This weekend will be your last weekend without college football until January 2023! I am not sure about you, but that sounds pretty amazing! A few weeks ago, I posted an article regarding my bold predictions for each Power 5 conference.
It is now time to share my playoff and Heisman trophy picks!
1 Alabama Crimson Tide
There is a reason they are the preseason favorites. The biggest reason is they are the best team in College Football! They return Heisman winner Bryce Young at QB and have the best player in college football on defense in Will Anderson. They lost in the National Championship last season and after what Nick Saban called a "re-tool" Bama is back. They have the firepower to make it back to another playoff game.
2. Oregon Ducks
Oregon welcomes new QB Bo Nix to Eugene in 2022. In 3 years, he surpassed 7,000 yards and 39 TD's. He goes to a weaker conference, and I fully expect to see his production take a huge step forward. They are going to be tested week 1 as they play the defending champs the Georgia Bulldogs, but former Georgia DC Dan Lanning will not let his former team get the win. Oregon will be led on defense by Noah Sewell and Brandon Dorlus who will have a field day in the Pac-12.
3. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
The Fighting Irish find themselves once again with no conference championship but a spot in the College Football Playoff. They have a favorable schedule this season and that includes the idea that they lose to Ohio State week 1. They play BYU and end the season at USC. The reason for them making the playoffs in my eye, the Big 12 and Big 10 champions do not help their conference get a spot in the playoffs. New Head Coach Marcus Freeman is returning the core of his defense from last year as well as added plenty of fire power to his defense through the transfer portal. Notre Dame is going to be a good team this year and if the dominos fall into place for them, they will be back in the playoffs for the 2nd time in 3 years.
4. NC State Wolfpack
Here me out...this is your dark horse team and get on the Wolfpack train right away! This team went 9-3 just one year ago and are returning 17 of their 22 starters from that squad. The biggest key to their success will be from QB Devin Leary. Just last year he had 35 TD's and just 5 interceptions and very well be a first round draft pick next April. Their biggest test will be October 1st when they travel to Clemson. I expect the Tigers to continue to struggle, but a win at Clemson will be huge for the Wolfpack. The ACC is not as strong, but a solid NC State team will be able to run the table.
2023 College Football Championship
Alabama defeats Oregon
At the time of the National Championship game Nick Saban will be 71 years old. With the win, he will extend his own record with 8 National Championships and will become the oldest coach to win a National Championship.
Alabama is the best team in College Football. They are going to be tested more this season more than usual. They will play future conference foe Texas in Austin. They will look to avenge last year's upset with Texas A&M, will play at Arkansas, and more than likely will have a rematch with Georgia in the SEC Championship game. They will be tested more than any other playoff team and as we have seen in recent years, having the big games during the season, prepares you for the playoffs.
All eyes will be on Bryce Young in 2022. The reigning Heisman Trophy Winner will be looking to repeat (keep reading to find out if he does.) One of the best defensive players Saban has ever coached in Will Anderson is returning. Alabama very well could have the best offensive and defensive player in the country.
Alabama is going to have one of the best running attacks in college football. They have so much depth that if someone takes a step back, there are still 5-6 other guys who can step in. Jahmry Gibbs is a transfer from Georgia Tech and will make a huge impact as both a rusher and return specialist. Jase McClellan also returns in 2022. He had flashes of hope last year behind Brian Robinson and before injury, but now healthy he is looking to pick up right where he left off.
Alabama has the team to win it all. They will be tested throughout the entire season. As in typical Alabama fashion, they have the depth to win it.
The 2022 Heisman Trophy Voting (Top 5)
5. Bo Nix QB Oregon
4. Byrce Young QB Alabama
3. CJ Stroud QB Ohio State
2. Bijan Robinson RB Texas
Before I get to my Heisman pick, let me breakdown 2-5. Bryce Young will not repeat, but he will still have a fantastic 2022. We have seen just 1 player repeat as winner and there is a reason it is so hard to repeat. In order for him to do that, he will need to have an even better year than 2021. His 2022 production needs to be clear that it is a huge upgrade and I think he had too good of a 2021. Alabama will rely too much on the run this year and that will take precious throws away from Young. Bo Nix had success in the SEC the last 3 years, now in a weaker conference, I expect his production to skyrocket. Bijan Robinson is the best RB in college football. If Texas wants to win the Big 12, then he will be the reason they do so. CJ Stroud is going to have as good of a season as he did in 2021, but a late collapse by Ohio State will see his Heisman chances dwindle as well.
The 2022 Heisman Trophy Winner...Will Anderson LB Alabama
He is the best player in College Football...and I am sorry it is not even close. The Heisman Trophy is presented annually to the "most outstanding player in college football." Last year he finished 5th in voting, so it is not like he is not getting Heisman attention. Just last year he led the country in sacks and tackles for loss. He also ranked high amongst tackles and QB pressures and had a 7-game streak of recording a sack in 2021.
He is the best player in college football and if the Heisman wants to live up to its name, then Will Anderson will be the first defensive player to win the award. He had one of the best seasons we have ever seen from a player at his position in 2021 as a sophomore. Now as a junior I expect we will see even more from him.