The season is almost here, which means it's time for our bold predictions for the 2016 season. As you'll recall from last year, we all swung big and missed even bigger. But as they say, fortune favors the bold: there are no seeing-eye singles here, only upper deck bombs or swinging strike outs.
Scott (@FootballScoop): Les Miles will rally from last year's near firing to lead LSU to his second national championship.
After nearly losing Les in a disgracefully poorly handled manner last season, the Tigers will put together a glorious run in 2016, reminding the rest of college football just how good the level of football is down in Louisiana. With 14 starters from in-state and half the rest from nearby East Texas, LSU doesn’t need to look far for players. The Tigers will be challenged early and often and in typical Les Miles fashion might just squeak by a few times.
But towards the end of the season when LSU faces Ole Miss, Alabama and Arkansas in a row, I expect Leonard Fournette to play wrecking ball moving the Tigers down the field, from time to time gashing opponents. Look for a spark plug named Derrius Guice to wow us all with “Did you see that!??!” moves in each game. Guice, a true sophomore, is lightning in a bottle, a bigger version of Darren Sproles and more north/south than Barry Sanders. Fournette, properly, will get all the accolades and attention, but look for Guice to provide the extra firepower that LSU will need to get into the playoffs and then look out… Imagining Les’s grin (and subsequent speech) on the podium, holding the trophy is poetic justice, Louisiana-style…I’ll take some of that.
Zach (@zach_barnett): Baylor's next head coach is North Carolina's Larry Fedora.
Larry Fedora was born in College Station, Texas. He played his college ball at Austin College in Sherman, Texas. He started his career as a GA at Austin College, then moved to Garland (Texas) High School before returning to college football as a position coach at Baylor. Point is: this man is a Texan and would jump at a chance to return to the motherland. Fedora will enter the season with an eye on the situations at Texas and Texas A&M but, as I wrote yesterday, I don't think either of those jobs open this winter. But Baylor will.
With UT and A&M occupied, Fedora will make a devil's bargain to take the best available job in Texas, with a salary spike -- Fedora made $1.9 million in 2015, per USA Today (edit: He signed an extension worth $3 million a year in December); Art Briles made $4.2 million -- that comes along with it.
Doug (@CoachSamz): Twelve of the 14 of new Power 5 coaches will lead their teams to bowl games.
A total of 14 Power 5 programs (when you include BYU) changed head coaches during this last off season, and after taking a look at each of their respective schedules, I predict that 12 of those head coaches in their first year with their respective programs will lead their team to a bowl game.
In order from most confident (they make a bowl game) to most challenging, I see it as: Miami, Georgia, Virginia Tech, Minnesota, Syracuse, South Carolina, Maryland, Illinois, BYU, USC, Virginia, Iowa State, Rutgers & Missouri.