Clemson is the obvious number one choice in the ACC by both our fans and this week’s expert, ESPN’s Mark Schlabach. However, there seems to be a disagreement about which team poses the biggest threat to the Tigers. The Miami Hurricanes are a well deserving number two team in the ACC according to Schlabach. With Virginia Tech’s Josh Jackson being done for the season, the Hurricanes have an even easier path to the ACC Championship game and representing the Coastal Division. The fans however only have them as their number three team, behind a disappointing Florida State.
Schlabach has the Syracuse Orange as his number three team in the ACC behind Clemson and Miami, despite their loss last week at Clemson. Although showing they are capable of being a contender, it will be a lot of work for Syracuse to overthrow Clemson in the Atlantic, already down a game and a half. That being said, they certainly pose a bigger threat than the Seminoles. Florida State is 1-2 in conference play, and even in the games they have won this season, have had a tough time doing so. It may be time for fans to move on from Florida State and start looking more towards undefeated NC State as a team who could shake up the conference and knock off Clemson.
The Big Ten is arguably the best conference in college football behind the SEC. Like the SEC, they are also one of the most lopsided conferences in the NCAA. The Big Ten East, much like the SEC West, has a lot more firepower as opposed to the other division within the conference. In the powerhouse that is the Big Ten East, Ohio State is the early season favorite. Behind Ohio State according to our fans, comes Wisconsin and Iowa at two and three respectively. Fans seem to think that Iowa has a better chance to knock off Wisconsin in the West, more so than any team does of taking down Ohio State in the East.
Wisconsin should be the team to wind up coming out of the West, but Schlabach seems to think there are two teams in the East who are better than the West’s best team. Schlabach has Penn State and Michigan as his second and third best teams in the Big Ten. With Ohio State’s big win over Penn State this past week, they have separated themselves even further from the rest of the field. At 2-0, the Wolverines are perhaps the only thing standing in Ohio State’s way. With Ohio State and Michigan meeting in the final week of the regular season, expect the winner of that game to represent the East in the Big Ten Championship game.
Heading over to the NFL, let’s take a more in-depth look at the top teams in the AFC.
The Kansas City Chiefs have proved to be one of the most exciting teams to watch in the NFL. Patrick Mahomes has proven to be the real deal and looks to keep his historic season going in KC. NFL.com analyst Elliot Harrison has the 4-0 Chiefs as his top team in the AFC. The fans at Shoowin have yet to buy into the Chiefs hype, as they do not crack the top three, yet. It should only be a matter of time before the Kansas City bandwagon starts rolling.
Harrison has the Jacksonville Jaguars as his second-ranked team in the AFC, who the fans have as their number one team. Shoowin fans seem to know that defense wins championships. Despite Leonard Fournette’s setback this week, putting him out indefinitely, Jacksonville looks to be in good hands with T.J. Yeldon. Luckily for Jacksonville, it doesn’t matter who is running the ball, their defense will keep them in every game.
Coming in at number two for the fans is the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Steelers have had a rough start to the season, both on and off the field. Fans are keeping up hopes that the Steelers can eventually turn things around and keep pace in the AFC. With Le’veon Bell potentially returning around mid-season (Week 7 or 8), perhaps the Steelers can make a late-season playoff push.
Both Harrison and our fans agree that the New England Patriots are the third team most likely to make an appearance in the AFC Championship game. While the Patriots haven’t started out like they’d of hoped, sitting at 2-2, it’s hard to count out Brady and Belichick. We have seen numerous times in the past that the Patriots start out slow, yet always find a way to turn it around and make a deep run in the playoffs. With Julian Edelman returning this week, and Josh Gordon starting to pick up the offense more with each passing week, expect the Patriots to repeat history and go on another run this season.
We’re about a third of the way through the NCAAF and a quarter of the way through the NFL seasons. There is still a lot of football left to be played. With each passing week, teams will be inching closer to playoff football. If your team got off to a hot start and looks destined for the playoffs, get your tickets now before it’s too late. For those of you whose teams haven’t started out as well as you’d of hoped, don’t give up, there is a lot of football still to come and there is still a chance for them to turn things around. Don’t be the one who regrets not reserving a ticket because you gave up on your teams season too early!