With the releases of conference schedules across the nation there is never a better time to dive into how I think these conferences pan out this year. To state the obvious, things will be very different this season from no Penn State White Out to No USC vs Notre Dame, 2020 is the land of the unknown. I believe as of now most if not all power 5 conferences will be going with a conference only schedule and possibly at most 1 out of conference game. A huge thing that makes 2020 even more crazier than it already is that Notre Dame will be playing in the ACC this year and will be eligible for the ACC Championship. Clemson is head and shoulders better than any team in the ACC so with the addition of Notre Dame it gives at least some competition. With all that being said, let’s get into how I think every power 5 conference will look like at the end of this year.
In alphabetical order we have in my opinion the worst conference out of the 5, the ACC. Like I mentioned before Notre Dame is now eligible for this conference crown but I don’t think that will stop the mighty Tigers from Clemson. Coming off a National Championship loss, Trevor Lawerence, Travis Etienne and the rest of the Tigers squad is coming into this year looking for revenge so I think they run through this conference with ease beating Notre Dame in the ACC Championship. Although I do think UNC will have a great year out of this conference as well but Notre Dame will beat them out for a spot in the championship.
Much like the ACC this conference is not one of the better conferences in the nation. As of late the Big 12 kind of starts and ends with one team and that is, Oklahoma. Although Baylor did make some noise last year with the departure of Matt Rhule, I don’t see that happening again. Texas is yet to take that step forward that their program needs to and I don’t think they do it this year. However I do think Sam Ehlinger will try and make the most of his senior season and lead this team to the Big 12 championship but won’t get over that hump Texas desperately needs to get over, and will lose to Oklahoma. The Sooners reload with another Heisman caliber QB in Spencer Rattler and have tons of other weapons to surround him with. The Sooners will breeze through conference play this season and will yet again win the Big 12.
If you asked me my outlook on this conference last week the answer would have been completely different than it is now. With 3 NFL caliber players opting out of the CFB season all from this conference it kind of throws a monkey wrench into how I thought this conference would look like at the end of the year. As of now Rondale Moore from Purdue, Rashod Bateman from Minnesota and Micah Parsons from Penn State have all opted out and were all key pieces to their respective teams. Without Parsons and the home crowd as an incoming Penn State student it hurts to say the Nittany Lions will have a tough time beating Ohio State this year. Speaking on Ohio State as of now Justin Fields looks like he will be playing this year and as much as I would love to see players like him and Lawrence play this year, there is really nothing to prove for these guys the smart move is to not risk it this year. But as of now Fields is playing and it pains me to say but will be leading Ohio State to yet another B1G TEN championship. Before the departure of Parsons and the announcement of no fans in Beaver Stadium this year, Penn State would have been my pick for this conference and I still think they have a great year and only lose to OSU. Another thing to touch on is Michigan vs Ohio State will be played the earliest it’s ever been played since 1933 on October 24th. I hope both schools can agree to move this game to the 8 PM slot since all tradition is out the window this year, you might as well give the people what they want. Ohio State wins the B1G TEN over Wisconsin yet again this year.
The west coast PAC is one of my favorite conferences to watch with tons of late night action, it certainly isn’t the best but it’s definitely entertaining. This is an interesting conference this year and I honestly have no clear idea as to who will fight it out at the top for this crown. You definitely have Oregon probably being the team to beat with Washington and Utah behind them. The lower tier teams will cause some upsets throughout the year but it’s probably going to be a 3 team race between Oregon, Washington and Utah. USC with Kedon Slovis is a sneaky team that could possibly put themselves in the PAC-12 champion race but I don’t think the team around Slovis is good enough just yet to do that. My pick for this conference is Oregon over Washington in the PAC-12 championship.
Oh boy this may be the longest write up for a conference yet. The SEC is full of great teams that can make a lot of noise this year however the SEC has not yet released their schedule plans for the season so it may be a bit challenging to figure out how each team pans out by the end of the season. To start off my breakdown of teams we have LSU coming off the best season put together by a collective unit in decades and unfortunately isn’t returning a lot of that talent. They will still have great players like Derrick Stingley and Ja’marr Chase but pretty much everyone besides them is gone so I don’t expect a repeat from them. The Georgia Bulldogs are always a great team with stellar defense but one question everyone wants the answer to is who will be the starting QB for the Dawgs this year, JT Daniels or Jamie Newman? In my opinion Daniels is more talented but with all that’s going on in the world i’m not sure how comfortable he’ll be with his new coaching staff and teammates since he hasn’t been able to really meet everyone like he would under normal circumstances. Either way the Dawgs will still have a great year but there’s one team better than them in the SEC East that we’ll get to at the end. Alabama is Alabama and will find a way to have another great year no matter the circumstances and will win the SEC West. Now we finally have my two final favorite teams from the SEC this year. First we’ll start off with a team that probably won’t beat any of the big dogs but in a few years will be the big dog, The Tennessee Volunteers. There is no schedule for me to go off right now but I think Tennessee gets a bunch of quality wins this year and moves their program in the right direction to eventually put up with the Alabamas and Georgias of the SEC. Finally we have my favorite team in all of college football this year, they may get screwed over from whatever fanless restrictions they have on this season but I still have faith in this team. That team is, The Florida Gators! The Gators had an amazing season last year and return a lot of talent with a great coaching staff lead by Dan Mullen. With Kyle Trask under center, Kyle Pitts at tight end,and a great defense this team has a lot of key pieces to a championship winning squad. I love the Florida Gators to run it up on their opponents this year, winning the SEC East and beating Alabama in the SEC Championship.
By Andrew Kalb