Yahoo Sports 2018 College Football Predictions

Yahoo Sports

The season is here! Welcome to the official start of the 2018 college football season. In this post you’ll find our predictions for all of the important things like conference championships, the Heisman and the College Football Playoff in addition to our best guesses at how teams will do against their over/under win totals. All win totals are from Bovada. 

2018 COLLEGE FOOTBALL PREDICTIONS

Here are our conference championship, Heisman and College Football Playoff picks. Clemson was the most popular national title pick and was chosen by three of the five writers and analysts polled.

(Yahoo Sports)
(Yahoo Sports)

WIN TOTAL PREDICTIONS

ACC – Atlantic

Boston College (6.5) – Over

Clemson (11) – Push

Florida State (8) – Push

Louisville (7) – Over

NC State (7.5) – Under

Syracuse (5.5) – Under

Wake Forest (6.5) – Under

Best Bet: BOSTON COLLEGE, OVER 6.5

Count us among those who have latched onto the Boston College hype. The Eagles have been terrible on offense under Steve Addazio, but things flipped in 2017 once Anthony Brown was put in at quarterback and the carries for A.J. Dillon ramped up. With 10 starters back on offense and another solid defense, the Eagles should easily get to seven wins.

ACC – Coastal

Duke (6) – Over

Georgia Tech (6) – Under

Miami (9.5) – Under

North Carolina (5.5) – Over

Pittsburgh (5) – Push

Virginia (5) – Under

Virginia Tech (8.5) – Under

***Notre Dame (9.5) – Over

Best Bet: DUKE, OVER 6

If you read our ACC Power Rankings, you know we’re high on Duke, too. The Blue Devils return 15 starters including QB Daniel Jones, plus his top three receivers and running back Brittain Brown. Duke’s defense was really solid in 2017, and should be even better this year. The schedule is tough, but we like the Blue Devils to get to seven wins.

*** Independent

Big Ten – East

Indiana (5) – Over

Maryland (5) – Under

Michigan State (9) – Over

Michigan (9) – Push

Ohio State (10.5) – Under

Penn State (9.5) – Over

Rutgers (4) – Push

Best Bet: MARYLAND, UNDER 5

This may seem like a reaction to a team and program in turmoil, but it’s more about the schedule. The Terps have two tough non-conference games — Texas and Temple — and have to go through the juggernaut that is the Big Ten East. There’s enough talent to pull off an upset somewhere, but five wins seems like one too many.

Big Ten – West

Illinois (4) – Under

Iowa (7.5) – Under

Minnesota (6) – Under

Nebraska (6.5) – Under

Northwestern (6.5) – Over

Purdue (6) – Over

Wisconsin (10) – Over

Best Bet: MINNESOTA, UNDER 6

P.J. Fleck did a great job getting the Minnesota to five wins in his first year, but it’s hard to envision the Gophers making the jump to a bowl game in 2018. With a true freshman walk-on in Zack Annexstad starting at QB and a lot of question marks on the defense, five wins looks like a ceiling for the Gophers.

Big 12

Baylor (5.5) – Under

Kansas (3) – PUSH

Kansas State (5.5) – Over

Iowa State (6.5) – Under

Oklahoma (10) – Over

Oklahoma State (8) – PUSH

TCU (7.5) – Over

Texas (8.5) – Over

Texas Tech (6) – PUSH

West Virginia (7) – Over

Best Bets: TCU, OVER 7.5; BAYLOR, UNDER 5.5

The Horned Frogs are in our preseason top 20. We wouldn’t have them there if we thought they’d go 7-5. There are eight wins or more on TCU’s schedule. This feels like one of the easiest picks among Power Five teams.

Baylor hitting the over would mean a 6-6 bowl season. The Bears will be better than the 1-11 they were in 2017 … but five games better? If Baylor is five games better then someone else in the Big 12 has really cratered in 2018.

SEC – East

Missouri (6.5) – Over

Georgia (10.5) – Over

Florida (8) – PUSH

South Carolina (7.5) – Over

Kentucky (5.5) – Under

Tennessee (5.5) – Under

Vanderbilt (4.5) – Under

Best Bet: TENNESSEE, UNDER 5.5

Let’s go through Tennessee’s schedule real quickly. The Volunteers are underdogs against West Virginia on Saturday. They’ll be underdogs against Florida, Georgia, Auburn, Alabama and South Carolina. All five of those games are in a row from Sept. 22 to Oct. 27. Do you see a win anywhere among them?

If Tennessee loses all of those games the Vols will be 2-6 with a finishing stretch of Charlotte, Kentucky, Missouri and Vanderbilt. Running the table to get to 6-6 is possible, but we wouldn’t bet on it in that situation.

SEC – West

Alabama (11) – Over

Auburn (9) – Over

LSU (7.5) – Under

Arkansas (5.5) – Under

Texas A&M (7.5) – Under

Ole Miss (6) – Under

Miss State (8.5) – Over

Best Bet: ARKANSAS, UNDER 5.5

Do you see six wins on Arkansas’ schedule? We aren’t sure we do. The Razorbacks could go 4-0 in the non-conference with wins at Colorado State and at home to North Texas and Tulsa. That would be a big step in getting to six wins, as home victories over Vanderbilt and Ole Miss would get to that total. But going under here seems like a safer bet than going under six for Ole Miss.

Pac-12 – North

Cal (6.5) – Under

Oregon (8.5) – Over

Oregon State (2.5) – Under

Stanford (8.5) – Over

Washington (10.5) – Over

Washington State (6.5) – Over

Best Bet: CAL, UNDER 6.5

The Pac-12 North is full of tough bets. You can make equally convincing cases for all of the teams to hit both the over and under in 2018. Cal looks like a six-win bowl team in 2018 but seven wins may be asking too much. Wins over North Carolina, BYU and Idaho would set the Bears up well for the Pac-12, but a game at Oregon State may be the only gimme on the schedule. Cal’s home slate includes Oregon, UCLA, Washington, Stanford and Colorado.

Pac-12 – South

Arizona (7.5) – Over

Arizona State (4.5) – Under

Colorado (4.5) – Over

UCLA (5.5) – Under

USC (8.5) – Over

Utah (7) – Over

Best Bet: ARIZONA STATE, UNDER 4.5

Count us as skeptics of the Herm Edwards regime at Arizona State. But more than that, the schedule is brutal in 2018. Arizona State hosts Michigan State in Week 2 and then heads to San Diego State in Week 3. If the Sun Devils start the season 1-2 it’s hard to see four wins on the Pac-12 part of the slate.

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