Category Archives: College

Five Bold Predictions for the 2023 College Football Season

With week zero officially in the books, the 2023 college football season is officially underway. Excitement is high, and predictions from pundits across the country are flying off the boards. With that in mind, let’s make five bold college football predictions.

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The Pac-12 Will Have Two Teams in the College Football Playoff

This might be the boldest of all college football bold predictions. The glory days of the Pac-12 are well over. The days of the Pac-12 existing at all, unfortunately, are running short, as well. What would be more poetic than the conference sending two teams to the playoffs in its final complete season?

Oregon, USC, and Utah are the three teams who have a chance here. All three of these schools have rosters that are easily talented enough to win 11 games and sneak into the College Football Playoff. The only team with a question mark is USC on defense, but their Caleb Williams-led offense is good enough to keep up with anybody. For the first time since 2016, the conference will send not one, but two teams to the playoff.

Drake Maye and Jalon Daniels Will be Heisman Finalists

Drake Maye is going to be one of the quarterbacks to watch for in next year’s draft. He’s also going to be somebody to watch out for throughout this season. Maye should be considered a very big threat to win the Heisman itself, let alone be a finalist. Watch for him and North Carolina to go far this season.

As for Jalon Daniels, he’s been doing all he can to put Kansas back on the football map. Oddly enough, Daniels’ odds to win the award are currently at +10000, worse than Arch Manning, who is literally a backup. The college football world may sleep on Daniels, but I’m not. Daniels is an electric player, and if I were you, I’d throw some money down on his Heisman chances this year.

Penn State Makes the College Football Playoff

Penn State is one of the most interesting dark-horse candidates in all of college football this season. They’ve got an impressive defense, one that ranks among the best in the country. The real key to their success this season is Drew Allar. He’ll need to take a big step for this prediction to come true, but that defense should have his back all season long.

The Lions don’t have the easiest schedule, but they should be favored in nearly all of their games. If Penn State can handle their business and win the games they should win, while beating one of Michigan or Ohio State, they’ll be on a fast track to the playoff.

Texas Will (actually) Be Back

“Texas is back” is a saying that’s heard around the world whenever the Longhorns have a statement win. That statement win is usually followed by a disappointing finish to the season, leading many to realize that Texas is not actually back. This year, that should be different.

This is Texas’ last year in the Big 12, and they’ll end it with a bang before heading over to the SEC. The Longhorns have a ton of talent, even with the loss of Bijan Robinson. While the conference remains competitive, some of its top teams (most notably Oklahoma) have fallen off the map recently. Texas should be able to win 10 games this year, and make a serious playoff push. Whether they actually get in or not is a different story, but mark 2023 as a resurgent year for this school.

UTSA Makes a New Year’s Six Bowl Game

If there’s any team outside of the Power Five that can make some noise this season, it’s UTSA. The Roadrunners are beginning their first year in the AAC, and should be an immediate contender to win the conference, with their biggest threat being Tulane.

Frank Harris Jr. is entering his seventh year of collegiate football, and he’s become one of the most underrated quarterbacks in the country. Most of UTSA’s offense is returning, and their coach, Jeff Traylor, is looking for his third consecutive 10-win season. The Roadrunners are a team to watch this year. Don’t be surprised if you see them in a bowl game on New Year’s Day.

Pre-season 2024 NFL Draft Rankings: Offensive Tackles

Now that we’re done with the skill positions, it’s on to the big uglies up front. With the next article in my pre-season rankings for the 2024 NFL draft we will be looking at the offensive tackles. As always, you can read all of my previous work here, and be sure to check my database, as well.

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2024 NFL Draft Top Five Offensive Tackles
  1. Olumuyiwa Fashanu – Penn State: Fashanu could have come out early for the 2023 draft and would have been the #1 offensive tackle in the class, he is that good. Suffice to say as long as he stays healthy he should be a top 5-10 pick in 2024. He is big, strong, and athletic, and has great hand usage.
  2. Joe Alt – Notre Dame: Alt is even taller than Fashanu at 6’8. Similarly, he is very athletic for his size, being a former tight end. He mirrors pass rushers very well. Alt needs to add a little core strength and could work on playing a little lower, but still should be a top 15ish pick.
  3. JC Latham – Alabama: Latham was a monster on the right side in 2022. He gave up just 12 pressures in pass protection. His play in the run game could be more consistent. He is expected to move to left tackle in 2023. Teams will be watching closely to see how he transitions.
  4. Patrick Paul – Houston: Paul has been one of the most underrated left tackles in my opinion for what feels like two years. He has given up just four sacks in four seasons at Houston. He’s never been a great run blocker, but most NFL teams don’t care at left tackle, as long as you are competent. He has the size (6’7 310) and athleticism teams are looking for. He should still be a first round pick.
  5. Amarius Mims – Georgia: Mims is another large man at 6’7, 330 who moves like a man 30 pounds lighter. His potential is sky high, and he could go top 10 if he reaches it. The question teams have right now is “is he ready”? He started just two games in 2022, but did play 385 snaps on the season. He’s also only played right tackle.
The Best Of The Rest: 2024 NFL Draft Offensive Tackles

6. Delmar Glaze – Maryland: If Paul is the most underrated, then Glaze is a close second. He started at right tackle in 2022, but has played and started games at left tackle. While not the massive prospect that the top six guys are, he still has good size at 6’5, 305. On film, he is a better blocker than his former teammate Jaelyn Duncan. He is smoother and consistent in his pass sets. He will start at left tackle in 2023.

7. Jonah Monheim – USC: Monheim is a little small at 6’5 295, and has only played right guard and right tackle. He moves well and is athletic, plays hard, and is a good second-level blocker. Monheim struggles with power, and that might be an issue at the NFL level. He needs to add bulk and core strength.

8. Kingsley Suamatala – BYU: Another large man at 6’5, 325. He is a one-year starter at BYU after redshirting in 2021 at Oregon. In 2022, he did not allow a single sack and just 11 pressures. There is potential for him to move up if he has another big year, but he could also go back for his junior year. He still needs a lot of technique work. He will play left tackle in 2023.

9. Graham Barton – Duke: Barton is on the “smaller” side compared to the other tackles in this class at 6’5, 311. He also has the distinction of being able to play center, as well. He started five games at center in 2020 and played okay in them. There is some talk about what position will be his best. He gave up just two sacks and 10 pressures in 2022, after a bad 2021 season. He’s a good athlete (5.26 40-yard dash) and plays through the whistle.

10. Tylan Grable – UCF: Grable was an interesting transfer portal kid who did not get talked about much. He was a left tackle for two years at Jacksonville State, giving up five sacks in two years. He has an ideal left tackle build at 6’7, 295 with a 5.17 40-yard dash. The jump in competition didn’t seem to hinder him either, other than a couple bad games. Grable is still new to the offensive line, having been a high school quarterback and came to Jacksonville State originally slated to play tight end.

Pre-season 2024 NFL Draft Rankings: Tight Ends

Now to the last of the offensive skill set guys, the tight ends for the 2024 NFL draft. This group is obviously not as strong as last year’s class. It is stronger at the top, with one player who, if he was able to come out, would have been the #1 tight end last draft. However, the overall depth of the 2024 class is not there. But that does not mean it’s a bad class by any means. So let’s get to it.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/AJ Mast
2024 NFL Draft Top Five Tight Ends
  1. Brock Bowers – Georgia: If Bowers were eligible to declare for the 2023 draft he would have been the #1 tight end, and might have gone top 10 — he’s that good. Despite his average size of 6’3 230, he has almost everything you look for in a tight end. He is even a decent blocker, despite his size. Bowers is expected to run in the 4.4 range and can line up anywhere on the field.
  2. Benjamin Yurosek – Stanford: Yurosek has the desired size and speed NFL teams look for at 6’4 242 with sub 4.6 40-yard dash speed. He had a breakout in 2021 with 42 catches for 655 yards and three touchdowns. The Stanford offense really struggled in 2022, so it hurt his numbers a lot. He can line up attached or in the slot, and is threat up the middle. His blocking needs some work.
  3. Ja’Tavion Sanders – Texas: Sanders is a former five-star recruit who was a defensive end convert and did not play much as a freshman. He came in and started in 2022 and had big flashes. At 6’4 249 and 4.6 40-yard dash speed, he has the upside to be one of the best tight ends in the league. He went off for 54 receptions, 613 yards, and five touchdowns in 2022. Sanders just needs more consistency.
  4. Brevyn Spann-Ford – Minnesota: Spann-Ford is a massive human being at 6’7 270, but he is surprisingly athletic. He’s not going to outrun many defenders, but can get some separation using his frame and his quick feet. He is already a very good blocker. The current Gopher had 42 catches for 497 yards and two touchdowns. His game has some similarities to Marcedes Lewis.
  5. Jaheim Bell – Florida State: Bell is a versatile chess piece for an offense to use. He is 6’3 232, so very much an H-back type frame. The thing with Bell, though, is he has been used all over the field: in the slot, as a tight end, as a fullback, and even was used as a running back by South Carolina in 2022, rushing for 257 yards and three touchdowns on 74 carries. His breakout year he had 30 catches for 488 yards and five touchdowns in 2021. Bell just needs a creative offensive coordinator.
2024 NFL Draft Tight Ends: The Best Of The Rest

6. Theo Johnson – Penn State: Johnson is a legit 6’6 255 with sub 4.7 40-yard dash speed. He’s played in a rotation with Brenton Strange the last couple of seasons, which cut into his playing time and receiving production. He had 20 catches for 328 yards and four touchdowns in 2022. He has also been a good blocker the last two seasons. You can see his receiving upside by his average per catch of 16.4 yards a catch. He is a breakout candidate in 2023.

7. Erick All – Iowa: All had a nice season in 2021 after having two ho-hum seasons before that. He was looking like he was going to break out big in 2022, but injury ended his season in Week 3. All ended up transferring to Iowa, where he should be the #1 receiving option in 2023. He has solid size and athleticism; having yet to completely tap into his potential. Iowa has been known to develop tight ends.

8. CJ Dippre – Alabama: Dippre really showed some flashes last season at Maryland, but due to all the receivers on the roster he was mostly a safety valve on offense. The 30 catches he had for 311 yards and three touchdowns is pretty impressive given the circumstances. He is a bigger tight end at 6’4 and almost 260, but is a decent athlete and a good blocker with some upside.

9. Bryson Nesbit – North Carolina: Nesbit comes from an athletic family, his father played in the NFL for 10 years and mother was a soccer player in college. He is a bit undersized at 6’5 and just 235 pounds, and it shows in his blocking — although the potential is there for him to get better. He can play inline and out of the slot. Nesbit had a solid year last season with 35 catches for 507 yards and four touchdowns. He could be in for a bigger role in 2023.

10. Austin Stogner – Oklahoma: Stogner had a bit of a coming out party in 2020, but has not had near the production since. In 2021, the offense struggled as a whole. Stogner transferred to South Carolina with Spencer Rattler, but their offense had struggles, as well. So he transferred back to Oklahoma, where he is expected to be the starting tight end and one of the top receiving targets. The talent and upside is still there. He just needs to reach it.

Make sure to read my previous part on the wide receivers and of course my datatbase.

2024 NFL Draft: Three PAC-12 transfers who can raise their stock

The transfer portal has completely taken over college football. Teams like TCU have essentially built the core of their roster through the portal. It has essentially become free agency in the college football world. Every year, countless players rise through the draft rankings at their new schools. In the PAC-12, there are some transfers at new schools who could find themselves surging up 2023 NFL draft rankings. Here are three guys to watch on the West Coast in 2023. 

Photo Credit: URI Athletics
Ajani Cornelius, Oregon Ducks (Via Rhode Island), OT

Dan Lanning has made it a point to upgrade the trenches ever since he took over after the 2021 season. Ajani Cornelius is sure to help in that department. Standing at a massive 6-4 and 315 pounds, Cornelius has the requisite size and strength to hold up at the next level. Cornelius was one of the most sought after transfers this off-season, and Oregon was able to win him over despite countless schools coming after him extremely hard.

A little-known prospect, he is sure to see an uptick in NFL draft stock with the transfer to Oregon and the PAC-12. The Ducks have fostered a great offensive line culture in recent years and Cornelius appears to be the next Oregon offensive lineman to find themselves playing on Sundays. 

MarShawn Lloyd, USC Trojans (Via South Carolina), RB

Lincoln Riley has built a reputation as one of the best run designers in the country. Adding a player of MarShawn Lloyd’s caliber to his backfield should make for some impressive numbers in 2023. Lloyd is one of the countless players to depart from the Gamecocks this off-season.

This was a player who contributed for the Gamecocks despite not touching the ball as much as he would have liked. Lloyd only had 129 touches during the entire 2022 campaign and still managed over five yards per carry. Adding a threat like this to Lincoln Riley’s offense is sure to raise his draft stock quite a bit.

Patrick McMorris, Cal Golden Bears (Via San Diego State), SAF

The California Golden Bears have built a reputation within the PAC-12 of having one of the better defenses. This off-season, they added a notable transfer in cornerback Patrick McMorris. McMorris is a 6-0, 210 pound safety who is transferring in from San Diego State.

McMorris is sure to get more attention from the NFL now that he is playing on Cal’s defense. In the Mountain West Conference, McMorris was the 2022 Co- Defensive Player of the Year. Had he declared for the draft in 2023, he likely would have been invited to All-Star events such as the Senior Bowl and Shrine Game.

Elite 8 as Sonic Characters: Part One

Elite 8

The Elite 8 tips off tonight at 6:09 PM EST, and the madness has been constant. Hopefully, it will continue. Most previews are offering insight into matchups, who they think will win, what bets to make, etc. But here, we aren’t doing any of that. It’s time to have some fun and compare some teams to some Sonic the Hedgehog characters in a completely meaningless way.

FAU vs Kansas St (6:09PM EST)

Sticks and Sonic from the show Sonic: Boom.
Sticks (FAU):
Florida Atlantic v Tennessee
Photo by Al Bello via Getty Images

Florida Atlantic. Primal. Weird. Energetic. A bit paranoid.  Frantic but effective, the FAU Owls boast both a top-30 offense and defense according to KenPom. The Owls shoot 36.5% from 3-point range, which is good for 45th in the country. The Owls went from never winning a tournament game to now being in the Elite 8. And just like Sticks, they would surely love a shiny trophy.

To do so, they will need more big games out of sophomore guard Johnell Davis, who has been fantastic this entire tournament. He is averaging 18.6 points per game in the tournament.

Sonic (Kansas State):
Michigan State v Kansas State
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This choice might be surprising at first glance. However, they’re a team with extreme confidence in their ability. An undersized point guard running the show that has America in love with passing once again.

One of the fastest teams remaining in the tournament, Kansas State is the Sonic the Hedgehog of the Elite 8. Kansas St is 43rd in KenPom’s adjusted tempo at 69.9, good for second in the tournament. They are 41st in possessions per game at 73.3, which is the top mark remaining in the Elite 8.

They are not the most highly regarded team, ranking just 20th in KenPom and 23rd in T-rank, but the combination of elite guard play from Markquis Nowell and fantastic wing play from Keyontae Johnson might be enough to get this team that finished second-to-last in their conference last year to pull off a miracle and perhaps make it to a National Championship game.

UCONN vs Gonzaga (8:49PM EST)

Knuckles (UCONN):

A bit (a lot) slower than Gonzaga and Kansas State, UCONN will rely on their strength and skill to win this game. Connecticut is not the best defense remaining, but they hold their own on that end. They rank 14th in KenPom’s adjusted defense. The Huskies are an elite offense, ranking third in KenPom on that end. UCONN is 1st in KenPom and second in T-Rank overall.

They are led by physical big man Adama Sanogo, but guards Tristen Newton and Jordan Hawkins will be their keys to success. They face an extremely difficult test in Gonzaga, but they definitely have enough to be able to win it all. 

Shadow (Gonzaga):

Gonzaga is one of the fastest teams remaining in the tournament. The Bulldogs are 44th in the country, averaging 73.3 possessions per game, the second-best among the remaining teams. Gonzaga has the highest KenPom adjusted tempo of any remaining teams, at 70.2, which is good for 39th in the country. They have a difficult test in UCONN, the top team in KenPom, and 2nd in Bart Torvik’s T-Rank.

The Bulldogs are a team that some people dislike because of their recent success and their failure to win it all. However, despite many people’s dislike for the program, they are a team, like Shadow, that can be fun to root for, even if they are the “villain”. If Drew Timme can have another monster performance, they might just have a chance.