Your American college football forecast: Part 1

Gordon P Smith Roar Guru

By Gordon P Smith, Gordon P Smith is a Roar Guru

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    With the prelude underway, let’s save you the suspense and tell you up front what the final records will be for each of the Power Five conferences in 2017.

    After going five-for-five on FBS games on the first weekend, including picking Stanford to rout Rice in Sydney, using our exclusive “ELO-Following Football” handicap system, we’ve forecast every game of the season and come up with these results.

    Teams are listed with conference win-loss records (and overall win-loss records).

    Atlantic Coast Conference

    ACC Atlantic Division

    Team Conference (Overall) win-loss record
    Clemson 8-0 (12-0)
    Florida State 7-1 (10-2)
    Louisville 6-2 (10-2)
    No Carolina State 4-4 (7-5)
    Syracuse 2-6 (5-7)
    Boston College 1-7 (4-8)
    Wake Forest 1-7 (3-9)

    ACC Coastal Division

    Team Conference (Overall) win-loss record
    Miami-FL 7-1 (10-2)
    Georgia Tech 6-2 (8-4)
    Virginia Tech 5-3 (9-3)
    Pitt 5-3 (7-5)
    No Carolina 2-6 (6-6)
    Virginia 2-6 (4-8)
    Duke 0-8 (2-10)

    ACC title game: Clemson defeat Miami-FL by 7 points.

    Big Ten Conference

    Big East Division

    Team Conference (Overall) win-loss record
    Ohio State 9-0 (12-0)
    Penn State 8-1 (11-1)
    Michigan 6-3 (9-3)
    Indiana 3-6 (6-6)
    Michigan State 3-6 (5-7)
    Rutgers 1-8 (3-9)
    Maryland 1-8 (3-9)

    Big West Division

    Team Conference (Overall) win-loss record
    Wisconsin 9-0 (12-0)
    Northwestern 7-2 (10-2)
    Minnesota 5-4 (8-4)
    Iowa 4-5 (7-5)
    Nebraska 4-5 (6-6)
    Purdue 2-7 (3-9)
    Illinois 1-8 (2-10)

    Big Ten title game: Ohio State defeat Wisconsin by 6 points.

    Big Twelve Conference

    Team Conference (Overall) win-loss record
    Oklahoma 9-0 (11-1)
    Oklahoma State 8-1 (11-1)
    Kansas State 6-3 (9-3)
    TCU 6-3 (8-4)
    Texas 5-4 (7-5)
    West Virginia 5-4 (7-5)
    Baylor 4-5 (7-5)
    Texas Tech 2-7 (4-8)
    Iowa State 1-8 (3-9)
    Kansas 0-9 (2-10)

    XII title game: Oklahoma defeat Oklahoma State by 4 points.

    FBS Independents

    Team Overall win-loss record
    BYU 10-3
    Notre Dame 7-5
    Army-WP 7-5
    U Mass 1-11

    Pacific-12 Conference

    Pac-12 North

    Team Conference (Overall) win-loss record
    Stanford 8-1* (11-1)
    Washington 8-1 (11-1)
    Oregon 6-3 (9-3)
    Washington State 4-5 (7-5)
    California 2-7 (3-9)
    Oregon State 1-8 (2-10)

    *Stanford defeat Washington in week 11.

    Pac-12 South

    Team Conference (Overall) win-loss record
    USC 9-0 (12-0)
    UCLA 5-4 (8-4)
    Utah 5-4 (7-5)
    Colorado 4-5 (7-5)
    Arizona State 1-8 (4-8)
    Arizona 1-8 (4-8)

    PAC-12 title game: USC defeat Stanford by 5 points.

    Southeastern Conference

    SEC East Division

    Team Conference (Overall) win-loss record
    Florida 8-0 (10-2)
    Georgia 5-3 (9-3)
    Tennessee 5-3 (9-3)
    Kentucky 2-6 (5-7)
    Vanderbilt 2-6 (5-7)
    South Carolina 2-6 (4-8)
    Missouri 1-7 (5-7)

    SEC West Division

    Team Conference (Overall) win-loss record
    Alabama 8-0 (12-0)
    LSU 6-2 (10-2)
    Auburn 6-2 (9-3)
    Texas A&M 4-4 (7-5)
    Arkansas 3-5 (6-6)
    Mississippi State 2-6 (6-6)
    Ole Miss 2-6 (6-6)

    SEC title game: Alabama defeat Florida by 11 points.


    Final four teams
    Alabama, Ohio State, USC, Clemson.

    Alabama defeat Clemson (Sugar Bowl)
    USC defeat Ohio State (Rose Bowl)

    National Championship (Atlanta)
    Alabama defeat USC.

    This upset-free forecast suggests that no fewer than FIVE top-tier teams will sail through their regular seasons unbeaten (with Wisconsin suffering their first loss in the Big Ten title game against their fellow 12-0 Buckeyes).

    If true, it will make the CFP committee’s job very easy – South Florida won’t apply no matter their record, and Oklahoma’s one loss to Ohio State will be the death of their hopes.

    Now, having said that, at most one team will be undefeated when December rolls around. It’s too difficult to run the gauntlet these teams run in their own divisions in places – even Alabama, whose ELO-FF handicap is three points better than any other team, will suffer a down day on some key Saturday in the SEC.

    The Florida division title is possible, but won’t be that easy – neither will the USC gap in the Pac-12 South. They may even lose a game or two breaking in their new quarterback.

    I was equally surprised by the Big Ten West – the Badgers might go undefeated, Northwestern could go 10-2, and the Gophers might end up ahead of powerhouses Iowa and Nebraska – but all three in the same season would be amazing.

    Clemson gets the Seminoles at home, and that should be enough advantage for them – no other opponent should challenge them, even with a new quarterback.

    Arizona State will only win once in conference – but if it is indeed against the Wildcats, they’ll take it.

    Another question to arise is whether a 7-5 record will be enough to keep Brian Kelly as the Notre Dame coach. Texas is also forecast for a 7-5 season, which seems too low.

    And seeing Duke join poor Kansas in the O-fer category in-conference makes me sad, as I’m a huge David Cutliffe fan.

    Finally, here are some interesting games along the way and our far-too-early forecasts that will undoubtedly be adjusted before kickoff:

    Week 1 – September 2
    Alabama over Florida State, Virginia Tech defeating West Virginia, Tennessee over Georgia Tech, Texas defeat Maryland and Michigan over Florida.

    Week 2 – September 9
    Georgia defeat Notre Dame, Washington State defeat Boise State, USC over Stanford (at home), Clemson over Auburn (at home), Arkansas defeats TCU, BYU over Utah (in the “Holy War” game), Penn State over Pitt, Iowa defeat Iowa State, and Oregon over Nebraska.

    We’ve also already mentioned Ohio State defeat Oklahoma. A lot of great games that weekend!

    Week 3 – Sept 16
    Florida State over Miami-FL, Oklahoma State beat Pitt, Wisconsin over BYU, Texas loses @ USC, Clemson wins @ Louisville, and Florida over Tennessee (yet again).

    Week 4 – September 23
    Stanford over UCLA, Washington def. Colorado, North Carolina defeat Duke in the Tobacco Road rivalry, and Notre Dame over Michigan State. Slow weekend.

    Week 5 – September 30
    Clemson over Virginia Tech, Wisconsin defeat Northwestern @ home, Tennessee def. Georgia at home, and UCLA gets the better of Colorado.

    Week 6 – October 7
    Stanford defeat Utah, Alabama over Texas, Florida def. LSU, Michigan def. Michigan State, Wisconsin over Nebraska, Penn State over Northwestern, Texas over Kansas State at home, North Carolina def. Notre Dame at home, TCU over West Virginia, and BYU over Boise State.

    Week 7 – October 14
    Miami-Florida defeat Georgia Tech, Minnesota over Michigan State, Ohio State def. Nebraska, Oklahoma over Texas in the Cotton Bowl, Kansas State over TCU.

    Week 8 – October 21
    Washington State over Colorado, UCLA defeat Oregon, USC defeat Washington, Alabama over Tennessee, Auburn over Arkansas, Penn State over Michigan at home, Baylor beat WVU, and Northwestern over Iowa.

    Week 9 – October 28
    Clemson over Georgia Tech, Miami-FL over North Carolina, Ohio State beat Penn State in the Horseshoe, Iowa over Minnesota, Texas over Baylor, and a coin flip between Florida and Georgia in the Largest Cocktail Party in the world game in Jacksonville (mine came up Gators).

    Week 10 – November 4
    Oregon loses at Washington, Utah over UCLA, Alabama hosts and beats LSU, Auburn over Texas, Northwestern over Nebraska, Ohio St def. Iowa, Michigan over Minnesota, Maryland over Rutgers in Yankee Stadium (their only conference win), and Miami-Fl over Virginia Tech.

    Week 11 – November 11
    Florida State loses at Clemson, Virginia Tech loses at Georgia Tech, Wisconsin over Iowa, Ohio St defeat Michigan St, Nebraska loses at Minnesota, Miami-Fl defeat Notre Dame, Oklahoma def. TCU, Washington loses at Stanford, Auburn over Georgia, Alabama wins at Mississippi State, and USC def. Colorado.

    Week 12 – November 18
    Penn State over Nebraska, Northwestern over Minnesota, Wisconsin def. Michigan, West Virginia over Texas, OK-State defeat K-State, Notre Dame defeat Navy, LSU over Tennessee, Texas over Ole Miss, Stanford over Cal and USC over UCLA.

    Week 13 – Thanksgiving
    Ohio State defeat Michigan, Nebraska defeat Iowa, Wisconsin over Minnesota, Oklahoma over West Virginia, TCU beat Baylor, Stanford over Notre Dame, Clemson over South Carolina, Florida State over Florida, Georgia defeat Georgia Tech, North Carolina St over North Carolina, Tennessee over Vanderbilt, Mississippi State wins the Egg Bowl at home against Ole Miss, and Alabama win against Auburn in the Iron Bowl.

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