By Jaidev Pant ’21, Matthew Lee ’21, Ben Webber ’22
With the College Football Season well underway and playoffs coming up, we will predict what will happen to end this exciting season. In this edition of Sports Roundtable, we will go over our title and Heisman predictions for the season along with guest writer Kyle Reims ’21.
Webber- Georgia will win the NCAA championship this year. Georgia has been having a great year so far: their record is 11-1, and they are ranked seventh overall. They have two key wins over Notre Dame, who is ranked eighth, and Mississippi State, who is ranked 16th. Their quarterback, Jake Fromm, has thrown for 19 touchdowns and 1,990 yards, and they have two star wide receivers in Terry Godwin and Javon Wilms. Godwin has five touchdowns and 492 yards, while Wilms has six touchdowns and 631 yards. At running back they have Nick Chubb and Michel Sony. Chubb has 13 touchdowns and 1098 yards while Sony has 13 touchdowns and 903 yards. Georgia’s defense has been really good throughout the year, and they are fifth in total yards allowed and ranked as the fourth best defense in the country. This could be because of their second year coach, Kirby Smart, a former Alabama defensive coordinator. Even though Georgia suffered an embarrassing loss to Auburn, their record allowed them to clinch a berth to the SEC Championship game. If they can defeat Auburn in that game, they will have a great chance to make the playoffs and make a deep run. With their elite defense and balanced offense, the Bulldogs seem bound to win the National Championship.
Reims- At 12-0 and the only undefeated team in the “power five,” Wisconsin is my pick to win the National Championship. Although they haven’t had the strongest schedule, Wisconsin has yet to lose. Their closest game was an eight-point victory to 2-1 Purdue. They have scored more than 35 points in five games and more than 40 points three times. The Badgers are led by true freshman running back Jonathan Taylor, who has 1806 yards on only 258 carries, a 7.0 yards per carry mark and 13 touchdowns. His rushing total is third in the nation, and his average is the 15th best in the FBS. He is also sixth in all-purpose yards and powers an offense that is in the top 20 for rushing yards. With a solid quarterback at the helm in Alex Hornibrook, who ranks 17th in Passer Efficiency Rating and 14th in yards per attempt, Wisconsin has kept a zero in the loss column throughout the regular season. The Badgers defense has also been absolutely dominant, number one in the nation in yards allowed per game and second in points per game (a measly 237 and 12.0, respectively). Teams facing them have scored 10 or fewer points six times, and Minnesota was shut out in the final regular season game. Not only that, they stand at sixth in sacks with 39 and 15th in interceptions with 15. Wisconsin rounded out their spotless regular season in a 31-0 thrashing of Minnesota. Their final test will be the Big 10 championship game against The Ohio State. A victory there would propel the Badgers into the playoffs, where they could continue their perfect season with a championship win.
Lee- At 11-1, and boasting wins against the sixth-ranked Auburn and the then 20th-ranked North Carolina State, the second-ranked Clemson Tigers will find a way to repeat as National Champions. Quarterback Kelly Bryant has thrown for 12 touchdowns and ran for 10, filling their Deshaun Watson-sized hole very well. He also has excellent and experienced receivers, such as Deon Cain, Hunter Renfrow and Ray-Ray McCloud. They have a balanced and strong rushing attack, with five players having over 35 carries this season. The team has a total of 31 rushing touchdowns, showing their effective running game. Their defense has played lights out so far, holding opposing offenses to an average of only 283.3 yards per game, sixth best in the country. The currently sixth-ranked team in the nation, Auburn, was only able to score six points against this stout defense. Their only loss was by three points on the road to a then 3-3 Syracuse Team. Clemson will make the playoffs if they win the rest of their games, and their balance on both sides of the ball should lead them to a second consecutive National Title.
Pant- Alabama will make the college football playoff for the fourth straight year and win the national championship. The Crimson Tide are led offensively this year by quarterback Jalen Hurts, running backs Damien Harris and Bo Scarbrough and wide receiver Calvin Ridley. The defense includes star cornerback Minkah Fitzpatrick, safety Ronnie Harrison and defensive lineman Raekwon Davis. Alabama is undefeated this season with big wins against number 19 LSU, then-third-ranked Florida State and formerly 16th-ranked Mississippi State. Alabama’s defense has been amazing this year as they have allowed the second fewest yards per game and lead the FBS in points allowed per game with only 11.5. The offense has also been elite as they are top 15 in points per game and rushing yards per game. Alabama will always be a title contender as long as Nick Saban is their coach, as he is one of the greatest college football coaches in history. Although Alabama lost to currently fourth-ranked Auburn, their season is still alive and they have a shot to make the playoff. If one of the teams ranked ahead of them loses their conference championship game, then Alabama will be first in line to take their spot because of their impressive record and the fact that they lost to one of the best teams in the country. If Alabama can make the college football playoff, then they will have a great chance to win their 17th national championship.
Heisman- Baker Mayfield will win the heisman this year. The quarterback has led the number five Oklahoma Sooners to a 11-1 record so far this season, and they lead the Big 12. The team’s key wins have been against Ohio State, who was number two at that point in the season, Oklahoma State, who was number 11 at that point in the season and TCU, who was number six at that point in the season. Mayfield has the ability to win on the road and at home, a skill which many elite college quarterbacks do not possess. Mayfield has been a dominant passer this year, ranking second in passing touchdowns, second in passing yards and first in yards per pass attempt. He has also been efficient as he is second in total quarterback rating and leads college football in passing efficiency and completion percentage. Mayfield has been an amazing leader this year and has led his team to such a great record despite having a new coach. Among all of the Heisman candidates, the senior quarterback has proven to be the most consistent, putting up great numbers in every game. Mayfield’s leadership and passing ability will lead him to the Heisman.