I will be ranking the top ten teams heading into the new season. These rankings are mostly based on how the teams finished last season and where they ranked then. But, of course, a lot of these teams could change positions. Let’s get started.
Miami football is back! I’m happy to hear it. However, this isn’t “The U” of old. Mark Richt has done away with the convict era and has himself a legit team who will be competing for ACC championships. There’s only one thing stopping them- Clemson. The Canes will have their first shot at proving their status during the season opener against LSU in AT&T stadium.
9. Penn State
The best running back in Penn State history is gone. The team still has one of the nation’s top dual threat quarterbacks in Trace McSorley to help them make plays on the ground, and Junior running back Miles Sanders is sick of being asked questions about Barkley. Penn State finished the last two seasons ranked 7th & 8th in the nation and lost both of their games by a combined four points last year. They’ll hope to improve that end of season ranking this year and finally make it into the college football playoffs.
Unfortunately for Auburn they play in the SEC West so they wont be able to win their division. They open the season against Washington which will determine if they remain this high in the rankings. If they can go undefeated until the Iron Bowl I would say thats a successful season. Let’s not look any further than that.
7. Notre Dame
The Irish lost two of their best, and probably two of college football’s best offensive lineman. Without a conference championship game they will need to be more consistent this season or they will be out of the CFP again. Last season they lost to the SEC champion Georgia by one point, then blew out Michigan State and USC, then got blown out by Miami & Stanford, and then beat LSU.
This is the only team in my top ten from the PAC-12. Future NFL quarterback and four year starter Jake Browning is returning and looking to validate the hype. Chris Petersen will need to beat Auburn Week 1 if they hope to remain in the conversation.
The Big Ten West hasn’t had much competition in recent years other than Iowa, and I still think that this year Wisconsin will be the team in the Big Ten championship coming out of the west. QB-RB combo Hornibrook & Taylor are returning and will be a fun offense to watch. The Badgers have to think this is their chance to go all the way.
4. Ohio State
The era of J.T. Barret has come to an end, and as usual the Buckeyes have another solid player ready to take on the role in Dwayne Haskins. There are a couple of tough road games on OSU’s schedule but they will still be in contention for a trip to the Big Ten championship if they can hold off Penn State and Michigan.
The Bulldogs lost a lot of talent to the NFL after their incredible run last season. However, Kirby Smart has reloaded the team with some of the top rated recruits in the nation. Jake Fromm will be the starter, but I think Justin Fields who was the #1 ranked dual-threat QB in his class, will get a shot if there is even a glimpse of trouble with Fromm running the offense. The fans in Georgia would love to take home the SEC title two years in a row.
Dabo & Co. are building a Legacy. Recently they are the most legitimate threat to Bama. They brought in a five star QB in this draft class, may have a potential Heisman candidate at running back, and could very well have three to four first round draft picks in their defensive front. I’m picking Clemson to run away with the ACC title this year.
Defending National Champions. Nick Saban. Elite Quarterback(s). I think the Tide will continue to roll this season. The quartback controversy in Tuscaloosa is one that every team would love to have. Similar to Ohio State a few years ago with J.T. Barret and Cardale Jones who won a national championship in 2014, this could very well be Nick Sabans most talented offense ever, paired with another favorable schedule (jab). The Tide will most likely earn a spot in the CFP for the fifth consecutive season.
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