My preseason College Football Top 10


What’s up all? It’s been a while since I’ve done a sports blog so with the college football season on the rise I decided to do a top 10 team breakdown and talk about my expectations for each of these teams this season.

 

My top 10 team criteria off the top of my head:

  1. 1. Strong OL/DL play.
  2. 2. Strong core defense that can win games on it’s own.
  3. 3. Elite offense that can overwhelm teams.
  4. 4. Playing against other top 10 teams.
  5. 5. Precedence for ranking.
  6. 6.  incoming recruits.

 

Lots of teams with similar circumstances this year. Though a lot of them will have the time to get a whole lot better if they are able to navigate the early part of the schedule without any major injuries. Two very talented teams that missed my personal top 10 and that contain significant upside are Ohio St and Florida St.  Both of these teams have the talent to be top 10 teams but with each of them I didn’t feel as comfortable due to the questions I had with each. On Ohio St I don’t know just how GOOD they will be based on the competition they will play during the season. In Florida St they are in a similar position to LSU and Notre Dame only I’ve never seen their QB play. Moving on though, let’s  get things started with my #10 team..

10. LSU 

Zach Mettenberger has the world on his shoulders this season.

Players you should know: Ego Ferguson, Freak Johnson, Kwon Alexander, Jeremy Hill, Jarvis Landry, and La’El Collins.

As always the Bayou Bengals will bring together another talented team. They’ll be led by Zach Mettenberger who will have himself an opportunity to answer critics questions about consistency with him. I really like LSU’s roster(When they’re not playing Alabama) they have a lot of young depth in the secondary and upfront on the DL they have potential All American Candidates Ego Ferguson and Freak Johnson. They only have one challenge early in TCU that should be an interesting battle for them after that they get a few more practices before they go to Athens to face UGA.

Questions: Like Alabama every year they have to worry about replacing a lot of pieces that left for the NFL. In LSU’s cases not only did they lose a lot of defensive depth but they also lost special team difference makers. LSU usually has their team peaking by mid October/November but will it peak fast enough to survive early tests @ UGA and versus TCU in Dallas.

Summary: That game will determine whether or not this LSU team has matured enough with all of it’s defense losses to stand up to an Alabama later in the year. I think they finish 9 -3 or 10 – 2, but have the potential to run the table if they navigate September effectively.

9. Notre Dame

The irish are on their way back to prominence.

Players that you should know: George Atkinson III, Jaylon Smith, Ishaq Williams, Greg Bryant, and Isaac Rochelle

Questions: How will the loss of Golson affect the offense? Can someone fill Manti Te’o’s shoes as a playmaker in the Irish defense?  How do the Irish handle success?

Summary: Notre Dame jumped back into the national picture last year by being the only team to finish the regular season undefeated.  This season they look to maintain consistency and put together another strong season. The Irish will play a few notable games but have 2 legitimate tests @ Michigan and @ Stanford to end the year. Those games will make or break the Irish’s season. If the offense can find a way to step forward with impact newcomer Greg Bryant and George Atkinson sharing the load I look for them to have a successful season with the dominating DL play they will get from Louis Nix, TUitt, and Day. They have two top 10 NFL Draft talents and it will make it very easy for a newcomer like Jaylon Smith to get acclimated. The only reason I have them this far down is simply b/c I think Rees is a marginal talent despite his experience this season.

8. TAMU

Can Johnny Football repeat last season’s ‘Successful’ season amidst drama involving his potential eligibility?

Players that you should know: Ricky Seals Jones, Malcolme Kennedy, Trey Williams, and JaQuay Williams

Questions: How will Texas A&M replace the pieces on Defense? How will Johnny Football’s offseason shenanigans affect his play this season? How will Texas A&M handle being the “Hunted” instead of the “Hunter” this season?

Summary: I really don’t know what to make of this Texas a&m Squad. Johnny Football is a special talent and he is the sole reason I can even justify them and this offense in my top 10. Honestly i feel like when I revisit this list they’ll be down and out of my top 10 later on but for now I’ll keep them here. On the positive side Texas A&M’s early season schedule sets up well for them to make a pretty good run despite the fact that they play Alabama week 2.  Matter of fact, Texas A&M’s home slate of games sets up pretty well for them with  the only notable away games being at Ole Miss, at Arkansas, and at LSU.  They’ll have a great chance to redeem their season if they lose in week 3 to Alabama as well. Looking forward to seeing how this season plays out for the Aggies and seeing if they can find a leader for that young D if not..they will definitely have a lot of fights on their hands this season from pretenders.

7. Oregon

Will Chip Kelly’s loss affect the Ducks? Or will they not miss a beat?

Players that you should know:  Colt Lyerla, Thomas Tyner, Arik Armstead, and Ifo Ekpre-Olomu

Questions: How will the Ducks replace Kenjon Barner? What will be the impact of Chip Kelly leaving? Does Oregon finally have enough upfront on the DL to challenge for a BCS title?

Summary:  Business as usual in Eugene. Easy schedule with a few if any significant challenges on the schedule. The OL will be stout and De’Anthony Thomas will give them a game breaking threat that will be difficult for most teams on the West Coast to contain on special teams and in space. The only reason I have Oregon #7 is simply b/c I want to see how they replace the production of Kenjon Barner who meant a ton to this team when De’Anthony Thomas disappeared in games. Marcus Mariota should improve as well but if he is inconsistent against top tier competition they could be left looking for answers again.  I’ll be watching Oregon a lot once more this season to see how they handle adversity whenever they are in tough spots as well to see how their coaching is affected.

6. Clemson

Can Sammy Watkins return to being a top playmaker in college football?

Players that you should know: Tony Steward, Travis Blanks, Mackensie Alexander, Victor Beasley, and Charone Peake

Questions: How do the Tigers handle being the favorites for the first time since preseason 2008? Will the Tigers defense finally live up to it’s potential? How good is Tahj Boyd?

Summary: The Clemson Tigers are in an interesting spot for the first time in 5 years. They’re legit BCS contenders again and favorites to win their conference.  Whether or not they win the conference this year will depend on their ability to dominate at the LOS and find an effective complement for Sammy Watkins at the WR position. can Charone Peake or one of the other WR’s be that option? Clemson’s big tests this season will come early at UGA and against FSU. If they can win those games the rest of their schedule should be pretty cake.

5. Florida

Can Dominique Easley maximize his potential as a top 10 draft pick?

Players that you should know: Ronald Powell,  Daniel McMillan, Mack Brown, Kelvin Taylor, and Vernon Hargreaves III

Questions: Will Florida find an offensive identity? Who will step up and be a consistent threat at WR for the Gators?

Summary:  Mike Gillislee will be missed in Gainesville but the guys who step in to replace him will be pretty talented in their own right. Kelvin Taylor, Mack Brown, and Matt Jones will be next in line to be the Gators offense but who will step up at WR to help get some of the Defensive players out of the box? I seriously had a big time internal debate on whether or not to put Florida as 3a or 5 but chose to put them here at 5 simply b/c I have no idea what their identity on offense will be. The Gators Defense will have a chance to be special with returning beast DL Dominique Easley. If he plays to his potential then the Gators should have the potential to put another special season together. Their biggest hurdle will be their schedule however…The Gators get, UGA, South Carolina, LSU, AND Miami Sheesh. I look for them to throw together another strong squad but I will be surprised if they make it through without 1 or 2 L’s this season with that schedule alone. Their toughest match ups will likely be UGA and LSU as for some reason the Gamecocks rarely if ever play to their potential against the Gators.

3b, Georgia

Todd Gurley is poised to put together another strong season for the Dawgs.

Players you should know: Tray Williams,  Josh Harvey Clemons, Michael Bennett, and Johnathan Rumph

Questions: Can Aaron Murray take the next step and win more big time football games?  Will UGA’s defense rebuild well enough in time to handle a hellish September schedule?

Summary:  UGA will once again field one of the most talented teams in college football, the only question that will come to mind is if they will have the mental fortitude to recover from last season’s gut wrenching loss and rebuild enough of a defense to be special once again. I don’t expect UGA’s defense to be on par with last year’s “NFL” defense, however I do think that they bring back a lot of good pieces who will be extremely good by the time they click mid season.  If UGA finds a way to go undefeated in September they should be the #1 team in the country but I really think it’s unlikely that they do so.  I look for their only loss to be to South Carolina early in the season and potentially LSU as well depending on who wins their September shootout.

3a.  South Carolina

Jadeveon Clowney and those boys will be back again this season.

Players you should know: Mike Davis, Damiere Byrd, Shaq Roland, and Chaz Elder

Questions: Who will step up alongside Clowney on South Carolina’s Defense? Will South Carolina play EVERY game with the same intensity they’ve shown against UGA the last two years?

Summary:  Well, I went back and forth between three teams here and really I ended up putting South Carolina as my 3a over Florida simply b/c I South Carolina has an offensive identity. Steve Spurrier has been at South Carolina a while now and built his team just the way he likes developing an athletic defense to match his offense and improve each year. The problem with South Carolina in his opinion has always been schedule and this year they get a break. No Alabama, no LSU, and not even Texas A&M. Things should be simple right? I think so, but only if South Carolina’s players put together the same type of effort and toughness they showed playing against UGA the last 2 years and beating Alabama in 2010. The talent is there and the experience is there at the key positions, let’s see if they show up consistently this year.

This freak lol.

2.  Stanford

Lots of people will be aware of Shayne Skov and the Cardinal after this season.

Players you should know:  Shayne Skov, Kevin Hogan,  David Yankey, and Ed Reynolds.

Questions: Does Stanford have the experience at QB to win all the big games now? Who’s Stanford’s playmaker on offense? Can Stanford find a difference maker at WR?

Summary: Stanford is ahead of schedule. When Andrew Luck and Coach Harbaugh left for the NFL many thought the Cardinal would fall back to earth and return to the pack in the Pac 12. Unfortunately this was not the case as brilliant young mind David Shaw took over and kept the hard nosed professional style of play prevalent in Palo Alto. Stanford has a roster full of talented players you’ve never heard of who bring their lunch pail to work every week and work on becoming better.  They bring a consistent pro style offense with solid QB play that makes them a tough out for any team. The key to Stanford’s success this season will be if they can find playmakers on offense to support what should be an elite defense this season. Talent shouldn’t be an issue as California is usually home to a wealth of skill players, but if those guys don’t step up it would be hard to see them making a run at a national title or getting past a team like a Notre Dame or Oregon later on in the year.

1.  Alabama

Amari Cooper has a chance to be special this season.

Players you may not know: Cyrus Jones, Kenyan Drake, DeAndrew White, and Jalston Fowler

Questions: How will Alabama replace arguably the greatest OL in college football history? Who will step up at the 2nd corner spot opposite all SEC performer Deion Belue?

Summary:  Alabama fans are pretty thrilled this season. After having several years of crazy schedules hashed together in inconvenient fashion the scheduling gods finally saw fit to give Nick Saban a break. Two bye weeks before Alabama’s toughest opponents this season, easy SEC East opponent, and the only OOC opponent essentially self destructing before the season starts? Things look easy for Alabama but I’m sure Nick Saban will point to 2010 each chance he gets and the fact that they have lost 1 game in their last championship seasons as ways to push his team to their potential.  I look for Alabama’s toughest game to come in November and December in the SEC Championship game vs whoever comes out of that tough SEC East race. Alabama SHOULD expect to 3 peat this year based on these variables but..Iv’e seen crazier things happen.  I won’t go into much more detail on Alabama though as there isn’t much I should need to do define why they are the best considering their accomplishments the last 6 years. I will say personally,  the only way to beat this team is to play mistake free football and force their QB to make mistakes something that doesn’t happen very often as evidenced by AJ McCarron’s #s last year.

Alright all, thanks for reading! Looking forward to college football kickoff! We’re only 9 days away now!

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    • kittenwitclawz
    • August 20th, 2013

    Wow. Extremely detailed blog. Well done.

    Like

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