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2017 College Football Preview

by Big Al

Once again, I find myself missing the start of the season, due to some

Anyway, I am way late on my preview, so here we go. Note that I copied a lot of it from last year's review, so some portions may look familiar.

You'd Be Stupid Not to Pick Them: Alabama

Everybody is picking Alabama. You'd be stupid not to pick them. Don't fight it.

The Contingents: Auburn, Clemson, Georgia, Ohio State, Penn State, Oklahoma, Washington, Wisconsin

Last year, there was a clear set of teams that were in mix at the start. One of them made it to the playoffs. This year, things aren't as preseason clear, but that means we're all less likely to look stupid. So, next up, we have some teams that people expect to be good, but aren't yet sure about.

  1. Auburn - They did the most important thing, then they failed to capitalize on the opportunity. Then they capitalized on their failure to capitalize by making it even worse in a loss to UCF in the bowl game. Ending the season with two losses does not build momentum. They can get some back against Washington.
  2. Clemson - Dabo keeps that train chugging along. Don't expect them to leave the party anytime soon.
  3. Georgia - They almost pulled off the trick last year. But they couldn't quite pull it off. Only having seven days to recover from a two-overtime game probably had more to do with that than anybody cares to admit.
  4. Ohio State - New quarterback and a whole hell of a lot of off-season drama. They are talented enough to go 10-2 without too much trouble, but this sort of chaos can take a toll.
  5. Penn State - They lost Saquon Barkley: that doesn't make any team better. But Trace McSorley was a much better quarterback last year than he was the year before. It's his team now; let's see what he can do with it.
  6. Oklahoma - New quarterback, still a very new coach. What to expect? You don't know and neither do I.
  7. Washington - Beat Auburn and they are in the conversation. Lose and we'll look forward to a gripping Pac-12 race.
  8. Wisconsin - They have a tendency to keep hanging around. Why not again this year?

The Wildcards: Florida State, Miami, Michigan, Michigan State, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Texas, UCF, USC

These are teams that nobody really knows what to do with. They have at least some talent. But there are plenty of questions too.

  1. Florida State - Really just no idea what to do with them; especially after changing coaches in the offseason. Have they sorted out their offensive line woes? That's been their biggest problem lately. And their coach just left to take another job, which I find bizarre. I think he's running from something, but what I can't imagine. Unless it's his own poor recruiting. Which could explain the aforesaid offensive line woes.
  2. Miami - They took a big step last year. But they couldn't keep it together. Which way do they go this year?
  3. Michigan - I keep waiting for Jim Harbaugh to do his usual job of turning this team into the team you don't want to play. But they can't quite seem to pull it all together. Maybe this year?
  4. Michigan State - They've hit some speedbumps recently, but they have a tendency to be resilient. Will they keep it together this year? No idea.
  5. Nebraska - New coach, good feelings, big hopes for the future. Let's see how it starts off.
  6. Notre Dane - Heck if I know what to do with them. If they beat Michigan in week one, they set themselves up for a push up the rankings. If they drop that game, it could spiral out of control.
  7. Texas - Can they make a move? They showed some life last year, but they have a ways to go.
  8. UCF - A lot of people are angry about their "national title" last year. It's no dumber than some of the "national titles" claimed by many other teams. It will be interesting to see what happens this year.
  9. USC - It's USC. They'll be fine. But will they be fine this year?

A Team To Be Named Later

I'm not going to list every team that could be a threat for the title, but I have little doubt that some team starting in the 10 to Also Receiving Votes range will make the playoffs. There is always some team waiting in the wings with just enough talent that hits the right amount of luck that we can't quite see until October. And then November (and December) actually prove their worthiness. Who will that be? Who knows? We'll find out in December when they call the names for the playoffs. Which is exactly why we watch this game: it's exciting, it's exasperating, it's endlessly thrilling. So watch it and enjoy every breathtaking moment.

Columns

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