Three-Point Stance: Predictions, 2021, season superlatives
National Recruiting Director Mike Farrell’s Three-Point Stance is here with playoff predictions, key players for next season’s run to the title and some team awards.
1. PLAYOFF PREDICTIONS
It’s prediction time! Usually, this time of year I’m in Orlando or San Antonio juggling all-star game coverage with football stuff, but this year I have been able to focus completely on the College Football Playoff. And I see two easy wins in the semifinal.
Alabama vs. Notre Dame — The Fighting Irish have had a solid season and have a very disciplined defense and strong running game on offense. But there is no way their defensive backs can stay with DeVonta Smith and Najee Harris will hurt the Fighting Irish in open space. Whether he’s catching it or running it, Harris brings those linebackers up and allows the deep middle of the field to be open for Smith and the rest of the Crimson Tide's receivers. And once Notre Dame falls behind by a couple of touchdowns, the rout is on. I think Alabama will pull away after a sloppy first quarter.
Prediction: Alabama 45, Notre Dame 10
Clemson vs. Ohio State — Last year’s game was very close but Ohio State was a much better football team than it is this year while Clemson hasn’t lost as much. Trevor Lawrence should have his way with a very average Buckeyes secondary. Travis Etienne will get his yardage, possibly more through the air than on the ground. Justin Fields will be pressing a bit to bounce back from his poor Northwestern performance and Trey Sermon won’t be able to bail the team out. Having Chris Olave back is huge but the Buckeyes' passing game is more limited than last season and Fields will have a couple of picks. Clemson runs away in the fourth quarter.
Prediction: Clemson 34, Ohio State 21
2. LOOKING AHEAD TO 2021
Let's take a look ahead to next season and single out a few players that will have a massive impact on the College Football Playoff landscape.
QB Bryce Young, Alabama — With Mac Jones gone, in steps the dangerous five-star from California who was up and down in mop up time this season. Can he work with fewer weapons? Will younger players step up? This could be a step back year for Bama unless Young is special.
QB D’Eriq King, Miami — King’s injury in the Cheez-It Bowl puts a bit of a question mark around this pick but, if he’s healthy, Miami clearly showed enough young talent against Oklahoma State to make a run in its division next season. And getting to play Clemson in the ACC title would be like a playoff game.
RB Isaiah Spiller, Texas A&M — Kellen Mond is likely gone but Spiller has arguably been a bigger part of the offense this season. The way the Aggies are plugging in offensive linemen leads me to believe they will pound the ball into contention next season.
QB Spencer Rattler, Oklahoma — Rattler had numerous touchdown passes dropped this season and with a deeper receiving group, he will be the key to one of the most potent offensives in college football.
3. SOME 2020 SUPERLATIVES
Here are some superlative that came to mind when thinking of the 2020 college football season.
Biggest Disappointment — Penn State — The Nittany Lions were a preseason top-10 team and started off 0-5. It doesn’t get much worse than that.
Best Offense — Alabama — Duh. Next category, please.