Getty Images

CFT 2018 Preseason Previews: Playoff Predictions

4 Comments

Every season is a snowflake, in that each set of circumstances is unique to the dynamics and characters of that season and is unlikely to be repeated again. We saw Ohio State jump TCU in Baylor in 2014. The 2016 debate saw a 1-loss non-division champion (Ohio State) jump a 2-loss conference champion (Penn State), despite the non-champion losing to the champion. Last year we saw a non-division champion that lost its final regular season game (Alabama) fend off a 2-loss conference champion (Ohio State).

But one lesson has remained constant: talent wins out. The College Football Playoff has not been kind to the underdog. With the understanding that there’s really no such thing as a Cinderella in a system that selects excludes 126 of the 130 teams, the biggest upset we’ve seen is… Ohio State over Alabama in 2014? And given what we know now, that Buckeyes win wasn’t an upset at all. Only three “developmental” programs have reached the Playoff in four seasons — Oregon in 2014, Michigan State in 2015 and Washington in 2016. Oregon blew out an overrated Florida State team, then was blown out itself by Ohio State in the championship game. Michigan State lost to Alabama 38-0 in the 2015 Cotton Bowl. Washington was dusted 24-7 by Alabama in the 2016 Peach Bowl.

Meanwhile, Alabama has reached three straight title games. They played Clemson twice, and Georgia once.

Getting to the College Football Playoff is extremely hard for anyone to do. Winning it, for anyone other than the elite of the elite, has proven to be impossible. Such a reality appears in the CFT staff’s picks for the 2018 CFP field.

Kevin
Orange Bowl: Clemson over Penn State
Cotton Bowl: Alabama over Oklahoma
CFP National Championship: Alabama over Clemson

Bryan
Orange Bowl: Clemson over Wisconsin
Cotton Bowl: Alabama over Washington
CFP National Championship: Clemson over Alabama

Zach
Orange Bowl: Clemson over Washington
Cotton Bowl: Georgia over Wisconsin
CFP National Championship: Clemson over Georgia

John
Orange Bowl: Ohio State over Clemson
Cotton Bowl: Georgia over Washington
CFP National Championship: Ohio State over Georgia

Bovada has Purdue’s Jeff Brohm as heavy favorite to replace Bobby Petrino as head coach at Louisville

Getty Images
Leave a comment

This latest wagering line will come as no surprise to those who have been paying any attention at all.

In the immediate aftermath of Louisville’s decision to fire Bobby Petrino over the weekend, Jeff Brohm was one of the first, and most prominent, names to be mentioned as a potential replacement.  Brohm, currently in his second season as the head coach at Purdue, is a natural fit as he was born in the city of Louisville and played his college football for the Cardinals.

With that as a backdrop, Bovada.lv released its first set of odds on Petrino’s replacement Tuesday and (surprise surprise surprise) Brohm is a heavy favorite at 10/1.

Troy head coach Neal Brown is next at 4/1, with Ohio State offensive coordinator Ryan Day, who could be in line for the OSU job when Urban Meyer steps down, right behind at 9/2.  Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables, always a popular name on the coaching carousel even as he’s in the midst of his seventh season with the Tigers, is next at 9/1.

Others receiving odds from the sportsbook are Cincinnati head coach Luke Fickell (11/1), Syracuse head coach Dino Babers (12/1), Iowa State head coach Matt Campbell (12/1), Toledo head coach Jason Candle (16/1) and Appalachian State head coach Scott Satterfield (16/1).

Ex-Michigan State staffer suing Mark Dantonio, other MSU officials

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Curtis Blackwell may be gone but, thanks to a recent development, he won’t soon be forgotten in East Lansing.

In May of last year, Michigan State confirmed that the university had “parted ways” with Blackwell after opting not to renew the staffer’s contract.  Blackwell, whose official title with the football program was director of college advancement and performance, was suspended with pay February 9, the same day three unidentified Spartan football players were suspended in connection to sexual assault allegations.  While Blackwell was a part of the police investigations into the allegations, he was not accused of participating in the alleged sexual assault but rather failing to disclose information he knew about the incident.

Monday, the Associated Press reported, Blackwell filed a lawsuit in U.S. District court alleging that his employment contract was violated when it wasn’t renewed.  Head football coach Mark Dantonio is named in the suit, as are former MSU athletic director Mark Hollis and other MSU officials.  The AP wrote “[t]he suit alleges that the defendants did not honor Blackwell’s employment agreement, which the suit says required that he be allowed to speak with the athletic director before any discipline was imposed.”

A university spokesperson declined to comment on the development.

Also named in the lawsuit are two university police officers who arrested Blackwell for obstruction of justice.  Blackwell, who was never formally charged, claims that his Fourth Amendment rights were violated by the officers.

According to mlive.com, Blackwell is seeking at least $150,000 in damages, plus attorneys fees and punitive damages.

Clay Helton announces dismissal of four-star 2017 LB Levi Jones

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Levi Jones‘ forced sabbatical has turned into a permanent one.

The linebacker was suspended from USC’s loss to Cal this past Saturday because of unspecified violations of team rules.  Following practice Tuesday night, Clay Helton announced that Jones has been dismissed from the Trojans football program and is no longer on the roster.

No specific reason for the dismissal was given by the head coach.

Multiple media outlets have reported that Jones was arrested on a charge of public intoxication in early July of this year.  It’s unclear whether that off-field issue played a role in his forced departure four months later.

Jones was a four-star member of the Trojans’ 2017 recruiting class, rated as the No. 6 outside linebacker in the country; the No. 13 player at any position in the state of Texas; and the No. 93 player overall on 247Sports.com‘s composite board.  The Austin product was the highest-rated linebacker signee in USC’s class that year.

After playing in 10 games as a true freshman, Jones had played in eight games this year prior to his dismissal.

Former Alabama signee commits to rival Tennessee

Getty Images
2 Comments

This is quite the turn of events.

In December of 2017, Davis signed on as an early piece of Alabama’s 2018 recruiting class.  Expected to enroll at the university early, Jordan Davis instead enrolled at a junior college, Copiah-Lincoln (Miss.) Community College, in mid-July as he failed to qualify academically at UA.  In October of this year, the defensive lineman took to Twitter to announce that he was recommitting to the Crimson Tide and head coach Nick Saban.

A month later?  Never mind as Davis confirmed on the same social media site that he has verbally committed to Tennessee and former Alabama defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt.

In an interview with 247Sports.com not long after that announcement, the Tennessee native expounded on his decision.

“It’s just somewhere I wanted to truly go, somewhere I feel that I can really make a difference,” Davis told the recruiting website. “I just want to do something different. I want to do something big. I want to do something big for my hometown and my state.

“I mean, I shocked the world with that one.”

Davis was a consensus four-star 2018 signee, rated by 247Sports.com as the No. 6 weakside defensive end in the country; the No. 2 player at any position in the state of Tennessee; and the No. 108 player overall on that recruiting website’s composite board.  Only two defensive linemen in the Tide’s class this year — Eyabi Anoma and Stephon Wynn — were rated higher than Davis.

Whether Davis follows through on his latest commitment a month from now remains to be seen.