Pre-Season Magazines offer few surprises for 2016
The middle of June holds a ritual in the Billingsley household, that of daily trips to the local WalMart, the only source for college football magazines in Choctaw County Oklahoma. Usually the search turns into a disappointing, frustrating waste of precious time until FINALLY, one by one, the magazines start to appear. It’s always exciting to read the various predictions in print from Athlon, Sporting News, Phil Steele and online from College Football Odds. This June’s much anticipated arrival yielded few surprises in regards to Top 10 teams and predicted Conference Champions. A general consensus seems to agree on just about everything. In the coming week’s Richard Billingsley will be preparing his own conference predictions and ultimately be posting the 2016 Pre-Season rankings in the middle of August. Until then, a sneak peak preview of preseason magazines find the SEC once again firmly in control with 8 teams ranked in the Top 25 in at least one magazine. Defending National Champion Alabama once again is picked to win it all in several publications with perennial favorites Florida State, Clemson, Oklahoma and Ohio State filling out the role as top contenders in one publication or another. Some newcomers certainly seem to be garnering a lot of attention, although not surprisingly so based on coaching, returning starters and building on last year’s success. Most notably Michigan, Tennessee, Notre Dame, LSU, Washington and Houston. Also getting a lot of attention, but perhaps somewhat less than last year are Ole Miss, Stanford, UCLA, Georgia and TCU. Teams on the rise most mentioned are Louisville, Arkansas, Oklahoma State, Miami (Fla.) and Texas A&M. Iowa, USC, North Carolina, Virginia Tech and Oregon seem to be filling out most of the bottom part of the Top 25.
Alabama Overtakes Notre Dame as Top College Football Program
There is a new King in College Football. For the first time in CFRC history, the Fighting Irish are no longer the top College Football Program. First released to the NCAA in 1996, the College Football Research Center’s All Time Top College Football Programs saw Notre Dame as the number one ranked program, a title the Irish have held every year since. In fact, Notre Dame and Michigan held a solid hold on the #1 and #2 positions respectively for 18 years. But Alabama began making a strong move beginning with their 2009 National Title which ranks as the overall best team in College Football history. Two years ago the Crimson Tide leaped over Michigan for the #2 position. At that time, my estimate was that if the current trend continued Alabama would overtake Notre Dame within 4 years. But thanks to three more Championships in a five year span, it only took 2 years. Since this list is compiled from every game played since 1869, movement among the Top 10 Programs is rare, but Alabama’s run of 4 National Championships in 7 years, especially during a time when strength of schedules are the highest in the history of football, created rapid movement for the Tide. Michigan has continued to fall, dropping to #4 behind arch rival Ohio State, but the race among the Top 4 teams will be an interesting one to watch in the next few years as Michigan and Notre Dame are witnessing a resurgence in their programs while nothing seems to be slowing down for Alabama and Ohio State. Click here for a complete list of the Top All Time College Football Programs and click here to research the entire Billingsley College Football Encyclopedia.
Alabama Tames Tigers in Classic Championship Game
The Crimson Tide won the College Football National Championship Monday night with a hard fought 45-40 win over a tough Clemson team. The undefeated Tigers refused to give in to the favored Alabama squad, even after the Tide stole momentum after a gutsy onside kick play and jumped to an 11 point lead in the middle of the 4th quarter. Clemson fought back and had a chance to win the game, but time, and big plays by Alabama on offense and defense finally sealed Clemson’s fate. Alabama has now won 4 National Championships in the last 7 years, a feat unmatched in the history of Modern College Football.
Clemson and Alabama set to play for College Football National Championship
Both the Tigers and the Crimson Tide took care of business in stunning fashion New Years Eve in their respective Semifinal games to capture a spot in the College Football Playoff National Title Game. Clemson cooled down a hot Oklahoma offense and stunned the favored Sooners 37-17 in the Orange Bowl. A few hours later Alabama completely dominated a tough Michigan State team 38-0 in the Cotton Bowl. The two teams will square off Monday night January 11th in the Championship Game. The Billingsley Report featuring the Bowl Game results was released at 11AM CT this morning (January 3rd). The Margin of Victory Report, and Billingsley’s Personal Report, will follow this afternoon. Follow the links on the rankings tab.
Bowl Season Begins Saturday December 19th
40 Bowl Games begin to unwind this Saturday with 5 games on the slate for opening day. The season culminates with the Championship game on January 11th. This year the two CFP semi-final games will be played on New Year’s Eve with the Orange Bowl, featuring #1 Clemson and #4 Oklahoma followed by #2 Alabama and #3 Michigan State in the Cotton Bowl. For all the Bowl Game Projections, follow the links below. Billingsley Billingsley+ (MOV)
Navy Squeezes Past Improved Army 21-17
In one of America’s premier rivalries, played Saturday in Philadelphia, the Naval Academy completed a 10 win regular season with a hard fought 4 point victory over Army. It was the Midshipmen’s 14th consecutive victory over the Cadets. Army was a 23 point underdog but fought valiantly, taking the game into the late stages of the 4th quarter. The Cadets finished 2-10 on the season but have shown noticeable improvement in 2015. 7 losses this season have come by 7 points or less. The future of Army football looks bright under head coach Jeff Monken. Army’s stingy run defense kept Navy in check most of the day and gave the Cadets an opportunity to win the game, but in the end, turnovers and an inability to sustain any offense proved too much for Army to overcome. This week represents the Final Regular Season Billingsley Report. The next ranking will be published on January 3 after the conclusion of the Bowl Season on January 2. A Final Report will be issued on January 12 after the National Championship Game on January 11.
Billingsley Releases Final Regular Season Rankings
Although there was little drama surrounding Saturday’s games, college football fans anxiously await the release of the CFP Final Four scheduled to be shown on ESPN at 11 AM CT Sunday morning. Billingsley released his rankings Sunday morning at 8:19 AM. There will be an updated version to include next Saturday’s Army/Navy game. The seeding of the Top 4 teams remains the only mystery left to unfold. If Clemson holds the #1 position as expected, they will play the #4 ranked team, either Michigan State or Oklahoma. The ACC Champion plays in the Orange Bowl, so either the Spartans or the Sooners will head to Miami. #2 Alabama will be the host team in the Cotton Bowl and play the #3 seeded opponent. Both games will be played December 31, with times yet to be released. Billingsley’s Margin of Victory and Personal Rankings will be released later this morning.
Stanford win over Irish Makes Job Easy for CFP
Stanford’s dramatic last second 38-36 win over Notre Dame removed any drama from the College Football Playoff Selection Committee release this coming Tuesday night. The Cardinal moved the length of the field in 30 seconds and kicked a 45 yard pressure packed field goal to end any playoff hopes for Notre Dame. An Irish win could have created some controversy over the Top 4 teams with Notre Dame and Oklahoma both finishing the season at 11-1 and no conference championship to play. Instead, the Sooners, who most likely would have won the selection anyway, appear in line to take one of the spots in next week’s FINAL selection, along with Clemson, Alabama and the winner of the Big 10 Championship Game between Michigan State and Iowa. Only a major upset by North Carolina or Florida could reshape the standings at this point. In that case, Ohio State, Stanford or even North Carolina could fill the remaining slot. With Florida’s loss to Florida State, even a win over Alabama would most likely not be enough to sway the committee in the Gators direction. College fans will certainly celebrate the 4 team playoff this year. Can you imagine the outcry we would have experienced if only TWO slots were available at the end of this season? All 3 Billingsley Rankings are now online.
College Football Rivalry Weekend is best in Sports
Talk about tradition…….for over 100 years on Thanksgiving weekend college football’s greatest rivalries have played themselves out. Oh, they may not have ALWAYS been played on this weekend EVERY year, but if you check out the biggest rivals through Billingsley’s Encyclopedia (Section 2) , you’ll see historical data from some of the greatest games ever played. The list could go on forever, but these are certainly special, Alabama/Auburn, Florida/Florida State, Ohio State/Michigan, Oklahoma/Oklahoma State, Oregon/Oregon State, Washington/Washington State, Clemson/South Carolina, Mississippi/Mississippi State, and USC/UCLA. The CFP picture may clear a bit after this weekend as the Big 12 and Big 10 both have top rated contests in Oklahoma/Oklahoma State, Ohio State/Michigan and Michigan State/Penn State, plus Notre Dame Stanford figures into the mix pretty strongly. Happy Thanksgiving to all…..it’s wall to wall football, just the way I like it! Billingsley Projections Billingsley+ Projections Pre-Season Game By Game Projections
College Football Enters High Gear
November is the month that games are remembered in College Football, especially in regards to rankings. This weekend features contests destined to clear the picture in the CFP, at least somewhat. Ohio State and Michigan State square off in Columbus for an inside track to the Big 10 Championship game. Like wise, in the Big 12, things are really heating up as Oklahoma entertains TCU and Oklahoma State hosts Baylor. A win by both would set up the biggest game in the Bedlam series history the next weekend. The winner of that game would win the Big 12 and most likely enter the CFP coveted Top 4 (although Oklahoma may still need help beyond an OSU win). Follow the links below for all this week’s projections. Billingsley Billingsley+ Pre-Season Game by Game
Cowboys Ambush Horned Frogs
Oklahoma State played a near flawless game in the first half and held on for a stunning 49-29 win over previously unbeaten TCU to take the lead in the Big 12 Conference race. Baylor, which also remains unbeaten, hosts Oklahoma next Saturday in a pivotal conference game. Across the nation, Clemson downed Florida State to take the lead in the ACC race and Alabama used a powerful defensive performance to shut down LSU in the SEC. All 3 Billingsley Rankings are now online. Follow the links to the right of your screen or from the Rankings Tab above.
It’s Cocktail Time in College Football!
Although both school’s had rather NOT have this game called “the world’s largest outdoor cocktail party” anymore, it’s hard not to remember it that way. These two bitter rivals meet in Jacksonville in one of only two neutral site rivalry games left in America. The other belongs to Oklahoma/Texas in Dallas. This will be the 93rd installment of the series which began way back in 1915. Georgia holds a slight 49-41-2 advantage over Florida. Check out the links below for all of Billingsley’s projections. Billingsley Projections Billingsley+ (Margin of Victory) Projections Billingsley’s Pre-Season Projections
Longhorns Stun Sooners 24-17; TCU Climbs to # 1after escaping Kansas State 52-45.
The Texas Longhorns, fresh off of one of the worst losses in program history, a 50-7 drubbing at the hands of TCU, put together a brilliant game plan exploiting Oklahoma’s weak offensive and defensive lines, and upset the highly favored Sooners 24-17. Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield played a great game going 20 of 28 passing for 211 yards, but was sacked 6 times and found himself scrambling most of the game with no time to perform the magic that lead to earlier Sooner victories over Tennessee and West Virginia. Oklahoma’s defense was gashed for 313 yards rushing by the Longhorn offense. Texas, which has played the nation’s #1 most difficult schedule to date, is two special team plays away from being 4-2 on the season. As predicted here several weeks ago, the Longhorns were destined to pull an upset over one of the Big 12’s top contending teams. They came through in glorious fashion in Saturday’s Red River Rivalry Game, one of the nation’s premier college football rivalries. Also as expected, TCU needed another brilliant comeback to fend off an upset loss to Kansas State in Manhattan. The Horned Frogs, down 35-17 at the half, fought back furiously in the third quarter to narrow the gap to 35-31, then outscored Kansas State 21-10 in the fourth quarter for a 52-45 win. TCU moved to #1 in this weeks Billingsley Report on the strength of their schedule (#43), higher than Ohio State’s #74 and Michigan State’s # 68. Once again, #11 Baylor is heavily penalized for playing a weak schedule, ranked # 119. However, once margin of victory is factored in, the Bears are considered the #1 team in the Nation this week in the Billingsley+ Report and Michigan State and Ohio State suffer because of poor performances against weaker opposition. Baylor is also #1 in Billingsley’s Personal Top 30, with TCU, Ohio State, and Alabama following respectively. Utah, Florida and Michigan continue their meteoric rise as the nation’s most surprising teams. Florida is up to #4, Utah to #5 and Michigan to #17. The Wolverines have moved all the way into the Top 25 from an initial preseason ranking of #40. Michigan’s only loss is to undefeated Utah in Salt Lake City. In Billingsley’s Margin of Victory Report, the Wolverines are #6 this week and would be considered virtually a toss up with Ohio State on a neutral field. Michigan hosts undefeated rival Michigan State this coming Saturday. Early projections indicate Michigan could be a slight favorite, a shocking development that no one could have seen before the season started. Jim Harbaugh is certainly a leading candidate for coach of the year honors.