College Sports

NCAA blitz: College Football Playoff, bowl and major award predictions

Quarterback Deshaun Watson helped Clemson advance to the championship game last season, and his ability to make plays could fuel the Tigers again this season.
Quarterback Deshaun Watson helped Clemson advance to the championship game last season, and his ability to make plays could fuel the Tigers again this season. The Associated Press

(Editor’s note: This story is part of The Star’s annual football preview, which will appear in three special sections in the Sunday, Aug. 28 print edition and also on KansasCity.com and The Star’s Red Zone Extra app.)

Heisman finalists

Deshaun Watson, Clemson quarterback

Makes plays with his arms and legs and nearly won a national title for the Tigers last season

Christian McCaffrey, Stanford running back

All McCaffrey did last season was rush for 2,019 yards, catch 45 passes for 645 yards, throw two TD passes and return a kickoff and punt for a touchdown.

Leonard Fournette, LSU running back

Fournette was the Heisman leader at the midseason point last year. Can he finish in 2016?

Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma quarterback

Mayfield was sensational last year. Opponents have a book on him this season.

Major award winners

Heisman (overall): Watson

Maxwell (overall): McCaffrey

Davey O’Brien (quarterback): Watson

Doak Walker (running back): McCaffrey

Biletnikoff (wide receiver): Calvin Ridley, Alabama

Mackey (tight end): Jake Butt, Michigan

Outland (lineman): Dan Feeney, Indiana

Rimington (center): Tyler Orlosky, West Virginia

Nagurski/Bednarik (defense): Myles Garrett, Texas A&M

Ted Hendricks (defensive end): Garrett

Lombardi (defensive lineman): Jonathan Allen, Alabama

Butkus (linebacker): Anthony Walker, Northwestern

Thorpe (defensive back): Desmond King, Iowa

Groza (kicker): Andy Phillips, Utah

Ray Guy (punter): JK Scott, Alabama

Conference champions

Big 12: Oklahoma

Southeastern: Alabama

Big Ten: Ohio State

Atlantic Coast: Clemson

Pac-12: UCLA

American: Houston

Mountain West: Boise State

Conference USA: Western Kentucky

Mid-American: Toledo

Sun Belt: Appalachian State

College Football Playoff

Fiesta: Clemson vs. Oklahoma

Peach: Ohio State vs. Alabama

Championship: Clemson over Alabama

Other major bowl games

Rose: Michigan vs. UCLA

Sugar: Oklahoma State vs. LSU

Cotton: Houston vs. Notre Dame

Orange: Tennessee vs. Florida State

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