Rankman’s ridiculously LATE top 10 projections for the 2015 football season:
1: Alabama. The Crimson Tide, just like Florida in 2008, can afford a home loss to Ole Miss and still win the national title. Lane Kiffin completes 12-step career rehabilitation program with a second brilliant year as offensive coordinator. We hope Kiffin doesn’t miss the bus on another head coaching opportunity. Word is cloth-coat conservative Nick Saban is going to loosen his tie a bit and take some chances this year. Hey, how about an onsides kick in the national title game? Yeah, right. That’s a funny one.
2: Clemson. Enough of this reputation for choking under pressure. Look for Dabo Swinney’s Tigers to complete an undefeated regular season and then take Alabama to the finish line before losing an exciting, 45-40, game.
3: Ohio State. Urban Meyer had it easier last year because he didn’t have to decide on a quarterback. His starter was dictated by injuries. Expect chemistry issues this year as Meyer tries to motivate a team expected to cruise to a second straight national title. Watch out for Michigan State!
4: Stanford. The wake-up call 9 a.m. opener at Northwestern could be tricky but we expect a big rebound from last year’s 8-5 disappointment. Rankman is hoping David Shaw releases promising sophomore tailback Christian McCaffrey, who saw limited time as a freshman last year but could emerge as a Heisman candidate in late November once voters in the east and south receive word football is still being played on the West Coast.
5: Oklahoma. Transfer quarterback Baker Mayfield is the key as the Sooners look to regain their status as Big 12 kingpins. Not having a title game hurt the Big 12 last year but one less game could help this year. Expect the NCAA to ultimately approve a waiver that will allow the league to host a title game with only 10 teams. We’re still not buying “Big Game” Bob Stoops is totally back until he actually wins another big game in the playoff.
6: Texas Christian. Gary Patterson’s team will compete for the national title so long as it can avoid key injuries on defense and to its two main offensive stars, quarterback Trevone Boykin and receiver Josh Doctson.
7: Michigan State. Coach Mark Dantonio never gets the credit he deserves and is still confused by people with his younger brother Mike. The “no respect” routine continues as we predict the Spartans will defeat Ohio State, win the Big Ten and still finished behind the Buckeyes in the final AP poll.
8: Houston. Ha, you laugh? Rankman has had his eye on Tom Herman, Urban Meyer’s former offensive coordinator, ever since he played tuba in middle school in the Simi Valley and then moved on to Cal Lutheran. Rankman met Herman at a MENSA convention where the two shared a love for Chinese food and the same IQ score.
9: Oregon. Eastern Washington transfer quarterback Vernon Adams is the real deal. Only a freak injury can keep Oregon from competing for a playoff spot. The Ducks are cooked, though, if Adams gets hurt and the team has to rely on backup Jeff Lockie and\or the defense.
10: Iowa. You say: what is Rankman smoking? We say Iowa’s patience with Kirk Ferentz pays off as the Hawkeyes become this year’s surprise team with a cast of no names who sneak their way to the Big Ten West title. Rose Bowl or bust! Too bad Jim Murray isn’t alive to poke fun at the school’s inevitable failures when they play under the “big lights” of Pasadena.