With just one game left in the 2017-18 season, it is time to present you with the final Stock Up/Stock Down of the campaign.
The Ohio State season ended on a high note with a 24-7 win over USC in the Cotton Bowl, yet the feeling around Columbus is still an odd one as the Buckeyes had to watch as an all-SEC title game is set to close the 2017-18 season.
The Big Ten put together one of its best bowl seasons of all-time despite getting left out of the playoff, going
a perfect 8-0 7-1 in its bowl games, including a trio of New Years Six wins over the Pac-12 and ACC.
Without further delay, we give you our final advice for the season on which stock you should buy or sell as we head into the offseason.
J.K. Dobbins – Ohio State freshman running back
In our very first Stock Up/Stock Down of the season, Dobbins led the way in this very spot and he closes out the year in the exact same spot.
Assuming Mike Weber declares for the 2018 NFL Draft, Dobbins will likely become Ohio State's featured back. If that becomes the case, I don't see him splitting reps with Antonio Williams or either of the Buckeyes' incoming freshmen. I see Dobbins having an Ezekiel Elliott, 2014 kind of season for a number of reasons.
First off, I am of the belief that Dwayne Haskins will be the starting quarterback, and his big arm will force opposing safeties to play 10-15 yards off the ball, opening running lanes for Dobbins. Assuming he gets 20-25 carries per game, I think Dobbins can contend with Johnathan Taylor for the top running back in the country, and perhaps even become a dark horse candidate for the 2018 Heisman Trophy.
Jordan Fuller – Ohio State sophomore safety
After beating out Erick Smith for the starting job early in the season, Fuller quietly put together one of the more consistent performances on Ohio State's defense in 2017. The sophomore safety finished second on the team in tackles with 70, including 10 in the Cotton Bowl against the Trojans.
With Damon Webb lost to eligibility, Fuller becomes the unquestioned leader in the back end of Ohio State's defense. I expect him to make a big jump from 2017 to 2018 and work his way into the draft discussion for 2019 with a big year. With the question marks at linebacker still in play, Fuller could very well lead the team in tackles next year and with improved play, maybe interceptions as well.
After watching UCF defeat Auburn in the Peach Bowl on New Years Day, I am finally ready to say that Wisconsin has some competition waiting for it in the Big Ten's West Division.
Scott Frost is bringing excitement back to a program that desperately needs and deserves it. The way he turned around the UCF program is nothing short of a masterpiece and he seems to have all the tools to do the same in Lincoln. I fully expect Frost to have the Cornhuskers competing for a West Division title by year two, and perhaps even pull off an upset or two in his first season as the Cornhuskers head coach.
College Football Playoff Format
Let me start off by saying that I am all for the four-team format, and I am with Urban Meyer when he says that the playoff should not expand. That being said, I think the playoff is ultimately heading for expansion.
After a season in which the Big Ten went
a perfect 8-0 7-1 in bowl games yet missed the playoff and undefeated UCF was never even considered for the CFP, the calls for expansion are going to be louder than ever. If you are going to go that route though, some other things are going to have to change.
You absolutely have to think about the players first and foremost in this scenario. The teams that reach the national title game are playing 14 or more likely 15 games in a season. If you add another game to that, you're putting a lot of wear and tear on a college player's body. If eight games is what you advocate for, then you either have to eliminate conference title games or remove an entire week from the regular season schedule. There is no way around that. The NFL is already playing four games too many games (the preseason is a joke. The Browns won four games) as it is. We can only hope college football doesn't follow suit.
A year ago, Jim Harbaugh was one replay review from getting his team into a Big Ten title game, and in all likelihood, the College Football Playoff. Now, he is firmly on the hot seat.
were able to finish off the Big Ten's perfect bowl season gave up a 16-point second half advantage in the Outback Bowl, falling to South Carolina in a game that looked sewn up by halftime. In addition, quarterback Brandon Peters, who had emerged as Michigan's best signal caller near the end of the regular season, played poorly. He completed 20-of-44 passes, throwing two interceptions in the loss, opening the door for transfer Shea Patterson to win the job in 2018.
Harbaugh, much like Hue Jackson (who is somehow still employed), is known as a quarterback whisperer, yet the play by Michigan quarterbacks since 2015 has been severely underwhelming. If Harbaugh wants to revive the Michigan program, he had better get to work on making sure Patterson is ready to go against Notre Dame for the season opener.