2015 NCAA Football Preview: Final Thoughts

September 4, 2015

Apparently I regressed this year by publishing my “Final Thoughts” article a day after the regular season began.

I’m not concerned, however, because the only thing the majority of you are interested in (my College Football Playoff Predictions) were posted on Twitter earlier today and none of the four teams included have played a game yet. Sorry, TCU.

In this article, I’ll cover the following: Heisman Trophy hopefuls, College Football Playoff and New Year’s Six bowl predictions, my Top 10 and the biggest questions heading into the season.

If you are interested in being the guest prognosticator for one of my Weekend Previews published each week throughout the regular season, shoot me an email at kbecks@aroundthecorn.com, send me a tweet @KBecks_ATC or post a note to the official Facebook page wall.

Heisman Trophy Hopefuls

Cody Kessler, Southern California quarterback

One of the most underrated quarterbacks in the country, Kessler could quickly become the biggest name in college football if his team plays well and the Trojans claw their way up into serious playoff contention. The senior’s TD-to-INT ratio in 2014 was exceptional, trailing only Marcus Mariota’s. Kessler will be the leader of a strong pack of signal callers from the Pac-12.

Trevone Boykin, TCU quarterback

Boykin may have made the biggest strides of anyone on this list since stepping foot on a college campus. The senior is a dangerous dual threat option that leads one of the most potent offenses in the nation. A lot of Boykin’s detractors will argue that he is simply a lever in an overall well-oiled machine, but in reality No. 2 is what makes the Horned Frogs click on offense. Before he became a star, TCU was struggling to gain traction in the Big 12.

Connor Cook, Michigan State quarterback

Cook may be playing for more than a spot in the playoff this season. Many draft boards have the Michigan State gunslinger as the top overall prospect for the 2016 NFL Draft thanks to Cook’s smooth release and confidence in the pocket. The Spartans are often a run first team under head coach Mark Dantonio, but with Cook that will change at least for this season.

J.T. Barrett, Ohio State quarterback

No one is sure whether Barrett will even be the starting quarterback for the Buckeyes come September 7, but I’m making the assumption. Despite a slow start and missing the Big Ten Championship Game due to injury, Barrett still finished fifth in last year’s Heisman vote. The redshirt sophomore’s numbers are inflated thanks to what are essentially pitches to slotbacks being counted as touchdown passes, but that doesn’t mean he wouldn’t be deserving of the award.

Jeremy Johnson, Auburn quarterback

The new Auburn quarterback will have to live up to the hype and pressure of performing immediately, which won’t be easy. But if Johnson’s skills are truly as good as advertised, then the Tigers will have their best season since Cam Newton was in uniform. Johnson is a better thrower than Nick Marshall, adding a new wrinkle of complexity to Gus Malzahn’s offense. Expect Malzahn to take advantage of his quarterback’s talent and give him plenty of opportunities to impress the Heisman voters.

College Football Playoff/New Year’s Six Predictions

Peach Bowl: Clemson vs. Georgia

Fiesta Bowl: Boise State vs. Oklahoma

Rose Bowl: Oregon vs. Michigan State

Sugar Bowl: Alabama vs. TCU

Cotton Bowl (Semifinal 1): Ohio State vs. Southern California

Orange Bowl (Semifinal 2): Notre Dame vs. Auburn

National Championship: Ohio State vs. Auburn

Around The Corn’s Top 10

1. Ohio State

2. Auburn

3. Notre Dame

4. Southern California

5. Alabama

6. TCU

7. Michigan State

8. Georgia

9. Clemson

10. Oregon

10 Questions for 2015

1. Can Ohio State repeat as College Football Playoff champions?

2. How will Florida State move on post-Winston?

3. Will the Big 12 be left out of the playoff once again?

4. Is Notre Dame legitimate?

5. Which division is stronger: SEC West or Pac-12 South?

6. Is there a Group of Five team good enough to make the playoff this season?

7. Who will be this season’s Semaje Perine (Breakout Player)?

8. Will the khaki pants fit in Michigan? (a.k.a. Will Jim Harbaugh succeed?)

9. Is there enough left on Oregon’s offense for the Ducks to continue as the bully of the Pac-12?

10. How many times will Lee Corso curse on College GameDay?

Thanks for following along this week as I’ve hurriedly put together my college football previews. As always, I’m ready to sit back and enjoy four months of great action!

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