NCAA Football News

Big Ten Football: Predicting the Biggest Upsets in the Conference in 2016

With spring games in full gear, the college football season is officially fewer than five months away and, of course, it's never too early to start looking ahead to the upcoming campaign.

And after a 2015 season unlike any other in Big Ten history, it's only gotten tougher to predict what will happen in the conference in the coming year.

That means that upsets could run rampant—perhaps even on a weekly basis—as teams deal with overhauled rosters, programs enter new eras and perennial powerhouses find themselves fighting to stay at the front of the league's food chain. Add in the shocking results for some teams—both good and bad—that played out a year ago, and handicapping the conference for the coming year becomes even more difficult than it already was.

Of course, a lot can change between now and the start of the 2016 season. But while we're waiting, let's go ahead and try to forecast the Big Ten upsets that will be occurring in a season that could ultimately prove to be even crazier than its unpredictable predecessor was.

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Projecting 2016 Win-Loss Records for Every ACC Football Team

It’s hard to believe, but spring football is already entering its final stages around the ACC. Syracuse has already wrapped up its first spring under Dino Babers. On Saturday, Clemson, Duke, Florida State and Wake Forest will put their best faces on for spring football games, with games stretching through April 23 when Georgia Tech, Virginia and Virginia Tech host games of their own.

In other words, we’ll soon pass another milepost on the road to the 2016 college football season opener. Real, meaningful games are less than five months away, and the ACC is plenty excited. Over the last three seasons, the league has gained plenty of national respect. Florida State won the final BCS National Championship and made the College Football Playoff in the following season, and Clemson followed suit by beginning the 2015 season 14-0 before falling to Alabama in the national title game.

With new coaches Mark Richt (Miami), Justin Fuente (Virginia Tech), Bronco Mendenhall (Virginia) and Babers in the league, ACC officials have reason to believe their conference will take another step forward in the near future, with the hopes of another power emerging to join the Seminoles and Tigers. Will it happen this fall?

Let’s take a look. We’re predicting the win-loss records of every ACC team, considering factors such as returning talent, schedule and recent track record.

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4-Star QB Jake Bentley Enrolling Early at South Carolina a Big Win for Muschamp

The South Carolina quarterback battle just added another competitor—and it's somebody out of the class of 2017.

That's not a typo. A class of 2017 quarterback could be starting for South Carolina in 2016.

Jake Bentley, a 4-star prospect from Opelika, Alabama, announced on Twitter Wednesday morning that he will graduate from high school a year early and begin his South Carolina career this summer.

Bentley, who is the son of South Carolina running backs coach Bobby Bentley (who was an analyst at Auburn last season and a legendary former high school coach in South Carolina), will join a loaded quarterback battle at South Carolina this summer that includes redshirt senior Perry Orth, true freshman early enrollee Brandon McIlwain, sophomore Lorenzo Nunez and junior Connor Mitch.

As Dayne Young of WRBL-TV in Columbus, Georgia, notes, Bentley will head east to Columbia with hype attached to his name.

Does Bentley have the chance to start right away?

A chance, sure.

But asking a kid who should be a senior in high school to learn an offense, figure out the speed of the game and beat out a crowded pack of talented quarterbacks in essentially a month of practice is too much to ask, no matter how much time he has spent around the game with his father.

McIlwain has already jumped to the front of the pack in his first spring practice, and Muschamp said that he and Orth looked great prior to the collarbone injury that knocked the latter out of action this spring, according to David Caraviello of the Post and Courier.

Bentley's quest to start is only one part of the story, though.

The bigger news that stems from Bentley's decision is that the quarterback talent Muschamp has amassed in Columbia is incredibly impressive.

Bentley has a 0.9511 ranking, according to 247Sports, and now joins McIlwain, who boasted a 0.9254. Muschamp has successfully recruited two of the top three quarterbacks South Carolina has had over the last decade.

Think about that for a second.

Muschamp, who's hardly known for developing quarterbacks into stars, now has a better reputation of recruiting top-tier quarterbacks to South Carolina than Steve Spurrier—a man who literally changed the game of college football because of quarterback play.

That's strong.

What he will do with those quarterbacks is still a mystery, but he's giving himself and offensive coordinator Kurt Roper plenty of chances for success with players who not only are highly rated, but also touted for different reasons.

Bentley has a strong arm, can stretch the ball sideline-to-sideline and make all of the throws required to keep defenses honest. What's more, he's a good runner who can at least pose a threat on read-options, which is a staple in Roper offenses.

McIlwain is the opposite. His ability to create on the ground is as good as it gets, and is no slouch in the passing game either. 

Muschamp has things cooking on the recruiting trail in Columbia.

The next step is having that potential translate to success on the field.

 

Quotes were obtained firsthand, unless otherwise noted. Statistics are courtesy of CFBStats.com, unless otherwise noted, and recruiting information is courtesy of 247Sports.

Barrett Sallee is the lead SEC college football writer and national college football video analyst for Bleacher Report, as well as a host on Bleacher Report Radio on SiriusXM 83. Follow Barrett on Twitter @BarrettSallee.

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Michigan Football: Wolverines' Biggest Concerns Post-Spring Practice

Though there aren't many football-related worries in Ann Arbor, the Michigan Wolverines wrapped up spring practice with a handful of mild concerns.

Perhaps to the irritation of some, the primary topic remains Michigan's quarterback battle. But with a competition this important, it's simply unavoidable.

While the Wolverines avoided serious injuries this spring, a series of ailments revealed a minor yet notable depth issue.

Michigan has five months to address each concern—none of which are debilitating individually. However, they could pose a significant problem if combined.

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Auburn Football: Players to Watch in Tigers' Spring Game

AUBURN, Ala. — There should be a different feeling in the air this Saturday when football returns to the Plains.

Unlike the last couple of years under head coach Gus Malzahn, the Auburn Tigers won't be entering their annual A-Day spring game as one of the SEC's preseason darlings. After a 7-6 campaign in 2015, there's more talk of hot seats than titles in Auburn.

With eyes on a turnaround 2016 campaign, Auburn will wrap up a spring camp featuring plenty of new potential starters and assistant coaches. The all-important quarterback battle, the race for the lead running back position, a new-look offensive line and the fifth defensive coordinator in six years will all be major storylines for the Saturday afternoon scrimmage.

Which players should Auburn fans keep their eyes on the most on A-Day? Here are 10 players—representing all the major offensive and defensive position groups—to watch when the Tigers unofficially open their 2016 season inside Jordan-Hare Stadium.

Which Auburn players are you most looking forward to seeing this weekend? Shout them out in the comments below.

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Watch HS QB Chris Robison Nail Trick Shot from Top of AT&T Stadium

Oklahoma 4-star commit Chris Robison, the eighth-ranked pro-style quarterback in the Class of 2017, clearly has a great arm. Just how impressive is it, though? We here at Bleacher Report put his accuracy to the test.

We made Robison hit a target on the field from the upper deck of a stadium. It wasn't just any stadium, though. He did it at AT&T Stadium, one of the largest in the country, with a seating capacity of 80,000.

Check out the soon-to-be Sooner's ridiculous trick shot in the video above.


Star ratings via 247Sports.

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