Welcome to the first edition of the Redshirt Round Robin! Jake, Cole, and Sean are here to give their opinions on college football which you will surely hate. Each round-robin they will cover five questions based around college football. You are welcome to submit your own questions that you would like to have answered. Questions could be anything from recruiting, hypothetical situations, predictions, or analysis questions. Let the arguments begin!
It is February 2021, tell me who is making the playoffs, and who is your National Champion?
Jake – We decided to waste no time, did we? Next year is interesting because Clemson, Alabama and Ohio State are all replacing quarterbacks. They will still all be great teams, but that is a pretty major setback. I am going to start with the easy one, Alabama. They could have lost all 22 starters and I would still pick them. I will not pick against Saban. Next, Oklahoma. They return so much talent on both sides of the ball. With the Big 12 only having one true competitor next year, they could lose to Iowa State again and still get in. No onto Georgia. I love what they are bringing back. I think J.T. Daniels could be the best quarterback in college football next year. Lastly, homer pick alert! Yes, I am taking Ohio State. Justin Fields is off to the NFL but they have recruited well enough to have enough talent on the roster to win the Big 10 next season and finish 11-1 or 12-0. I think 2021 is where Georgia gets over the hump. J.T. Daniels leads the Bulldogs to a National Title. 1. Alabama 2. Oklahoma 3. Georgia 4. Ohio State
Cole – Oh boy, coming out the gates hot.. I hate to break it to everyone but until the Playoff is expanded (do it you cowards), you are going to see the same handful of teams competing for the National Championship at the end of every season. 2021 Will be no different, I anticipate the four teams will be 1. Alabama, 2.Oklahoma, 3. Ohio State, and 4. Clemson. At this point, returning players and the end of the 2020 season has me picking Sooners vs Tide for the Title. With the Sooners finally breaking through, taking home their first title since 2000. ( I touch more on the Sooners below)
Sean – How can you pick against Nick Saban? I wanted to do it, I really tried, but they are in a class of their own when it comes to coaching and recruiting and until further notice.. you can pencil them in to the College Football Playoffs. As my colleagues stated above, we are going to see the same handful of team in this year’s CFP as the last few years, so Ohio State, and Oklahoma are the obvious choices and I will go chalk with my top 3. But I am a gambler at heart and I like to gamble on the best returning starting Quarterback in the country.. No not Spencer Rattler… or JT Daniels… give me Sam Howell and the North Carolina Tar Heels to win the ACC and make their first appearance in the CFP. I have the Buckeyes and Crimson Tide in a rematch for the 2021 National Title and Ryan Day winning his first National Championship.
Who is the dark horse team you think could make a run at the College Football Playoffs in 2021?
Jake – Would you call USC a dark horse? Someone has to win the Pac-12. Oregon has a pretty big question at quarterback. I am not sold on Anthony Brown taking Oregon to the playoffs. USC has the talent to run through the Pac-12 but they struggle to win convincingly to make us believe in them. Kedon Slovis is probably the best quarterback in the conference. Slovis has solid weapons in Bru McCoy, Drake London, and Tyler Vaughns. If they can get in a groove, they should win the Pac-12. The question is if they stumble once or twice on the way.
Cole – I realize that I included Clemson in my four teams to make it to the playoff and until someone can unseat the current six-in-a-row champion, that is a pretty safe bet to make for the ACC. However, I believe the that the North Carolina Tar Heels could be the team that dethrones the Tigers. With Sam Howell returning and a favorable 2021 schedule that sees UNC only play Florida State and NC State out the Atlantic division, they could easily be 11-1 headed into the conference championship game. A win there would propel them to their first ever CFP appearance.
Sean – Well if you read my answer above you know that I am also going with North Carolina. Say what you want about Mack Brown, he has his team on the right track after a less than inspiring run by Larry Fedora. As I said before, Sam Howell could be the best returning starting Quarterback in the country. Looking at the schedule, they have two real tests before the ACC championship; Miami at Home and then a bye week before traveling to South Bend to face off against Notre Dame. Even if they lose one of the two, a win over Clemson in the ACC title game would more than likely punch their ticket to the CFP.
You are a five star player with an offer to every school in the country, where are you taking your visits, and where are you committing? One rule, you cannot go to your favorite team.
Jake – First, I have very little athletic ability. I played baseball growing up and would trip over my own feet running to first base. We’ll pretend I woke up as Bo Jackson one morning and suddenly I am an elite running back. Well, Ohio State is out. First I am heading to Alabama to visit, because I obviously want to go to the NFL. Next take me to Georgia, they put running backs in the NFL yearly and that interests me. I loved Reggie Bush growing up and southern California sounds like a great place to spend three or four years. Those would be my top three so now I have two free visits to use. Remember that Will Smith song “Miami”? Yeah, we are visiting the Hurricanes too. Lastly, take me out to Oregon. I want to see Autzen Stadium and hear how loud that place gets for a big game. Ultimately, I think am going to Georgia. They produce great running backs and while I may split carries, I trust I will make it to the next level.
Cole – I’d like to think that if I had hit my major growth spurt when I was 13 years old instead of 17… I could have played safety in high school (I was 5’4″ until I was a junior… it was not a good time). That being said, I would have narrowed my list down to the schools that best develop secondary players. With the Buckeyes not being an option, my official visits would focus mainly on Florida, Alabama, and LSU. The other two would be Florida State and Arizona State… for obvious reasons. In the end, I believe I would end up committing to Corey Raymond and the Tigers. The opportunity to be coached by one of the best secondary coaches in the country coupled with playing in Death Valley at night would be too much to overcome.
Sean – This one is easy for me. I want to visit schools with the most fun game day crowds in the country and commit to a school that I can call home after my playing days are done. I would visit Florida, Ole Miss, LSU, and Arizona State. But at the end of the day I would just want to beat Bama one time in four years and never buy a drink again.. I am taking my fictional talents to Auburn. War Eagle.
What team or player do you think takes a step forward in 2021? What team or player do you think takes a step back?
Jake – Jayden Daniels out of Arizona State is going to be a national name by the end of the season. If he did not have a shortened season, I think he would have accomplished that in 2020. He is a talented quarterback who is going to get the chance to shine next year. For taking a step back, I am looking at the Florida Gators. The way they played in the bowl game against Oklahoma was unappealing and Dan Mullen’s demeanor did not help. There is a really good chance I could be wrong here because I think Emory Jones is going to be a good quarterback. The way the Cotton Bowl played out made me think Florida could be in trouble next year.
Cole – As I stated above, I think the Sooners can win the whole damn thing come January 2022. While a huge part of that has to do with returning key pieces to a total defense that ranked 29th in 2020 (15th in SP+), I believe Spencer Rattler’s anticipated ascension to Heisman caliber payer will be what ultimately pushes Oklahoma over the top. In now his third year in the program, Rattler will be the center point of an offense that puts up a lot of points. Call it lazy writing, call it the obvious pick, call it whatever you would like but I’m in agreeance with Jake on this one. Jones is an extremely talented quarterback and Clemson transfer Demarkcus Bowman could provide a lot of answers for the run game. However, the loss of Kyle Pitts, Trevon Grimes, and Kadarius Toney is a lot to ask for any team. Do I think the Gators are going to fall completely off the map and go 6-6 in 2021? Absolutely not, but I think a return the SEC Championship isn’t a foregone conclusion.
Sean – I can’t believe I am putting this in writing but.. I am going to take Ole Miss. Matt Coral and Lane Kiffin are an exciting combination. They travel to Tuscaloosa, but they get Auburn and A&M at home. If the stars align perfectly they could contend for a New Years Six appearance. Unfortunately, I think Cincinnati takes a step back simply because of their schedule. They have Indiana and Notre Dame on the road, with the added expectations coming off two really good season’s under Luke Fickell and Desmond Ridder. I think they could be in for a little bit of a let down year.
When the Heisman Trophy ceremony happens this fall, who do you think is invited? Who takes home the Heisman Trophy?
Jake – Spencer Rattler, J.T. Daniels, Kedon Slovis, Breece Hall, and D’Eriq King are getting invites with Daniels taking home the hardware. Do I have a reason why I picked these players? No. I went with my gut it will for sure be wrong.
Cole – Spencer Rattler, Chris Olave, Sam Howell, Bijan Robinson, and Kedon Slovis are my picks to be sitting in New York (barring COVID taking any more fun from us) for the 2021 Heisman Ceremony. All of these players I picked for the sole reason that they are going to be focal points of their respective offenses and as a result are going to put up gaudy numbers. When all the votes are counted, give me Spencer Rattler hoisting the stiff-arm statue, becoming the third Oklahoma quarterback since 2017 to do so.
Sean – Sam Howell, Spencer Rattler, Bryce Young. I have actually thought about this for quite awhile now, for gambling reasons, and the only players you can really count on to win the Heisman are Quarterbacks (obviously), who play on teams that are going to be in the CFP hunt late in the year, and have national recognition. Spencer Rattler should be the favorite based off the offense they run and the players they bring back. Sam Howell gained a lot of notoriety after last season and sky rocketed up NFL draft charts. But I think about who would be the headline story on your favorite sports highlight show every Saturday night? Bryce Young. I flash back to Tua and Mac Jones being mentioned in every Heisman conversation for the last 2 years. I think Bama rolls through the regular season once again and Young takes home the hardware.
We’ll check back on these predictions in January 2022 to see how epically, hilariously wrong we were.