Five bold predictions for the regular season

Here are five bold predictions for college football’s regular season:

Michigan beats Ohio State again

Last November, Michigan ended an eight-game losing streak in The Game, and this year the Wolverines will end another drought, their nine-game losing streak at Columbus dating back to 2000. Both teams enter in the matchup undefeated, adding even more hype to the bitter rivalry. And Jim Harbaugh’s team will find a way to win in a shootout because Michigan’s best offense under his leadership can’t be stopped by the Buckeyes.

Jim Harbaugh
PA

Enthusiasm in South Bend wanes

For all the excitement over new Notre Dame coach Marcus Freeman, let’s not forget that he’s never been a head coach before, unless you count the Fiesta Bowl loss to Oklahoma State as interim. . He has unproven options at quarterback and his schedule — with games against Ohio State, North Carolina, BYU, Clemson and USC — is a glove. A 9-4 season is very possible. Even 8-5 is not out of the question. Irish fans, give Freeman some time.

And the Heisman goes to…

No, that’s not Alabama quarterback Bryce Young. There will be no new second-time Heisman Trophy winner. Nor is it the other big favorite, Ohio State signalman CJ Stroud. Instead, a defensive player wins the prize. Young’s teammate Will Anderson Jr. makes a run at Terrell Suggs’ sack record of 24 set in 2002 for Arizona State. The aptly named “Terminator” falls a few sacks away, but earns college sports’ most prestigious honor, joining Michigan’s Charles Woodson in 1997 as the only defensive player to win the Heisman.

Conflict for the Pac-12 playoffs

The conference is painfully close to reaching the playoffs for the first time since 2017. But it’s not the team garnering all the preseason hype that makes it interesting. Utah, not USC, is in it until the very end, starting the year with an impressive rout in Florida and knocking out the Trojans one-on-one. But the undefeated Utes finish fifth in the final standings, trailing two teams one loss away, Ohio State and Georgia. Their lack of a winning mark is the reason given by the committee in the controversial decision.

Clemson’s struggles continue

The ACC has five teams ranked in the AP Top 25, which is impressive depth for the conference, but that balance won’t help it get back into the playoffs. The league struggles too much and Clemson is unable to return to elite status after last year’s three-game losing streak. Dabo Swinney has no answer at quarterback — DJ Uiagalelei and Cade Klubnik falter in the big runs — costing the Tigers crushing losses to NC State and Miami.

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