Rarely does a national champion repeat in college football. The intervening factors that come between a 105-plus man roster and an undefeated season are so abundant, that the odds of repeated glory are against that team. Even so, Florida State brings back 13 starters, including Heisman trophy winner Jameis Winston, arguably the nations top defense, and another manageable schedule. For these reasons, many are tabbing them defy the odds. I’m not. Though they have their weaknesses, Oregon has, in my opinion, the best player in the nation, Marcus Mariota. The Ducks’ supporting cast is great with a strong offensive line, 1,000-yard rusher, and playmakers on defense. I think this is finally their year. My other two projected playoff teams are Georgia and Oklahoma. I may be taking a small leap with these two teams, but the talent is there for both win their conferences. Potential playoff spoilers that I have listed in my top 25 are Notre Dame, Mississippi, Michigan, and Texas.
I don’t think for anybody the ACC is a hard conference to pick a champion. The obvious answer is Florida State. The question is, who can perhaps challenge them. Among that group are Clemson, North Carolina, Louisville, Virginia Tech and maybe a couple others. The ACC had 11 teams in bowl games last year, so as a conference it shouldn’t be taken lightly. When you add that before last season FSU had a reputation for finding a way to lose a game they shouldn’t, I wouldn’t say the conference title is a guarantee. However, talent for talent, no one matches the Seminoles.
No team has more productive players than Michigan State. The consensus favorite to win the Big Ten, MSU is expecting big things from Connor Cook this season en route to a second title. Meanwhile, Ohio State continuously brings in the best recruiting classes in the conference and has athletes to win every game on their schedule. Yet despite all this, I think it is Michigan who as a whole has all the pieces to win the conference. It will surely take some stars aligning just right, and remaining injury free, but without Braxton Miller OSU does not have the offense to overcome Michigan’s defense. MSU will be favored when they meet the Wolverines, but the losses on defense may hurt them more than expected. A couple teams I am very high on are Indiana and Nebraska.
The SEC once again looks to be the top conference in college football. This season should see familiar schools vying for the top spot in a close competition. Added to the mix, however, are Mississippi and Mississippi State. Both teams are developing the depth and talent to perhaps challenge for the conference title. While in years past the conference was fairly top heavy, the separation between the top and bottom appears to be lessening as more players continue to leave early from the big schools and new coaches appear to be moving things in the right direction from the “smaller” ones. Continue reading
This is a good conference overall. Auburn is in the middle of a complete turnaround from their 3-9 season last year at 6-1, Tennessee looks much improved under new head coach Butch Jones, and Ole Miss is recruiting some great talent and it’s starting to show.
This isn’t just a good conference. It is likely the best conference.
Stanford is a great team. If they get past Oregon and Notre Dame, which they are very capable of doing, the rest of the schedule is manageable. On the other hand, Texas is a team that I see similar to Notre Dame of last year — great defense, great offensive line, and a quarterback who while needs improvement, can do enough. Oklahoma, TCU, and Oklahoma State will give them a chance to showcase their talent, win big games and earn their spot in the title game as an undefeated over a one-loss Alabama.