With the start of a new CFSL season upon us, it’s time I try to go way out there in an attempt to flesh out the CFSL season. I was fairly wrong last season (even though I was half right about Auburn making the National Championship and was right on both expansion teams making the playoffs) so we’ll see if I fair any better this season, let’s roll.
Alabama Will Miss the Playoffs
The Crimson Tide were a playoff team last season, but they slid down the stretch. Florida and Miami have both improved this offseason, and Clemson has done well rebuilding themselves. We also have to take into account the fact that LSU and Florida State have joined the SEC and were exceptional in the recruiting game, building highly competitive rosters. Oh, and Auburn is still in the SEC and reloaded to make another run at the championship for their third straight season. Overall, Alabama’s starting to look like they’re going to be on the outside looking in. Is it possible they make the playoffs? Sure, but the odds are far more stacked against them this season than last season. They’ve got the talent, but so does the rest of the conference.
A New Big Ten Champion
This doesn’t sound like news. Ohio State looks good, but under a new Athletic Director there’s questions as to whether or not he can repeat the success of the past two seasons. Michigan, Notre Dame, Nebraska, and Oregon have all made significant strides forward in their roster to try and make the playoffs. Texas is joining the ranks of the Big Ten, and they’ve won the SEC for the past couple of seasons. And, USC is still in the conference and they’ve reloaded. While everybody, as a league, is proclaiming Texas as the early favorites to be Big Ten Champions – which I don’t necessarily agree with – I also don’t think USC is going to just sit back and allow themselves to be second in the conference again. I’m banking on the Trojans finding a way to win the Big Ten over Texas.
A 3-5 Team Makes the Playoffs
So, this may not sound that outlandish to some of you, and I’m totally cool with that. Look, I can’t tell you which conference it will be in, my guess it would be an SEC team. The point here is, the parity is so even across the board, that I wouldn’t be all that surprised if we saw a .500 team win their respective conference. We’ve seen a 3-5 team make the playoffs before, and they needed help getting in. I imagine we’ll see a very similar situation this season, one that is shaping up to be incredibly exciting. Teams getting into the playoffs hinges on the conference record, with tiebreakers including point differential and overall record. We’ve yet to really bust out those tiebreakers but with all the parity in the league this season, that could change quickly.
Another Halfback Wins Offensive Player of the Year
Cain Robinson and Vidar Lund will both be able to enter into the conversations, and Robinson was able to do so, especially after an impressive stretch late last season. Lund will be donning a new uniform in a new offense, but his impact should not be underestimated. Sure, Auburn has Griffin Jelkic and Robert Davis and LSU has Colt and Gage Youngblood respectively. All four will likely be able to make cases. But my eyes are on the duo of Lund and Robinson as they battle it out for their Offensive Player of the Year rights and I fully anticipate it will come down to the two of them. Robinson, especially, should be the early favorite to win the award.
National Championship Game: Auburn vs. Texas
It’s going to be a rematch of the Season Five National Championship Game, only this time, Texas is in the Big Ten. Look, I see no reason to say Auburn won’t get an invite to the big dance, even with LSU and Florida State joining the throes of the SEC. As long as Auburn makes the playoffs, they’ll make a run at the National Title game. Griffin Jelkic is in his senior season, and was flawless in last season’s National Championship game, with five touchdowns and 430 passing yards with no turnovers.
On the Big Ten side of things, yes, I have USC winning the conference, but I think they’ll suffer the Big Ten one and done curse and it will be Texas, who as the two seed, fights and earns their spot in the big dance. Auburn would be looking to be the first back-to-back National Champion. Texas, looking to be the first team to win multiple National Titles. The Longhorns were a game away from squaring off against Auburn in the big dance last season, USC just had other plans. That rivalry will be the key to the Big Ten, and it will likely come down to the two of them to see who makes the big game. Texas avenges their regular season loss to face Auburn.
No matter the outcome between these two, one thing will be undoubtedly clear. The makings of a dynasty are playing out right before our eyes.