College Football futures (4 plays w/small writeups)

Fri, Aug 26, 2022

I'm ready to kick off the college football season tomorrow!! Can't wait. Here are four future plays from

Sun Belt West Division Winner - UL Lafayette -125
UL Lafayette lost their head coach and a few key players, but the Ragin’ Cajuns are still the team to beat in the Sun Belt’s West Division. The Cajuns have plenty of depth after multiple years of recruiting the No. 1 class in the Sun Belt. Michael Desormeaux may be a new head coach, but he knows the program inside and out as he is a former QB and a longtime assistant for the Ragin' Cajuns. Desormeaux started his tenure with a 36-21 win over new Sun Belt arrival Marshall in the New Orleans Bowl.

The loss of Levi Lewis might be seem difficult to overcome at first, but Desormeaux has a good group of skill and talent coming back, including running back Chris Smith with Michael Jefferson and Peter LeBlanc at receiver. While Lewis and the offense seemed to get most of the attention, it was the defense who was the true reason they did so well.
UL Lafayette defense finished first in the Sun Belt including 11th in the nation, and was rated the 2nd best in the nation at taking the ball away and at pass efficiency D. They have plenty of stars coming back on defense led by standout Zi’Yon Hill who returns up front, while cornerback Eric Garror and safeties Kam Pedescleaux and Bralen Trahan anchor the secondary.

When looking over the schedule for UL Lafayette, they sure did catch a break and this will help them win the West division. They should be 5-0 heading into the week 6 matchup at Marshall. The two teams that pose the highest threat to UL Lafayette in the West division are South Alabama and Troy. The Cajuns get to play them both at home, and they don't have to play Georgia State, Appalachian State, or Coastal Carolina at all. Huge break for them and they should win a fifth consecutive title without many threats in the West division.

Big Ten West Division Winner - Nebraska +350

The Cornhuskers are a team that was a lot better than their record would indicate last year. All nine of Nebraska's defeats were by just one score, and the Cornhuskers managed to hang with the likes of Ohio State, Michigan State, Michigan, Iowa and Oklahoma. Nebraska averaged 27.9 points and 446.6 yards per game last season, while allowing an average of 22.7 points and 366 yards per game which should have yielded a much better record than 3-9.

Nebraska is returning five players on defense who started every game last year, along with both Luke Reimer and captain Nick Henrich who both ranked top 50 nationally in overall tackles last season. The Huskers allowed just 22.7 points per game last year, 36th nationally, and they will return most of their core defensive unit. The Cornhuskers continue to be one of the better recruiting teams in the West and earned several transfers who should improve this team.

On offense for Nebraska, expect a far more dangerous passing game. The Cornhuskers added QB Casey Thompson from Texas, and the receiving corps got a ton of help with Trey Palmer from LSU, Isaiah Garcia-Castaneda from New Mexico State, and Marcus Washington from Texas. A change that I really like is picking up offensive coordinator Mark Whipple form Pittsburgh. Whipple is highly-regarded for his work in developing signal-callers, and that acuity will be tested right away with Texas transfer Casey Thompson. Wouldn't surprise me if Nebraska started off 8-1 this year, and with the West being much weaker than the top of the East, they will have a good chance at winning the division.

To Make the Conference Title Game - Big 12 - Oklahoma -125
2022 Big 12 Championship Winner - Oklahoma +200

OU does have some big losses over the offseason, but Venables and crew have done a great job at keeping things running smoothly with some of the talent they brought in. They Hired offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby and landed former Central Florida QB Dillon Gabriel. Gabriel played his best football with Lebby as his OC with the Knights, and it should set up the Sooners offense to remain among the most explosive in the league. Lebby at UCF was hired as the QB coach and passing game coordinator in 2017 and under his guidance, quarterback McKenzie Milton was 7th in yards per attempt and 9th in passing efficiency rating. Milton would finish 6th in Heisman Trophy voting that year. Lebby was promoted to offensive coordinator in 2019 where his offense ranked 5th in total offense and true freshman quarterback Dillon Gabriel threw for 3,653 yards and 29 touchdowns as a Freshman! Gabriel could end up in the Heisman race as I think OU will have one of the most dangerous offenses in college football.

Oklahoma only has four returning starters on offense, but it doesn't reflect the experience and breadth of skill Lebby will have at his disposal. I've already mentioned Gabriel, but Mims returns at receiver, Theo Wease is back after missing the 2021 season due to injury, and they have a host of transfers and talented freshmen that will factor into this prolific aerial attack. Marcus Major and Eric Gray will be able to fill the hole at RB after the departure of Kennedy Brooks. I am confident in the ability and versatility of Gray, he should be a big threat in both the running and passing game. The OU offensive line is returning three proven starters, and are also adding talented transfers with the likes of Tyler Guyton and McKade Mettauer.

The defense returns five talented starters but that number is misleading as well considering the amount of talent that was brought in with transfers. The defensive line was bolstered with Jonah la'ulu expecting to make a penetrating presence up front, along side veteran Jalen Redmond and Jeffrey Johnson. OU also has plenty of experienced and proven rotational players who can step up into larger roles. It may take the Sooners a couple games to gel together, but they start the season off at home vs UTEP then Kent State which will allow them to work out the kinks. The third game at Nebraska will be a test, and they have a few tough games down the road. But they do play both Baylor and Oklahoma State at home, and I have them finishing the season 11-1 and wouldn't be shocked if they win all 12.