Sloppy Seconds Are Back

I have waited just a little while to start up Sloppy Seconds only because the start of the season gives us so little to analyze. Now that three weeks have past, I feel a lot more confident talking about college football and telling you what’s really going on instead of repeating the same talking points ESPN goes with all week.

So what have we learned? First, the SEC is not invincible. They look very top heavy this year. LSU, Ole Miss, Alabama, Georgia and Texas A&M look like contenders. Frankly everyone else looks pretty darn awful. Missouri and Auburn could turn things around, but I doubt it. Mississippi State is showing that last year might have just been a fluke. Still, for right now they look like the top conference, but not by much.

The Pac-12 looks plain good all around. Washington State, Colorado and Oregon State aren’t helping, but just about everyone else is pulling their weight. Their problem is they will beat up on each other. Look at those schedules. 9 conference games each. For most of them that includes 5 or 6 games with ranked teams. Oregon and Stanford still look like the top teams in the north, but Cal looks like a potential season spoiler. The South is just stacked and except for Colorado any one of them could play for the Pac-12 championship. Definitely the second best conference and by season’s end might be the toughest.

The Big Ten is looking more solid this year than last. Northwestern’s win over Stanford looks better each week. That road win at Duke could look better by the end of the season as well. Wisconsin, Nebraska, Minnesota, Iowa and Northwestern should all compete for a spot in the championship. Ohio State or Michigan State will be their opponent. Don’t count out Penn State or Michigan though, either one could be a spoiler to someone’s season. The problem with the Big Ten is the bottom half is absurdly bad. Indiana, Illinois, Rutgers, Maryland…it’s looking pretty awful down there. The middle still has to prove itself but they could have a good season as a conference.

The Big 12 is probably at the same level as the Big Ten. There are four less teams, I’m not sure if that helps or hurts. Texas is still figuring things out. But Oklahoma and Oklahoma State are looking good early on. Kansas State and Texas Tech look better than most thought. West Virginia too. Of course Baylor and TCU are carrying the torch right now, and that game should be great. Kansas is still the doormat everyone expects each year, and Iowa State doesn’t look to be pulling any upsets this year. This is another 9 game conference schedule, and it looks rough. Kansas and Iowa State are your only gimmes. Texas could pull off a spoiler, so could West Virginia, Texas Tech or Kansas State. I only expect Baylor, TCU or the Oklahoma schools to really compete for the championship though.

The ACC is looking pretty bad. Florida State and Clemson are the top of the conference and neither has shown much grit yet. They’re winning, but we’ll see if that continues, especially against an SEC rival at the end of the season. Georgia Tech had a chance to make a statement and blew it against Notre Dame. Louisville is in a free fall. No one else is really there to carry things. I don’t anticipate they will place a participant in the playoff this year. I can’t see how they would to be honest. Unless you count Notre Dame as an ACC school. That’s likely their only shot.

So where do things stand now? My preseason predictions are already out. But let’s update how I see things now.

SEC Champion: LSU over Georgia
Pac-12 Champion: UCLA over Oregon
Big Ten Champion: Michigan State over Northwestern
Big 12 Champion: Baylor
ACC Champion: Clemson over Georgia Tech

Playoff: (1) LSU vs (4) UCLA and (2) Michigan State vs (3) Baylor
Championship game: LSU over Michigan State

If I were an AP voter, based on what I’ve seen so far this would be my ballot. It’s based on results, not talent or recruiting.

1. LSU
2. Ole Miss
3. Michigan State
4. Georgia
5. Ohio State
6. TCU
8. Baylor
9. Notre Dame
10. Oklahoma
11. Texas A&M
12. Oregon
13. Northwestern
14. Alabama
15. Clemson
16. Florida State
17. Utah
18. Arizona
19. Oklahoma State
20. Stanford
21. USC
22. BYU
23. West Virginia
24. Temple
25. Georgia Tech