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Clayton Picks All the Games Correctly: The Miss Cleo of College Football’s Preseason Prognostications

Give me 10 minutes of your time. I, the Miss Cleo of College Football, have looked up into the heavens and learned what is going to happen this season. Good things are on the horizon for the Bearcats.

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John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Give me ten minutes of your time. I, the Miss Cleo of College Football, have looked up into the heavens and learned what is going to happen this season.

Executive Summary:

Playoff Teams: Miami, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Alabama

National Title Game: Tennessee 24 Alabama 17

Heisman Trophy: Joshua Dobbs, Tennessee

Coach of the Year: Chad Morris, SMU


Championship Game: Miami 35 Clemson 28

Atlantic Division

1. Clemson: Talent and experience across the board, but the heavens tell me that complacency will prevent this team from reaching its ultimate goal.

2. Florida State: Freddy Cannon’s "Tallahassee Lassie" is the best song I’ve ever heard that is tangentially related to Florida State football.

3. Louisville: For great barbecue and a top-notch raw bar, check out Doc Crow’s Southern Smokehouse on West Main Street, not far from the Louisville Slugger Factory and the Muhammad Ali Museum.

4. Boston College: BC’s offense has improved enough for them to win several of those 13-10 type games they lost last year.

5. NC State: They travel well and have great fans. Their cheerleaders are undoubtedly the best tumblers in the ACC.

6. Syracuse: Improving team that got the short end of the stick schedule-wise this year.

7. Wake Forest: Do tobacco enthusiasts go to Winston-Salem for cigarette tours like craft beer people go to Vermont for brewery tours?

Coastal Division

1. Miami: Brad Kaaya will make a trip to the Downtown Athletic Club this December. Mark Richt will guide the Hurricanes’ highly talented roster back to national prominence this season.

2. Pitt: Pat Narduzzi has built himself a tough, physical team. This will pay big dividends in 2016.

3. Georgia Tech: Uga the Bulldog told me that he loves going for a drive in the country in the Ramblin’ Wreck on a hot summer afternoon.

4. Virginia: The sheer force of Bronco Mendenhall’s handsomeness will thrust the Cavaliers into the mid-card of the ACC.

5. UNC: Applebee’s Stu has a better build than Larry Fedora. Eating all them riblets did him good.

6. Virginia Tech: Bruce used to chew on the plastic whistle core of his Nerf Turbo football and tell me that Virginia Tech really was Vermont Tech and that he had scholarship offers from them, Miami and Notre Dame. Amazing that he got all of these offers before he turned 10 years old.

7. Duke: Back where they belong.


Championship Game: Cincinnati 70 SMU 68


1. Cincinnati: Nothing to worry about friends. We’ve got a "body like Arnold and a Denzel face," as Salt-N-Pepa once described it.

2. UConn: Speaking of Denzel faces, have I ever mentioned how fetching that Bob Diaco is?

3. Temple: Lost a lot of big time players from their excellent 2015 team. Expect a slight step backwards in 2016.

4. USF: I love USF’s helmet. Looks like a top-notch franchise steakhouse.

5. East Carolina: As I noted last year, there are some great culinary options on this campus.

6. UCF: I think Scott Frost was a great hire, but this will be a long-term makeover job.


1. SMU: If you don’t know the names Matt Davis and Courtland Sutton already, go to Youtube and do some looking. This team is going to score a lot of points and make use of a horde of young defensive talent to stop their opponents from doing the same. Chad Morris is my preseason pick for National Coach of the Year.

2. Houston: The University of Houston-centric Scott and Holman Pawdcast is one of the best on the college football landscape.

3. Navy: A lot of turnover from last year’s roster, but expect Ken Niumatalolo to field yet another competitive team.

4. Memphis: A new coach and a new quarterback equal a couple of steps backwards for the Tigers in 2016.

5. Tulane: Willie Fritz is the second coming of Jerry Kill. 2016 will be the starting point of Fritz’s remaking of the Green Wave into winners.

6. Tulsa: My nights have been lonely since I’ve been in Tulsa County/ And I don’t know what I’m gonna do/ I just might take a trip somewhere along the southern border/ ‘Cause I’ve got to get away from you/ I don’t know- just where I’ll go/ I believe I’ll ride it down to Mexico.

Big 12

1. Oklahoma: Might be the most talented team in the country. They will live up to their ability in conference play.

2. Baylor: Jim Grobe is a great coach. Just the kind of coach to rally a group of young men playing amid an adverse set of circumstances. This is a highly talented roster. Lots of Big 12 coaches are going to be sorry that they overlooked the Bears this year.

3. TCU: I think Andy Dalton’s going to have a great 2016 season.

4. Texas: Charlie Strong is going to right this talent-laden ship in 2016 and save his job.

5. West Virginia: The Mountaineers’ best club since joining the Big 12, but still a fifth place team. Is this a useful parable for Cincinnati fans so covetous of a slot in the Big 12? I think so.

6. Oklahoma State: that stadium of theirs is way too claustrophobic for my taste.

7. Texas Tech: Lubbock looks like fun.

8. Iowa State: Ames is named after my favorite store.

9. Kansas State: Manhattan is named after Manhattan. I’m guessing. I didn’t take the time to Google it. I’ve got a deadline, you know.

10. Kansas: Are they still paying Charlie Weis?

Big 10

Championship Game: Michigan 21 Minnesota 7


1. Michigan: I think Jim Harbaugh and I are on the same page theologically.

2. Michigan State: I think Mark Dantonio and I are on the same page sartorially.

3. Maryland: I wonder if a home game in College Park is more or less awesome than Heavy Metal Parking Lot?

4. Penn State: Not a James Franklin guy. I’m more of an Orthogonian than a Franklin.

5. Rutgers: On the defensive side of the ball, the Scarlet Knights are about three "Schiano men" short of a winning season.

6. Indiana: I’m up for anything with some "Indiana boys on an Indiana night."

7. Ohio State: The Bosa holdout has crippled their defensive front.


1. Minnesota: Mitch Leidner is one of the nation’s best quarterbacks, something of a Ryan Tannehill by way of Carson Wentz. Tracy Claeys did a marvelous job filling in for Jerry Kill and will continue to excel as the Gophers’ coach. Their favorable early schedule will also put the Golden Gophers in the drivers’ seat to win the Big Ten West.

2. Wisconsin: A tough schedule, unproven quarterback and a lack of skill position talent will keep Wisconsin from winning a very winnable division.

3. Iowa: That 12-0 regular season last year could just as well have been a 7-5 one without a few lucky breaks. I anticipate a 2016 record much closer to 7-5.

4. Nebraska: When did Nebraska decide that they weren’t going to play defense anymore? From my recollection, it was about the time that Frank Solich got run out of town.

5. Northwestern: Dressed in purple, dressed in purple/ walking down the street /dressed in purple, dressed in purple/ gosh, it’s really neat.

6. Illinois: Who is Jim Cab?

7. Purdue: Buckets or Boxes?

Conference USA

Championship Game: Didn’t bother to Google to see if it has one.

1. Doesn’t matter

2. Who cares

3. Hall & Oates

4. Kenny Loggins

5. Sailing takes me away to where I’ve always heard it could be, just a dream and the wind to carry me.

6. Zaxby’s

7. Jethro Tull

8. Applebee’s Stu

9. Lanolin Cream

10.  Conference USA has about 10 teams, don’t it?


Championship Game: Ohio 37 Northern Illinois 28


1. Ohio University: Frank "Handsome Boy" Solich has got a talented, veteran crew in Athens. More than enough to win the MAC East.

2. Akron: Infocision Stadium is a crummy name but Terry Bowden has done a good job there.

3. Bowling Green: City Tap has good wings and competitive prices on domestic pitchers. It’s right downtown and not far from the Probate Court if you've got any business there.

4. Buffalo: Johnny Rzeznik has aged about as well as Luke Skywalker.

5. Kent State: Kent’s got a Paninis and those aren’t bad. Good places for a pitcher and a pretend Primanti’s sandwich.

6. Miami-Ohio: I still think of the Strokes as a current band, but that would the equivalent of a guy my current age thinking of Styx as a current band when I was high school age.


1. Northern Illinois: big fan of the Portillo’s Hot Dogs they’ve got in Sycamore. Just down the road from campus across from where the KFC used to be. It was an Osco for a while too, but that’s not there no more neither.

2. Central Michigan: Big fan of Mt. Pleasant, Michigan. I’ve always had a lot of luck at the Soaring Eagle Casino.

3. Toledo: Former Rockets quarterback Bruce Gradkowski is my second favorite 1930s gangster looking guy of all time. My all time favorite is former Red Sox first baseman Brian Daubach.

4. Western Michigan: Went by their field one-time on a Greyhound Bus. Not bad. Plus, the people in Kalamazoo are very nice.

5. Ball State: The salad days of Brady Hoke are long gone.

6. Eastern Michigan: A rebuilding year, as they say.

Mountain West

Championship Game: Air Force 31 San Diego State 7


1. Air Force: Will rush for more than 300 yards each week. Plays better defense than a team without anyone heavier than 260 pounds has any business playing.

2. Boise State: Pretty good this year.

3. Utah State: YouTube videos of their practices look quite fearsome. I wouldn’t want to line up against these fellas.

4. New Mexico: Bob Davie would get New Mexico into the Handsome Coach College Football Playoff, but his roster is more middle-of-the-pack in the Mountain West.

5. Wyoming: PRO: they have great uniforms. CON: they can’t play defense.

6. Colorado State: In 1994, I wrote Sonny Lubick a fan letter wishing the Rams well on the upcoming season. He never wrote me back.


1. San Diego State: Being the best team in the West Division of the Mountain West conference is kind of like being the valedictorian of your summer school class.

2. San Jose State: Much better uniforms than San Diego State. That blue and yellow Spartan looks sharp.

3. Nevada: If Colin Kaepernick gets cut by San Francisco, does he still have another year of eligibility? Does he still have a sponsorship with Beats headphones?

4. Fresno State: Brendan Canning’s "Book It to Fresno" is one of my favorite songs of 2016.

5. UNLV: Everybody, Everybody, Everybody, Everybody!

6. Hawaii: Really like the new Avalanches album. It was worth the wait. That "Subways" song is a real banger.

Pac 12

Championship Game: Washington State 48 UCLA 40


1. Washington State: Mike Leach has his system fully in place and his most talented crop of players yet in Pullman.  The Cougars are going to be one of college football’s most surprising teams in 2016.

2. Oregon: New defensive coordinator Brady Hoke is going to turn the Ducks defense into a pack of feral dogs.

3. Stanford: Yes, Christian McCaffrey is one of the country’s best players.  He is as versatile on the football field as Jesus is as a caterer.  This is a very talented team, but I am not sold on either of their quarterbacks.  I’m also leery of their slate of road games.

4. Washington: The most overrated team in college football. They received some awfully lucky draws for when USC, Arizona and Washington State came up on the schedule last year. Yes, they play excellent defense. But this offense is not ready for prime time.  Top 25, my foot. This team is not going to be bowl eligible.

5. Oregon State: A well-coached team in the process of upgrading its talent.  Their record will not reflect the guts with which they will play.

6. Cal: Where have you gone, Kevin Moen?


1. UCLA: 2016 will be what 2015 was supposed to be: UCLA’s breakout season under Jim Mora Jr. If this team can stay healthy, they will do big things in 2016. This roster is just too talented.

2. Arizona: Quarterback Anu Solomon, running back Nick Wilson and wideout Trey Griffey are one of the nation’s best 1-2-3 punches. The Wildcats looked like contenders in 2015, but injuries beset their defense.  AU’s still-strong defense and potent offense will lead them to a fine season in 2016.

3. USC: A weak offensive line will prevent the Trojans from making full use of their cadre of big-play weapons.

4. Utah: A typical 7-5 or 8-4 Utah team.

5. Arizona State: ASU will be better than in 2015, but this is a program in rebuilding mode, particularly on the offensive side of the ball.

6. Colorado: Ought to give Gary Barnett or Bill McCartney a call.


Championship Game: Tennessee 24 Alabama 21


1. Tennessee: Jalen Hurd and Joshua Dobbs are the real deal. All the hype surrounding this team is merited. I expected them to do big things last year. I was a year early. This is the year that the Vols burst back onto the national scene.

2. Georgia: All the talent in the world. My friend Uga has high hopes for them, but something always seems to go wrong for the Bulldogs.

3. Florida: I thought the Florida Gators-themed guitar that Tom Petty had in that Peter Bogdonavich documentary looked pretty rad.

4. Missouri: One time I tried on a Mizzou sweatshirt at the St. Louis Airport. It wasn’t long enough and it was $34.99. I got my Grandma a postcard instead.

5. Vanderbilt: Sophomore quarterback Kyle Shurmur is the best guy that Vandy’s had under center since Jay Cutler.

6. Kentucky: They’ve got a pile of good receivers, but that defense of theirs is still rough.

7. South Carolina: Will "One and Done" Muschamp is a nickname in the making.


1. Alabama: Terry Saban is my favorite coach’s wife in all of sports. She seems like such a genuine person.

2. Arkansas: The most Bielema-esque team of Bielema’s coaching career.

3. LSU: Les Miles is more handsome than Gerry DiNardo.

4. Ole Miss: Chad Kelly is not as handsome as Bo Wallace.

5. Mississippi State: Would win about a half dozen other FBS conferences, but they are an also-ran in the SEC West.

6. Texas A&M: I like Kevin Sumlin, but I don’t know why.

7. Auburn: Hop on the bus, Gus.

The Sun Belt

1. Georgia Southern: These guys can score with anybody in the Sun Belt or otherwise.

2. Troy: Has more than 29,000 students. That is the second most of any school in the Sun Belt.

3. Appalachian State: Tough early slate includes Tennessee and Miami. If they can stay healthy, the Mountaineers will have a memorable season.

4. Arkansas State: Closing with three straight road games will suck all the oxygen out of a promising season.

5. Lafayette: I like their choice of Hamilton, Leithauser, & Rostam’s "A 1000 Times" as their entrance music for 2016.

6. Georgia State: Paul Simon is about four inches taller than Danny Devito

7. Texas State: My man LBJ deserves better from his alma-mater.

8. Idaho: Maine’s potatoes are much better. This one time I bought a big bag of Idaho potatoes at a roadside stand and two of them were rotten.

9. South Alabama: Ladd-Peebles Stadium looks like a great place to see a game.

10. New Mexico State: You ever see the music video where Biz Markie and Big Daddy Kane toast Paul Simon before he plays pickup basketball with some kids in the Bronx to "Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard"? It’s good.

11. Monroe: Dr. Marvin Monroe is the worst character in the history of The Simpsons, non-Lisa division.


1. Notre Dame: Brian Kelly brings back a ton of talent, including two accomplished quarterbacks.  The Irish’s schedule is once again daunting.  If they can keep it to one loss, they deserve a spot in the College Football Playoff.

2. BYU: The post-Bronco Cougars are in rebuilding mode.

3. UMass: Did you know that Richard Gere attended UMass?

4. Army: Will be good in 2017, but the Knights are one-year away from a return to glory.

As always, this is a work of parody and not intended to be taken seriously. For more of the same, look me up on twitter: @ClaytonTrutor