With the official kickoff of the College Football Season Thursday, what better place to come for the preview of the Big Five Conferences in college football (for the uninitiated; the Big 10, SEC, ACC, Big 12, and PAC 12). In part one of the preview, I already told you the four teams that will make the first annual College Football Playoff. I now present to you the Big 10 and ACC previews.

Big Ten Championship Game Prediction

b1gdivisionWisconsin (West Division Champion) vs. Michigan State (East Division Champion) – Michigan State Big Ten Champion

Contenders: Wisconsin, Michigan State, Ohio State, Nebraska

Wisconsin is set up perfectly to win the Big Ten Western Division, as they do not play Michigan State, Ohio State, or Michigan. Their Eastern Division crossover games (which means they play two opponents from the other division) are Rutgers and Maryland. Let’s just say they made out like bandits. Ohio State would have been my pick to win the East, but that was prior to Braxton Miller pulling a Sam Bradford and being out for the year. Starting a redshirt Freshman at Quarterback is a recipe for disaster. Michigan State is loaded on defense and returns a strong running game that will allow them to win low scoring games. If they can get improved quarterback play by Connor Cook, they should have no issues winning the East. Michigan State’s big non-conference game is at Oregon, and if they have any aspirations of making the football playoff they need to win that game or lose by a close margin.

Sleepers: Iowa, Rutgers

Iowa’s conference schedule is ridiculously easy. Their two toughest games of the year aren’t until November 22nd and November 29th against Wisconsin and Nebraska, both at home. If they take care of the rest of their conference schedule and split the last two games, they could be in Indianapolis as the Western Division champion. Rutgers is a team that is going to give teams a hard time due to their speed on defense. Rutgers will be rotating at least 10 defensive lineman and have explosive players across all of their skill positions. Watch for them to beat Penn State at home and give Wisconsin a run for their money at home. The teams that will give Rutgers trouble are spread teams, which only Ohio State and Michigan use in the East. If things fall right they can finish second in the division and should definitely be a bowl team.

 

ACC Championship Game Prediction

acctFlorida State (Atlantic Division Champion) vs. North Carolina (Coastal Division Champion) – Florida State ACC Champion

Contenders: Florida State, Clemson, North Carolina, Virginia Tech

This conference is Florida State’s to lose. Every conference game should see FSU favored by double digits. The only game that would be of concern is a Thursday night showdown (on Halloween no less) at Louisville. Jameis Winston should continue to build on his Heisman campaign, as long as he stays healthy. Clemson unfortunately plays in the same division as Florida State and will need to beat FSU in Tallahassee and not lose their yearly Clemson game (a Clemson game is when they play a team they should beat and lose at night in the worse possible way). The Coastal Division is up for grabs, as any team in that division has a realistic shot at being the winner. North Carolina brings back a ton of experience on both offense and defense and should benefit from not playing Florida State during the season. Virginia Tech will have a boost on offense with Texas Tech transfer Michael Brewer taking over for Logan Thomas. If North Carolina were to stumble, Virginia Tech should be able to capture the ACC Coastal Division.

Sleepers: Duke, Louisville

How can a team that made the ACC championship game last season be a sleeper? Because it’s Duke. Being in the Coastal division allows teams like Duke to make the conference championship games as long as things break right. They have a phenomenal coach in David Cutcliffe (who coincidentally coached Eli and Peyton Manning in college) who gets the best out of players that might otherwise not be successful in college football. Louisville enters the ACC as the newcomer replacing Maryland and is the same division as Florida State and Clemson. They will definitely be a Bowl Team, but with their best player Devonte Parker being out for the first two months, they will need to make sure they win the games in which they are favored.

Check back tomorrow for the SEC, PAC 12, and BIG 12 previews.

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