NCAA Top 25

NCAA games are about to start up, so here is my thoughts on the top 25

Brady Hill

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My take on the preseason top 25 is quite different from most people’s opinions. Here’s why:

First off, Let’s take a look at the NCAA top ten. I agree with Alabama being number one, as do most major polls. Ohio State is a close second, and if their defense plays better than last year, they could give Alabama a run for their money. Defending Champs Georgia at three is where almost everyone has them, including me. Next is Clemson, who after being the only team outside of Alabama to be in the Playoff basically every year, had a down season last year. Granted, they still went 10-3, but the thing that was holding them back last year was the quarterback play. I think D.J. Uiagalelei really steps it up this year, and uses his talented receiver and tailback core to propel this offense to the Playoffs. Next is the Utes, a team I’m pretty high on. Notre Dame comes in at number six, with high hopes for Marcus Freeman’s first season. Now a somewhat questionable part of my rankings is having Oklahoma at eight and Baylor at nine. I think Oklahoma will bounce back this year, and win the Big 12. Now granted, I don’t see them making the playoffs, because I think they will finish the regular season with two losses. I don’t know who they will lose too, but regardless they are still the most talented and best team in the Big 12. Baylor is a close second, followed by a very good NC State team, which would without a doubt be my pick for the ACC and Playoff outside of Clemson. And lastly, Michigan, who will again have a great season, but no Ohio State or Playoff this year.

 I find it absolutely ludicrous that the AP poll has Texas A&M ranked 6th. Yes, they signed the best recruiting class in CFB history, but the majority of those players won’t even see the field this year. We are talking about a team that went 8-4 last season, and is starting a quarterback with a not great track record. How can you possibly put them ahead of Utah, or even Michigan, I just don’t understand that. Utah won the Pac 12 and absolutely killed Oregon not once but twice. Then played in what most think was the most thrilling Rose Bowl of all time and barely fell to Ohio State 48-45. Michigan just beat Ohio State for the first time in a while, and made the playoff. Not to mention they have a returning quarterback, and a defense that returns most of its starters.

Speaking of Utah, I’m very high on the Utes this season, especially with returning QB Cam Rising who I think will be a top ten draft pick. I see them winning the Pac 12 again, but with a loss or two. The week 1 matchup against Florida in Gainesville will be pivotal if the Utes want a realistic chance at the CFP. Regardless, a top five ranking is well deserved and most definitely top seven.

A team I think is very underrated on both polls is Arkansas. I am a huge fan of KJ Jefferson, and he is one of my darkhorse Heisman picks. At 6’3” and 240 lb., with a cannon for an arm, as well as his athletic ability on the run, this Arkansas team could be scary. I think they have a decent shot to upset Alabama at home this year with another top three year in rushing statistics. As high as I am on the Hogs, I don’t think they have a realistic shot of the CFP, and I don’t think they have a realistic shot at winning the west. I expect two or three conference losses, and possibly a loss to Cincinnati or BYU. But I think a New Year’s Six bowl is very likely for the Hogs this season if they can get through the regular season with two or three losses.

Another complaint I have with the AP poll is Tennessee not being ranked in the top 25. Outside of Alabama and Ohio State, Tennessee is the next best offensive team in the country. Take Hendon Hooker, who had an incredible 31-3 TD to INT ratio, and pair that with a top three receiver in Cedric Tillman, and add Josh Huepel’s fast tempo offense and you can really give any defense a fit. Granted, Tennessee forgot how to play defense last year, and I don’t see it getting much better this year. Their offense, as well as their lack of defense is a recipe for a lot of shootout games. Those games are going to be the difference between a 6-6 team and a 9-3 team. Regardless of the end of season outcome, I think that Tennessee should be ranked in the low 20’s just because their coaching, super tempo scheme, and extremely talented offense can score on anyone in the entire country.

The last thing I have a major issue with is the ranking of Wake Forest. They had one of the most prolific offenses in college football last year, as well as a solid defense. They return QB Sam Hartman, who led college QB’s for most 20 plus yard touchdowns. They play a cupcake schedule that avoids the likes of Pittsburgh and Miami. Generally speaking, this team is similar in a lot of ways to Tennessee. Both have prolific offenses with returning QB’s, and are coming off solid but not fantastic seasons. Both are going to be top ten offensive units, and both have the potential to go anywhere from 6-6 to 9-3 in the regular season. If the defense for the Demon Deacons improves to an average or even a bit above average defense, then watch out Clemson and NC State.