December 17, 2017

College Football Midseason Review

Can you believe the college football season is already half over? It feels like forever since Alabama and Florida State squared off in one of the most hyped opening weekend games of all time, ending in a 24-7 win for the Crimson Tide and a lost quarterback for the Seminoles. Now, Alabama is 7-0 and halfway through their SEC regular season slate. Who knows how far they’ll go this year?

We do. The Tailgate Society is proud to present another round of guaranteed-to-be-correct predictions for the back half of the season along with some explanations (or excuses) for the ones we got wrong in our preseason preview article. Don’t like what we have to say? Hit us up on Twitter or comment here with what you’d say differently. Now for our thoughts on how the college football season will shake out and what’s gone down so far…

Emily Cornell

Biggest surprise of the season so far? Every Friday the 13th upset, especially Clemson falling to Syracuse.

The “can’t miss” game for the rest of the regular season? Ohio State at Michigan (Nov. 25) or TCU at Oklahoma (Nov. 11).

Your Coach of the Year at this point? Matt Campbell (Iowa State) only because of the Cyclones’ win at Oklahoma.

Which conference is most likely to have a champion we don’t expect right now? The Mountain West with Wyoming! (Just kidding.) NC State from the ACC.

Your preseason playoff picks were Alabama, Florida State, USC, and Penn State. Who are you going with now? And who will win it all? Alabama, Penn State, USC, and Oklahoma. The Crimson Tide will roll and win it all.

Three Bold Takes from the preseason – hit or miss?

  1. “Colorado will beat Washington” – MISS. Anyone who has a basic grasp of football could see Colorado’s defense fall apart against Washington. The rain and kickoff time didn’t do the Buffs any favors either. There’s always next year!
  2. “Wyoming will beat Oregon” – MISS. Again, anyone who understands football saw how poorly this game played out for Wyoming.
  3. “NC State will beat Clemson (Nov. 4)” – It hasn’t happened yet, but it’ll be a HIT. If this game is anything like the Syracuse Clemson match up, NC State is in for a treat. They lead the ACC Atlantic and should give Clemson a run for their money. I stand by this prediction.

Bonus new Bold Take: Texas will beat TCU (Nov. 4), meaning the Longhorns will actually become closers for the first time this season.

Shaun Curran

Biggest surprise of the season so far? How bad Florida State SUCKS!

The “can’t miss” game for the rest of the regular season? It’s not technically the “regular season,” but the SEC Championship Game (Dec. 2). That matchup – Alabama vs. Georgia – will be the real national title game.

Your Coach of the Year at this point? Kirby Smart (Georgia).

Which conference is most likely to have a champion we don’t expect right now? None of them.

Your preseason playoff picks were Alabama, Florida State, Michigan, and Washington. Who are you going with now? And who will win it all? I’m scrapping all my original picks and going with Georgia, Clemson, Penn State, and TCU. Georgia will win the title.

Three Bold Takes from the preseason – hit or miss?

  1. “South Florida will finish ranked in the top 15” – HIT. This is gonna happen.
  2. “Ohio State will lose to both Penn State AND Michigan” – HIT. I think Ohio State is a fraud this year.
  3. “Clemson will lose four games” – MISS. I could not have been more wrong. They’ll lose two games max, but I bet they win out after that Syracuse loss.

Bonus new Bold Take: Florida State will miss a bowl game for the first time in over 35 years.

Alex Gookin

Biggest surprise of the season so far? It’s a toss-up between Michigan State’s 5-1 start and Florida State’s 2-3 start. I would have bet on those records being flipped at this point in the season.

The “can’t miss” game for the rest of the regular season? Gotta be #2 Penn State at #6 Ohio State (Oct. 28).

Your Coach of the Year at this point? Kirby Smart (Georgia).

Which conference is most likely to have a champion we don’t expect right now? Penn State and Ohio State are the favorites in the Big Ten (and as I said, that game should be amazing) but it wouldn’t shock me at all if Wisconsin quietly does its work in the West and goes on to win the B1G title.

Your preseason playoff picks were Alabama, Ohio State, Florida State, and Oklahoma State. Who are you going with now? And who will win it all? I’ll stick with Alabama but go with Georgia, Clemson, and Penn State to round out the playoff, with Alabama taking the title.

Three Bold Takes from the preseason – hit or miss?

  1. “The Big 12 will end their CFB Playoff drought with an Oklahoma State win in the Big 12 title game” – TBD, but leaning MISS. Oklahoma State probably won’t be the team if the Big 12 does make the playoff. I’d give that crown to TCU today.
  2. “USC will be the #1 team in the nation… before a late-season collapse, and they will miss the CFB Playoff” – MISS. USC never got to #1 and they never will – but I’m pretty confident they still won’t be making the playoff.
  3. “Another disgusting layer of filth will be added to the Baylor debacle and the NCAA will slap them on the wrist with loss of scholarships or something useless like that” – HIT! Well, kinda. Former Baylor players came out saying they were taught how to fool a drug test by the coaching staff and they are beautifully 0-6 right now. Knowing the NCAA, their 0-6 record will be the biggest punishment they get.

Bonus new Bold Take: There will be three undefeated teams in Week 14 (Nov. 25), setting up for mayhem on conference championship weekend.

Travis Halm

Biggest surprise of the season so far? Iowa State’s win at Oklahoma.

The “can’t miss” game for the rest of the regular season? Penn State at Ohio State (Oct. 28), unless Alabama plays Georgia in the SEC Championship game (Dec. 2).

Which conference is most likely to have a champion we don’t expect right now? The Big 12 with TCU.

Your preseason playoff picks were Alabama, Florida State, Clemson, and Ohio State. Who are you going with now? And who will win it all? I’m sticking with Alabama, Clemson, and Ohio State, but TCU will get the fourth spot.

Three Bold Takes from the preseason – hit or miss?

  1. “Oklahoma will go 8-4” – I’ll call this TBD. They’d need to go 3-3 down the stretch for this to happen.
  2. “Texas will beat USC” – MISS. Close game, though.
  3. “Gundying will become the new Clemsoning” – TBD. Let’s see what happens.

Bonus new Bold Take: The Big 12 Championship game will catapult a team INTO the CFB Playoff.

Spencer Hughes

Biggest surprise of the season so far? NC State was picked to finish fourth in their division and was one of only five ACC schools not to receive a single first-place vote in the media’s preseason poll. They’re now sitting at 6-1 (4-0) with a top 20 AP Poll ranking. Can’t wait to see if they manage to keep this going with big games against Notre Dame (Oct. 28) and Clemson (Nov. 4) ahead.

The “can’t miss” game for the rest of the regular season? The Big 12 has tons of parity this year, so I’m most interested to see what happens when TCU goes to Norman to take on Oklahoma (Nov. 11). It may be a preview of the Big 12 Championship game, or it may decide who gets there and who doesn’t.

Your Coach of the Year at this point? Bronco Mendenhall (Virginia). The Hoos are 5-1 just a year after going 2-10.

Which conference is most likely to have a champion we don’t expect right now? I’m just not sold on any of the top Pac-12 schools, so I think it’s most likely that someone sneaks in there. Maybe Mike Leach’s Washington State finally pulls it off.

Your preseason playoff picks were Alabama, Penn State, Florida State, and Ohio State. Who are you going with now? And who will win it all? I’m sticking with three of my picks, but I’m swapping Florida State for… Georgia. That’s right, I think the CFB Playoff will feature the Big Ten and the SEC with two schools apiece. Nothing could help push us toward playoff expansion more quickly than that. Alabama will roll to a 15-0 season and a national title.

Three Bold Takes from the preseason – hit or miss?

  1. “2017 will be Mike Riley’s last season at Nebraska. Riley will be replaced by Scott Frost after he leads Central Florida to a strong finish in his second year there” – HIT. I’m proud of this one, because I think all of this is gonna come true. Nebraska is 3-4 and has a brand new AD with Pac-12 experience. Frost was at Oregon and his Golden Knights are 5-0. The Cornhusker faithful will welcome him back to Lincoln with high expectations.
  2. “Northwestern will win the Big Ten West and will go on to lose the Big Ten Championship Game by four touchdowns” – Big MISS by me here. Wisconsin is quietly cruising to a West title. To me, they are legitimately in the mix for the CFB Playoff and receiving almost no attention relative to the other top contenders. Meanwhile, Northwestern is 3-3. So… whoops.
  3. “Washington’s clear path to the CFB Playoff will be cut down in a thrilling Friday night game when Stanford beats the Huskies in overtime (Nov. 10)” – I think this will be a HIT. Washington is 6-1. I think any 12-1 Power 5 champion will get in the CFB Playoff this year. UW will be 8-1 when they go to Palo Alto on that Friday in November, and Bryce Love and the Cardinal will get the win and end UW’s playoff hopes.

Bonus new Bold Take: Butch Jones will be done at Tennessee (this is certainly no Bold Take by itself), and he will be replaced by Mike Leach who will bring his air raid pass-happy style of offense to the SEC – where he’ll win.

Jared Leeper

Biggest surprise of the season so far? The biggest good surprise has to be Georgia with how well they are playing right now. On the bad side, Florida State has been a huge disappointment.

The “can’t miss” game for the rest of the regular season? TCU at Oklahoma (Nov. 11) for me. A playoff spot could be on the line when these two meet.

Your Coach of the Year at this point? Kirby Smart (Georgia).

Which conference is most likely to have a champion we don’t expect right now? The ACC, since we have a pretty good idea who the champions likely will be in the others.

Your preseason playoff picks were Ohio State, Alabama, USC, and Oklahoma. Who are you going with now? And who will win it all? I’m still going to stick with Ohio State, Alabama, and Oklahoma. I’ll throw Penn State in there now instead of USC. I still think Alabama rolls to the title.

Three Bold Takes from the preseason – hit or miss?

  1. “Bobby Petrino (Louisville) gets involved in another sex scandal and gets a new 20-year contract anyway” – TBD. Hasn’t happened yet, but still plenty of time!
  2. “The Big 12 will have a team primed for the CFB Playoff, and they will lose in the newly-created Big 12 Championship game because of course” – I think this will be a HIT. With Oklahoma already having a loss and TCU and Oklahoma State lurking, this could easily happen.
  3. “Iowa State will win eight games” – HIT. Halfway into the season, ISU is 4-2. “On pace guy” says the Cyclones are definitely on pace for eight wins.

Bonus new Bold Take: Joel Lanning (Iowa State LB/QB) finishes the season as an All-American.

Austin Narber

Biggest surprise of the season so far? Positive: Michigan State (5-1). I didn’t think Mark Dantonio would make it through the season. Negative: Louisville (4-3). The Cardinals were a preseason CFB Playoff pick for me, but the defense is a bigger liability than we ever could have imagined. They might be fortunate to finish the season bowl eligible.

The “can’t miss” game for the rest of the regular season? Penn State at Ohio State (Oct. 28). CFB Playoff implications galore. Meanwhile, Wisconsin is also undefeated and doesn’t have to play either of these teams the rest of the way. What in the world would the committee do with 11-1 Penn State, 11-1 Ohio State and 12-0 Wisconsin?

Your Coach of the Year at this point? Gary Patterson (TCU). At this point, two losses would have been a fair prediction. The floor would have been three or four. Instead, TCU is 6-0 with two gigantic road wins in a Big 12 that no one can figure out.

Which conference is most likely to have a champion we don’t expect right now? Miami is 5-0 with four home games remaining and no Clemson on the schedule. The two roadies are at UNC (1-6) and Pittsburgh (2-5). The usual ACC powerhouses have proven to be beatable this season and Miami is in a winnable Coastal division, meaning they should be in great position for the championship game. Otherwise, Iowa State.

Your preseason playoff picks were Alabama, Oklahoma, Louisville, and Wisconsin. Who are you going with now? And who will win it all? In order, I have Alabama, TCU, Penn State, and Georgia. The winner? Roll Tide.

Three Bold Takes from the preseason – hit or miss?

  1. “Ohio State doesn’t even sniff the Big Ten Championship or a playoff berth. Penn State and Wisconsin will benefit from easier schedules, securing a rematch in the title game, and the Buckeyes lose to Oklahoma, Iowa and Michigan anyway” – HIT, but mostly TBD. I think this will all still happen.
  2. “Miami nearly knocks off Louisville late in the ACC Championship, narrowly eliminating USC from the CFB Playoff” – MISS. I don’t think USC will wind up in the playoff conversation, nor will Louisville (and the Cardinals won’t be taking part in the ACC Championship game).
  3. “Under the lights in their final home game of the season, Iowa State becomes bowl eligible by taking down Oklahoma State on the heels of OSU’s devastating home loss to Oklahoma the week before. A late interception by Kamari Cotton-Moya seals the game. Final score: 37-31” – HIT. I stand by this!

Bonus new Bold Take: Maryland beats Michigan at home for a bowl-qualifying win. Texas loses its season finale to Texas Tech to finish 5-7. The season opener, a Maryland win, seals both teams’ postseason fates.

Jacob Ohlde

Biggest surprise of the season so far? TCU. The Horned Frogs are 6-0 and ranked #4.

The “can’t miss” game for the rest of the regular season? Alabama vs. Georgia in the SEC Championship game (Dec. 2). I’m calling it now.

Your Coach of the Year at this point? Gary Patterson (TCU).

Which conference is most likely to have a champion we don’t expect right now? The Pac-12.

Your preseason playoff picks were Florida State, Alabama, Washington, and Ohio State. Who are you going with now? And who will win it all? I have Alabama, Penn State, Clemson, and Oklahoma at this point. I’m taking the Crimson Tide to win it all.

Three Bold Takes from the preseason – hit or miss?

  1. “Pittsburgh will win the ACC Coastal division” – MISS. The Panthers are 2-5 and in last place in their division. This is an all-timer in terrible bold predictions history.
  2. “Jesse Ertz (Kansas State) will lead the Big 12 in rushing yards” – MISS. Ertz has been hurt most of the year, but it doesn’t appear he’d have led the league even if he was healthy.
  3. “Oklahoma State will run the table in Big 12 play but will lose in the conference title game” – MISS. OSU has already lost at home to TCU. Their chances to make the Big 12 title games till look pretty decent, however.

Bonus new Bold Take: Georgia runs the table in the regular season.

Tami Dooley

Biggest surprise of the season so far? That Boise lost Virginia and then turned around and beat BYU and SDSU. Totally not how I saw that going down.

The “can’t miss” game for the rest of the regular season? Clemson @ NC State on Nov. 4th is going to be hella fun.

Your Coach of the Year at this point? Matt Campbell. Gotta respect great improvement and the Cyclones have definitely turned a corner.

Which conference is most likely to have a champion we don’t expect right now? The ACC. NC State is going to the playoffs, baby!

Your preseason playoff picks were Alabama, Michigan, Florida State, Oklahoma State. Who are you going with now? And who will win it all? Bama, Penn State, NC State, TCU. Bama takes it.

Three Bold Takes from the preseason – hit or miss?

  1. “Michigan is going to look like world beaters after winning “The Game” vs. Ohio State. Harbaugh’s head is going to be big enough to enter eastern seaboard airspace, and then they’re going to look like they’ve never played football before in the Natty.” MISS OMG. Michigan looks like hell and I bought into the Harbaugh mythos way too hard. I’m sorry everyone. I failed.
  2. “IOWA STATE IS GOING BOWLING!” Hit! This is still going to happen. Welcome to the Potato Bowl!
  3. “Nobody is going undefeated.” After the Friday the 13th weekend debacle, anything is possible. Not sure anybody is taking down Bama tho.

Bonus new Bold Take: Boise State is going to end up the highest finishing Group of 5 team somehow, even with 2 OOC losses.

Spencer Hughes
Spencer Hughes 8 Articles

Staff Writer

Spencer is a Cedar Rapids, Iowa native currently located in Jacksonville, Florida. He holds degrees from Iowa State University (B.A., 2014) and Duke University (J.D., 2017) where he learned that you can’t choose which is better between Hilton Coliseum and Cameron Indoor Stadium; they’re just different. Spencer is a lifelong fan of the Iowa State Cyclones, Minnesota Vikings, Scott’s Tots, St. Louis Cardinals, and the Oxford comma. He will discuss college football playoff scenarios or health care legislation with you whenever you want.

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