I love college football. Fortunately, I work with a few devoted college football fans here at CourseSmart. Based in the Bay Area, we have enjoyed up close the rise of Stanford football over the last few years, wondered if Cal will ever sustain a level of play better than above average, and snickered gleefully at USC’s vacated 2004 BCS National Championship and 2005 Heisman Trophy.
Speaking of the Heisman, one of my CourseSmart colleagues predicted (a little too haughtily) when Andrew Luck decided to return to Stanford last January that he would win it. Even though Luck came up short again, anyone who watched the award presentation, or its subsequent coverage, surely applauded his grace in losing as well as Robert Griffin III’s humility in winning.
While my colleague’s Heisman prediction was not prescient, I offer two bowl predictions that are. First, Notre Dame will defeat Florida State in the Champs Sports Bowl. You may ask, why predict the Champs Sports Bowl? The answer is that I’m a proud member of the Notre Dame Nation. Every college football discussion is simply more interesting with Notre Dame as a part of it. To illustrate, the Champs Sports Bowl sold out this year for the first time in its 22-year history. Alabama, FSU, Miami, Penn State, and Clemson have all played in this bowl, but it hasn’t sold out before. Why this year? You know why—because Notre Dame is playing in it.
Neither ND nor FSU met preseason expectations. However, they are evenly matched, and should play an entertaining game. FSU has a swift, skilled defense, but ND has dynamic playmakers with Michael Floyd and Tyler Eifert. Moreover, ND’s defensive front seven is very talented, and it will contain FSU’s “banged-up” offense. Thus, in a rematch of the epic battle between 1993’s #1 & #2 teams, the Fighting Irish will again prevail.
Regarding the rematch between this year’s #1 and #2 teams, I offer my second prediction. Anyone who watched the first game LSU-Alabama game knows that each team’s defense is exceptional, truly striking to watch. LSU is clearly the best team this season—LSU beat 8 top-25 ranked teams, including the #2 team twice and the #3 team once. Nick Saban, however, is college football’s best head coach. His staff has a month to prepare for this game. He is less prone than Les Miles to make a decision that would cost the game. If this were a best two out of three series, then I would pick LSU. However, it isn’t. Bama will defeat LSU to win the BCS (and unfortunately surpass ND for the most national championships in history awarded by the national polls).
Enjoy the holidays, and Go Irish!
-Andrew, CourseSmart Product Manager