The Stats Crowd's conquering of baseball has turned it into a true outcome game -- where the batter either hits a home run or strikes out. FootballScoop's Bold Prediction is also a true outcome game. We either hit a home run -- Notre Dame makes the Playoff! -- or strike out -- Alabama misses it!
Below are our bold predictions for the 2019 campaign.
Scott: Ryan Day leads Ohio State to a national championship
In season one as full-time head coach of THE Ohio State Buckeyes, Ryan Day fits all of the pieces into their exact right spot in the puzzle, leading his squad to an undefeated national championship.
With a handful of new coaches and quite a few new faces on the field, Day seems tailor-made for this new role as he deftly makes quality game planning and in-game decisions. While seemingly challenged during the early part of several games in season, the Buckeyes consistently pull away from team in the second half of games, a mark of a well-coached and well-conditioned team. In their nationally televised regular season finale at the Big House, Day's squad isn't even nice to the Wolverines, easily separating themselves, strolling out to a 20-point lead at halftime and closing out the game with a 30-plus point decimation of the boys in blue.
Entering the playoffs undefeated, the Bucks make easy work of a semi-final opponent who is beat so soundly they feel irrelevant. In the championship game, Ohio State, despite dominating all season long, is a slight underdog to Clemson. Day, flexes his creative muscles in the first half staking the Bucks to a 10-point lead at the half. The second half is simply a beat down as the Bucks separate from last year's champions, walking off with a 24-point win. In the moment, Buckeyes fans could not be happier. In the days that follow, some wonder why they were only able to win one national championship during Urban's seven years as head coach....
Zach: Mike Tomlin takes the USC job
It's the exact opposite of an exaggeration to say USC fans have never warmed to Clay Helton. In fact, his back-to-back seasons of a Rose Bowl victory and a Pac-12 championship in 2016-17 could only get him to lukewarm in their minds. And then last season happened.
USC missed a bowl game for non-sanction reasons for the first time since 2000 which, in the mind of the USC fan, meant the 20-3 run of 2016-17 was all about Sam Darnold and any improvements shown in 2019 will be credited to Graham Harrell's arrival. That's just life in Los Angeles.
I believe USC will be better in 2019 than it was in 2018. I also believe it won't matter, at least not for Helton, and especially not against this hellacious first-half schedule.
That's four ranked teams and two of the most difficult Group of 5 games possible. I believe Helton will not make the trip home from South Bend as USC's head coach.
Okay, so I've just written four paragraphs explaining why the thing everyone in college football expects to happen is going to happen, so here's why I think Mike Tomlin is going to take the USC job.
Thirteen seasons is a lifetime when you're the head coach of an NFL team. Thirteen seasons as the head coach of the same team with the same quarterback is an eternity.
I believe Roethlisberger's constant drama queen antics will lead to the enough-is-enough point for Tomlin, leading him to imagine what life is like outside of Pittsburgh. Lynn Swann -- who is still USC's AD in this scenario, because USC -- will be told he can't make another hire in the USC family, but there's nothing stopping him from going within the Steelers family.
Swann will convince Tomlin that he'll be rejuvenated to stop placating the egos of millionaires and return to actually leading young men as USC's head coach... while also getting to blend in inside the LA scene during his down time.
Tell me this man would not absolutely kill it inside recruits' living rooms wearing cardinal and gold.
Tomlin will retain Harrell as USC's offensive coordinator -- he increased the Trojans' scoring rank from 91st to 45th while performing an admirable job as the interim head coach, guiding USC to a 7-6 record and a win over Minnesota in the Redbox Bowl -- and bring Teryl Austin with him from Pittsburgh to serve as his defensive coordinator, in the process restoring the balance of power for college football on the West Coast.
Doug: Urban Meyer returns to college football
Elite coaches coach for as long as they possibly can, and Urban Meyer is certainly cemented into that elite category. Coaching, recruiting, and the mental chess match of football on game day and developing young men is something in those coaches' DNA that makes it incredibly difficult to walk away from.
Urban walked away from coaching twice before, leaving Florida, then returning, then finally coaching his last game with at Florida on Jan. 1, 2011 before stepping away to be an analyst for ESPN. But come mid-November of 2011, the opportunity at Ohio State popped up and although he first denied that he'd be the next head coach of the Buckeyes, it was too good of a situation, and somewhere he had coaching roots, and we all know how the rest of the story goes from there.
Where will Urban be in 2020? I think odds in Vegas would be on USC, and while that is certainly a possibility, I have to think there is another job or two out there that, if it were to come open, would entice Meyer to go back to the sidelines. It has to be somewhere he capable of winning his third national title at three different schools, and somewhere that will recharge him with the excitement of a new challenge, and a location he can step out and recharge on occasion.
In a surprising move, Brian Kelly decides 10 seasons leading the Irish is enough and steps down to evaluate his next move in life leaving Notre Dame looking for a new head coach. Urban Meyer would be at the top of the list...at a place he has an emotional connection to.
If (or when) he does get back into coaching, it's no secret that he'll do everything in his power to bring some key pieces of the Ohio State machine with him, including strength coach Mickey Marotti and player personnel czar Mark Pantoni, leaving the Buckeyes with some huge shoes to fill.