College Football Playoff Preseason Rankings
Following a crazy year in college football last season, the 2017 season looks just as promising, with many teams returning star players and others gaining new recruits from last year’s class. The College Football Playoff is sneaking up on us, and there are plenty of teams poised to make a run at the title.
Starting off on our list is the top-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide. Star players like S Minkah Fitzpatrick, WR Calvin Ridley, and QB Jalen Hurts are returning for the Tide. Nick Saban and company are looking for a fourth straight playoff appearance with their stout defense and explosive offense. One thing to look for is there new defensive line after losing three of four starters. The Tide look to continue their dominant run on opening day against the No. 3 Florida State Seminoles.
Next up is the No. 2 Ohio State Buckeyes, looking for revenge after being shut out 31-0 to the eventual national champion Clemson Tigers. Returning starters include QB J.T. Barrett, RB Mike Weber, and a big defensive line which is returning many starters. Coach Urban Meyer hired former Indiana head coach Kevin Wilson as the new offensive Coordinator as he looks to get their offense back on track. The Buckeyes start their season against the unranked Indiana Hoosiers.
The No. 3 Florida State Seminoles return with a plethora of offensive weapons. After losing Dalvin Cook to the NFL Draft, the Seminoles look to replace him with five star running back Cam Akers to pair with QB Deondre Francois. They have a tough opener against the No. 1 Crimson Tide, but this will show if they are they real deal.
The USC Trojans round out the top four on our list with returning star redshirt sophomore QB Sam Darnold, who is looking to win the Heisman after a strong freshman campaign. After winning the Rose Bowl against Penn State, they look to keep the momentum going as they return with an experienced defense. USC plays an underrated Western Michigan team in the opening week.
The defending National Champions, the Clemson Tigers, look to return to the Playoff after winning it all against Alabama last year. Losing key players Deshaun Watson, Wayne Gallman, Mike Williams, and Ben Boulware to the NFL will take a toll on them, but coach Dabo Swinney will not give up and continue to fight. The Tigers start their season off against Kent State.
Finishing with an impressive record last year, the Penn State Nittany Lions look to continue their success. Coming off a remarkable season led by coach James Franklin, the Nittany Lions hope to repeat as Big Ten Champions. Key players include Saquon Barkley, Trace McSorley, Mike Gesicki, and Marcus Allen who are trying to make a run and once again beat the Buckeyes. The Nittany Lions will face off against the Akron Zips to start the year.
The Oklahoma Sooners come in at No. 7 with new head coach Lincoln Riley as he steps in for longtime head coach Bob Stoops. Experienced QB Baker Mayfield looks to continue his on field success while trying to find a suitable backfield mate after losing Joe Mixon and Samaje Perine to the NFL. It will be a tough task for the Sooners as Oklahoma State and Texas look to be on the rise in the Big 12. The Sooners should have an easy week, starting off with the UTEP Miners out of the C-USA.
Coming off a playoff run last year, the No. 8 Washington Huskies look to make it back after winning the Pac-12 a year ago. Chris Peterson hopes to take his team back to the playoffs with QB Jake Browning at the helm. The Huskies have a good defense looking to reclaim their crown as Pac-12 champions. The Huskies opening game will be at the Rutgers Scarlet Knights
The Wisconsin Badgers come in as the third Big Ten team to be in the top ten on the AP list. Sophomore QB Alex Hornibrook looks to take his team back to the Big Ten Championship Game after losing to Penn State last year. The Badgers will face the Utah State Aggies to start their season.
Oklahoma State rounds out the top 10 on our list as it is on the rise in college football. Head Coach Mike Gundy has high hopes for his squad as they are returning Mason Rudolph at QB and Preseason All American WR James Washington. They face the Tulsa Golden Hurricane out of the American Athletic Conference in the first week.
This year’s college football season will be an exciting season all year long. Many other teams like the Michigan Wolverines, the Auburn Tigers, and the LSU Tigers look to all compete for the top four spots. Only time will tell who will win this year’s College Football Playoff and become the next National Champion.
Jacob Hord is a freshman majoring in Broadcast Journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.