Aggie Meltdown or Destiny for Rosen?
There are plenty of headlines coming from the Labor Day weekend games, with Tennessee/Georgia Tech still to come, but perhaps none greater than the amazing comeback staged by UCLA on Sunday night. In many circles it will be recounted as a Texas A&M meltdown, in others, a game of destiny for Josh Rosen, either way, it's recorded in the history books as a 45-44 win for the Bruins, in one of the greatest comebacks in college football history. Not since 1957, with the arrival of Darrell Royal, had I seen such excitement within the Texas football program.....but Maryland put a shocking halt to that with a stunning 51-41 upset win, in Austin no less. #1 Alabama played like, well, Alabama in defeating #3 Florida State 24-7. The only thing I saw differently was an even more dominant special teams display by the Tide. Not good news for future opponents. Speaking of future opponents for the Tide, LSU played a great game in beating a solid BYU team 27-0. Several Top 10 teams struggled early on but finished strong in the second half to secure their high rankings, notably Ohio State, Washington and Southern Cal . Oklahoma, Clemson and Auburn all came out of the gate strong and rolled from the first possession on. The nation awaits the Sooners visit to Columbus this coming Saturday night. Billingsley Rankings will be posted Tuesday afternoon pending tonight's Tennessee/Georgia Tech game.
Opening Weekend Will Speak Loudly In December
Well, truth is, we know it's not really opening weekend. 5 games have already been played. But still, it has the feel of opening weekend. August 26 was just a technical appetizer. The games of Labor Day weekend will have a long lasting effect on the 2017 season for sure. With Alabama/Florida State, Michigan/Florida, BYU/LSU, Virginia Tech/West Virginia, Texas A&M/UCLA and Tennessee/Georgia Tech, the Top 25 will certainly be in store for a shake up. Some are calling it the greatest opening weekend in college football history. Possibly so. Losing these opening games may not be and end all to the season either. There is plenty of time to rebound, and they are all non-conference games. Winning a Power Five conference and losing one game to another Top 25 team doesn't look so bad on a season long resume. Billingsley projections for Week 2 games are now online!
Colorado State Steam Rolls Oregon State 58-27
Colorado State christened their new stadium in style Saturday as the Rams ran over the Pac 12's Beavers 58-27. The first half was a back and forth tug of war, but Colorado State took control in the third quarter and never looked back. The Rams head to Denver Friday night to battle arch rival Colorado. Across the country, Charlie Strong opened with a win in his coaching debut for South Florida, although the Bulls looked embarrassingly sluggish in the first quarter, falling to a 16-0 deficit to hosting San Jose State. But once the defense stiffened and created two key turnovers, South Florida's offense finally got untracked. The Bulls went on to a 42-22 victory. Brigham Young had a tough time with a very good Portland State team, winning 20-6. The Cougars face LSU in Houston next Saturday. Hawaii scored a stunning touchdown in the final seconds of the game to top Massachusetts 38-35 and Rice traded a home game to travel half way around the world to Sydney, Australia only to get blasted by Stanford 62-7. Watch for Billingsley's Projections on Week #2 games coming mid-week. Article photo By Andy Cross - Denver Post
College Football Gets Early Start
Hold on to your hats folks.....It's almost here! College Football season opens in a mere 12 days. Although Labor Day Weekend holds the spotlight for big games, the actual 2017 season opens Saturday August 26th with 5 games on tap, including a pivotal non-conference match between hosting Colorado State of the Mountain West Conference and visiting Oregon State from the Pac 12. The Rams will be dedicating a new state of the art, on campus stadium with a seating capacity of 41,200. Half way around the world Stanford and Rice will be tossing around the pigskin in Sydney, Australia. Charlie Strong makes his much anticipated debut for South Florida by traveling to San Jose State. The Bulls are a projected pre-season favorite to win the American Conference title. Brigham Young, once again playing one of the most difficult schedules in the nation, opens 2017 with Portland State before heading to Houston to take on LSU Labor Day weekend. Hawaii travels all the way to the East Coast to visit Massachusetts. As a new weekly feature this year, Billingsley's Projections for each week will be posted mid-week prior to each weekend's games.
Will the SEC Maintain Conference Dominance?
For the greater part of the last decade the Southeastern Football Conference has dominated college football. In 2016, both the ACC, spearheaded by Clemson's National Championship, and the Big 10, supported by Ohio State and a resurgent Michigan, gave the SEC a run for their money. But in the end, college fans saw a continuation of a familiar pattern.....the good ole SEC atop the standings. It was not a runaway by any means, on average rating the SEC scored 267.536 and the ACC and Big 10 were basically tied at 265, although the ACC's 265.631 to the Big 10's 265.622 technically gave the Atlantic Coast Conference the #2 spot. The Pac 12 followed at #4 with 261 points, and the Big 12 came in at # 5, a very disappointing 253 points, last place among the Power 5 conferences. The AAC was the top rated Group of 5 conference at 234, followed by the MWC 228, Sun Belt 223, MAC 223, and Conference USA 218. The Big 12 Conference will resume a conference title game this fall, which should help boost their rating, and their chances for a playoff bid, but not necessarily. They still play a round robin schedule, and if parity prevails, even an undefeated regular season champion could find themselves facing a 3 or 4 loss team in a championship game which will not create a big boost in rating. The best case scenario for the Big 12 is to have an undefeated participant playing a one loss opponent and beating them the second time. That would create quite a bump in rating. The outstanding question for 2017 is whether any conference can get over the hump and average greater in overall conference membership than the mighty SEC, and these few early season games will go a long way towards answering that question. September 2: Alabama/Florida State in Atlanta. The new Mercedes Benz stadium hosts one of the biggest games of the year, right out of the box. Both teams are sure to be Top 5 teams and the winner will not only have a leg up on the National Title race, but boost the strength of their conference greatly. September 2: Florida/Michigan in Arlington. Another huge matchup for the SEC. If Michigan prevails, the Big 10 is going to look mighty strong to start the season. If the SEC sweeps Atlanta and Arlington.....it's going to be hard to dethrone the King. September 3: Virginia Tech/West Virginia in Landover. If Virginia Tech and Florida State sweep opening weekend for the ACC, watch out. September 3: Texas A&M at UCLA - The pattern has been for several years that the Aggies start like a house afire, then fizzle. Tough assignment for the blaze to even get started this year. The PAC 12 needs this one bad to even get in the discussion of conference supremacy. September 9: Oklahoma at Ohio State - The Big 12 has a great opportunity to reassert itself on a national stage, but this is a tough assignment, especially for a new coach in Lincoln Riley. September 9: Auburn at Clemson - A win here would go a long way towards Auburn establishing momentum for SEC play, and Clemson is without Deshaun Watson.....but can Auburn win in Death Valley? September 9: Georgia at Notre Dame - Two storied programs who have only played once in 149 years of college football.....a 17-10 Sugar Bowl win for Georgia that won the Bulldogs a National Title. September 16: Texas at USC - The Trojans start with two very tough physical games in Western Michigan and Stanford, then host a Longhorn team with a new, young, energetic head coach, a ton of talent and a lot of momentum. Imagine how the Big 12 would look if West Virginia, Oklahoma and Texas all win big non-conference games to start the first 3 weeks of the 2017 season. Stay tuned for the release of Billingsley's Pre-Season rankings coming in mid August.
Pre-Season Magazines Give Washington Proper Due
It's June, and in College Football that means the Pre-Season magazines have hit the stands and excitement begins to build as the 2017 season opening weekend draws near. Athlon, Street & Smith, and Lindy's are already secure in my office collection with more to come. As expected, Alabama and Ohio State are at or near the top in every projection, with Florida State not far behind. Also joining the ranks of the projected coveted Top Four teams is Washington. With QB Jake Browning returning and a very favorable schedule on hand, the Huskies appear headed towards a National Championship run. Pac 12 South favorite USC is not on the regular season schedule and all the North contenders visit Seattle except Stanford. The Washington/Stanford tilt on November 10 appears to be the Husky's greatest potential stumbling block. Billingsley's Pre-Season Rankings will be posted August 15.
Alabama Maintains Healthy Lead Over Irish In All Time Rankings
The results for Billingsley's All Time Rankings of the Top 106 College Football Programs has been updated. The Crimson Tide continued their quest to outdistance Notre Dame for the second year in a row. After taking the lead in 2014, Alabama has steadily pulled away, spearheaded by a National Championship in 2015 and a second place finish in 2016. The Irish continue to struggle, having finished #79 in 2016. In other notable moves, Clemson's National Championship enabled one Tiger to jump another as Clemson leaped over Missouri to take the 34th spot. Texas is hanging on by a thread over Nebraska for the number 6 ranking. The Longhorns lead the Cornhuskers by a mere .002. Stay tuned for the All Time Score Section to be completed in the next few weeks.
Seminoles Clash With Tide to Open 2017 Season
Florida State and Alabama, both projected to be consensus Top 5 teams will open their 2017 season with a much anticipated game in the Chick-fil-A kickoff September 2, 2017. The Crimson Tide, coming off a stunning loss to Clemson in the 2016 National Championship Game will be looking for revenge against another highly rated ACC team in Florida State. The Seminoles are poised for a run at the ACC title and berth in the College Football Playoff. 2016 updates to the Billingsley Encyclopedia are in progress and will be uploaded in April.
Alabama expected to maintain lead in All Time Rankings
In spite of the Alabama loss to Clemson in the National Championship game, the Crimson Tide is expected to widen their lead over Notre Dame in Billingsley's All Time Top Programs list. The Irish suffered another disappointing season and Alabama continues riding a 21st Century ratings bonanza that started under the leadership of Nick Saban. Stay tuned. The ratings are being calculated now, and the Encyclopedia updates are underway.
Clemson Shocks Alabama 35-31 to Claim 2016 National Championship
The naysayers, myself included, said it could not be done. Alabama was poised to become the greatest team in CFRC college football history. All week I repeatedly said the only way the Crimson Tide could lose would be to beat themselves. I stand corrected. I want to congratulate the Tiger Nation.....you did what I said couldn't be done. You beat the best, and in the process became one of the best. The Clemson team of 2016 will go down in history as one of the greatest teams of all time. The final Billingsley Reports are posted and the Encyclopedia will be updated throughout the coming weeks of January and February. Stay tuned to see how your favorite team shifts up and down in the Top Programs list and browse through the updated All Time Scores. Updates for navigating through the Encyclopedia are planned for the off season. Get ready for some exciting changes. CFRC.com first joined the world wide web in 1997. I want to thank all of the viewers who have made the College Football Research Center, and Billingsley's Encyclopedia one of the web's favorite destinations for college football fans. Your loyalty over the last 20 years is greatly appreciated. In my 50 years of compiling rankings, college football has been very good to me, and the wonderful memories of great seasons, great games, and great teams along the way sustain me and bring untold joy into my world daily. I've gone from a 16 year old boy who dreamed that one day his rankings would be noticed, to a 66 year old (in April), who's rankings served on the Bowl Championship Series to assist in determining National Championships, and what an exciting journey it has been. The closure of the 2016 season is barely 12 hours old......and I'm already longing for the 2017 kickoff!
Alabama and Clemson set for Championship Rematch
The National Championship in College Football has been set. Alabama and Clemson both won their semi-final games in convincing fashion and will meet for the title on Monday, January 9th at 7PM CT. The Bowl season was marked with numerous upsets. The Orange Bowl and Rose Bowl provided the most thrilling games, both ending in dramatic fashion. Florida State came from behind to beat Michigan 33-32 and Southern Cal kicked a field goal as time ran out to top Penn State 52-49. The Final Reports will be posted Tuesday January 10 after the championship game on Monday. Both Billingsley Reports are predicting a Crimson Tide win, along with Las Vegas and every other predictive service known to the human race. The opening line in Las Vegas is Alabama by 6, the Billingsley Report predicts Alabama by 10 and the Margin of Victory Report predicts Alabama by 8. Billingsley's Personal prediction: Alabama 35 Clemson 31
Holiday Season Comes to Life as Bowl Games Begin December 17
New Mexico and Texas-San Antonio kickoff this year's slate of Bowl Games on Saturday December 17. The Bowl Season of 41 games runs through the January 2 Sugar Bowl featuring Oklahoma and Auburn with the National Championship Game on January 9 completing the 2016 College Football season. For all the Bowl Game projections, follow these links. Billingsley Billingsley+ (MOV) There will be rankings posted on January 3, concluding the Bowl Games, followed by a projection on the national championship game on January4. The Final Rankings will be posted on January 10.
Army Ends Drought Against Navy in Stunning 21-17 Upset Win
The streak has finally ended. Army beat Navy for the first time since 2001, handing the favored Midshipmen only their 4th loss of the season and their second in a row. Navy lost the AAC Championship Game to Temple last week. The game also marked the end of a storied career in college football broadcasting for Verne Lundquist. He will be greatly missed. Projections for the Bowl Games will follow early this week. The Bowl season begins Saturday December 17th.
Playoff Committee Results to Be Released 11AM CT Today
There is little suspense surrounding the announcement of the Top 4 teams this morning. All of the contenders won their championship games except idle Ohio State. The Buckeye's position seems likely to hold even though the Buckeyes did not win a conference championship. Michigan, Penn State and Oklahoma will most likely garner conversation within the committee, but in the end I believe Alabama, Ohio State, Washington and Clemson will be our playoff participants. The only question becomes the seeding order. Alabama will no doubt be #1. Last week Ohio State was #2. I have a hard time believing Clemson's 42-35 win over Virginia Tech would leap frog the Tigers over the Buckeyes but it is possible. If the committee values a conference championship highly, even Washington could move ahead of Ohio State moving the Buckeyes all the way to 4. My guess is we are looking at an unchanged Top 4 from last week, leaving us with: #1 Alabama #2 Ohio State #3 Clemson #4 Washington Bowl Game projections will not be posted until a few days after next Saturday's Army-Navy game.