A massive Week 1 slate of College Football kicks off this weekend. Which teams are making a move from last year? Who’s falling off? Who’s gonna be left standing in the Final Four at the end of the season?
Colin has released his Preseason Top 10 college football rankings. The rankings reflect how the teams will finish at the end of the season. The central factors he took into account for evaluating teams were:
- Quarterback play
- Offensive and defensive line play
- Returning starters, and
Here’s Colin’s College Football Top 10:
10. Utah – The easiest schedule in the Pac-12 paves the way to a conference title for the Utes. They get all three of their toughest games – USC, Washington and Oregon – at home. With 5 returning Junior and Senior starters on the O-line and 8 starters on Defense, Kyle Wittingham and the Utes are legit.
9. LSU – The Tigers, as always, are loaded with defensive talent and will feature a dominant rushing attack led by Heisman Contender Leonard Fournette. Brandon Harris is the latest in a long line of average LSU quarterbacks and isn’t a difference maker. It’ll be a Top 10 type year in Baton Rouge, but not good enough to compete for the SEC Championship.
8. Iowa – The Hawkeyes have the $1 trillion dollar bill of schedules. A fraud. They’ll be favored in every game, except for Michigan, who they face at home. Quarterback C.J. Beathard, who Colin describes as, “a more talented Conor Cook”, should manage to navigate the weak schedule. With seven returning defensive starters, including arguably the best defensive player in the conference in cornerback Desmond King, Iowa should march to the B1G Ten Championship game.
7. Florida State – The ‘Noles have a tough schedule by ACC standards, including road tests at Louisville and Miami. They should lose to Clemson at home. Heisman contender Dalvin Cook will have a monster season and help cover up average quarterback play. It’s not hard to find multiple losses in the schedule for the second best team in the ACC. It’ll be a good year in Tallahassee, but not a great one.
6. Ohio State – The Buckeyes are loaded with unproven talent after everyone but the equipment guy left for the NFL Draft. The opener at Oklahoma looks like a loss. They also face Wisconsin and Michigan State on the road and a revenge minded Michigan. JT Barrett is free of the Cardale Jones quarterback drama and should should have a big year. The Buckeyes will be trending up as the season ends, but still finish outside of the Final Four.
5. Alabama – The Tide will be solid, but won’t roll back to their third consecutive Final Four. They open against USC, and get Tennessee, Ole Miss and LSU on the road. Nick Saban will have his work cut out with the loss of Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry and key defensive contributors. Only in Tuscaloosa is a top five finish a sign of the rapture. The rapture is here.
4. Tennessee- The Vols escaped their opener against giant killer Appalachian State. If they can right the ship, their schedule is easy early and easy late, and they’ll face their toughest test, Alabama, in Knoxville. After several solid recruiting classes, Butch Jones finally breaks through the post Phillip Fulmer fog. Legit dual threat QB Josh Dobbs should continue to improve and help Tennesse sneak into the Final Four. The stars are aligned for Rocky Top, which reminds Colin of Auburn title team.
3. Oklahoma – Tough opener at home against Ohio State, but a win will cement them in the top four as they should cruise through a weak Big 12, made weaker yet because Baylor is no longer a viable contender. Star quarterback Baker Mayfield (36 TD’s 7 Int last season) and 13 returning starters will put “Big Game Bob” back in the title picture.
2. Michigan – Harbaugh rules. Way ahead of schedule in Ann Arbor. The best O-line and D-line combo in the conference. The Wolverines return six offensive and seven defensive starters. They have tough, but winnable, road games at Michigan State, at Iowa and at Ohio State. The Wolverines will start untested QB John O’ Korn, but Harbaugh already showed he’s a quarterback whisperer with Jake Rudock. See you at The Shoe.
1. Clemson – Deshaun Watson is the best quarterback in college football, period. The #1 pick in next year’s NFL draft and seven returning offfensive starters should demolish a weak ACC schedule and march to a national championship. The Tigers toughest test is at Florida State, which should still be a comfortable W. They lost significant defensive contributors to the NFL, but they don’t face elite QB’s and are more than equipped in the event of a shootout.
— Herd w/Colin Cowherd (@TheHerd) August 2, 2016