Michael’s College Football Predictions

One of Michael’s favorite times of year was awaiting after he returned from camp…the start of the college football season. He loved the hype, the predictions, College GameDay and watching all the action.

He was getting ready to start something new on his blog and that would have included some video-blogging. In preparation for that, he spent some time earlier this summer working on a few of his predictions for the season. He completed predictions for eight teams in total, including his two favorites, Michigan and Oregon. We watched Michael work on these eight teams and saw him meticulously balance the wins and losses as he started this process, paying close attention to detail which would have carried through to those teams that he had yet to do.

We will be eagerly watching Michael’s predictions as this season gets underway!

We love you Michael and will be rooting for your teams❤️
IMG_8530Something tells us he would have snuck in a “Go Blue” here

IMG_8537And a “Go Ducks” here

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Rose Bowl

It is New Year’s Day, and that means it is time for the Grandaddy of them all. Iowa faces Stanford in the Rose Bowl. This game just feels like a classic Rose Bowl game, unlike last year’s game when Florida State was in it. It images-5feels great seeing B1G vs Pac 12 in this iconic Bowl game. Nobody would have thought Iowa would have the season they are having, well except the Hawkeye fans. This team plays great defense, runs the ball well, and has a quarterback in CJ Beathard who makes their offense so much more versatile. It is the first time in a while that Iowa has a difference maker at that position. Beathard has been shaken up by a groin injury, but says he feels 100%.
Stanford’s season has been a long and emotional one. Starting the season with a stunning loss to Northwestern in the battle of the brains. After this images-6loss everyone wrote the Cardinal off. They rebounded and they were on a tear winning game after game. Then they hosted the Oregon Ducks. That night was a night to forget for Cardinal fans. It was the Vernon Adams show as Oregon’s magical quarterback did everything and destroyed Stanford’s, playoff dreams. Once again the Cardinal bounced back, beating Notre Dame in one of the best games of the year.
This game is going to be awesome. Many people believe it will be all Stanford fans because of proximity, but trust me Hawkeye nation will come in waves. This game will be back and forth, running the football down the field. Christian McCaffrey is going to have to be the difference in the game for Stanford. The Heisman Trophy runner-up has to have a huge game. Iowa is a better version of Northwestern, and we all remember what Northwestern did to Stanford. That is why I am picking the Hawkeyes to win their first Rose Bowl in a while.

College GameDay & The Big 10 Championship Game

An outside viewer would think the Big 10 Championship game was incredibly boring this year, but trust me from a first hand experience this was the most exciting football game I have been to. To put this into context, I also had the opportunity to go to the all time 4ef0997d-90f5-4729-8668-63d8a49a8fac_19581_CUSTOMclassic 2010 BCS National Championship between Oregon and Auburn where Cam Newton broke the heart of all my fellow Duck fans. The excitement surrounding the city of Indianapolis, the the host city for the Big 10 Championship, was unbelievable. Everywhere you went, you would hear “Go Hawks” or “ Go Green, Go White”. As a life long Michigan fan, I have never hated to hear two phrases in a week, except of course  “O-H-I-O”. This whole experience was so memorable for me, and that is why I am here to share it with you guys.

To start, my mom and I woke up at the crack of dawn to be in the front row of my favoriteIMG_7200 show, ESPN College GameDay. As anti-Finebaum and SEC signs filled the mob of the students and fans, the show was ready to go. Coach Corso played to the crowd, while Kirk Herbstreit was a trooper, as all of the Iowa and Sparty fans were not too kind to the former Buckeye. Hearing Tom Rinaldi touch the crowd with his powerful stories, seeing Des show off his dance moves during commercial breaks, and watching Chris Fallica, “The Bear” power down the famous flaming hot shrimp cocktail from St. Elmo Steak IMG_7198House, were all highlights of Gameday. My favorite moment from being at GameDay was when Heisman Trophy Winner, and one of my role models Desmond Howard saluted at me because of my Michigan hat. College Gameday was awesome, and I know someday that I will be at the desk as an analyst.

IMG_7223After Gameday I headed to the Big 10 fan fest, where I met former Michigan State, and current Cincinnati Bengals defensive back, Darqueze Dennard. Dennard was not a fan of my Michigan shirt, as you can see in the picture he put a green sweatshirt to cover the maize and blue. Dennard asked me how old I was, when I told him I was 16, he said there was still time for me change into a Spartan. Although it was cool meeting Darqueze, I still bleed maize, blue and khaki. I wish Darqueze and the Bengals lots of luck as they head to the playoffs.

Fan fest came to an end, and I was off to Lucas Oil Stadium. The Hawkeyes came out to their signature “Back in Black” and the stadium was electric. It was crazy how many more Iowa fans there were, I really think the whole state of Iowa was in the Stadium. The defenses dominated the entire game. It was like watching the steel curtain vs the ‘85 Chicago Bears. I have never heard a stadium get as loud as it did when Trevaun Smith broke free for a long touchdown to put the Hawkeyes on top.images-1 Sparty responded with a nine minute game winning drive, it was remarkable to see. This game was one for the ages and I had the time of my life. I’m really hoping that this was the first of many Big 10 Championship games that I will attend and I’m also hoping that I’ll see the streets of Indy flooded with maize and blue as well as hear the phrase “Go Blue”.

Championship Weekend

Championship Weekend is among us, the final tickets will be punched for the College Football Playoff. This weekend is what makes college football so great. Here’s my preview for the games:

SEC Championship: Florida vs Alabama

Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide are in a familiar place, one win away from their ultimatederrick-henry-090615-getty-ftrjpg_rdyvlucn46ytzbxewpt84mu7 goal. The Florida Gators have overachieved this year, but ever since the Will Grier suspension their offense has been stagnant. No one is giving the Gators a chance in this game,eventhough their defense has been incredible. I believe Derrick Henry will have trouble throughout the first half, but break free in the second. I have a feeling Florida will keep it close, but the Tide will roll in the second half and pull away.

Prediction: Alabama 27 Florida 13

Pac 12 Championship: USC vs Stanford 

imagesIt seemed like the Pac 12 was down and out when Vernon Adams and the Ducks shocked Stanford in the Farm. If chaos breaks out the Cardinal will be in the best shape to sneak up the polls and jump into the playoff spot. USC has quietly put a nice season together and their high powered offense will give David Shaw’s defense some troubles. This will be a shootout, but Stanford will once again show that they are the best team in the Golden State.

Prediction: Stanford 38 USC 34

Big Ten Championship: Iowa vs Michigan State

The Big Ten Championship by far has the most stakes, and is a match up of two old 635821737144069337-IOW-1031-iowa-fb-vs-maryland-25school, smash mouth, classic Big 10 football teams. Iowa and Michigan State are both so well coached and they make very little mistakes. The Hawkeyes have had a dream season, the have been the Cinderella of College Football. If Sparty controls the line and gets their run game going, it will be a long day for the Hawkeyes. If Michigan State’s experienced offensive line fails to show up, and gets themselves in third and long, the Spartans are in trouble. I believe Desmond King will have a day, and the Hawkeyes will be on their way to a playoff game. I will be at the game and hope for an incredible matchup.

ACC Championship: North Carolina vs Clemson 

deshaun-watson-092714-getty-ftrjpg_17g122zxqtm1v1u5pp0uggfsd2This is the best game of the day, and probably the best quarterback matchup this year. Both Marquise Williams and Deshaun Watson have had the best seasons of their careers. UNC is the hottest team in the country, and Clemson has been persistently great this year. This will be a track meet, and I believe will come down to who has the ball last. UNC has put together a great year, but Clemson has too much talent and will somehow find a way to win this game.

Prediction: Clemson 58 North Carolina 55

The Cardiac Cats

It was just a month ago that the Northwestern Wildcats were ranked in the top 15 andncf_g_colter_b1_200x300 barely lost to the #4 team in the nation because of a controversial call.  Now the Cats are sitting at 4-4 and 0-4 in conference play.  The past couple of weeks  Northwestern fell to Minnesota and Iowa, not tough opponents, and they were on the wrong side of a running clock against Wisconsin.  Last year, Chicago’s Big Ten team had a fantastic year topping it off with the first bowl win in a very long time, but now they are looking like the “old” Wildcats.  With the Cats downfall and the Bears not playing great, the basketball season couldn’t have come any faster for the people in the Windy City.

NCAA Football: Northwestern at CaliforniaWhat is the problem with the Cats?  Well they have been depleted by injuries.  In the two loses to Minnesota and Iowa, Northwestern was without their senior starting quarterback, Kain Colter and their all American running back, Venric Mark.  The Gophers and Hawkeyes are both teams that the Wildcats, when healthy, should have beat easily.  This has also happened to many other teams, like Georgia, TCU, and Maryland.  It is just crazy how fast your season can plummet down after a few key injuries.

Northwestern needs to have a positive look at the rest of the season and realize that even though their Big Ten championship dreams are out the window they can still be eligible for a bowl game.  This 2013 Northwestern team has a chance to be the first ever team to win two bowl games in back to back years in school history.  The players can’t give up, they have to keep moving forward.