Jack Geary’s College Football Week 1 Top 25 and Analysis
College Football is Back! With that being said, here are Jack Geary’s first top 25 rankings from Pro Sports Fandom.
Fresh off of the heartbreaking National Championship loss The Crimson Tide, who have appeared in the 5 of the last 8 National Championship games, return a loaded squad that can very easily contend for another National Title. Nick Saban will have an excessive amount of weapons to work with once again, including an improved 2016 SEC Offensive Player of the Year, Jalen Hurts. Look for the Tide to make their third consecutive playoff push starting with an instant classic against Florida State
2. Florida State
Jimbo Fisher will look to prove that the ACC is superior to the SEC in the astounding opening matchup against the Tide. Florida State poses a huge threat to the ACC this year with 16 returning starters from last year’s ten win team. The Noles own possibly the best player in college football with the athletic freak Derwin James. On the other side of the ball, Deondre Francois is an absolute stud who has the potential to carry his team right into the playoffs. Florida State will show if they are contenders or pretenders in Atlanta on September 2nd.
3. Ohio State
If the Buckeyes can successfully make it through the first two weeks of the season it should be mostly smooth sailing into the always competitive Michigan rivalry. The Indiana opener on the road has major trap-game potential. Indiana will have an electric atmosphere as they look to pull off the upset. Ohio State will then come home to face an intimidating Oklahoma squad. Luckily, Ohio State has one of the most experienced quarterbacks in college football in J.T. Barrett. J.T. can lead Ohio State to a win on any stage, especially with the deep and talented roster surrounding him.
4. Penn State
The Nittany Lions have absolutely revived their historic program in the last few seasons. The defending Big Ten champions feel they were snubbed from the playoffs last year. Penn State has an absolutely electric offense with the exciting Trace McSorley leading the offense. The main attraction of this team is still undoubtedly Saquon Barkley. Barkley will attempt to create a heisman campaign and will be a first round NFL talent after this season. Penn State needs to prove the committee made a mistake by leaving them out of the playoffs last year.
The defending National Champs have dropped down a couple spots due to the heavy loss of talented players from last year’s dominant squad. If it wasn’t for the loss of their three best players the Tigers would get the nod at number 1 in the rankings this year. With that being said, Clemson still possesses a bevy of talent that will keep this team amongst the nation’s best.
The USC hype train might be the largest one in the country heading into the 2017 season. Fans are gushing about the ability of the odds-on heisman favorite Sam Darnold. For the most part the hype is well deserved but Sam Darnold isn’t the only player on this team. Don’t forget that this team got crushed to Alabama and Stanford at the start of the season last year. USC is officially back but I’m still not all in on the idea of a college football playoff appearance.
Many are forgetting about the Huskies star quarterback Jake Browning. He is ready to rise his stock next year as NFL scouts will keep their eyes on the ascending athlete. Washington surprised the college football world by making it to the college football playoffs last year. Leaders from that playoff team still remain but many have graduated. Browning needs to have a huge season to return Washington to the playoffs.
It’s a changing of the times in Norman. Bob Stoops has hung up the clipboard and stepping in is the offensive-coordinator Lincoln Riley. Riley is rather unheard of but will take over on of the top squads in college football with one of the heisman preseason favorites Baker Mayfield leading the pack. Oklahoma will have to replace experienced skill position spots but the leadership of Mayfield alone should be enough for this group to continually be a top 10 throughout the season.
The Badgers will jump around after plowing through one of the easiest schedules among noteworthy teams. If Wisco can trump Michigan then they should be able to run the table right to Indianapolis for the Big Ten championship game. Wisconsin is just an absolutely fundamental football team that will execute their gameplan. Expect Wisconsin to be there in Indianapolis later in the season.
10. Oklahoma State
Mason Rudolph. You will be hearing that name more and more as the season goes on and as Oklahoma State continues to improve. The Cowboys will put up absurd numbers throughout this season and have a great chance to cruise into the College Football Playoffs. Mason Rudolph will have to play up to his potential for this team to do something special this year. Rudolph has the weapons to make a Heisman run this year. Watch out for Oklahoma State.
Auburn is coming off of a rather underwhelming season yet. The Tigers didn’t have any marquee wins last year but have new players that can change the culture. Auburn gained a superstar quarterback in Jarrett Stidham. Stidham will gain national attention once people see the amount of talent he has. Auburn also gained a top JUCO transfer in Sal Cannella. Cannella should rejuvenate the entire receiving crew with his mismatch ability. Auburn needs big time wins this year.
Coach O has his troops ready to battle and has arguably the best running back in the country at his disposal. Derrius Guice has the potential to be even better than what Leonard Fournette accomplished last year. LSU desperately needs to beat Alabama to keep it as one of the top rivalries in sports. Hopefully LSU gets to an important enough bowl game their best player won’t want to sit out off… Geaux Tigers!
The hype should much larger for this particular Louisville team. They have the ultimate game-breaker in last years Heisman winner, Lamar Jackson. This is virtually the same team that destroyed Florida State last year but also a team that dropped two consecutive games to end the season. Louisville has a favorable schedule minus two major tests against Florida State and Clemson. Buy in on Louisville and Lamar Jackson.
Michigan returns only 6 starters this year; with only one being on defense. Harbaugh’s powerful recruits must be ready to make an immediate impractical due to the roster turnover. Coach Jim Harbaugh has been the savior of this now ascending football program as he completely turned around losing seasons. Even with all the success, Harbaugh needs to finally get a win against Ohio State to validate himself as one the best coaches in college football.
Florida has the potential to be a scary good football team. That is if they name a quarterback. Florida has a tremendous amount of talent but will need an identity at quarterback to go anywhere. I predict Malik Zaire to eventually win the Qb #1 spot and him to mold in well. It will take a lot for Florida to beat Michigan in the opener due to suspensions. The Gators will look like a true contender once at full strength.
Don’t look now but David Shaw has had a top 5 resume amongst coaches in the last few years. Stanford is usually slept on but has actually had threshold on the PAC-12 in the last few years. With USC being relevant again, Stanford will have to truly compete to run the table of the conference. Stanford has to replace the superstar who was McCaffrey but the Bryce Love will be sufficient enough for this team to make a run at the PAC-12.
Georgia fans should be hoping for more than 8 wins this season. Kirby Smart will be expected to up the win total with the superb amount of talent on this team. Nick Chubb and Sony Michel is the best running back tandem in all of college football. Also, don’t sleep on Jacob Eason who is returning from an impressive freshman year at quarterback. Jake Fromm, who I believe will be a future star, will be patiently waiting for his turn at quarterback as well. The trip to Notre Dame in week 2 will be key for this team’s success this season
The only thing you need to know about this football team is that they have Quinton Flowers. Flowers might be the most underrated player in college football and should be able to seize 12 wins due to a non challenging schedule. It will be interesting to see if an undefeated record with this weak of a schedule will be enough to claim a bid to the playoffs. Flowers is a dark horse heisman candidate and very well might be sitting in New York in 2018 waiting for his name to be called.
Brad Kaaya will be a tough replacement for the Hurricanes. Although, the Canes have a top running back, Mark Walton, and an impressive returning defensive unit. The uncertainty at quarterback will make fans nervous but once established, Miami should have a lot of confidence to get back to the Acc championship game.
20. West Virginia
Things are looking bright in West Virginia, especially with the addition of Will Grier. This was a balanced football team last year that won 10 games in the Wild BIG-12. Grier will try to repeat his memorable 6-0 start to the 2015 season playing for Florida. After a year of not playing, Grier will attempt to once again thrive and take West Virginia to the top of the BIG 12.
21. Kansas State
Jesse Ertz will have to bring his game to another level for K-State to stay a ranked team throughout the season. Bill Snyder is one of the better coaches in the country and will try to compete for another Big 12 championship this year. Ertz can keep this team in the rankings but don’t expect a Top 10 appearance.
22. Notre Dame
The 22nd spot on this list is not an overrank for the Fighting Irish. Sure, they were 4-8 last year but many don’t realize that Notre Dame was within at least 8 points to every team they played besides USC last year. Although, there is no denying that it’s do or die time for Brian Kelly, who is one more underachieving season away from getting fired. Notre Dame will flash the best tight end crew in the nation this season- including promising freshman Cole Kmet- as they will be catching from the former top 50 recruit Brandon Wimbush. The torch has finally been passed to breakout-candidate Wimbush -who has been patiently waiting- and will get numerous big games to prove the Irish are for real and will put on a show while doing so.
23. Virginia Tech
The Hokies reached the 10 win mark last season and have the weapons to have another successful season this year. They did lose two top 5 all-time leading receivers in Isaiah Ford and Bucky Hodges. Therefore, the wide receiving group will be the key to an ACC championship game return.
Kenny (Trill) Hill Jr. will be the by far the most important tool for this football team to piece together double digit wins. The Horned Frogs will endure the usual but still challenging BIG 12 schedule. The key game of their season is to avenge last year’s blow-out loss to Oklahoma State.
For the last few years Chicago’s Big Ten team has been fairly inconsistent. Ten win seasons have been followed by five win seasons. Although, Northwestern is in store for a pretty promising season this year. Justin Jackson totaled over 1500 rushing yards last season and will be yet again a problem to say the least for opposing defenses. Northwestern has recently upgraded their football facilities and will upgrade their win total from last season.