Triplets U Round 1: Cal, Georgia, Oklahoma win convincingly

CLICK ON BRACKET TO EXPAND.

Earlier this summer, we updated our NFL Triplets list, and everyone who read it agreed with the fact-based conclusions 100 percent.

As you might know, many colleges also field football teams -- the best players from which go on to the aforementioned NFL. So, with the season's kickoff drawing ever closer, it's high time we tackle the best trios of student-athletes, school by school, who are currently employed as pro football players.

Yes, like an expanded version of the CFB's fancy new bracket tournament, we've pooled all the NFL rosters to come up with the 32 best trios by university. The standards remain the same: One quarterback, one running back and one pass catcher, with more weight/credit placed on the QB than the other two spots. All players must be on active rosters -- and, for the sake of their destinies here, all are preferably good at football.

My esteemed NFL Media colleagues and I will be casting our votes to determine which teams advance. Have an opinion on who should go on and who should go home? Let us know.

-- Dave Dameshek

No. 1 Cal defeats No. 8 Florida -- 16-0

Michael Silver: Cal. Wait, this is seriously a "competition"? The Bear will not quit, the Bear will not die ... and it certainly won't lose to Tebow.

Daniel Jeremiah: Cal. Smile, Mike Silver -- this is a blowout.

Gil Brandt: Cal. Cal has way too much firepower in Lynch and Jackson -- and way too good a quarterback in Rodgers -- for the Gators.

Bucky Brooks: Cal. The Bears' triplets might be the best collection of talent in this bracket. They easily roll past the Gators in this one.

Marc Sessler: Cal. Comprehensive bloodbath in the making.

Colleen Wolfe: Cal. Over the past two seasons, the Cal triarchy combined for 74 more games and 105 more touchdowns (!) than the Florida boys. Cinderella isn't dancing past pregame.

Charles Davis: Cal. Accuracy, Thump and Dash. Cal wins.

Dave Dameshek: Cal. Percy is the only Gator in the same ballpark as his Cal counterpart ... unfortunately for Florida (and the Vikes, Seahawks, Jets and now Bills), Harvin spends more of his time at the ballpark in street clothes than a football uniform.

Dan Hanzus: Cal. Not even Matt Jones would pick Florida to win this matchup.

Adam Schein: Cal. It's Aaron Rodgers! This isn't a fair fight. Gimme Cal.

Charley Casserly: Cal. Not much thought had to go into this pick. All three Cal players are better than the Florida trio.

Elliot Harrison: Cal. Is this a serious question? Florida loses, Cumberland style, 222-0.

Chase Goodbread: Cal. Cal gets the edge here at all three positions.

Conor Orr: Cal. Wow. Sometimes it's difficult to imagine how much NFL talent has come out of Cal over the years, not to mention NFL Media's Mike Silver. What is in the water there? I'm taking Cal in a landslide. Rodgers is the best player on Earth right now.

Mike Huguenin: Cal. No comparison; it's Cal by a huge margin.

Marcas Grant: Cal.Aaron Rodgers could win this one all by himself.

No. 4 Utah defeats No. 5 Clemson -- 13-3

Michael Silver: Utah.Alex Smith provides the steady hand; Steve Smith provides the heavy hand.

Daniel Jeremiah: Clemson. Love the speed for Clemson. The Tigers pull off the upset.

Gil Brandt: Utah. Two Smiths are better than one Spiller and one Watkins.

Bucky Brooks: Utah. Smith sheds his game manager label to take advantage of Steve Smith's talents on the perimeter. Clemson has enough talent to compete, but Whitehurst can't deliver when it counts in the tournament.

Marc Sessler: Utah. Neither team feels special, but Charlie Whitehurst? Please.

Colleen Wolfe: Utah. I can't believe in a team with Charlie Whitehurst at quarterback. Not even Sammy Watkins can save him. Alex Smith leans on Matt Asiata to run, block and catch passes -- Steve Smith might even score a touchdown, too.

Charles Davis: Utah. The run game goes to Clemson, but Angry Steve Smith finds a way.

Dave Dameshek: Utah. A four-seed for the Smith brothers (one of whom will be wearing a gold jacket one day)! This might give Steve a chip on his shoulder.

Dan Hanzus: Clemson. Clipboard Jesus saves! Clemson scores the minor upset here. Spiller and Watkins are bad men.

Adam Schein: Utah.Alex Smith's still underrated. Steve Smith still has it. Gimme Utah.

Charley Casserly: Utah. The QB matchup here gives the nod to Utah.

Elliot Harrison: Utah. Give the Utes the advantage, with Alex Smith throwing 10 passes to Steve Smith (but no TDs of course) while Whitehurst passes the clipboard five times to Watkins.

Chase Goodbread: Utah. Five years from now, Watkins could give Clemson the edge; today, it's Utah.

Conor Orr: Clemson. An intriguing matchup, though without Urban Meyer coaching Utah, I'm tempted to bet on the old wild card, Charlie Whitehurst, and a platoon of very talented skill-position players.

Mike Huguenin: Utah. The Smiths give the Utes the edge.

Marcas Grant: Utah. The law firm of Smith & Smith provide the edge here.

No. 3 Texas A&M defeats No. 6 West Virginia -- 15-1

Michael Silver: Texas A&M. It's a QB thing.

Daniel Jeremiah: Texas A&M. Tannehill to Evans ... tough to stop.

Gil Brandt: Texas A&M. Evans -- who redshirted during Tannehill's last year with the Aggies -- makes good on his chance to work with the ascendant QB.

Bucky Brooks: Texas A&M. The Tannehill-to-Evans connection could emerge as the most dangerous pairing in the tournament. Evans is too big and fast for most defenders, which is critical in games where big plays are often the deciding factor.

Marc Sessler: Texas A&M. I trust Tannehill more than Geno, and Evans is a future star.

Colleen Wolfe: Texas A&M.Kevin White never reaches his potential with Geno Smith's erratic play. The run? Charles Sims isn't fooling anyone (except maybe the Bucs' coaching staff).

Charles Davis: Texas A&M.Ryan Tannehill's movement provides time for the winning jump-ball throw to Mike Evans.

Dave Dameshek: Texas A&M. This one comes down to the QB, and just as it'll be in 2015 AFC East, Tannehill wins.

Dan Hanzus: Texas A&M. The Aggies handle business here, but Christine Michael will haunt them down the road.

Adam Schein: Texas A&M. I think Ryan Tannehill is trending up, and Mike Evans is a beast.

Charley Casserly: Texas A&M. You have to give this one to A&M based on Tannehill's career versus Smith's; though to be fair, the latter outdueled the former in their most recent head-to-head.

Elliot Harrison: Texas A&M. Tannehill to Evans feels a whole lot better than Geno to anybody.

Chase Goodbread: Texas A&M. Michael is one of the more underrated backup RBs in the NFL.

Conor Orr: West Virginia. As Around The NFL will tell you, Geno Smith is making the leap once again.

Mike Huguenin: Texas A&M. Tannehill and Evans boost the Aggies.

Marcas Grant: Texas A&M. Far too many unknowns on the Mountaineer side.

No. 2 Stanford defeats No. 7 Oregon -- 16-0

Michael Silver: Stanford. Clearly, I'm buttering up the Cardinal for its inevitable dismantling by its superior archrival.

Daniel Jeremiah: Stanford. Luck can handle the passing and the running.

Gil Brandt: Stanford. Luck practically overpowers the Oregon trio by himself.

Bucky Brooks: Stanford. The explosive balance of the Cardinal will challenge opponents in this bracket. Luck has the luxury of targeting Baldwin on vertical throws or pounding opponents with Gerhart between the tackles.

Marc Sessler: Stanford. Not much around him, but Luck is a fireball.

Colleen Wolfe: Stanford. Is Chip Kelly the head coach? Actually, never mind. Even if Andrew Luck passes until his arm falls off, he'll hit Doug Baldwin more times than Marcus Mariota and Josh Huff connect.

Charles Davis: Stanford.Doug Baldwin is underrated in his ability to make winning plays.

Dave Dameshek: Stanford. The Cardinal has the edge at QB and WR ... at least until Mariota and Huff do something in the NFL.

Dan Hanzus: Stanford. I was curious what Stewart was going to do after "The Daily Show." I guess the answer is lose in the first round of a fake tournament.

Adam Schein: Stanford. Two words: Andrew Luck.

Charley Casserly: Stanford. Have to go with Luck versus the rookie.

Elliot Harrison: Stanford. Luck would turn around, not hand it to Gerhart, and throw it to Baldwin. Stanford wins. Baldwin complains he's underrated.

Chase Goodbread: Stanford. With the best young quarterback in the NFL, Stanford's the easy pick here.

Conor Orr: Stanford.Oh what did you say? Andrew Luck? Yeah, this conversation is over. Gimme Stanford.

Mike Huguenin: Stanford. The Cardinal. And it isn't close.

Marcas Grant: Stanford. It's good to be Lucky. It's better to have Luck.

No. 1 Tennessee defeats No. 8 Arkansas -- 16-0

Michael Silver: Tennessee. If Peyton loses this one, does John Fox get fired all over again?

Daniel Jeremiah: Tennessee. McFadden doesn't finish the game.

Gil Brandt: Tennessee. The Vols have the decided advantage in combined Pro Bowl appearances, 28-0.

Bucky Brooks: Tennessee. I love the veteran trio the Vols trot out in this tournament. It's hard to beat the combination of a pinpoint passer, a dynamic runner and a big-bodied playmaker over the middle.

Marc Sessler: Tennessee. 55-3.

Colleen Wolfe: Tennessee.Peyton Manning spends the second half crocheting a playbook.

Charles Davis: Tennessee."Rocky Top" is played often in this matchup.

Dave Dameshek: Tennessee. A QB showdown between two guys who may or may not ever start a game for the Houston Texans: I'll take the guy who's joined in the backfield by Foster, the Texans' best (offensive) player.

Dan Hanzus: Tennessee. The Vols are my early favorite to take it all. They stomp all over Brian Hoyer's backup and company.

Adam Schein: Tennessee. Arkansas is going to have to forfeit.

Charley Casserly: Tennessee.Peyton Manning over Ryan Mallett: Do I need to say anymore? Fire the athletic director on this one!

Elliot Harrison: Tennessee. Geez, that Tennessee triumvirate is pretty doggone good. The only guy who gets hurt more than Foster is McFadden, so there's that.

Chase Goodbread: Tennessee. The Vols win in a rout at every position.

Conor Orr: Tennessee. Part of me would almost rather McFadden play quarterback in this group. Manning and Witten are first-ballot Hall of Famers.

Mike Huguenin: Tennessee. The Vols, easily.

Marcas Grant: Tennessee. A Hall of Famer and two Hall of Very Gooders put Rocky Top on top.

No. 5 Florida State defeats No. 4 Vanderbilt -- 10-6

Michael Silver: Florida State. Two QBs with tons of unfulfilled NFL potential -- only one of them has yet to play an NFL game ... I'll take HIM.

Daniel Jeremiah: Florida State. Winston to Benjamin for the win ... again.

Gil Brandt: Vanderbilt. Cutler and Matthews should work well together.

Bucky Brooks: Florida State. The Seminoles' young crew lacks a lot of experience, but talent reigns supreme in big games. The Winston-Benjamin connection produced a BCS title; it leads to a sustained run in this tournament.

Marc Sessler: Florida State. I'll go with the quarterback who hasn't started an NFL game over Cutler.

Colleen Wolfe: Florida State. Both backs make me grimace. I'll take my chances with Jameis Winston over Jay Cutler, as long as Kelvin Benjamin mixes in some spin classes.

Charles Davis: Florida State. This is a rout for Florida State.

Dave Dameshek: Florida State. Jameis > Jay. (Sometimes the devil you know isn't the better choice.)

Dan Hanzus: Florida State. That's a saucy Seminoles troika. Jay Cutler will cause internal drama for Vanderbilt, leading to a loss.

Adam Schein: Florida State. This is a very tough one, but give me FSU in a mild upset because of Kelvin Benjamin.

Charley Casserly: Vanderbilt. Close call here, but I'm going with the vet Cutler over the rookie Winston. Both are inconsistent, though.

Elliot Harrison: Florida State. Going FSU on upside. We've probably seen the best days from Cutler and Stacy. Jordan Matthews might ask to transfer.

Chase Goodbread: Vanderbilt. Did I just say that? Let Winston prove something first.

Conor Orr: Vanderbilt. Interesting -- but underwhelming -- matchup. Having never seen Winston in a pro uniform, I'll put my blind faith in Cutler.

Mike Huguenin: Vanderbilt. FSU's players are either rookies or second-year guys.

Marcas Grant: Vanderbilt. One day, this FSU group could prevail. Today isn't that day.

No. 3 LSU defeats No. 6 Louisville -- 12-4

Michael Silver: Louisville. I'm on #teamteddy. This kid is better than the general public realizes.

Daniel Jeremiah: Louisville. Teddy ... Teddy ... Teddy.

Gil Brandt: LSU. Hill and Beckham have the makings of a scoring machine.

Bucky Brooks: LSU. LSU's skill players are downright scary to defend on the perimeter. Hill punishes the Cards between the tackles, setting OBJ up for a few big plays on play-action passes.

Marc Sessler: LSU. How did Mettenberger not win a title with all that talent around him?

Colleen Wolfe: LSU.I like Teddy Bridgewater better than the "poor man's Tom Brady," but Jeremy Hill rushed for almost three times as many yards in nine games as Bilal Powell has in his career. Plus the Madden cover boy.

Charles Davis: Louisville. Bridgewater's poise and connection with DeVante Parker overcomes LSU's power and flash plays.

Dave Dameshek: LSU. Would love to take Teddy here ... but Beckham and Hill salvage the Bayou's honor.

Dan Hanzus: LSU.Odell Beckham will not lose in the first round. Even if Zach Mettenberger is involved.

Adam Schein: LSU. Odell gives LSU the win.

Charley Casserly: Louisville. Bridgewater has been more consistent than Mettenberger as a pro.

Elliot Harrison: LSU. As much as Bilal Powell scares defensive coordinators across the planet, feel more than a wee bit comfortable going with Hill and OBJ.

Chase Goodbread: LSU. LSU takes it. Hill and Beckham are stars in the making.

Conor Orr: LSU.Surprised Odell Beckham isn't listed at all three positions here. Either way, Geaux Tigers.

Mike Huguenin: LSU. But check back at end of season.

Marcas Grant: LSU. Bridgewater makes it interesting. Hill and Beckham put the Tigers over the top.

No. 2 USC defeats No. 7 Oklahoma State -- 15-1

Michael Silver: USC. This one could go either way, but after hearing SC's annoying fight song for the 237th time, Dez will finally snap.

Daniel Jeremiah: USC. HUGE mismatch at QB -- advantage Trojans.

Gil Brandt: USC. Bryant can't make up for the edge provided by Palmer, Bush and Agholor -- the latter of whom I like a lot.

Bucky Brooks: USC. The Trojans' trio has the look of a championship squad, but Palmer needs to shake off the rust to take advantage of Bush and Agholor on the perimeter.

Marc Sessler: USC. Subtext: Dallas is doomed if Romo goes down.

Colleen Wolfe: USC. They beat the Cowboys Pokes with Palmer's new and improved ACL. Dez Bryant catches nothing, throws temper tantrum.

Charles Davis: USC.Carson Palmer makes the young WR better and overcomes Dez Bryant's will to win

Dave Dameshek: USC. Apologies to Dez, but the trio of former/current Cowboys just can't keep up.

Dan Hanzus: USC. Bet Reggie Bush thinks about college all the time. "I ruled that school, man." That nostalgia will power USC to victory.

Adam Schein: USC. Dez gave me consideration for the upset, but Palmer is healthy and Agholor can win Rookie of the Year.

Charley Casserly: USC. Palmer is the clear choice at QB here and thus why I'm going with the Trojans.

Elliot Harrison: USC. Would do anything not to go USC here, but Brandon Weeden? Brandon Weeden?! Don't kid yourself. Dez makes it close.

Chase Goodbread: USC. Trojans trump here with a vast disparity at quarterback.

Conor Orr: USC. Ah, to see Bush in red and yellow again. Bryant is a monster, but USC is stacked.

Mike Huguenin: Oklahoma State. Basically, this is Palmer versus Bryant -- so, Oklahoma State.

Marcas Grant: USC. The two Heisman winners (ahem!) are good enough for a win here.

No. 1 Georgia defeats No. 8 South Carolina -- 16-0

Michael Silver: Georgia. If things break the way I think they could this season, the Dawgs' lineup features three dudes who'll play in next January's Pro Bowl.

Daniel Jeremiah: Georgia. The Bulldogs can win this whole thing.

Gil Brandt: Georgia.Matthew Stafford and A.J. Green look like a dominant duo.

Bucky Brooks: Georgia. The Bulldogs' crew is dangerously explosive on the perimeter. Green is a dominant force as a WR and Gurley could be a special player -- if healthy.

Marc Sessler: Georgia. This matchup is ridiculous.

Colleen Wolfe: Georgia. UH-OH! Lots of SEC heat here! (Not really.) Georgia channels the Falcons last season and wins by 42.

Charles Davis: Georgia. Big plays from the backfield and perimeter carry the Bulldogs.

Dave Dameshek: Georgia. Blowout for the Dawgs.

Dan Hanzus: Georgia.Alshon Jeffery must be furious with his college. Georgia in a rout.

Adam Schein: Georgia. South Carolina lost this on Connor Shaw alone.

Charley Casserly: Georgia. This will be a dangerous trio that could go far in the tournament.

Elliot Harrison: Georgia. Gurley could play on one leg and this would be a butt-kicking.

Chase Goodbread: Georgia. Bulldogs in a runaway, with three top-10 picks who have or will produce.

Conor Orr: Georgia. Stafford, Gurley and Green have what it takes to go all the way in this tournament. Who is slowing that train down?

Mike Huguenin: Georgia. Stafford and Green give the Bulldogs some bite.

Marcas Grant: Georgia. Stafford and Green team up for another SEC win.

No. 4 Pittsburgh defeats No. 5 Ole Miss -- 10-6

Michael Silver: Pittsburgh. Two elite offensive players and an untested quarterback? I'll take my chances.

Daniel Jeremiah: Pittsburgh. McCoy barely edges Manning to win this one.

Gil Brandt: Ole Miss. McCoy and Fitzgerald are a fearsome pair, but Eli pulls off the upset.

Bucky Brooks: Pittsburgh. The Panthers' skill guys are superior, but questions about Savage's inexperience could wreck their playoff hopes. The Panthers sneak through Round 1, but a long run could hinge on Savage's play.

Marc Sessler: Ole Miss. I'm still not convinced Tom Savage is a real person.

Colleen Wolfe: Pittsburgh. You might be thinking, "How can you not believe in a Charlie Whitehurst-led team and then back an offense lead by Tom Savage?" This sounds like a Rex Ryan team. I like Rex. I want his team to win. Pitt's weapons are better -- whatever Larry Fitzgerald has lost, LeSean McCoy makes up for it.

Charles Davis: Pittsburgh. Pitt wins in a bit of an upset. McCoy's versatility and Fitzgerald's professionalism carry the day.

Dave Dameshek: Ole Miss. As much as I'd like to take my hometown school, the dropoff from Eli to Savage is larger than Shady to McCluster.

Dan Hanzus: Ole Miss. Bad job by Pitt. You have Shady and Fitz and the best you can do is Tom Savage?!? Eli does well in tournaments.

Adam Schein: Ole Miss. Upset special! Count the championship rings from Ole Miss!

Charley Casserly: Pittsburgh. The Panthers' advantages at RB and WR are too much for Eli to overcome.

Elliot Harrison: Pittsburgh. Give me some Tom Savage! (Or ... McCoy and Fitzgerald > McCluster and Wallace.)

Chase Goodbread: Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh carries a big advantage at two of three positions.

Conor Orr: Ole Miss.Pittsburgh has a slightly better lineup, but Manning gives Ole Miss the edge where it counts: at QB.

Mike Huguenin: Pittsburgh. McCoy-Fitzgerald trumps Manning-Wallace.

Marcas Grant: Pittsburgh. Shady and Fitz are just enough to give the Panthers a slight edge.

No. 6 Arizona defeats No. 3 Auburn -- 9-7

Michael Silver: Arizona. Gronk all day, every day.

Daniel Jeremiah: Arizona. Don't agree with this seeding ... Arizona wins convincingly.

Gil Brandt: Auburn. Gronk is a monster, but Newton can't be stopped.

Bucky Brooks: Auburn. The Tigers could roll through this tourney if Gus Malzahn is at the controls. Cam Newton and Tre Mason form a dangerous combo as zone-read specialists on the perimeter.

Marc Sessler: Auburn. Gronk is a beast, but the Cam-Mason combo is dangerous.

Colleen Wolfe: Arizona. UPSET ALERT Yeah, yeah, yeah, Cam Newton has his big-bodied receiver and Tre Mason's 4.27 YPC. Give me 2013 Nick Foles with Gronk in a pass-heavy offense. Ka'Deem will ride their coattails.

Charles Davis: Arizona. Gronk makes big plays for the Wildcats.

Dave Dameshek: Auburn. Cam and Gronk are the X-factors, and I'll go with the QB.

Dan Hanzus: Auburn.Cam Newton > Nick Foles. This carries the day.

Adam Schein: Arizona. Gronk is the best tight end in football. Foles is going to shine in St. Louis. 'Zona in an upset.

Charley Casserly: Arizona. Both QBs can be inconsistent, but Gronkowski will be unstoppable.

Elliot Harrison: Arizona. This is a close matchup. ... Going with Foles to Gronk for the win. Gronk then proceeds to do a keg stand with Foles looking on expressionless.

Chase Goodbread: Auburn. As good as Gronk is, Auburn takes this matchup with high expectations for Coates.

Conor Orr: Auburn. Love this Auburn combination and could only imagine the terror on everyone's faces if the trio showed up at a flag football 3-on-3.

Mike Huguenin: Arizona. Newton and Gronk cancel each other out, so Foles is the decider.

Marcas Grant: Arizona. Gronk carries the day. Foles does enough to pull the upset.

No. 2 Oklahoma defeats No. 7 Texas -- 16-0

Michael Silver: Oklahoma. Kindly hand the ball to AD, get out of the way and let the Red River flow north to south.

Daniel Jeremiah: Oklahoma. Great RB battle, but the Sooners have the edge at the other two spots.

Gil Brandt: Oklahoma. In a dream running back matchup, No. 28 takes the cake.

Bucky Brooks: Oklahoma. The Sooners would lean on Peterson to sneak past the Longhorns in a rivalry game. Bradford's accuracy and football IQ make the difference in this hard-hitting affair.

Marc Sessler: Oklahoma. I'm going with the best player on the field in AP.

Colleen Wolfe: Oklahoma. As much as I love Jamaal Charles, Oklahoma's ceiling is a gothic-style cathedral (gargoyles included), while Texas' is my one-story apartment.

Charles Davis: Oklahoma. Boomer Sooner. Best RB in football explodes, and Kenny Stills likes playing in big games.

Dave Dameshek: Oklahoma. A two-seed for Bradford, Stills and a guy who's barely played since '13? Sure, the Sooners win here, but ...

Dan Hanzus: Oklahoma. I'm operating under the impression that Bradford's knees work and will not explode at any point. If so, AP can do the rest. Another favorite.

Adam Schein: Oklahoma.Adrian Peterson for the win!

Charley Casserly: Oklahoma.Sam Bradford can't get hurt in this exercise, can he?

Elliot Harrison: Oklahoma. Fun matchup, but I'm taking the Sooner trio. Peterson and Charles are much closer in quality than people will tell you, though.

Chase Goodbread: Oklahoma. On the field, this matchup is known as the Red River Rivalry; here, it belongs to OU.

Conor Orr: Oklahoma.Chip Kelly likes Sam Bradford, so I like Sam Bradford. He must know something, right?

Mike Huguenin: Oklahoma. Sooners, easily.

Marcas Grant: Oklahoma. Peterson dominates this edition of the Red River Rivalry.

No. 1 Wisconsin defeats No. 8 Notre Dame -- 14-2

Michael Silver: Wisconsin. The Badgers are crestfallen when they discover that bandwagon hoops fan Aaron Rodgers is ineligible to play for Bucky.

Daniel Jeremiah: Wisconsin. I'm not buying J.J. Watt on offense, but Wilson gets the W in this matchup.

Gil Brandt: Wisconsin. Wilson and Watt -- who missed each other by one year at Madison -- win this one with ease.

Bucky Brooks: Wisconsin. The Badgers will need to deviate from the regimented approach to maximize the talents of Wilson, Gordon and Watt. It would take some trickery and deception to escape with the win, but Wilson and Watt's leadership makes the difference in the end.

Marc Sessler: Wisconsin. The Badgers might not be stopped in this fake exercise.

Colleen Wolfe: Wisconsin. Even St. Patrick thinks Wisconsin. Plus, J.J. Watt on offense might be as good as (or better than?) Wilson's past receivers.

Charles Davis: Wisconsin. Wisconsin because Russell Wilson doesn't lose often, and J.J. Watt can do everything.

Dave Dameshek: Wisconsin. Watt seems gimmicky at first blush, but after last year, do you really doubt his ability to make it as a tight end?

Dan Hanzus: Notre Dame. Disappointing trio for the Fighting Irish, but I take them over Wisconsin on general principle -- because J.J. Watt shouldn't be a part of this exercise.

Adam Schein: Wisconsin. I thought Notre Dame cancelled football ...

Charley Casserly: Wisconsin.Russell Wilson and Melvin Gordon are the difference here. J.J. Watt? Where is Al Toon when you need him?

Elliot Harrison: Wisconsin. The Badgers in a landslide.

Chase Goodbread: Wisconsin. With two of the NFL's truly elite players, Wisconsin makes this one easy.

Conor Orr: Notre Dame. Clausen is on the rise! Wilson, sensing a contract impasse, slips a bit! Notre Dame in a wild upset.

Mike Huguenin: Wisconsin. Wilson and Watt give Wisconsin a big advantage.

Marcas Grant: Wisconsin.J.J. Watt likely logs a sack and catches a Wilson TD pass here.

No. 5 Central Florida defeats No. 4 Fresno State -- 9-7

Michael Silver: Central Florida. All six names are intriguing talents, but only one is an actual star at the current time: Brandon Marshall.

Daniel Jeremiah: Central Florida. This is the closest game in Round 1. Flip a coin.

Gil Brandt: Fresno State. This is a great matchup, but I have to give the narrow edge to Carr and Co.

Bucky Brooks: Central Florida. This is a close one, but the presence of a Pro Bowl WR tilts the game in the Knights' favor. Bortles is an unfinished product, but Marshall's exceptional skills can mask the young quarterback's deficiencies.

Marc Sessler: Central Florida. Tight matchup. I like Bortles a little bit more than Carr.

Colleen Wolfe: Fresno State. After Brandon Marshall's 61 total catches last season, I'm worried about the guy. Derek Carr can produce more with Davante Adams and the burst from Ryan Mathews.

Charles Davis: Central Florida. Bortles to Marshall breaks down defenses.

Dave Dameshek: Fresno State. By the narrowest margin of all the first-round matchups, the Bulldogs sneak past Brandon Marshall and company.

Dan Hanzus: Central Florida. Lot of potential for both these teams. This is the game that ends 38-35 in overtime. Give me UCF.

Adam Schein: Fresno State. This is the toughest one. Davante Adams swings it in favor of Fresno State.

Charley Casserly: Fresno State.Derek Carr has a clear edge over Blake Bortles in this matchup. Brandon Marshall makes it a close call, though.

Elliot Harrison: Central Florida. Amazing the talent Central Florida has produced, eh? This is a good matchup until Ryan Mathews leaves in the second quarter.

Chase Goodbread: Central Florida. Marshall is the most proven of the six, and Bortles flashed at times as a rookie.

Conor Orr: Central Florida. Bortles was money in college and would be fun to pair with Marshall. All hail the Knights!

Mike Huguenin: Fresno State. The RB is the difference.

Marcas Grant: Fresno State. Best first-round matchup. Bulldog depth wins the day.

No. 3 Michigan defeats No. 6 Michigan State -- 15-1

Michael Silver: Michigan. I like watching Tom Brady play football a lot more than I like watching him walk into NFL headquarters for an appeal hearing.

Daniel Jeremiah: Michigan. Brady beats his former backup -- by a lot.

Gil Brandt: Michigan. Bell is a stud, but the presence of Brady squelches any potential for an upset.

Bucky Brooks: Michigan. The knowledge and experience of a four-time Super Bowl winner makes the Wolverines the pick in this contest. Brady has excelled with limited firepower on the perimeter. Thus, he finds a way to get it done here with unproven playmakers in the huddle.

Marc Sessler: Michigan. Brady's won a Super Bowl with less.

Colleen Wolfe: Michigan.Devin Funchess is no Gronk, but he's a big, physical target Tom Brady can rely on since there's no quality rushing attack. Then again, Denard Robinson could pull a Jonas Gray on all of us.

Charles Davis: Michigan.Le'Veon Bell tries his best, but Brady makes Funchess better, and Robinson finds space.

Dave Dameshek: Michigan. Hard to believe UM can't field a better back than Shoelace, but Sparty's best can't keep up with that guy who was drafted 199th.

Dan Hanzus: Michigan. Wolverines for the Tom Brady grit factor. I assume he's not suspended.

Adam Schein: Michigan.Tom Brady? Yes, I'll take Tom Brady.

Charley Casserly: Michigan. Brady doesn't have a top supporting cast, but he always finds a way to win in the playoffs.

Elliot Harrison: Michigan State. The All-Suspension Game! Shouldn't Michigan have to play Chad Henne and Michigan State Javon Ringer, given the circumstances? MSU in a squeaker, subject to appeal.

Chase Goodbread: Michigan.Tom Brady carries Michigan here, even if T.J. Yeldon buries Denard Robinson on the Jaguars' bench.

Conor Orr: Michigan. Michigan has the best chance of any sub-2 seed to take this thing home. Then again, I'm on record as the biggest Funchess fan at NFL.com.

Mike Huguenin: Michigan. It's all Brady.

Marcas Grant: Michigan.Tom Brady trumps everything.

No. 2 Alabama defeats No. 7 UNC -- 16-0

Michael Silver: Alabama. Elite running back, elite wideout ... and a quarterback with a lot of tattoos. That'll get it done in this round.

Daniel Jeremiah: Alabama. UNC is good for some splash plays, but 'Bama is better across the board.

Gil Brandt: Alabama. One set of former teammates (Lacy and Jones) trumps another (Bernard and Ebron).

Bucky Brooks: Alabama. 'Bama has too much talent to fall victim to an upset in this round.

Marc Sessler: Alabama. Brutal quarterback matchup, but Lacy and Jones are spicy.

Colleen Wolfe: Alabama. Wow this is an ugly, turnover-filled affair -- until AJ McCarron hands off the ball 70 times to Eddie Lacy! Don't blame Julio for McCarron's mistakes.

Charles Davis: Alabama. Yeah, Alabama ... and BIG. Lacy pounds, Jones flies and they distance themselves from Gio Bernard's heroics.

Dave Dameshek: Alabama. A lot of Bengals fans wouldn't mind seeing McCarron hand off to Jeremy Hill and throw deep to A.J. Green this year -- meantime, he and his 'Bama pals best the Heels.

Dan Hanzus: Alabama. 'Bama will take care of the Tar Heels, but no team led by AJ McCarron and his surprising body tattoos is going to go deep in this dance.

Adam Schein: Alabama. 'Bama! Julio and Lacy power them to a win.

Charley Casserly: Alabama.Eddie Lacy and Julio Jones carry Alabama to victory.

Elliot Harrison: Alabama. Guys with initials always make for good theatre ... AJ vs. T.J. vs. J.R.R. Tolkien vs. J.K. Rowling vs. J.R. Ewing vs. who shot him. I'm rambling. Tide rolls.

Chase Goodbread: Alabama. The Crimson Tide win in a runaway, thanks to Lacy and Jones.

Conor Orr: Alabama. Alabama rolls. No contest.

Mike Huguenin: Alabama. Lacy-Jones is a strong duo.

Marcas Grant: Alabama. Between Lacy and Jones, the Tide rolls in a romp.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.
Gamepass_vert_web_r

See all the Action

Replay every game all season.