Two blood weeks in a row? We knew this College Football season would be different, but boy are we getting a show this year. Many thought there couldn’t be any bigger shakeups than last weeks poll, but this has been our most tumultuous week yet. We have teams like Coastal Carolina making their first appearance (above UCF, no less) and both OU and Miss State fall out of the poll (’twas a very short stay for Mike Leach’s bulldogs).
Let us know what you think in the replies, the forums and on Twitter @Sidelines_SN!
Note: We are only ranking teams that plan to play the next week. This means no Big Ten, Pac 12, MWC or MAC yet.
The 2020 college football season is just around the corner, but Heisman talks are already starting to heat up. Players like Trevor Lawrence, Jamie Newman and Travis Etienne are at the top of the list of favorites, but one player that nobody seems to be talking about is Ian Book. Ian Book is without a doubt one of the best quarterbacks in the country.
He’s 20-3 as a starter at Notre Dame, and he’s led Notre Dame to consecutive 10 win seasons, including a playoff appearance. Ian Book is currently tied for 8th in the Heisman trophy odds with 20-1 odds. Out of the 7 players above him, Ian Book has the most experience. Ian Book is a 5th year senior who has been with the Irish since 2016. Add that to the fact that he’s had multiple 10 win seasons and a playoff appearance, Ian Book has experience under pressure and knows what it’s going to take to put together a Heisman caliber season.
Notre Dame also has a new offensive coordinator in Tommy Rees. In Tommy Rees’ first game as offensive coordinator, Ian Book completed 20 passes for almost 300 years in a 33-9 victory over a solid Iowa State team. If Book is able to play like that in 2020, he will be right in the mix of the Heisman race. Right now it seems like a long shot for Book to win the Heisman, but there’s been a trend of preseason underdogs winning the Heisman these past few seasons. In 2016, Lamar Jackson opened the season at +11000 odds to win the Heisman. In 2018, Kyler Murray opened the season at +2200 odds to win the Heisman. Joe Burrow opened the 2019 season at 200 to 1 odds to win the Heisman, and ended up having one of the best seasons in college football history. Right now Ian Book is at 20 to 1 odds to win the Heisman, but recent history shows that anything can happen.
Notre Dame opens the 2020 season against Duke, which will hopefully be a commanding win to set the tone. The last time Notre Dame played Duke, they won 38-7. Ian Book will need to lead Notre Dame to a perfect regular season in order to win the Heisman.
The 2 biggest teams standing in the way of a perfect season for Notre Dame are Clemson and UNC. The Irish take on Clemson on November 7th at Notre Dame Stadium. This game is extremely important for both Ian Book’s Heisman hopes and getting Notre Dame back in the playoffs. Trevor Lawrence is the best quarterback in college football, and he’s currently 1st place at 2 to 1 odds to win the Heisman. Clemson also hasn’t lost a regular season game since 2017. If Ian Book can outperform Trevor Lawrence under the lights at Notre Dame Stadium, it would greatly increase his chances of winning the Heisman. Ian Book has another opportunity to make a statement in primetime when the Irish take on UNC on November 27th. Ian Book will need to go into Chapel Hill and win convincingly in order to stay in the Heisman race.
Many people are sleeping on Ian Book, and many people feel like he has no chance to win the Heisman, but those people will be surprised come December 12th.
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The College Football Playoff isn’t even a decade old and it already has to adjust for a global pandemic. To be fair, the model itself doesn’t appear to be changing much – four teams will still compete in a tournament, with seeding set by the College Football Playoff committee. The semifinals will be at great locations this year; the historic Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl. As far as the rankings, the first will come out Tuesday, November 17. The Playoff Selection show itself will be Sunday, December 20. That leaves one question – who will be in?
We’re highly expecting yet another undefeated regular season for Clemson. Their shortened schedule (with the Citadel being their only true out of conference game) leaves very few threats. Notre Dame is the only opponent that really jumps out as a test for Clemson, and while this will be a talented Notre Dame squad behind Ian Book’s leadership, it simply won’t be enough to cut it. The usual suspects like Pitt and Syracuse could provide a scare, but Trevor Lawrence’s talent and a great supporting cast (eyes on Etienne for best Running Back in college) mean they will waltz to another College Football Playoff appearance, where they’ll beat Alabama in yet another matchup but lose the title game to our next team.
Of all four teams we have projected to make the playoff, Georgia returns the most overall production (65%) with 10 starters. Plus, Jamie Newman is not only a Heisman candidate but a proven baller with experience carrying a roster further than it should’ve gone. So, what happens when he is on an already good roster? We predict a national championship. Georgia has been criticized for an unimaginative offense, but we believe bringing in Todd Monken as OC will help them finally piece together both sides of the ball, as LSU did last year on their undefeated championship run. Georgia doesn’t exactly have an easy schedule, and we predict them dropping 1 in the regular season to Alabama, but we think they’ll win the SEC title game and every game afterward.
Seems like OU is always the fourth seed, doesn’t it? We don’t predict that changing this season. Spencer Rattler has all the makings of yet another elite OU QB, and he already has some experience in Lincoln Riley’s system. The loss of Kennedy Brooks (who announced he’s opting out) certainly hurts the diversity of OU’s offense, but Jeremiah Hall can help open up the offense. Oklahoma State is the biggest threat on OU’s schedule and we predict them or Iowa State gets a win over the Sooners this season, but we ultimately expect Riley’s coaching, an elite QB in Rattler and a top of the league passing game to bring the Sooners to another College Football Playoff appearance (but yet another semifinal loss).
This will be an interesting year for Alabama. We just hit the first 2 year title drought for the Crimson Tide since 2013-2014. They’re QB situation is interesting, with Mac Jones coming back as the projected starter but high school phenom Bryce Young waiting in the wing. The Tide’s defense looks airtight, so most questions are on the offensive side of the ball, and Najee Harris and DeVonta Smith are pretty powerful answers. We think the Crimson Tide will go undefeated in the regular season but lose the SEC title game to Georgia. This sets them up for a rematch with Clemson, and a strategic Dabo will exploit their few weaknesses (likely via Etienne) to scrape past them.
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