Dutch Lion’s 2019 College Football Spectacular!
Welcome to the 3rd Annual College Football Spectacular!
(Why do I always add an exclamation point at the end of “Spectacular!”?…… because one must. It’s demanded by the word gods, both Merriam and Webster, and the APA Publication Manual, 7th Edition.) The first two years have been amazing and some of the most intensely fun writing I’ve done each year. This year is no different, unless you hold it against me that this Preview is about 3 or 4 weeks late. The dog days of Summer are here, and almost gone. Soon the leaves will be changing colors and falling to the dry layers of soil and grass. As we move towards Fall and Winter, that means it’s football season, the most wonderful time of the year.
Let’s get to it…..”Dutch Lion’s” predictions for the upcoming season. These predictions are a little late (as of September 20) but still relevant. These rankings are where we predict the teams will finish at the end of season Final Polls.
Dutch Lion’s 2019 Top 25
- Georgia – SEC Champions – In 2017 we boldly predicted that Georgia was on the verge of great things. We projected a National Championship within the next 3 years. In ’17, the Bulldogs came oh so close by losing to Alabama in the National Championship. Last year, the Bulldogs once again were oh so close as they fell to Alabama, again, in the SEC Championship, thus eliminating themselves from the CFP Playoffs. In ’19……. this is the year of the Bulldog. Roof! Roof! Woof! Woof! UGA will prevail despite a tough SEC schedule. They shall knock ‘Bama off of their perch and become King of the Mountain. This isn’t some huge upset. UGA should have beaten them in both of the last two seasons. As the late Dennis Green would say at the podium, “We had ’em, and we let ’em off the hook.” This year Georgia will reign supreme. The Bulldogs are “Dutch Lion’s” 2019 National Champions.
- LSU – The Tigers are ready to strike. There is no doubt this prediction has been enchanced since we’ve seen LSU’s newfound offense’s success. However, even before the season started I was high on LSU for a couple of reasons: 1. The Tigers have 16 returning starters (8 offense and 8 defense) from a 10-3 team (LSU lost at Florida, home vs Alabama, and at Texas A&M in 7 OT’s last year). 2. The defense has fantastic players at all three levels of their defense in DE Rashard Lawrence, LB’s Michael Divinity and K’Lavon Chaisson, and SS Grant Delpit. The negative is that LSU’s schedule is 6th hardest, according to Phil Steele. The Tigers have to play at Alabama on November 9. Geaux Tigers!!!
- Oklahoma – Big 12 Champions – This program is probably starting to feel entitled. They have the greatest offense on the planet. After two straight Heisman Trophy winning quarterbacks in Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray, now they turn to Jalen Hurts who transferred away from Alabama. Could Hurts win OU’s third consecutive Heisman? Nonetheless, the defense remains questionable. They have 8 returning starters on that side of the ball, but is that a good thing? Last year’s squad gave up 33.3 points per game. This year they hired a new Defensive Coordinator, Alex Grinch. You’d think he’ll make changes which should lead to improvements. MLB #9 Kenneth Murray will be there to lead this unit to some newfound success. With a somewhat easy schedule (#46 according to PS), the Sooners will win the Big 12 and return to the CFP once again.
- Clemson – ACC Champions – It’s hard to leave Clemson out of the CFP, so we won’t. QB Trevor Lawrence is such a stud that he would have been the #1 overall pick in LAST April’s NFL Draft, but he won’t be eligible until 2021. He’ll be #1 in ’21. Mark it down.
- Alabama – ‘Bama finally won’t make the Playoff after a controversial decision on who the four teams should be. As usual, it comes down to the age-old question: Which teams are the most deserving versus which teams are the best? Even though we all know ‘Bama is excellent doesn’t mean we should automatically insert them into the CFP. They need to earn it. I predict they will lose to LSU on November 9. If they slip up even once more, they would not be in the Playoff. Even if they only lose one game I don’t feel they will make the top four because of both Georgia and LSU ahead of them, which I think will be the SEC Championship matchup. Maybe Coach Saban will retire soon. Hopefully.
- Michigan – Big 10 Champions – In 2018, we called for a National Championship for the Michigan Wolverines. This year, we’re calling for a B1G Championship but not the Title. Last year Coach Jim Harbaugh’s bunch went 10-3 with two disastrous defeats to end their year (at Ohio St. 62-39, and then the Peach Bowl vs Florida 41-15). Outside of those weird results, the “Dutch Lion” felt pretty good about his prediction. Most friends
enemiesof “Dutch” laughed at his prediction when the Wolves lost the opener at Notre Dame 24-17 but up until that Ohio St. game we felt solid about our pick. It was not to be……THE Ohio State University destroyed UM and as for the Peach Bowl, oh well. This year we expect Michigan to have another excellent season despite a tough schedule. However, the hardest challenges are at home with only two rough road games (at Wisconsin, at Penn St.). Michigan will win the Big Ten and Coach Harbaugh will still get heat, but will also get a reprieve from critics, a little bit, at least until next year.
- Washington – Pac 12 Champions – QB Jacob Eason might be the #1 overall pick in 2020, but don’t mark it down. It’s just a wild prediction that might have a chance to become true.
- Notre Dame – The Irish are really good again this year but lost several NFL Draftees such as Dexter Williams, Jerry Tillery, and Julian Love. The schedule is always challenging because of the rivalries and diversity of it’s opponents. Nothing will be harder than going down South “between the hedges” to face Georgia on September 21.
- Ohio St.
- Texas A&M
- Boise St. – Mountain West Champions
- Nebraska – The ‘Huskers will win the B1G West but lose to Michigan in the B1G Championship. Despite an early season loss in the altitude at Colorado, Nebraska will resurrect the Big Red under Scott Frost by going 9-3 or even 10-2 prior to the Conference Championship game. Overall, the ‘Huskers will win respect and raise expectations for 2020.
- Michigan St.
- UCF – AAC Champions
- California – Watch out for Cal. This team is solid!
- Penn St.
2019 Playoff Predictions:
- Peach Bowl: #1 Georgia over #4 Clemson
- Fiesta Bowl: #2 LSU over #3 Oklahoma
2019 National Championship Prediction:
- New Orleans Superdome: #1 Georgia over #2 LSU – A rematch from the SEC Championship Game seems crazy, surreal, overwhelming, and impossible. Maybe it is, but we’re calling for it because we truly believe these are the two best teams in America in 2019. UGA will finally finish on top for the first time since 1980. “Dutch Lion” will rejoice at his Crystal Ball accuracy. “Hunker Down! Dawgs Sic ‘Em, Woof, Woof, Woof!”
Dutch Lion’s All-America Team
- QB1 (Pocket Passer) – Trevor Lawrence/Clemson/SO/6-6 215/PS#1/Jersey #16
- QB2 (Dual-Threat Running QB) – Jalen Hurts/Oklahoma/SR/6-2 218/PS#16/Jersey #1
- RB Jonathan “Touchdown” Taylor/Wisconsin/SO/5-11 214/PS#54/Jersey #23 – Like we wrote last year, Taylor is a special player. Last year we wondered if he could improve on his amazing freshman campaign of 1977 rushing yards, 13 TD’s, and 6.6 ypc. Believe it or not, he did. Last year Taylor put up 2194 rushing yards, 16 TD’s, and 7.1 ypc. What will he do in ’19? He could win the Heisman Trophy and stop the Heisman drought for RB’s. The last RB to win was Derrick Henry in ’15 and before him it was Mark Ingram in ’09. That’s only two RB’s in the last decade, and both of those were from the Crimson Tide.
- RB Eno Benjamin/Arizona St./JR/5-10 201/PS#19/Jersey #3
- WR Rondale Moore/Purdue/SO/5-9 180/PS#17/Jersey #4 – The most exciting player in America, Moore has incredible balance. His small stature helps him break tackles and “hide” from tacklers.
- WR Jerry Jeudy/Alabama/JR/6-1 192/PS#13/Jersey #4
- WR Tylan Wallace/Oklahoma St./JR/6-0 185/PS#25/Jersey #2
- TE Hunter Bryant/Washington/JR/6-2 224/PS#5/Jersey #1
- OT Andrew Thomas/Georgia/JR/6-5 320/PS#15/Jersey #71
- OG Tommy Kraemer/Notre Dame/JR/6-6 319/PS#3/Jersey #78
- C Tyler Biadasz/Wisconsin/JR/6-3 322/PS#192/Jersey #61
- OG Ben Bredeson/Michigan/SR/6-5 320/PS#5/Jersey #74
- OT Ezra Cleveland/Boise St./JR/6-6 311/PS#166/Jersey #76
- DE Kenny Willekes/Michigan St./SR/6-4 262/PS#361/Jersey #48
- DT Marvin Wilson/Florida St./JR/6-5 314/PS#1/Jersey #21
- DT Rashard Lawrence/LSU/SR/6-3 317/PS#9/Jersey #90 – Lawrence is actually an End in a 3-4. In other words, Lawrence is just like Chicago Bears DE Akiem Hicks. He’s a huge man and you can’t block him. He makes LSU’s defense scary.
- DE Chase Young/Ohio St./JR/6-5 265/PS#4/Jersey #2 – Young had 10.5 Sacks last year along with 9 QB hurries. “You try to block him.” “No. You.” “I’m outta here.”
- OLB Kenneth Murray/Oklahoma/JR/6-2 242/PS#93/Jersey #9 – Murray only had 155 tackles last year for the 12-2 Sooners. He had 8.5 TFL’s, 4 Sacks, 2 PBU’s, and 4 QB hurries. Outside of that, he didn’t do much, except lead the Big 12 in tackles. Murray is fun to watch. I think he wears a neck roll, which is super cool.
- ILB Evan Weaver/California/SR/6-3 245/PS#78/Jersey #89 – The best defense nobody seems to know about is the Cal Bears D, led by this guy, Evan Weaver. Have you ever watched a Cal game? Weaver is in on EVERY play! Last year he had 159 tackles, 5 TFL’s, 4.5 Sacks, 6 PBU’s, 2 INT’s, and 1 QB hurry. This year he’ll put up even bigger numbers, which is almost unfathomable. Watch him, it’s a pleasure.
- ILB Mohamed Barry/Nebraska/SR/6-1 230/PS#120/Jersey #7 – I love Mo! This dude brings the attitude and energy each and every day. I’ve never seen Mo not bring the sauce. He plays hard and with passion! In his bad games he still gets 7 tackles. Last year he led the Cornhuskers with 112 tackles. He had 9 TFL’s, 2 Sacks, 1 PBU, and 5 QB hurries. Throw the bones Mo!
- OLB Micah Parsons/Penn St./SO/6-3 241/PS#1/Jersey #11 – Parsons led the Nittany Lions in tackles with 83 last year, as a true freshman.
- CB Lavert Hill/Michigan/SR/5-11 177/PS#21/Jersey #24 – Hill only had 14 tackles last year in 13 games. So why is he on our All-America team? Exactly. He doesn’t let receivers catch balls near him so he doesn’t have any tackles to make. QB’s don’t even throw at his guy. When they did, he had 5 PBU’s and 1 INT.
- CB Lamar Jackson/Nebraska/SR/6-3 215/PS#16/Jersey #21 – Lamar has had an up-and-down career in Lincoln. The expectations were so high on him that he couldn’t possibly live up to them. After a couple of subpar years, Jackson is finally earning his reputation through hard work. Not known very well nationally, Lamar is going to have a huge senior season. Last week he had 4 PBU’s in a single game. Last year he had 7 PBU’s and 2 INT’s. Watch for Lamar to get some postseason accolades and become an NFL draft pick. The pros love tall corners that can cover and Lamar is 6-3 and improving his technique.
- NB Kekaula Kaniho/Boise St./JR/5-10 185/PS#226/Jersey #28 – I just love this dude. He makes our team as a slot corner/nickel-back/safety. He flashed in the Florida St. season opener.
- SS Grant Delpit/LSU/JR/6-3 203/PS#33/Jersey #7 – A total stud, Delpit is the man for the Tigers in the secondary. He was awarded the coveted #7 jersey worn by former Tigers such as Tyrann Mathieu and Patrick Peterson. Delpit filled the box scores last year totalling 74 tackles, 4.5 TFL’s, 5 Sacks, 9 PBU’s, 5 INT’s, and 4 QB hurries. Those numbers are certainly All-American.
- FS J.R. Reed/Georgia/SR/6-1 194/PS#329/Jersey #20 – Honestly Reed or his Georgia teammate Richard LeCounte could have both made this spot on our team. Bulldogs Coach Kriby Smart calls Reed “the alpha of the secondary” so we’ll list Reed as our All-America FS.
- K Andre Szmyt/Syracuse/SO/6-1 186/Jersey #91 – Szmyt is from nearby Vernon Hills, IL. I didn’t know this until he made a name for himself with the ‘Cuse. He made 30 of 34 FG’s last year and all 61 PAT’s as a Freshman.
- P Braden Mann/Texas A&M/SR/5-11 195/PS#6/Jersey #34 – This dude booms punts as well as anyone I’ve ever seen. Last year he averaged 51.0 yards per punt. Even his net average was 44.7 which is usually an excellent gross average. His long punt was 82 yards. One name comes to mind…Todd Sauerbrun, the legendary punter from West Virginia. I think Mann is that good. In fact, he’s “the Mann!”
- KR Savon Scarver/Utah St./JR/5-11 190/PS#184/Jersey #81 – He had 22 kick returns for 742 yards which is a super huge 33.7 yard average. Scarver scored 2 TD’s out of those 22 chances.
- PR Lynn Bowden/Kentucky/JR/6-1 199/PS#25/Jersey #1 – He only had 5 punt returns last season, but he took two of those five to the house. His 29.2 average was ridiculous.
Head Coach – Dabo Swinney/Clemson – In 11 years at Clemson, Dabo is 116-30 with 2 National Championships (2016 and 2018). It doesn’t get much better. Not only is Swinney ultra successful but he’s a great dude and very entertaining. His on-field interviews after games are legendary.
Offensive Coordinator – Steve Ensminger/LSU – We could pick Lincoln Riley every year but let’s look elsewhere. We’ll go with the LSU OC who has changed the Tigers offense to be a high powered attacking scheme in 2019. Ensminger is on his way to winning the Broyles Award as Coordinator of the Year.
Defensive Coordinator – Justin Wilcox/California – We could pick Brent Venables every year but we decided to change it up in 2019. I’ll take Justin Wilcox, the head coach from Cal. His Golden Bears defenses have improved from allowing 42.6 ppg in 2016, the year before he was hired to 28.4 in ’17, and then 20.4 last year. That’s mongo improvement. Kudos to actual co-DC’s Tim DeRuyter and Peter Sirmon.
“Dutch Lion’s” Favorite Players
- Nebraska LB #7 Mohamed “Mo” Barry – I love Mo! He brings the Blackshirts attitude with his infectious energy. He hustles. He brings the heat. He tries to hit hard despite only weighing 230 pounds. He’s from Georgia. I love everything about this dude.
- Purdue WR #4 Rondale Moore
- Wisconsin RB #23 Jonathan “Touchdown” Taylor
- Cal LB #89 Evan Weaver – STUD!
- Arizona LB #7 Colin Schooler – Hustles everywhere!
- Boise St. RB #24 George Holani
- Maryland RB #5 Anthony McFarland – Underrated
- Nebraska WR #1 Wan’Dale Robinson – This freshman is versatile. He plays both WR and RB for the Huskers as a true freshman. He scored only 130 TD’s as a high schooler so he must be fast. Plus, he is friends with Rondale Moore and supposedly they work out together down in the Memphis/Louisville areas. Wan’Dale will be explosive as he gets older, stronger, and faster.
- Oklahoma WR #2 CeeDee Lamb “Chops”
- LSU S #7 Grant Delpit
- LSU WR #2 Justin Jefferson
- Boise St. SS #10 Kekoa Nawahine
- Boise St. QB #19 Hank “Brockmire” Bachmeier
- Arizona St. RB #3 Eno “End Zone” Benjamin
- Georgia S #2 Richard LeCounte
- Oklahoma RB #4 Trey Sermon
- Northwestern DE #97 Joe Gaziano – I heard Joe interviewed on BTN the other day. This is a good kid. He has a future in broadcasting. Sounds relaxed, very smart, and professional. Similar to former Illini great LB J Leman, now with BTN.
- Arizona QB #14 Khalil “Turbo” Tate – Electric! Tate didn’t have the year everyone expected he would have in ’18. Will he have a great senior season? He very easily could.
- Georgia DT #52 Tyler Clark – Watch Clark when you watch UGA this season. He has always impressed me. He’ll lead the front of Georgia’s D all the way to the National Championship.
- Miami (Ohio) WR #13 Jack Sorenson – Phil Steele has Sorenson on his All-MAC 1st team this year as a Junior. I’ve known Jack since he was a freshman at the high school I work at, Stevenson HS in Lincolnshire, IL. Jack is a great kid, very talkative, respectful, energetic, a team player. One thing I’ve always remembered about this young man is we were talking about our favorite players once and he surprised me by saying “Bart Starr”. I thought that was very cool. How many young people nowadays give props to old legends who played decades ago? Jack is that kind of dude. He is a fantastic athlete. He played WR on our 2014 State Champions and came up with several huge game-changing receptions. Back in the day Jack was going to be a scholarship lacrosse player before he was recruited by Miami (OH) for football. Jack also started at QB his senior season in high school. Jack is one of my all-time favorites athletes I’ve had the pleasure of knowing. He’s simply a great kid from a wonderful big family. Good luck to Jack!
Dutch Lion’s Favorite Games I’ve Ever Watched on TV
- 1988 Miami at Notre Dame – The Greatest Game Ever
- 1992 Colorado at Nebraska – Supreme Emotion helped Neb run the Buffs out of the prairie 52-7 on Halloween ’92.
- 1993 Florida St. at Notre Dame – Watched it on a cloudy day in Iowa with my buddy Josh Schwede while staying in a girlfriends dorm room/apartment.
- 1989 Miami at Florida St. – Electric Saturday night in Tallahassee. When Dexter Carter scored right after LeRoy Butler picked off Miami early in the game, I thought the TV would explode from the FSU crowd. Truly intense!
- 1994/95 Orange Bowl – Nebraska finally wins the Coach Osborne’s 1st Title, 24-17 over Miami.
- 1997 Florida St. at Florida – Amazing performance by Fred Taylor
- 2008 Texas at Texas Tech – Michael Crabtree stuns #1 Longhorns
- 2011 Ohio St. at Nebraska – Huge comeback sparked by Lavonte David, T-Magic, and Rex Burkhead. ‘Huskers were down 27-6 but scored 28 straight points to stun the Buckeyes 34-27 in Nebraska’s first Big Ten victory, the biggest comeback in school history.
- 1994 Colorado at Nebraska – Showdown that my roommate Brian and I watched in the dorms
- 1997 Nebraska at Missouri – Legendary “kicked ball” TD from Scott Frost to Matt Davison.
- 1993 Illinois at Michigan – Johnny Johnson with the game winner after Simeon Rice forces fumble at Michigan Stadium.
- 2000 Nebraska at Notre Dame – Eric Crouch’s Overtime game-winner was a relief on a beautiful day in South Bend.
So that’s it for this year’s College Football Spectacular. I hope you enjoyed the Preview. I KNOW you’ll enjoy the games. Have a great season!