NCAA Football (Div I FBS) Predictions
Prediction #1 -- The rise of the playoff. Following the experiment of 2014, the playoff system will rapidly expand. It's tough to decide whether to predict an 8-team or a 16-team playoff, but since the FCS already has a 20-team playoff, I'll boldly predict the FBS will wind up with 16. It'll go something like this: one week after "conference championship weekend" (essentially the first weekend of December) will be round one, and the following Saturday will be round two. The field will be down to four teams before Christmas. On January 1, two of the BCS bowls will host the semifinals, and a third will host the championship a week later.
Current arguments against a playoff will fade:
a) "We don't want to extend the football season." This won't; the championship game is played on essentially the same day it is now.
b) "We don't want to interfere with the bowl system." This won't. The early playoff games will be the minor bowls. When the Fight Hunger Bowl realizes the draw of an Alabama-TCU matchup versus Nevada-Boston College, they'll be on board. Big. And when three BCS bowls each get to host a game with National Championship implications, they'll be on board as well.
c) "We don't want a playoff squeezing other teams out of a bowl." This won't. There are already more bowls that exist (or have applied for existence) than there are eligible teams to play in them. There will be more than enough half-empty stadiums to go around for all those deserving teams.
Prediction #2 -- The (continued) rise of the mega-conference. 14-team conferences will become more the norm than the exception, and 16-team conferences won't be unheard of. (Heck, the Big East is already scheduled to go to 18, so this isn't really much of a prediction.) These huge conferences will begin to be shaped by championship matchups that more frequently feature teams that didn't face each other in the regular season.
Corollary a -- Demise of the independents. At least those who consistently want to be in the hunt will find themselves needing to join a conference. (And as an aside, I believe Notre Dame's weak performance this year will be part of the catalyst -- "Yep, we've seen this before; go join and win a conference and come see us next year.")
Corollary b -- (This one is wishful thinking, not a prediction.) Given the above, it would be cool for conferences to establish relegation/promotion schemes. Instead of seeing Indiana sit in the damp Big-10 cellar year after year, why not give a Western Kentucky the chance to jump in when they're at the top of their game?