Why Penn State Could Win The 2018 CFP National Championship

The title of this post may have thrown you off a little bit but you certainly read it correctly. I realize you most likely think this is a crazier prediction than it is a bold one. All I request is that you hear me out. My goal is to have you understand and hopefully realize that this is not as far-fetched as it may seem to be.

It’s Trace McSorley’s Time to Shine

First and foremost, Heisman candidate Trace McSorley will be leading the Nittany Lions into battle for yet another season. McSorley has improved and grown into one of the nation’s top quarterbacks and possesses experience that not many current QB’s have. Sure, he may have had the luxury of Barkley the past couple of years but don’t let that fool you into thinking he can’t succeed without him. McSorley has proven time and time again that he can hold his own and make big plays when needed. In 2017, he nearly had a 70% completion percentage while tossing 28 TDs with just 10 interceptions. Also, his ability to scramble and be a running threat is vastly underrated and should not be overlooked. Overall, with Barkley gone, Trace McSorley is now the one in the spotlight and has the weight of the team on his shoulders. Quite honestly, that’s a role I believe he’ll be more than happy to fill.

Play Ohio State, Michigan State & Wisconsin in Happy Valley

Penn State has one of the biggest and best home-field advantages in the country. Although the times have yet to be announced for these games, I’m willing to bet at least two of them will end up being night games. Can you say “WHITE OUT”? I don’t care how good you are, if you are the opposing team going into a whiteout night game in Happy Valley, I’m picking the Nittany Lions. Obviously, this doesn’t guarantee victories against all three of these conference powerhouses but it sure helps their chances drastically.

Only ONE Difficult Road Game

I realize that this is college football and upsets happen all the time when top teams hit the road in conference play but I just don’t see it happening to Penn State this year. PSU’s road games are Pittsburgh, Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan. The first three will be easy W’s but that last one down in Ann Arbor is the game PSU faithful and I are worried about most. As a matter of fact, that’s the one loss I predicted Penn State will receive this season but that’s beside the point. The fact of the matter is, PSU has just one true road test in 2018 and this alone could help eliminate a loss from the recent two-loss season trend.

The Running Game Will Remain Successful

The torch from Saquon Barkley has officially been handed down to Miles Sanders. Don’t go around thinking he’s the next Barkley because he’s not but, Sanders and the two other freshman backs behind him, Journey Brown and Ricky Slade could form a rather solid running back tandem. Of course, Sanders will still carry high expectations but all three will most likely get their fair share of touches this year and that will create a good amount of experience for the young backs. While defenses focus their game plan for Trace McSorley, I have no doubt that James Franklin and new offensive coordinator Ricky Rahne will have some things in store for Sanders and company. It may not be as pretty but having three solid running backs could be just as successful as having one superstar.

John Reid’s Return Will Spark The Defense 

The departures of star Safeties Troy Apke and Marcus Allen created some big holes to fill in Penn States secondary. Cornerback John Reid will help make that process of filling said holes much less stressful. Sometimes it seems like people completely forget about this guy and I don’t understand how or why. Entering his junior year, he was expected to be a top defensive pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. That was until he suffered a season-ending injury at the teams 2017 spring practice. Here we are a year later, John Reid is expected to be at 100% by the season opener if he’s not already. I’m fairly certain Reid will return to being one of the nations best DB’s and I believe he’ll help bring a spark to a defense that is being heavily overlooked.

In the last two seasons, Penn State has seen themselves come painfully close to making the College Football Playoff only to just miss the cut. From heartbreaking losses to being placed one spot out of the final four, this team quite literally couldn’t have been closer. In 2018, I believe that fate could finally change. Competing in the nations toughest conference, it certainly won’t be an easy task. I’m most definitely rooting for them to make the playoff this year, as I have been the previous few seasons. 2018 could be a special year in Happy Valley.

– Collin Borron

Photo Credit HERE

TGE’s Preseason Top 25 College Football Rankings for 2018

College Football is just over two weeks away and it’s almost as if you can feel it in the air getting closer and closer after each passing week. Next week, the official AP preseason Top 25 will be revealed so a couple of my buddies and I decided to create our own preseason poll for my blog. Without further or do, here is the first official “TGE College Football Rankings for 2018”.

1. Alabama (4) – PTS: 200

2. Clemson – PTS: 192

3. Georgia – PTS: 184

4. Ohio State – PTS: 176

5. Wisconsin – PTS: 164

6. Washington – PTS: 162

7. Oklahoma – PTS: 144

8. Michigan – PTS: 140

9. Penn State – PTS: 132

10. Miami – PTS: 130

11. Michigan State – PTS: 118

12. Auburn – PTS: 116

13. Notre Dame – PTS: 94

14. Stanford – PTS: 92

15. West Virginia – PTS: 86

16. Mississippi State – PTS: 70

17. Virginia Tech – PTS: 66

18. Florida State – PTS: 62

19. UCF – PTS: 44

20. Boise State – PTS:

T-21. USC – PTS: 36

T-21. Arizona – PTS: 36

23. LSU – PTS: 28

24. South Carolina – PTS: 26

25. TCU – PTS: 24

Others receiving votes: Oklahoma State 16, Oregon 16, Florida Atlantic 8

Do you agree with our list or are we clueless and know nothing? Let me know and feel free to share your own top 25 with me on Twitter @CJBorron. I’m always open to talk some college football and would love to chat with some of my readers.

Be sure to follow the fella’s who helped create this poll: Dylan Hall, Joel Devick, and Daniel Kingery

Photo Credit HERE

– Collin Borron

The SEC is Loaded with QB Talent in 2018

The SEC is known for being the home of a large portion of the countries most dominant players. In 2018, there’s one position specifically that could be most dangerous. Quarterback. Which of course may not be too surprising but, this year it is actually ridiculous with how much talent will be tossing the rock down south. Don’t believe me? Take a look for yourself.

Missouri: Drew Lock – This one should be obvious. One doesn’t even have to follow SEC football, to know that this man is projected to be a high pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. Lock is coming off a 3,954-yard, 44 touchdown season. Sure, it may be difficult to repeat that success but he certainly is more than capable. We’ll see how the team adjusts to their new offensive coordinator, Derek Dooley. As long as Lock is back there running the offense, I trust Missouri to continue to thrive on offense.

Mississippi State: Nick Fitzgerald – There may be a new head coach in Starkville but, the Bulldogs still have the same Nick Fitzgerald behind center. Coach Moorhead has to feel fortunate to take over and already have his quarterback be a proven success. Fitzgerald nearly had back to back 2000+ passing yards and 1000+ rushing yards campaigns. This will be the QB’s final season with the Bulldogs and I expect him to end his college career with quite a splash.

Auburn: Jarrett Stidham – Last season, Stidham and the Tigers had quite a season. To be honest, they very well could have made the playoff but had a few too many stumbles along the way. Stidham has shown us time and time again that he is the real and deal. Also if your quarterback can lead your team to a victory over Alabama, that alone will suffice. Stidham will have a tough time against the SEC West defenses but I still believe he’ll lead Auburn to another 10-win season.

Alabama: Tua Tagovailoa & Jalen Hurts – It’s only fair to put both Hurts and Tagovailoa together. Obviously, Tagovailoa has been getting most of the spotlight as of late and deservingly so. Having your college career kick off by leading your team to a national title victory will do that but, we can’t just forget the man who got them there in the first place. Hurts lead the Crimson Tide the entire season with ease. He’s a not a stat monster but he’s been a perfect fit in Nick Saban’s offense. Tagovailoa will most likely get the starting job this season but having Hurts there and ready whenever needed is some high-quality insurance. I’m sure Saban will find a way to use both throughout the season.

Georgia: Jake Fromm – The Bulldogs QB situation couldn’t be any better. Jake Fromm is only a sophomore and now they add the nations #1 recruit, Justin Fields as his back up. Fromm will have a bit more pressure on him this year as UGA has some holes to fill on the defensive side but if we’re being honest, that defense will most likely still be solid. Fromm is a gifted quarterback and has superb leadership skills. His ability to remain calm and collected on the biggest stage is why I believe in this kid so much.

South Carolina: Jake Bentley – Will Muschamp must feel pretty good by not having to worry about his QB situation. Bentley may not have the prettiest stats but don’t let that fool you. He is downright loaded will raw NFL talent. If he can lower that interception number down a bit, Bentley could find himself as a first-round draft pick in 2019.

Vanderbilt: Kyle Shurmur – The Commodores success has and will continue to be on the back of Shurmur in 2018. A year ago, he passed for nearly 3000 yards and put up 26 TD’s. Unfortunately for Shurmur, he doesn’t have much help anywhere else on the team. This year will be similar to the last one in terms of team success but as for his personal success, 2018 could be a year he could really improve draft stock.

– Collin Borron

Photo Credit HERE

Projecting How Each First-Year Power 5 Coach Will Do

Every year, major programs change head coaches after less than stellar seasons. This year, twelve power five conference school have new leaders. Let’s take a look at how each one will do in their first season.

Willie Taggart, Florida State

Taggart takes over in one of the better situations for a first-year coach. The Seminoles are stacked up and down the roster thanks to the great recruiting of former coach Jimbo Fisher. Taggart had some success at Oregon last year and it should translate to the ACC. The quarterback battle between Deondre Francois and James Blackman will be important, but Florida State will return to ACC title contention in Taggart’s first season

2018 Projection: 9-3, 2nd in ACC Atlantic

Scott Frost, Nebraska

Scott Frost is being billed as the Nebraska football messiah. The former national champion Husker quarterback returns to his alma mater after turning around Central Florida. The Knights were 0-12 before Frost took over, and in just 2 seasons he led them to an undefeated season. That level of success won’t happen so quickly at Nebraska but Frost is the right man for their future. Nebraska isn’t ready to return to championship contention, but at least they can get to a bowl game.

2018 Projection: 7-5, 3rd in Big 10 West

Jonathan Smith, Oregon State

Jonathan Smith is one of the biggest question marks among first-year coaches. Taking over as a first-time head coach at a program that hasn’t been to a bowl game since 2013 and is coming off a 1-11 season will not be easy. We’ll need a couple years to see if Smith is able to turn around the team, but year 1 won’t yield much success.

2018 Projection: 2-10, 6th in Pac 12 North

Herm Edwards, Arizona State

One of the strangest hires in a long time, Herm Edwards returns to coaching after a 10-year absence. This is Edwards’ first college job since he was the defensive backs coach at San Jose State in the late 1980’s. I honestly have no idea what to expect from his first season with the Sun Devils, but he does have a pretty talented roster.

2018 Projection: 5-7 5th in Pac 12 South

Chip Kelly, UCLA

Regardless of how year 1 goes, college football is better with Chip Kelly as a head coach. In Kelly’s 4 year tenure as Oregon’s head coach, he was able to turn the Ducks into a national power. After his less successful few years in the NFL, he returns to the Pac 12 with UCLA. The post-Josh Rosen era begins for the Bruins, and they have a lot of holes to fill, starting at quarterback where there are 5 different guys competing for the starting role. Despite a lot of position battles running deep into fall camp and even into the season, UCLA should improve on 2017 with its new coach.

2018 Projection: 6-6 3rd in Pac 12 South

Mario Cristobal, Oregon

Oregon was shocked when Willie Taggart left for Florida State after just one season with the Ducks. Rather than bring in an outside coach, Oregon decided to promote offensive coordinator Mario Cristobal to head coach. The former Nick Saban assistant was also the head coach at FIU from 2007-2012. With quarterback Justin Herbert returning this year, Oregon should be pretty good.

2018 Projection: 8-4 3rd in Pac 12 North

Kevin Sumlin, Arizona

Kevin Sumlin’s 6 years at Texas A&M were better than a lot of people believe. He was able to transition the Aggies into the SEC well, leading them to bowl games in every season. You could argue that Johnny Manziel was the sole reason for most of Sumlin’s success at A&M. That bodes well for his new job at Arizona. Sumlin takes over this Wildcats team with a great scrambling Heisman contending quarterback in Khalil Tate. Beyond Tate, Arizona is set up to win a lot of games this season. With Sam Darnold gone, USC has some issues, and the Wildcats will jump at the opportunity to return to the Pac 12 championship for the first time since 2014.

2018 Projection: 10-2 1st in Pac 12 South

Chad Morris, Arkansas

The jump from SMU to the SEC West will be a tough transition for new Razorback coach Chad Morris. Morris was decent in his 3 years as the Mustang’s head coach, mostly with recruiting. If he can bring in some big names to a school that’s struggled to do so in years past, His tenure at Arkansas may be a long one. Don’t expect much in year 1 though.

2018 Projection: 5-7 7th in SEC West

Jeremy Pruitt, Tennessee

Pruitt is a first-time head coach at Tennessee, but he comes from a long line of great coaches. Coming from the Nick Saban coaching tree, Pruitt’s also coached under Mark Richt at Georgia and Jimbo Fisher at Florida State. Tennessee’s journey to find a coach was long, but they’ve got a solid hire in Pruitt. Unfortunately for the Vol’s the SEC East is looking pretty good this year and Pruitt has a lot of work to do before he’s ready to make Tennessee a title contending team.

2018 Projection: 5-7 5th in SEC East

Jimbo Fisher, Texas A&M

Jimbo Fisher comes to Texas A&M with high expectations. The former national title-winning Florida State head coach did just sign a $100 million contract after all. Jimbo now has the program backing and facilities he felt he lacked at FSU. This seems like a great hire for A&M, but they won’t have instant success. The SEC West is still stacked, and a non-conference matchup with Clemson doesn’t help their 2018 projection.

2018 Projection: 7-5 5th in SEC West

Joe Moorhead, Mississippi State

Moorhead takes his first FBS head coaching job after making Penn State one of the best offenses in the nation last year. With a quarterback as good as Nick Fitzgerald, the Bulldogs are ready to compete right away. Moorhead could take the SEC by storm and surprise a lot of people in his first season.

2018 Projection: 9-3 3rd in SEC West

Dan Mullen, Florida

Dan Mullen returns to Florida in their hour of need. The Gators haven’t had any stability since Urban Meyer left following the 2010 season. Mullen was Meyers offensive coordinator for 4 years from 2005-2008. He now comes back to lead them back to the top after a long successful reign at Mississippi State. Florida still has plenty of roster issues to work out, including the starting quarterback job, but there’s no doubt the Mullen is the right man for the job in Gainesville.

2018 Projection: 8-4 2nd in SEC East

– Guest Writer, Dylan Hall

Photo Credit HERE