG, Ohio State
Kristaps Porzingis, FC, Baloncesto Sevilla (Spain)
Myles Turner, FC, Texas
Mario Hezonja, SG, FC Barcelona II (Spain)
Emmanuel Mudiay, SG, Guangdong Foshan (China)
Justise Winslow, SF, Duke
Frank Kaminsky, F, Wisconsin
Devin Booker, SG, Kentucky
Cameron Payne, G, Murray State
Stanley Johnson, G, Arizona
Bobby Portis, PF, Arkansas
Trey Lyles, F, Kentucky
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, F, Arizona
Willie Cauley-Stein, C, Kentucky
RJ Hunter, G, Georgia State
Tyus Jones, PG, Duke
Sam Dekker, F, Kansas
Kelly Oubre, F, Kansas
 Jerian Grant, SG, Notre Dame
Kevon Looney, F, UCLA
Montrezl Harrell, F, Louisville
Justin Anderson, F, Virginia
Rashad Vaughn, G/F, UNLV
Anthony Brown, G/F, Stanford
Aleksandar Vezenkov, SF, Aris BC (Greece)
Mouhammadou Jaiteh, FC, JSF Nanterre (France)
Delon Wright, G, Utah
Jarell Martin, F, LSU
Terry Rozier, G, Louisville
Christian Wood, PF, UNLV
Chris McCullough, PF, Syracuse
J.P. Tokoto, GF, North Carolina
Joseph Young, G, Oregon
Nedim Buza, G, OKK Spars Sarajevo (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
Richaun Holmes, PF, Bowling Green
Dakari Johnson, C, Kentucky
Aaron Harrison, GF, Kentucky
Robert Upshaw, C, Washington
Jordan Mickey, SF, LSU
Jonathan Holmes, F, Texas
Branden Dawson, F, Michigan State
Andrew Harrison, G, Kentucky
Terran Petteway, SF, Nebraska
Norman Powell, SG, UCLA
Michael Qualls, G, Arkansas
Michael Frazier, G, Florida
Olivier Hanlan, G, Boston College
Willy Hernangomez, C, Cajasol Seville Junior Team (Spain)
Tyler Harvey, G, Eastern Washington
Rakeem Christmas, SF, Syracuse
Pat Connaughton, SG, Notre Dame
Cedi Osman, GF, Anadolu Efes (Turkey)
Cliff Alexander, F, Kansas
Brandon Ashley, PF, Arizona
Keifer Sykes, PG, Green Bay
Larry Nance, Jr, PF, Wyoming
Vince Hunter, F, UTEP
Josh Richardson, SG, Tennessee