From Roll Tide to Go Blue to Fight On! to Hook ’em Horns, College Football is once again ready to kick off another sure to be thrilling season. Here at Against The Number, we feel we have the finest two College Football specialists in the game, so in light of the season being just mere weeks away, let’s celebrate and educate with a preview from our guys, Ken Thomson and Basketball Guy.

KEN THOMSON

It’s about that time again! The smell in the air lets us know that College Football 2017 is right around the corner. With four
Division One games on Saturday, August 26th we are just 25 days away from the opening kick-off. Some incredible non-conference, big time match-ups that will loom large on the 4-team BCS play-off horizon are Bama – Florida State, Oklahoma – Ohio State and Florida – Michigan, highlighting the College Gridiron in the first three weeks of the campaign. In addition, there are a ton of great Conference clashes throughout the season that should make this one of the most memorable years in CFB.

There are hot seats galore for many high profile coaches and of course expectations are high for several schools who have already made those coaching changes in the off season like Texas, Oklahoma, and Oregon. The Big 12 looks like the Biggest Game of the Conference season could be pure bedlam with Oklahoma State taking on the Sooners in Norman, OK while the Big Ten has back to back Penn State biggies, hosting Michigan trying to avenge last years beat down followed by the Nittany Lions needing to worry about getting ambushed in Columbus vs. Ohio State who is still wondering how they lost last year in Happy Valley. If Penn State flounders, then the annual Michigan – Ohio State contest could produce the winner from the Eastern Half of the Big Ten with the likes of Wisconsin, Northwestern, Iowa or Nebraska waiting in the Big Ten Championship game.

USC is highly rated out of the Pac 12 South while Washington is the fave of the North. The two teams will only go head to head if they meet in the PAC 12 Title Game. Southern Cal best not sleep on Stanford as the Cardinal invade the Coliseum in week two in an early Conference showdown. Washington State, Colorado, and Oregon are sleepers out west and may be worth a shot to win the Pac 12, especially the Cougs who return Nick Falk, a true modern day gun slinger. As for a Season Win Total play, I am looking at this Pac 12 crew from Wazzu and laying the -150 on OVER 7.5 wins with Mike Leach’s squad.

The SEC is still all about Bama from the West while Georgia Coach Kirby Smart breathed a sigh of relief when stud RB’s Nick Chubb and Sony Michel both came back to school to help the Dawgs go for the Gold. Florida will push Georgia and the annual showdown could be for the right to face off with the Tide in the Championship. Auburn may be tough enough to give Saban a run for his money in the Iron Bowl. LSU will have Eddie O. running the show full time in the Bayou and the Bengals could surprise with stud RB Darrius Guice as the workhorse.

The ACC is loaded and Clemson will try and repeat as National Champs but needs the skill positions to pan out on offense with Watson, Gallman & Williams all going in the NFL Draft.  FSU has that early barn burner with Alabama and if Jimbo can pull that one out of his hat, the Noles may just have the best team in the country. They will have to travel to Death Valley however, when they play Clemson and you know that place will be jumping for Dabo’s Tigers. Louisville is still a sleeper and Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, and Miami should be challenging in the other half of the ACC but all three need to get new QB’s broken in for full time work.

Oh yeah, almost forgot the four Independents. While UMass will struggle again, Army has nearly their whole team back that finally ended a 14 year drought in beating Navy. They could beat the Middies again this season if they stay focused and healthy. HC Brian Kelly of Notre Dame is one of those coaches on the hot seat and he’d better figure out the QB situation and stay competitive or he could be gone. BYU is a dark horse in the big picture with games against six Mountain West foes along with games against Power Conference teams LSU, Utah, and Wisconsin in succession. The good thing for the Cougs is QB Tanner Mangum is back to lead the way after giving way to sixth year senior, Taysom Hill last season.

The Smaller Conferences are always fun to watch too and like Western Michigan out of the MAC last season, there are always teams that rise to the occasion. The Mountain West has one of the top QB’s in all the land in Josh Allen. Meanwhile the American Athletic and Conference USA usually have several top notch contenders that scare the Power Five Big Boys and this year is no different with AAC favorites South Florida, now under Charlie Strong, and Memphis –  along with Western Kentucky and Middle Tennessee State promising to represent well out of CUSA. The Sun Belt has two teams to look out for again, both off of solid campaigns in Troy and Appalachian State.

BASKETBALL GUY

We are less than a month away from the Beavers and Rams kicking off the 2017 season, yet it seems just like yesterday that Deshaun Watson rallied the Clemson Tigers past the Crimson Tide in one of the most exciting title games of all time, in any sport.

Speaking of The Tide, they and the Buckeyes of Ohio St are the two favorites coming into this year but trust me, neither team is a lock to make it to the championship game. I do believe that Saban and Meyer are the two best coaches in the game today but we are still dealing with 18 to 22 year olds and that means anything can happen. And injuries are something nobody has control of.

I think the Washington Huskies at 20 to 1 to win it all, are a live dog. Their schedule is favorable, they have a great coach in Petersen, a real good quarterback in Browning, and a dynamite running back in Gaskin. Plus I love a team that got close the year before. The Huskies seem to have the confidence that they are good enough but yet still play with that chip on their shoulder because they came so close and didn’t get the job done.

One longer shot I think is live is the Florida Gators. This is year three in the McElwain era and I just have got to believe that he is going to improve that miserable offense. At 40 to 1 and with the type of athletes that reside in Gainesville, I do believe they will be in the hunt come playoff time.

Our first Saturday of football has four games on the docket, none of which are all that sexy. However, my first play of the year will be Rice plus 31.5 points in a game being played down under in Sydney, Australia. These same two teams met at the end of the regular season last year and the Cardinal won by 24 in a game that they were favored by 35. I see more of the same this time as well. David Shaw is not a coach who likes to run up the score and the Owls return quite a few starters so they should be pretty organized for an August contest.

Preseason Quote (Basketball Guy) “Exciting times with the season looming! Lets make some money and have a little fun along the way.”  Season Access Pass Here

Preseason Quote (Ken Thomson) “Buckle up and follow our lead at ATN as we look to double up on last year’s profits with another stellar College Football Season.”  Season Access Pass Here

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