CANDYMAN PICKS

The name for this column was inspired by brothers in my fraternity who called me the “Candy Man” due to how much candy I not only ate but would hand out like it was Halloween 24/7. The nickname stuck and here we are. 

Twitter: @CandyPicks

Author’s note: All statistics and information come from OddsShark, ESPN, Sports Reference and ActionNetwork

The 2020 season could be on the brink of revolutionizing sports around the world. Fans are already excluded from being in the stadium cheering on our NBA and MLB teams. We are literally sitting on the edge of our couches during this quarantine waiting for things to get back to normal but the waiting could lead into late summer and early fall. 

Well, enough with the dwelling. Let’s get to CandyMan’s top 10 college football teams to look forward to in 2020. 

CandyMans CFB Playoffs Prediction – (All stats come from ESPN)

This year’s contenders for this year’s college football playoffs begin with the big three.

The Big Three

Clemson – Trevor Lawrence, remember the name. He will be a future first-round NFL draft pick, if not the No. 1 overall pick. The golden boy threw for 3,665 yards with 36 passing touchdowns while also running for 563 yards with 9 rushing touchdowns. Clemson also has star running back Travis Etienne who has surpassed 1,600 yards in back-to-back seasons. Clemson returns its go-to wide receiver, Justyn Ross, as well. The Tigers have been on the up-and-up the last few years, so don’t expect them to fall off anytime soon. They will be in the college football playoffs for sure in 2020. 

Ohio State – Another star in the making, Justin Fields, transferred from Georgia and led the Buckeyes to the playoffs in 2019. Fields threw for 3,273 yards with 41 touchdowns while also running for 484 yards with 10 touchdowns. The Buckeyes lose their ground-and-pound running back, JK Dobbins, to the NFL but don’t fret, Master Teague is here. Ryan Day took over for the legendary Urban Meyer and didn’t stop the powerhouse program reaching yet another playoff run. They return a ton of talent while also having another top 15 recruiting class yet again. You can expect the Buckeyes to return to the playoffs in 2020 with revenge on their minds.

Alabama – Is the Nick Saban era coming to an end? Think again. The Crimson Tide return Najee Harris who took a major leap toward the end of the season and decides to return for another year. The Tide lost the first-round draft pick quarterback, Tua Tagovailoa, along with wide receivers, Jerry Juedy and Henry Ruggs, to the NFL draft. Year in and year out, Alabama is always rated in the top 10, which is extraordinary. Mac Jones looks to lead the Crimson Tide next year but look out for the five-star recruit Bryce Young to push for Jones at quarterback. If college football were a hotel rating on Yelp, they’d be a five star. The recruiting has done its job again, and Alabama will have talent at every single position on the field. Look for Saban to lead the Crimson Tide to yet another chance to win the college football playoff. 

The Contender 

Notre Dame – The Fighting Irish has a more than favorable schedule to make the playoffs. ESPN has them at only 3% of making it, which is way too low, according to their success in the last three seasons. The Irish have a consistent quarterback in Ian Book who returns for his last season. He led the Irish to their first playoff in 2018 but got beat to the curb in a 30-3 loss. In 2019, they lost two tough games and were left out of the playoffs. This should be the year that they have the talent and schedule in their favor. All five starting linemen are back along with Toney Jones Jr. who became the lead back midseason. As a team, they come back strong with 16 starters who will look to beat Clemson late in the season in 2020 to add to their resume. The Irish will be this year’s contender as the last team in for the college football playoffs.

I am 23 years old who will be graduating from UNL this coming May. I am from Lincoln, Nebraska have been born and raised here but the goal is to get out and experience the world of sports and journalism.