2017 CFB: Five Bold Predictions
The 2017 college football season is set to kick off in one month, and before you know it, we’ll be heading to September and getting ready for another NCAAF Playoff, so what better time to make some bold predictions than now? Betting odds for the 2017 college football season have been up for several weeks, so let’s have a look at some predictions you can start betting weeks before the action kicks off.
Baker Mayfield Wins the Heisman Trophy
The Sooners lost key players like Dede Westbrook, Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon, among other skill players that made the team very deadly last season.
The argument amongst most pundits, therefore, is that OU’s superstar QB Baker Mayfield and the rest of the team might take a step back from last season’s efficiency, especially after Bob Stoops’ questionable decision to retire. Mayfield is a +600 favorite to win the Heisman according to the latest college football props released by MyBookie.ag.
What most people don’t realize is that Mayfield—who’s been a strong Heisman contender in each of the last two seasons—is a star in his own right, and with his kind of generational talent, he should be more than capable of adjusting just fine to his new targets.
Mind you, Mayfield took Oklahoma to the 2015 NCAAF Playoff, and then followed it by guiding the Sooners to a 9-0 regular season record in a Big 12 Conference—the first time ever a team has done that in the Big 12.
Should he deliver a big season, as we expect him to do, then winning the Heisman Trophy should be very possible, with OU most likely returning to the college football playoff.
USC Trojans Will End their Nine-year Pac-12 Championship Drought
With Jake Browning returning for the Huskies after a stellar 2016 campaign and Luke Falk also returning for the Cougars, the two Washington teams are going to cause a lot of headache in the Pac-12 this year.
The problem, however, is that the Huskies lost several important players in the defense while the Cougars won’t be having a good number of their star contributors in the offense.
Meanwhile, Colorado has several questions in its shaky roster, Oregon’s defense is up in the air (and that is putting it mildly), Josh Rosen and UCLA have too many ifs, while Stanford has mega questions at QB.
This leaves us with USC as the go-to option to bring home the Pac-12 Championship and possibly make the playoff. The hype about Sam Darnold as a reliable QB for USC is real. I mean, Darnold went 9-1 as a starter last year (with that lone loss coming on the road in a game against Utah, and his defense was to blame anyway).
More than that, he impressively threw for 3,086 yards, 31 touchdowns against just nine picks, showing the ability to withstand pressure and play well in big games—like in the thrilling 52-49 win over Penn State in the Rose Bowl.
Add that to the surging USC defense, we strongly believe that Darnold will help the Trojans end their nine-year Pac-12 championship drought (provided he can stay healthy all season).
Syracuse Totals UNDER 4.5 Wins
Since the start of the 2014 season, the Orange have not won more than 4 games (3 in 2014, 4 in 2015 and 4 in 2016) and we feel that the trend will hold steady in 2017.
Coach Dino Babers went 4-8 in his first season with Syracuse and a good number of Orange hopefuls are expecting the team to improve this year. That’s easier said than done, though, and for two main reasons. One; the Orange team is littered with holes in several positions, which is obviously going to make Babers’ job very difficult.
Two; there is the fact that the Orange will be facing an absolutely loaded schedule. There is a non-conference road trip to LSU. Then there is a three-week swing against tough foes in Pittsburgh, Clemson and Miami.
Then, of course, we have the in-division games in the ACC Atlantic division against Florida State and Louisville. With such abounding challenges, we just don’t see the Orange cracking above 4 wins.
Florida State Totals OVER 9.5 Wins
Thanks to the revelation of Deondre Francois as a trusty option at quarterback for Florida State last season as a freshman, we no longer have to worry about FSU’s offense.
Meanwhile, the Seminoles’ loaded defense should even be better with most of its starters returning in 2017. As far as tough games go, the Noles will be strongly tested by reigning national champions Clemson and national championship finalist Alabama.
Those could be two losses, but FSU would still be able to crack over 9.5 wins if they can manage to win the rest of their games; something that is very possible, considering how they closed the season strongly on a five-game winning streak en route to a 10-3 record.
Not to forget, Clemson lost a number of its key players—none more important than Deshaun Watson—so the Noles could very well take down the Tigers. Alabama is an entirely different animal, but if FSU can pull an upset, then the Seminoles should virtually be a lock for over 9.5 wins. Whichever the case, it all looks very favorable for FSU.
Miami Wins the ACC Coastal Division for the First Time Ever
Okay, the Hurricanes are the presumptive NCAA betting favorites in most online betting sportsbooks to win the ACC Coastal division, so having them as divisional winners may not be that bold. But consider this; Miami has never win the ACC Coastal Division championship, which also means the team has never made an appearance in the ACC Championship Game. Doing all that for the first time should thus be considered as bold, especially with programs like Virginia Tech, Pittsburgh and North Carolina making all kinds of noises in the division. And why Miami? Well, for starters, Mark Richt has done a commendable in transforming the program, both in recruitment and on-field play. In fact, very few teams (if any) can talk of the type of rock-solid front seven defense the Canes will be bringing in 2017. There’s plenty of budding talent on the offense as well. All considered, Miami’s quest to win the Coastal division should be taken seriously rather than just a dream.