Pick 3 for Every Conference

Our list of the contenders in each CFB conference for 2018

by Three Point Stance Managing Editor Brandon Rush | @BrandonRush | Brandon@3PSMag.com

Every fall there are underdogs who make a run at the title in a number of conferences, but every year it seems they fall short. This year will be no different. Here we will separate the pretenders from the contenders and give you the three teams who have a legit shot at winning their conferences crown.

Miss this list, we hope you enjoy Shreveport or El Paso this holiday season.

American Athletic Conference
Celebrating their fifth year as misfit island, the AAC has shown that even if you run the table, you still have no shot at a natty. Central Florida’s magical run led them to be the People’s Champion, but until we get an 8 team playoff or true re-alignment, or the NCAA to grow a spine, this is the reality.

  1. Central Florida – Scott Frost is gone, former Heisman runner up and national champion quarterback Josh Heupel takes over as head coach in Orlando. Some talent leftover off last years squad, a lot of holes to fill on both sides of the ball, but the Knights are still the cream of the crop.
  2. Temple – Trending upward, needs playmakers to emerge.
  3. Houston – Ed Oliver will get the headlines, but plenty of talent around.

South Florida just missed the cut, but they lost a ton of talent.

Atlantic Coast Conference
The bottom of this conference continues to improve, you have to bring your A-game every week because there are a lot of places you can stub your toe.

  1. Miami – Mark Richt and the Hurricanes were ahead of schedule in 2017. After losing so many close games a year ago, they can’t help but learn from those miscues and return better this fall
  2. Clemson – They. Just. Reload.
  3. Virginia Tech – Justin Fuente is the truth. That man will win a title soon.

Big XII Conference
Oklahoma has ruled the roost for the better part of the decade with a number of challengers that have come and gone. The conference championship game after round robin play will bite them eventually.

  1. Oklahoma – Gone is Baker Mayfield, but the Sooners are still loaded. Kyler Murray figures to try to fill Baker’s shoes, but expecting similar production is foolish. Murray is not as accurate as Mayfield, but his running ability, plus the loaded backfield of Rodney Anderson and Trey Sermon, will help open up the field for the passing game.
  2. West Virginia – Now or never for Holgorsen?
  3. Iowa State – Matt Campbell can flat out coach a bunch of tryhards to a CCG appearance(?)

Big Ten Conference
Where is the star power for this conference this year? Not a lot of household names so the best coaching staffs might be the ones that propel a team to a championship.

  1. Ohio State – Replacing J.T. Barrett will not be easy, but Tate Martell and Dwayne Haskins are up to the challenge, hard to tell who wins the job, but no one will be able to fill Barrett’s leadership as a three year captain and four year starter. Give J.K. Dobbins the ball a lot and you will win.
  2. Iowa – The west is open
  3. Wisconsin – See above

Nebraska is the team to buy stock on now, curious to see how Scott Frost does at his alma mater, but 2019 is going to be fun.

Conference USA
It is Lane Kiffin’s world, and everyone else is just paying rent.

  1. Florida Atlantic – After the opener in Norman against Oklahoma, the Owls attention will immediately turn to a showdown at UCF September 22nd. Win those, and FAU is last years Central Florida, lose or split, 11-1 or 10-2 and a New Years 6 Bowl is not out of the question.
  2. North Texas – Seth Littrell is a name to remember for coaching vacancies in December
  3. Marshall – Always good, never great.

Mid-America Conference
Wide open in every degenerates favorite league.

  1. Ohio – Bobcats 1-2 punch of QB Nathan Rourke and RB A.J. Ouellette will put a lot of teams on skates as they head towards the endzone. Best top to bottom team in the conference.
  2. Miami (OH) – Defense will keep them in games, but need some punch to jump Ohio
  3. Akron – Bowden has some holes to fill, but I like their QB Kato Nelson, just a sophomore but the kid can play.

Mountain West Confernce
Quick, who is in the Mountain West this year?

  1. Boise State – Easily the class of the conference this year.
  2. San Diego State – Despite putting players into the NFL year after year, the Aztecs continue to reload
  3. Utah State/Colorado State/Wyoming – Almost indistinguishable. All good, but not going to do much to impress every week.

Pac-12 Conference
Down year as far as marquee talent, but some good squads.

  1. Washington – I jumped on their bandwagon in early October of 2016 as they rolled into the college football playoff, if they win against Auburn in the opener I might be back on again this time around
  2. Stanford – Bryce Love and David Shaw. I’m sold
  3. Oregon – I can’t believe I am buying stock in a team coached by Mario Cristobal, but 2018 is wild y’all.

Southeast Conference
Rematch SZN is upon us

  1. Alabama – National Champs get the nod in perpetuity until Saban dies.
  2. Florida – Dan Mullen is my guy. Only coach in the SEC that I can even tolerate being in the same room with for more than an hour.
  3. Georgia – Defense still tough, Jake Fromm impressed, but you don’t lose Roquan Smith, Sony Michel, and Nick Chubb and stay AS good. A regression is natural.

Sun Belt Conference
The Fun Belt will live up to that name again in 2018

  1. Arkansas State – Blake Anderson will be coaching in a Power 5 conference in 2019, his offense will light people up this year.
  2. Troy – Better big boys than Appalachian State, Defense is good
  3. Appalachian State – Better skill position squads than Troy, Defense is good.


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