Bold Prediction Jared Barrett (College):

Oregon wins the National Championship

Oregon football is a masterpiece, led by their dual threat Quarterback Marcus Mariota, who decided to forgo his NFL draft and return to try and make one more run at the National Championship. At the beginning of the 2013-14 year Mariota looked unstoppable with his team averaging just under 60 points a game. There were many doubters who saw Oregon having an off year with the departure of Chip Kelly, however their offensive coordinator, Mark Helfrich stepped up to be head coach and Oregon remained strong. Mariota and the Ducks seemed to be unstoppable, until David Shaw, head coach of Stanford, stopped them in their tracks. The week before, Mariota injured his knee, which caused Oregon to taste bitter defeat against rival Stanford, for the second straight year. This game led to another loss, and Mariota’s Heisman hopes and the thought of winning the BCS National Championship were demolished. Oregon returns 10 of their 11 offensive starters from their Alamo Bowl victory last season. Oregon gets a big break on defense from returning star cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu. More good news for Oregon is standout Royce Freeman at summer training camp. Freeman will enter a talented backfield that already contains junior Byron Marshall and sophomore Thomas Tyner. Last year, the dynamic duo combined to rush for more than 1,700 yards and 23 touchdowns. Another promising prospect is track star wide receiver Devon Allen. Put him alongside Week 2 hopeful, Bralon Addison and you get a team contending to be the National Champions. The Ducks have the potential, and they will win the National Championship.

Bold Prediction Lukas Mack (College):

Bryce Petty wins the Johnny Unitas award

My prediction for the 2014-2015 College FBS season is Bryce Petty (Baylor’s quarterback) winning the Johnny Unitas award for the best senior quarterback. Petty totaled 4,200 passing yards and 32 touchdowns in his junior campaign. He finished the season trailing no other than Jameis Winston in efficiency, who went on to win the Heisman Trophy. Petty’s only true competition comes from Oregon Quarterback Marcus Mariota, last year he threw for 3,665 yards and 31 touchdowns. However, Mariota lost his top receiver Bralon Addison to a torn ACL sustained in spring practice. This coupled with the team losing Josh Huff and Daryle Dawkins, their number one and three wide receivers, makes it hard for me to believe Mariota will either improve his passing yards or even reach the amount he totaled last year. Baylor ranked number one in the country in total offense last year and with Petty and his favorite target Antwan Goodley returning I see great things from Baylor’s offense. If Bryce Hager can anchor there defense and create more possessions for this high-power offense then it wouldn’t be crazy to see Petty break the 5,000-yard threshold.

Bold Prediction Lukas Mack (NFL):

Minnesota Vikings surprise many people this year

Football is just around the corner, and its time for fans across the country to start dreaming about their team hoisting the Lombardi trophy. Soon most fans will come to their senses and realize their franchise can’t compete with some of the other powerhouses. However, Minnesota Viking fans will soon realize their team has the pieces to put together a run this year. At this point in my article you will begin to realize the NFC North is without a doubt the toughest division in the NFL. Let me explain, and afterwards feel free to judge. After two successful drafts, the Vikings have injected more youth into their already talented roster. The most pro-ready quarterback in this draft was Teddy Bridgewater, and he is already making strides in training camp. Just in case anyone forgot, Adrian Peterson is still the best running back in the NFL and is poised to have another great season. This will allow defenses to key on Peterson which will allow emerging star wide-reciever Cordarrelle Patterson to find more holes in the defense. Plus Greg Jennings is ready to build on the 804 yards he accumulated last year. This big four will result in many high scoring affairs. On the defensive side of the ball the Vikings hope Captain Munnerlyn and Xavier Rhodes lock down opposing offenses, after last years rating of 31st in total pass defense. Anthony Barr should make a solid impact as a pass rusher, in fact I bet he records 12 sacks in his first season (1/2 a sack more than the departed Jared Allen had last year). If Barr can achieve that goal, coupled with his coaches trying to tap into his raw potential we could have a future All-Star. Defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd underperformed last year in his rookie campaign, which means this is a very important season for the player out of the University of Florida. Now on to the competition, in the NFC North the teams along with the Vikings are the Aaron Rodgers led Packers, the Bears which include the best wide receiver tandem in the NFL, and last but surely not least the offensive barrage also known as the Detroit Lions. Yes, I will admit on paper those teams look quite daunting, yet rest assured they have their flaws. First off the Packers, their biggest flaw is injuries, almost everywhere you look on their roster someone has injury problems. The Pack can also be exploited through the air, owning the 24th worst pass defense in the NFL. But their biggest issue is protecting their face of the franchise Aaron Rodgers, allowing 45-sacks last year which I’m sure is making Anthony Barr lick his chops. My next victim is the the Chicago Bears. Jay Cutler hasn’t played a full season 2009, and lacking a suitable replacement now that Josh McCown bolted for greener pastures, will directly result in a lackluster season for the NFL’s most dynamic and talented wide-reciever tandem. Another area of concern is the two starting safety positions. Brock Vereen and Ryan Mundy are serviceable however lack the necessary experience to compete with some of the offenses in this division. Motor city also has their share of flaws stretching mostly to cornerback depth. Counting on veteran Rashean Mathis, and second year pro Darius Slay isn’t a fool proof plan. Don’t be surprised if they field one of the worst units in the NFL. The elephant in the room is five year pro Ndamukong Suh, who is in a pivotal contract year. His on the field supremacy is coupled with off the field distractions and his immaturity on the field is making the organization reluctant to extend his contract. Hopefully I proved that all the teams in the NFC North have faults, and its up to the Vikings to take advantage of the talent on their team and exploit them. If not, sorry Viking fans go back to dreaming.