2016-17 College Football Playoff Projections

That time of year for College football fans everywhere has arrived, and things are starting to come together. Well, that may not be entirely true, this is college football so that means that anything can and probably will happen. There is, however, some clarity to the picture beginning to take shape. The race in today’s new playoff era is for the top four spots, so these are the teams who are looking good, and a couple of teams on the outside looking in.  Here are the four favorites to make the college football playoffs according to BoydsBets.

4. Michigan Wolverines 7-0 – They will have a higher seed if they get in, but this is the best projection I can give them at this point. The Big Ten Conference looks like the SEC did when it was in its prime this year. That is the reason for only getting a number 4 projection as they have the most difficult road. With teams like the formidable Ohio State Buckeyes (6-1) and the unbeaten Cornhuskers of Nebraska (7-0) among others, this is a stacked conference that is a long way from finished.

3. Washington Huskies 7-0 – This is a team that probably should be higher on my list, but the Pac-12 is still a conference in question in terms of strength. That is also compounded by the fact that Washington is somewhat of a surprise this year, if not by the unbeaten record then at least by the absolute dominance they’ve shown thus far. Just ask Stanford, considered by many as one of the top tier teams of the Pac-12 this year, just how dominant these guys can be.

2. Clemson Tigers 7-0 – Easily the most convoluted conference at this stage, and the projection that will draw the most disagreement. The contention with this pick is primarily because of the one loss Cardinals (I will get to Louisville directly), this one is based in large part due to the Tigers being a proven winner and having been there and done that. The first time is always the hardest for any team in any sport. History suggests it generally takes teams at least a couple of tries to break through, which is old hat for my number one…

1. Alabama Crimson Tide 7-0 – Love them, hate them – all they do is win. The SEC is still in that conversation as being the elite conference in the country, the only difference now is that they have company unlike several years ago. That being said, looking at who sits beneath them shouldn’t scare them or anyone else pulling for the Tide. Pedigree, experience and the way they’ve been winning this year make this one a surprisingly easy call. If Alabama loses before reaching the college football playoffs, well the sky might be falling!

The Others – The other teams previously mentioned, The Ohio State University, the Louisville Cardinals and Nebraska are teams that still control their own destiny, but the road for these three teams remains a big climb. Louisville has the talent, the Buckeyes are young but have been there before and have a guy on the sidelines who knows something about winning and the playoffs, and the Cornhuskers are still unbeaten.

There is no such thing as certainty in sport, and this is nowhere more evident than it is in the college football landscape. Buckle in, brace yourself and get ready for a fun race to the finish line, this is going to be interesting.

Heisman Winners & the Sugar Bowl

The Sugar Bowl has had more than it’s fair share of great players in the history of the event.  So far there have been 17 Heisman Trophy winners take the field.  A lot of them gained even more notoriety for how they performed.

When looking at the list of Heisman odds for 2016 it’s no surprise that many of those names plan on teams that could possibly be Sugar Bowlers.

This year the Sugar Bowl doesn’t host a playoff game so the teams with the best chances of winning the national championship will be playing elsewhere.  But that doesn’t mean we won’t get great teams or great players.  Heisman contenders don’t always compete for the national title.

In fact, Heisman winners don’t always end up victorious in their bowl games.  So far there have been 22 Sugar Bowl games with the 17 individuals on their roster.  Their teams have gone just 8-14 in those 22 games!

Nine times the winner played in the Sugar Bowl the same year he won the trophy.  12 times the player got it in a later season, and once a player participated after winning in an earlier season.  Of course, there are three players who have played both before and after the season they won.

Florida’s Danny Wuerffel, who was the Florida QB as a sophomore in 1995 and played as a senior in 1997.

Georgia running back Herschel Walker made three straight appearances from 1981 to 83.  His first performance was very memorable.  It won the Bulldogs the national title, he separated his shoulder early in the game, and gained 150 yards against a defense that hadn’t allowed an opponent to crack the century mark all year.

The other two Heisman winners with multiple appearances are LSU’s Billy Cannon from way back in 1959 and 1960.  He did it all, threw a touchdown pass, kicked a PAT, and played defense.

Alabama work horse running back Derrick Henry played in both 2014 and 2015. The 2015 edition served as the first College Football Playoff Semifinals in history.  However, Henry was 0 for 2 in the Sugar Bowl.

Florida’s Steve Spurrier participated in three Sugar Bowls.  He was a player back in 1966 but also coached two Florida teams, including the 1997 national champions.

Tony Dorsett had an impressive performance as the Pitt running back in 1977.  He compiled 202 yards and a touchdown on the ground against the Georgia Bulldogs, that record lasted until 2006 when West Virginia’s Steve Slaton broke it by a yard.

The best performance of all-time?  It’s hard to argue with Tim Tebow.  He set the record with 482 passing yards on 31 of 35 passing.  The Gators just absolutely boo stomped No. 3 Cincinnati 51-24 in the game.

Bo Jackson is another Heisman legend who played in the game.  Bo ran for 130 yards in a win over Michigan back in 1984.

The very first Heisman winner to play in the game was TCU’s Davey O’Brien back in 1939.  He is more famous for the nation’s best quarterback award being named after him.

The least impressive Heisman performance in the Sugar Bowl?  That honor belongs to Penn State’s John Cappelletti.  Back in 1972 he was stuck in his hotel with the flu, missing the game entirely.


City of New Orleans

There isn’t a better city to host a bowl game.  We firmly belief that.  Founded in 1718 at the juncture of the Mississippi River and the Gulf of Mexico, New Orleans was named after Philippe, Duc d’Orleans.  The French Quarter was the original settlement.

The city was first inhabited by the French.  But, in 1762 King Louis XIV gave Louisiana to his Spanish cousin, King Charles III.  It was shortly after this that the French Quarter was practically destroyed by fire.  The rebuild was done in Spanish architecture shortly before the land was ceded back to France.  Soon after, Thomas Jefferson purchased it for the United States in the Louisiana Purchase of 1803.

This is one of the most unique cities in the world.  There is a mix of European, American, Caribbean, and African influences.  Everything from food, to music, to the architecture is a style of its own.

Of course, New Orleans is famous for Mardi Gras.  It’s the world’s largest party.  A celebration that takes place all over New Orleans and lasts for weeks on end.  There are more than 30 parades that take place in the city.  There are floats, costumes, the famous beads, trinkets and a lot of music leading up to Fat Tuesday.

Speaking of music, a couple of weeks after Mardi Gras New Orleans livens up again for JazzFest.  This is a two-week celebration of famous musicians, celebrating the city’s musical roots, and showcases the best of jazz and blues music.

Why do music and New Orleans go hand in hand?  Because it’s widely regarded as the birthplace of jazz.  Did you know the Utah Jazz were so named because they were originally based in New Orleans?

The food here is both unique and amazing.  You’ll find creole dishes like gumbo, jambala, and crawfish among the most popular fare.

Of course we love that New Orleans gets to host a major bowl game, but did you know the city has also been host to 10 Super Bowls, five Men’s Final Fours, two men’s regional finals, and three Women’s Final Fours?  The city has also hosted a pair of NBA All-Star games and Wrestlemania back in 2014.

Tourism is a big part of the city’s economy.  There are 33,500 hotel rooms, 913 restaurants, 200 limos and busses, 1200 taxis, 137 daily flights coming in, and the 7.1 million annual visitors spend nearly $4.8 billion.

So, whether you come for the Sugar Bowl or just to visit, there is plenty to do an experience in this great part of Louisiana.

2016 Sugar Bowl

The 2016 Sugar Bowl is now in the books.  The game took place on January 1st at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.  This was the 81st edition and featured Ole Miss versus Oklahoma State.

Ole Miss really dominated.  The final ended up being 48-20 which gave the Rebels their first 10-win season since 2003.  Both teams finished the year at 10-3.

The Cowboys hadn’t played in the Sugar Bowl since way back in 1946.  Ole Miss hasn’t necessarily been a frequent visitor here either.  The last time they played in this bowl was in 1970.

The two schools are somewhat familiar with each other though.  They met in the Cotton Bowl back in 2004 and 2010.  Ole Miss seems to have Oklahoma State’s number though as they have now won all three of those bowl games.

Oklahoma State got the scoring started with a first quarter field goal, but Ole Miss rallied 27 unanswered points to go up 27-3.  After a Cowboy field goal the Rebels put another touchdown on the board to end the first half leading 34-6.

There was a lot of offense in this one.  Chad Kelly was 21-for-33 for 302 yards, four touchdowns, and a single interception.  Mason Rudolph and JW Walsh split time for Oklahoma State and combined for 27-45 passing and 303 yards.

Walsh was the leading rusher for Oklahoma State, carrying the ball 10 times for 74 yards and two touchdowns.  A quarterback also led the way for the Rebels as Kelly ran 10 times for 73 yards, but Jordan Wilkins, Akeem Judd, and Jaylen Walton all managed 40+ yards in the game.

No surprise who the favorite target was for Kelly.  Tread well had six catches for 71 yards, but scored three touchdowns.  The other touchdown pass was caught by Cody Core who ended the game with four grabs for 91 yards.  Evan Engram had six catches and 96 yards as well.

Oklahoma State was led by Marceli Ateman’s five catches for 70 yards.  David Gladden added four catches fro 59, the same stat line produced by Chris Carson.

So this game was a little anti-climatic.  I think part of the problem was the letdown situation for Oklahoma State.  They started the season out 10-0 and had their sights set on a spot in the playoffs.  However, Baylor beat them in Stillwater and then were blowout by Oklahoma.  That left them kind of reeling heading into this game against Ole Miss.

The Rebels on the other hand ended the season with double digit wins over rivals LSU and Mississippi State.  Their heartbreak happened earlier in the year with losses to Florida, Memphis, and Arkansas.  You have to think they would have liked to have had another shot at those teams, since you know the potential was their for the Rebels after an early win over Alabama.