College football season in full swing: predictions for top teams

As we approach the last month of regular season college football, we have already seen some incredible games and teams. So far, there have been many interesting storylines and teams, especially revolving around the Georgia Bulldogs and the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.

The Georgia Bulldogs are off to their best start in years, undefeated and looking forward to a date with Alabama in the SEC Championship game barring anything crazy. Georgia has been led by true freshman quarterback Jake Fromm, a player who was not expected to play until Jacob Eason went down with a knee injury. Even when Eason returned, Fromm kept the starting job because of how well the Dawgs were playing with him. Fromm has been helped by three elite running backs in Nick Chubb, Sony Michel, and De’Andre Swift.

As good as the offense has been so far for Georgia, the defense has been even better. Georgia’s defense has given up 12 points per game, and a big reason for the defense playing so well is senior linebacker Roquan Smith. Recently, Smith was rewarded by being named a mid-season first team All-American.

On the other hand, Georgia Tech has suffered a pair of heartbreaking losses, each by a single point to Tennessee and Miami. New quarterback TaQuon Marshall has shown that he is capable of filling the shoes of former quarterback Justin Thomas. Through five games, Marshall has scored 14 total touchdowns and has totaled just under 1,000 yards on the year.

“Tech’s season has gone allright up to this point,” said sophomore William Lybrook. “It was tough to lose to Tennessee because we should’ve won that game, but I really enjoy watching our offense work with TaQuon Marshall.”

With some big wins against Clemson and Virginia Tech, the Yellow Jackets could be in Charlotte playing for an ACC championship.

Entering the season, many experts predicted that big time quarterbacks like Lamar Jackson, Sam Darnold, and Josh Rosen would win the Heisman. However, this year looks to be the year of the running back. Stanford running back Bryce Love has recently entered Heisman consideration after rushing for 1,387 yards in seven games. Another running back who is having a fantastic season so far is Penn State’s Saquon Barkley. Barkley is on pace for well over 2,000 all-purpose yards and over 20 touchdowns, which would certainly put him in the top three for Heisman voting.

Arguably the top quarterback this year has been Baker Mayfield. Mayfield, in his senior year, is having the best season of his career. Through six games, Mayfield has thrown 17 touchdowns and only one interception.

While there are the teams like Alabama and Ohio State who are consistently good every single year, this year there are many surprise contenders for the College Football Playoff. One that stands out is Texas Christian University.

“TCU has been really good this year,” said Drew Berg. “They’ve beaten some good teams and have proven that they are back.”

Last season, TCU finished 6-7 and played in the Liberty Bowl, but they now have goals set on the winning the Big 12 along with the National Championship.

TCU is not the only Big 12 team that has surprised people this year.

“I never really thought that Oklahoma State would be this good since their defense is usually pretty bad,” said Franklin Brannen.

Along with the improved defense for Oklahoma State, quarterback Mason Rudolph has been putting up stellar numbers midway through the year. Rudolph is second in the NCAA in passing yards and has 25 touchdowns.

When there are surprisingly good teams, there will be disappointing teams. Auburn, with Baylor transfer Jarrett Stidham already has two losses this year, and the Tigers still have to play Georgia and Alabama.

“I think that Auburn has underachieved because they had so much hype before the season with their new quarterback,” said Sean Reuther.

Although there have been many teams playing above their normal ranking, many still think that SEC powerhouse Alabama will win the playoff this year.

“As much as I hate to say it, I think Alabama will win it all this year because of how talented they are at every position,” said Lybrook.

Defending champ Clemson is on the outside looking in after losing to Syracuse, but Clemson can still win out and make a strong case to be in the playoff. In that loss, Clemson was without its starting quarterback Kelly Bryant, so his return will be vital.

As we near the end of the regular season, the fun is just getting started. In the last couple months, we will see rivalry games like Georgia vs. Georgia Tech, many awards be given out, and of course, a team take home the championship right here in Atlanta on Jan. 8.