By Aaron Greenberg and Ben Jenkins
Ben: Bryce Love is getting all of the pre-season hype for the Heisman trophy, as the runner-up from last year should. Outside of Love, some of the other early betting favorites are Tua Tagovailoa and Khalil Tate. While both are certainly deserving of the fan-fare, I think that there is a seasoned gun-slinger in a conference that seems to forget how to play defense at times that deserves a little more love. They say that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, and that’s exactly what Will Grier has become for the West Virginia Mountaineers after transferring from Florida. Grier had a good year last year, passing for 3,490 and 34 touchdowns with a 64.4% completion percentage. He has to improve his decision making, Grier threw 12 interceptions a year ago, but if he makes the proper changes he may be hoisting college football’s most prestigious award in December.
Aaron: picking the heisman this year is interesting. Other than Bryce Love, who i don’t think plays in a strong enough conference to win. There’s a lot of question marks surrounding the award. Nonetheless I’m gonna go with Trace McSorely, McSorely climbing out of Saquon Barkley’s shadow will be one of the biggest storylines of the season in my opinion. I think he’ll have a season to remember that will include him taking home college football’s most prestigious award.
Best coach with a new team
Ben: There are plenty of new coaches to choose from, and quite a few from the SEC, but I’m going to step out of my comfort zone and head out west. Khalil Tate could easily win the Heisman this year, and his play reminds me of a similar Heisman winner that is in the midst of making a football comeback in the Canadian football league. What else do Johnny Football and Khalil Tate have in common? Kevin Sumlin. Sumlin may have not reached the heights that the Regents at Texas A&M would have liked, but he’s still an excellent coach that inherits one of the nation’s best quarterbacks. Oh, and he doesn’t have to face the SEC West this year. I see Arizona having a good first year with Sumlin at the helm.
Aaron: While I agree Sumlin has large potential to be successful in Arizona. I’ll choose to go a different route. I’ll go with Jimbo here, Jimbo and Texas A&M come in as one of the biggest sleepers in the SEC this year. Look for the big man to bring A&M the kind of success they’ve been hoping for since Johnny Football left way back when.
Biggest playoff sleeper
Ben: Picking a college football playoff sleeper is never easy, because it’s essentially one of the biggest guesses of the year. Outside of the initial AP Top 10, I would say that West Virginia has one of the best shots at being a surprise playoff team. If they can survive Tennessee in Week 1 (they should), the Mountaineers don’t have a big test until November 3rd, when they travel to Austin to take on the Longhorns. Win that game and you’re looking at a potential Top 5 showdown to close out the season with Oklahoma at home, and what an environment that would be.
Aaron: My biggest playoff sleeper is a team off many people’s radars this year. With all the controversy surrounding Ohio State, look for the Big 10 to be wide open this year. That being said, I’m gonna take Michigan State. I think QB Brian Lewerke has the potential to be special, and with Coach Dantonio’s track record, look for the Spartans to be playing football on New Years Eve.
Ben: Looking at a lot of the top recruits from 2018, I see that most went to schools where they will not necessarily experience immediate playing time. The exception is WR Justin Shorter from Penn State, who is 6’4 and has a veteran quarterback in Trace McSorley that will be looking to find other players to produce offensively after Saquon Barkley was drafted with this year’s #2 pick. Look for Shorter to put up big numbers against a top heavy conference in the Big 10 this year.
Aaron: I’m gonna preface this by saying, yes I go to University of South Carolina, yes I’ve been telling everyone all summer we’re gonna be a top 10 team all year. But all that aside Jaycee Horn will be the best Freshman in CFB this season. Horn has been an absolute stud for the Gamecocks throughout the spring and now in camp. Look for him to burst on the scene this season.
CFP picks and champion pick
This is gonna be my four with three pretty standard choices, explanation for Michigan State is above.
College Football Playoff Games:
#1 Alabama over #4 Georgia
#3 Oklahoma over #2 Clemson
#1 Alabama over #3 Oklahoma
Bama vs. Michigan State
Clemson vs. Georgia
Bama vs. Clemson
I’ll take Bama to win it all