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Here are the college football giants who aren’t going to be giants for much longer.
The low-hanging fruit. Safe to say losing your hall of fame-caliber coach a month before summer practice, in the midst of grotesque sexual assault revelations, constitutes a dumpster fire-level offseason.
The Bears, returning highly-touted sophomore QB Jarrett Stidham and the best recruiting class in Baylor history, had legitimate hopes of an NCAA Playoff appearance this season. Instead, 5 of the 6 highest ranked players from the vaunted 2016 class have requested their release, there have been over a dozen rumored transfers, and there’s an NCAA guillotine waiting to fall.
Baylor, in an attempt to stop the battlefield amputation-level bleeding, hired former Wake Forest and Ohio Head Coach Jim Grobe, a man with a worse career winning percentage than Brady Hoke. Call me uninspired.
Predicted 2016 Record: 6-6
4. Ole Miss
As a football fanatic addicted to placing wagers I can’t afford, the rise of Ole Miss has always had me asking “why the fuck would anyone want to go there?” Lambast me all you want, but Ole Miss is a terrible school, in America’s worst state (fattest, poorest, worst-educated, congrats!), with a tradition that reads: Manning I, Manning II, Laremy Tunsil Darth Vader-ing his stash on national television,
Like an inmate on Death Row, the end is coming; all Ole Miss and Coach Hugh “Money Bags” Freeze can do is wait. Even if, somehow, the Rebels avoid an SMU/USC-level bludgeoning, the jig is up in Oxford, with NCAA scrutiny and oversight at a fever pitch.
Predicted 2016 Record: 7-5
3. Michigan State
Coming off their best season in the last half century, one would assume the Spartans to be on their way to perennial contender status. To steal a line from the now-completely-senile Lee Corso, “Not so fast, my friend.”
The Spartans and their personification-of-the-phrase curmudgeon of a coach, play in perhaps the most top heavy division in all of football. The lunatic in Ann Arbor and Urban “I don’t recruit murderers, they murder after my coaching” Meyer seem on a crash course for a 10-year war of shared dominance.
While fans longing for the Woody Hayes/Bo Schembechler era will be pleased, Little Brother in green and white will not. Unable to capitalize on the recruiting trail after their recent on-field success, the talent disparity, while closing rapidly from Columbus to Ann Arbor, is expanding in East Lansing.
After losing the Midwest’s favorite asshole of a QB, the Spartans will be forced to choose between three quarterbacks combining for less than 20 career completions. Barring an unexpected upturn in recruiting, or the discovery of another 3-star gem QB a la Kirk Cousins and Connor Cook, expect the Spartans to return to 5-7/6-6 seasons within the next two years.
Predicted 2016 Record: 7-5
2. Penn State/Maryland
I combined these two supposed “powers” (in their own minds, at least) since they’re in the exact same situation (without Sandusky, of course). Both find themselves in a division more crowded than Saturday afternoon Costco, with Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State, and our screwed-over duo playing every season under the current Big 10 alignment.
Both are, for lack of a better term, fucked. Penn State Coach James Franklin, though a strong recruiter, is perhaps the worst in-game coach in all of major college football, evidenced by his inability to defeat any of his division rivals (MSU, UM, OSU) at any point in his PSU tenure.
In fact, Franklin is actually below .500 at Penn State against Power 5 opponents, a pathetic mark for a program considering itself elite.
Maryland on the other hand, who has apparently made a tradition of comically uninspiring coaching hires (hello Randy Edsall + D.J. Durkin), has inexplicably hitched their wagons to Michigan’s former DC D.J. Durkin, a man perhaps most famous for allowing nearly 400 yards on the ground against OSU, or his gray hair before the age of 30.
With an abundance of resources — the founder of Under Armour is a Maryland alum and massive booster — one would have thought the talent-rich recruiting base, absurd uniforms, and semblance of tradition could have snared a big name coach. Instead, they took a guy whose replacement, new Michigan DC Don Brown, was ranked by ESPN as the “biggest upgrade” in the conference.
I expect the Franklin era to mercifully end, and Durkin to begin his Nick Foles impression: 3 and out.
Predicted 2016 Record: Penn State — 6-6, Maryland — 4-8
1. Texas A&M
Oh how things change in Aggie land. It seems like just yesterday Johnny Fucking Football was flashing money signs and rubbing his balls in Saban’s face. Figuratively, of course. But, like Manziel’s career, his alma mater has spiraled out of control.
In the last calendar year, Coach Kevin Sumlin has lost 3 five star quarterbacks to transfer, including supposed phenoms Kyler Murray and Kyle Allen, leaving Texas A&M without an experienced QB on the roster.
Speaking of Coach Sumlin, patience seems to be running thin. The once “star” coach is squarely on the hot seat, having been out-recruited by the dumpster fire in Austin, and stranded in perhaps the most top heavy division in the history of college football.
Perhaps most damning is the 2016 schedule itself. Featuring matchups with UCLA, Tennessee, Arkansas, Ole Miss, LSU, Auburn, and Alabama (no, I did not forget South Carolina; fuck you Will Muschamp) the Aggies could be in for a historically rough season.
Predicted 2016 Record: 5-7
If you’re thinking about betting futures on any of these teams, unless it’s the under, don’t. Instead, run away. Run far, far away..
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