The college football season starts this weekend, and every team is 0-0. And we think that your team -- yes, your team, no matter which one it is -- will be better this year.
Your team's players are a year older, and that extra year is a year of added experience and strength. But there are also those new recruits -- those guys are studs. New coach? He'll be better than the last guy. New coach's second year? He needed a year to implement his system. New coach's third year? Well, his recruits are finally playing.
This year, every single team in college football will be better than they were last year. It doesn't seem possible -- hypothetically, every game must have a winner and loser, so if one team is winning more games, one team must be winning less games -- but science is unranked for a reason.
American Athletic Conference
South Florida: McNeese State is off the schedule.
East Carolina: Finally left unpatriotic C-USA for a truly American conference.
Tulsa: 3-9 record was mainly due to adorable golden retriever puppy Goldie's inexperience. Now he is a full-grown dog and not a puppy and oh man it has an Instagram:
Temple: Lorde cover of "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" leads to nationwide increase in Matt Rhule popularity. Recruiting surges.
Memphis: You almost beat UCF last year before every single thing in the world went wrong back-to-back-to-back-to-back, and UCF was pretty good.
Houston: No regular season losses by under a TD last year, so you were clearly getting jobbed.
UCF: Bortles himself may be gone, but the spirit of Bortles lives on.
Cincinnati: Gunner Kiel was the best QB in his high school class, and now he's Cincinnati's starting QB! Everybody was probably right about him in high school.
SMU: Texas went 5-7 in Garrett Gilbert's last year as a full-time starter, then 8-5 the next year. SMU went 5-7 last year in Garrett Gilbert's last year as a full-time starter, and is practically guaranteed to go 8-5 this year.
UConn: You won national championships in basketball last year. That should be enough sports happiness to tide you over for two, three, four years. Even if your team isn't actually better, it will seem better.
Tulane: You're in that College Football Playoff ad (with a girl being really good at cornhole), so you're probably going to be in the College Football Playoff.
Florida State: After a measly 39.5-point average margin of victory, you'll finally beat opponents by 40 points or more.
Louisville: A new conference that is actually a football conference, an old coach that hearkens back to the glory days AND HAS DONE NOTHING UNSEEMLY SINCE 2006, HE HAS JUST BEEN SITTING IN A ROCKING CHAIR ON THE BACK PORCH
Boston College: After boosting by five wins in year 1 under Steve Addazio, you're projected to win 12 games now and 17 next year and 22 the year after that.
Wake Forest: We've hit the point at which with each passing year, this shirt becomes more "vintage," which makes it cooler:
In a few years, this'll be a serious throwback.
Syracuse: Scott Shafer has all Syracuse-area noses reaching previously unforeseen levels of hardness.
Clemson: This could be the year nobody says the word "Clemsoning" in a negative context.
Georgia Tech: Look, guys. 2014 is the year playing triple option football in a major conference will finally pay off.
Duke: WE ARE LIVING IN THE ERA OF DUKE FOOTBALL. JUST MAKING THE ACC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME WAS NOT ENOUGH. MERELY WINNING THE ACC COASTAL WOULD BE A MASSIVE DISAPPOINTMENT FOR DAVID CUTCLIFFE AND THE UNSTOPPABLE BLUE DEVIL HORDES. #SLAPTHETURF #SLAPTHETURF #SLAPTHETURF #SLAPTHETURF
North Carolina: Bill Connelly's preview was literally just the word potential 1,300 times.
Pittsburgh: No more Spillymeals.
Virginia: Mike London is good at recruiting! We've heard this for several years! It's going to pay off at some point, right?
Virginia Tech: Offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler successfully argues to NCAA rules committee that points are "just a construct, man."
Miami: Duke Johnson is not injured at this exact moment.
Iowa State: An 0-5 start is downright likely, but you only need to win four to be better than last year, and you could do that!
Oklahoma State: Won 10 games last year, but adjusted stats say you should've won 12. So 10 wins was underperforming!
Oklahoma: You did not a) win the Big 12 or b) beat Texas last year. Doing one and/or both of these things this year is probable.
Baylor: You could win the conference and *not* lose your bowl game to a mid-major.
Texas: Either the Longhorns will be better than they were under Mack Brown, or Texas fans get to talk for hours per day about how much better the team would've been if Mack Brown was the coach, so it's a win-win.
West Virginia: Things don't look great but things are possible with Holgo. ALL things.
Kansas: Probably the last year with a fun-sucking Hutt with no record of success who allegedly falls asleep in meetings for a head coach.
Huge turnout at Arrowhead. Much greater than expected. Boys are ready to compete. This should be fun. Rock Chalk. pic.twitter.com/k79MXEExWD— Coach Charlie Weis (@CoachWeisKansas) June 25, 2014
Kansas State: An awful start made a very, very good team look like just a very good team. The team's is just as good, and maybe won't get off to an awful start.
TCU: You just need Matt Joeckel to be an okay QB. Everything else is already there for success.
Texas Tech: Nothing bad can happen with this smile:
Maryland: All that needs to happen is for not everybody to have all the bones in their body break and holy crap just writing about this team my arms are disintegr-
Michigan State: In 2013, Michigan State was the story of the caterpillar that was unable to play offense morphing into a murderbuzzsawkillcycle. This year, you already know you are a murderbuzzsawkillcycle at heart, so the slaughter will begin in Week 1.
Michigan: When you open up with Appalachian State, nothing can go wrong. Nothing. NOTHING. (whistles, goes to sink to wash nonexistent blood off hands)
Rutgers: Wheeee! A real football conference! Just being in a real football conference is better than anything that could happen in that old football conference! Chances are you will get hacked to death by chainsaws and be buried under 50 pounds of human poop, but at least it's happening in the Big Ten!
Ohio State: Sure, Braxton Miller is out. That's a bummer. That means you're adjusting your expectations, and perhaps staking less of your happiness on the success of Ohio State football. That means no matter what happens, you will not be this sad:
And if you can avoid that level of sadness, you've already won.
Penn State: Your new program savior will be even better than the other program savior.
Northwestern: Your team lost on 17 hail marys, 42 last-second field goals, 11 trick plays on final plays, and 51 plays for potential touchdowns that were stopped at the six-inch line, so all you have to do this year is not have that happen.
Wisconsin: "I had this crazy dream where Ohio State and Michigan and Michigan State and Penn State weren't in my division! But you (points at Illinois and Purdue) were there!"
Minnesota: Jerry Kill has built momentum. It's weird.
Illinois: Everything is funny when Tim Beckman is involved. Here is a projection of his 2014 season:
HI, I'M TIM BECKMAN, AND I'M HERE TO TELL YOU ABOUT ILLI- (steps on metal part of rake, wood part swings up and smacks him in the face) OW (stumbles backwards into pit filled with mouse traps) OW OW OW OW OW OW OW (reaches up to pull himself out of mousetrap pit, accidentally grabs tail of vicious leopard, angering it) PLEASE JUST FIRE ME
Iowa: Kirk Ferentz has a team that hits Kirk Ferentz's boringness specifications. It will dominate.
Western Kentucky: Not like all those other teams Bobby Petrino left. You were at least expecting it.
Marshall: Your team is going to ride ALL RAKEEM CATO EVERYTHING, and you're heavily favored to win a conference title. What more can a human being ask for?
UTSA: The players who joined UTSA when the program started are now seniors. There are 38 of them, and they're gonna go out with a bang.
FIU: FIU's season last year was the second-worst by an FBS team since we started tracking. The third-worst will be an improvement. You can do it!
Middle Tennessee State: MTSU won their last five regular season games, but dropped their bowl. You can keep the momentum part!
Rice: Rice ain't at its peak just because it went from down in the dumps to a C-USA championship. Let's try this again, but without getting depantsed.
FAU: After Carl Peini's departure, your team turned around, and new coach Charlie Partridge has you in the right direction! Whatever that is.
North Texas: Dan McCarney's put together the pieces, going from four wins to nine. This year, a title contender?
Louisiana Tech: It's been a struggle since Sonny Dykes left, but -- hey, did you know the "Duck Dynasty" guy played here? He did! It's true!
Old Dominion: The Monarchs could go 0-12 and be happy, since it's their first FBS year. But you're probably gonna win like, several games.
Southern Miss: Zero wins in 2012. One win in 2013, in the last game. The 23-game losing streak is now dead, and now it's time to start a winning streak. Or at least a streak of seasons with wins in them.
UTEP: In Sean Kugler's second year, he'll hopefully have Johnny Manziel's former backup Jameill Showers for a whole year. This year could be mediocre, whereas last year was awful.
Notre Dame: Everett Golson back! Ignore any other players who might not be!
BYU: Your team's gone 8-5 two years in a row and has an easier schedule this time around.
Navy: Another year of Keenan Reynolds doing all sorts of things is a good year.
Army: A new coach who did great things with the option at the FCS level and perhaps a chance to win more than two games. Or maybe even beat Navy.
EVERY TEAM IS AWESOME!
EVERY TEAM IS AWESOME!
Bowling Green: LOOK AT ME NOW / LOOK AT ME NOW / LOOK AT ME NOW / I'M DINO BA-BERRRRRS
Miami (Ohio): After opting not to schedule a game with an FCS team and going 0-12, your Redhawks now have the chance to beat Eastern Kentucky and go 1-11.
Northern Illinois: Almost everybody besides Jordan Lynch is still here, and so is the chance for greatness.
Ohio: Just don't collapse in late-October/November. Just keep playing the same way you did in the first two months. IS IT THAT HARD
Akron: Mini-Bowden's on a roll!
Western Michigan: PJ Fleck still rowin', y'all. He's young and exciting!
Buffalo: Khalil Mack is gonna be great for the Raiders, and watching the Raiders means not watching the Bills.
Kent State: It will be a lot more fun to win (x) games in 2014 than it was to slide from 11 wins to four, even if (x) is smaller than four.
UMass: Former coach Mark Whipple is back. I mean, this is the guy who was just the QBs coach for the Browns, and oh no oh no oh no
Ball State: You were a game against Northern Illinois away from a MAC Championship appearance, and even though you lose your quarterback, so do the Huskies. A title bid is possible.
Central Michigan: THE UNDOUBTED CHAMP OF THE DIRECTIONAL MICHIGANS REIGNS SUPREME
Eastern Michigan: Painting your field gray is a sign of exciting things to come! Not a sign that you've resigned to the dreariness of sub-mediocrity!
Toledo: Bill Connelly lists this team in Tier 1 after going 7-5. This Rocket's heading places.
Boise State: Your team can do just fine without Chris Petersen, and we're not nervous a little bit about it!
Utah State: You were damn good last year, even after Chuckie Keeton's injury. Now you have Chuckie Keeton, who is wonderful. The sky is the limit.
Fresno State: Losing Derek Carr actually isn't that big a deal. This is still a squad that should contend for a conference championship.
Wyoming: Craig Bohl is going to turn Wyoming into a team that will win back-to-back-to-back national titles and destroy everybody that comes in its path, even teams from a level higher (in this case, the NFL).
San Diego State: You started out 0-3 last year and then turned into a near-juggernaut. You won't have the same offensive issues, and an eight-win team turns into a double-digit win team.
San Jose State: Even after losing coach Mike MacIntyre, you went 6-6 and won some shootouts. You should be a year stronger under Ron Caragher.
Hawaii: When you go to overtime twice and still end up winless in conference, things are going to look up for you.
UNLV: It took five years for Bobby Hauck to build a good team, but you're finally there.
Nevada: Cody Fajardo isn't Colin Kaepernick, but at his best, he can be an imitation good enough to make your team relevant.
Colorado State: Winning eight games was okay, but winning eight games *and* beating a Colorado team that's still a bit down on its luck would be better.
New Mexico: Bob Davie's built a daunting running attack, so your 3-9 mark from last year should be easy to top.
Air Force: The Falcons have gotten worse four straight years. The slide stops now!
Stanford: A year with a lost Rose Bowl is a bad year for Stanford at this point. This year your Cardinal will play nine men on the offensive line and plow through any puny idiots that cross them.
Cal: The only reason you were atrocious and awful in every which way last year is because it was Sonny Dykes' first year. Give him time!
Oregon State: The star backfield committee is back from a team that finished over .500, and there's no embarrassing loss to an FCS team on the schedule this year.
Washington State: In just two years, Mike Leach got enough of his system in place to get to a bowl game. The third year is the year you find your inner pirate.
Oregon: Oregon has mastered the art of being a really great team that doesn't end up in the national championship (except that time they went in 2010). You'll be really great again, and now with the Playoff, you've got a little bit more margin for error at the end of the year.
Arizona State: Your only Pac-12 losses were both to Stanford. Right now, Stanford is only on your schedule once.
Arizona: RichRod has put together the team he was never able to put together in Michigan.
UCLA: A favorable home schedule and perhaps technology will allow Myles Jack to play all 22 positions.
Washington: Parted ways with coach Steve Sarkisian, ended up with coach Chris Petersen. Huge upgrade.
USC: Parted ways with coach Lane Kiffin, ended up with coach Not Lane Kiffin. Huge upgrade.
Colorado: Last year took the Buffs from one win to four. This year, a bowl game?
Utah: You beat Stanford last year. That means you're good enough to beat anybody in the country.
Alabama: Bama ain't allowed to go two years without winning a title, that's in the rulebook somewhere, you can go head and look it up.
Auburn: Gus Malzahn turned this team from a laughingstock to a near national champion in one year. In his second year he will turn them from a near national champion into something that transcends football, something so powerful, humans will have to watch it through special eclipse glasses, lest their eyes be blinded or worse.
Georgia: This year, Mark Richt *has* control of his program.
Texas A&M: Sure, Johnny Manziel was incredibly talented, a natural leader beloved by his teammates and fans, and brought the Aggies to previously unforeseen heights, but clearly his occasional drinking, funny internet pictures, and hand symbols were a major distraction that was holding the team back.
Missouri: Sure, Michael Sam was incredibly talented, a natural leader beloved by his teammates and fans, and a key cog in a defense that led Mizzou to the SEC title game, but clearly his boyfriend was a major distraction that was holding the team back.
South Carolina: It would take an 85-foot tall Godzilla-type behemoth to replace someone as inhumanly athletic as Jadeveon Clowney. And South Carolina has one:
The Steve Spurrier banner now up and ready for Gameday at Williams Brice Stadium pic.twitter.com/hSyjO2cWwN— William Gunter (@WillGunter560) August 23, 2014
Vanderbilt: It's going to be impossible to get to nine wins again, but Derek Mason seems like a good successor to James Franklin.
Tennessee: Everything seems just about right at this point under Butch Jones. .500 or better this year?
LSU: This team is young, athletic, and exciting, and who actually cares who plays quarterback? It's a Les Miles team.
Ole Miss: Hugh Freeze has built a legit SEC defense. And hey, let's not lose the Egg Bowl in horrific fashion!
Mississippi State: The SEC ain't ready for the Dak Prescott Show!
Kentucky: Mark Stoops just needs time to implement his air attack!
Arkansas: Bret Bielema just needs time to implement his ground attack!
Florida: IT HAS TO BE BETTER. IT JUST HAS TO BE BETTER.
Louisiana-Lafayette: Your Ragin' Cajuns won nine games and the conference last year and didn't lose any important players. You're older and better and stronger, so everyone else needs to learn Terrence Broadway's name. It's Terrence Broadway.
Arkansas State: All ASU does is bring in new, talented coaches, win a ton of games, and then have them hired away instantly. You're up, Blake Anderson. (Not the guy from "Workaholics.")
South Alabama: USA's World Cup performance indicates good times ahead.
Appalachian State: After years as an FCS powerhouse, you're now in the FBS, which is inherently better than being in the FCS. Welcome to the show.
Louisiana-Monroe: How can they tackle you ... WHEN THEY CAN'T EVEN SEE YOU
Georgia State: Probably going to start the year 1-0 a day ahead of everybody else, allowing you to screencap yourselves as the only 1-0 team in the nation ON TOP OF THE STANDINGS WOOOOO.
Texas State: From 4-8 to 6-6. The Bobcats are building upwards.
Idaho: Finally found a conference that wanted you! Now it's time to VANDALIZE IT
New Mexico State: Your two wins in 2013 were against Abilene Christian and Idaho. That's the definition of "room for improvement."
Troy: Larry Blakeney needed 24 years to fully install his system.
Georgia Southern: You went 1-0 against FBS teams in 2013. This year, you have a whole schedule of FBS games. Georgia Southern is gonna go undefeated, y'all.