The college football season is still a few months away, but it's never too early to talk about what we think will happen. Here you will hear the predictions for:
- The Top 5 Recruiting Classes
- The Preseason top 25 rankings
- The Top 5 breakout team candidates
- The Top 5 Heisman contenders
- And finally, who should and will be in the National Championship game.
This may cause some uproar from fans all around the nation, but these are simply predictions, so don't get too worked up. Without further ado, here we go!
Before we even begin to talk about preseason rankings, we need to talk about what colleges had the best recruiting seasons in the offseason. It seems that the powerhouses always run away with this... and the trend continues this year. Here's the top 10 recruiting classes:
- Alabama (12 out of the Top 100) - Alabama knows how to bring players in, the perfect example being this year where they landed 7 Top 50 recruits. Alabama is the biggest college football powerhouse in the nation, and that speaks volumes in times like this. Plus Nick Saban knows how to talk players over to Tuscaloosa.
- LSU (8 out of the Top 100) - LSU brought in the #1 overall recruit Leonard Fournette, a Running Back out of New Orleans. He's got everything it takes, and then some, to take over for Jeremy Hill in the backfield, and that's as a freshman. They also brought in some intriguing defensive players in Jamar Adams and Clifton Garrett, and a QB by the name of Brandon Harris. This team should be right up there in the rankings once again. Not to mention, 7 of the 8 recruits added were in the top 50.
- Georgia (6 out of the Top 100) - Georgia was a team that was so close last year to being great, but after they lost Todd Gurley, it all went downhill. Oh, and it didn't help that Aaron Murray tore his ACL in late November. Aside from all that bad news, Georgia had an impressive recruitment process, locking in 6 of the top 100 recruits. This team will look to bounce back in a big way next season with a vastly improved defense.
- Florida (6 out of the Top 100) - Florida was not as impressive as we're used to seeing them last season, ending with 7 consecutive losses. Florida still has some good pieces around them to work with, and they added 4 Top 50 recruits. The only worry here for Florida is that they lost three starting cornerbacks in Louchiez Purifoy, Jaylen Watkins and Marcus Roberson, and a talented defensive lineman in Dominique Easley. It'll be interesting to see if Florida can rebound from one of their worst seasons this millennium.
- Ohio State (5 out of the Top 100) - Here we go with Ohio State, led by future Hall of Fame coach Urban Meyer. It seems that wherever Urban Meyer goes, he brings in some top talent, including 3 of the Top 50. They lost Ryan Shazier which was a big blow, but they found a good replacement in Raekwon McMillan, who is the #13 ranked recruit. Meyer just knows how to fill holes with talent, which will make Ohio State a force to be reckoned with next season.
Alright, after talking about the best recruiting classes, it may be a little easier to predict the Preseason Top 25. Let's go right into it then, for we know you're all excited! There may be a few surprising placements here, but that's for you to decide.
- Florida State
- Ohio State
- Michigan State
- South Carolina
- Notre Dame
- Texas A&M
- Oklahoma State
- Kansas State
There we have it. It may be a bit of a surprise that Alabama isn't at the top because that's typically where we see them. Sure Alabama had a great recruiting class and we should know to never count them out, but Florida State won it all last year and they have a guy named Jameis Winston at QB. It was a little hard putting Michigan State as high as we did because they didn't really add much via recruitment (Only one player recruited in the top 100). The most difficult choice was putting Baylor "all the way down" at 13. Baylor has a lot of good pieces working together, led by the best QB in the country, Bryce Petty. They'll be much higher than 13th come the end of the season. Now let's transition over to which of these teams listed, and even some not listed, could be Breakout Candidates to go places we never imagined.
What exactly makes a Breakout Candidate? Well, simply put, it involves a team that exceeds our expectations. Who could be considered a breakout team this year you ask? Let's take a gander.
- Nebraska - Nebraska has the best chance of making a big splash in the Big 10. They have one of the top defensive prospects in the country in Defensive End Randy Gregory. They have Tommy Armstrong in at QB, who had the luxury of working in the Husker's offense while Taylor Martinez was injured last season. Pair Armstrong with WR Kenny Bell and RB Ameer Abdullah, who may be the top offensive duo in the country, Nebraska could end up higher than rivals Michigan State and Michigan in the final AP Top 25.
- USC - Remember a few years ago when USC was ranked #1 in the preseason rankings? Yeah, that didn't work out so well. This year is a totally different story, they have a lot of talent, even after losing Marqise Lee to the draft. USC had the best defense in the Pac-12 last season, and 7 of the 11 players from that defense return, including the best Defensive End/Defensive Tackle hybrid in the Nation, Leonard Williams. This team should be poised to succeed if they can get the ball rolling offensively.
- Washington - The Huskies don't get much attention in the Pac-12 because of Oregon and USC, but this team could be a real contender this season. Washington did lose Keith Price, Bishop Sankey and 6 starters from their defense, which could cause some problems, but they brough in Chris Petersen as their new Head Coach. After luring Petersen away from Boise State, there is renewed confidence in this Huskies team in 2014.
- South Carolina - You may be wondering why South Carolina would be considered a breakout candidate after having such a good year last year. It's because they lost the best Defensive Player this country has seen in a long time in Jadeveon Clowney. Losing a player of his talent is always a hard thing to deal with, so South Carolina succeeding defensively would be a bit of a surprise. Focusing on the positives now, they have a good nucleus on offense and should fair pretty well on defense to give them a better record than most would suppose.
- Wisconsin - This Badger team will have to tussle with MSU and a rising Nebraska team. That makes things pretty difficult. But Wisconsin always finds a way to have a solid defense and that running game is unbelievable. Melvin Gordon could be the best running back in the country not named Todd Gurley. Wisconsin's QB play could be a huge question mark, but with the running game they have, that's not as big of a problem.
So after talking about these Breakout Candidates, you may have some questions, but please wait till you get to the bottom of the article, that's what the comments section is for. We will now transition over to the Top 5 Heisman contenders, some of whom may belong to a breakout team or two.
Top 5 Heisman Candidates:
- Todd Gurley - Gurley missed 3 weeks last season due to an ankle injury, but he still posted impressive numbers for the season. If he would have played the whole season, he could have won the Heisman last year. He's the favorite heading into the season because of how talented he is, and the fact that he's putting these numbers up against some of the top defenses in the nation. This year should be no different.
- Jameis Winston - Famous Jameis won the Heisman last year after an impressive Freshman year at the helm of Florida State's offense. He led the team to a National Title, and he played like he was on fire. He may have lost Kelvin Benjamin, Devonta Freeman and James Wilder Jr., but he should be able to survive and thrive without them, considering the depth of their offense. Winston has a great chance at repeating as the Heisman winner.
- Melvin Gordon - Wisconsin always has a great offensive line, it seems, so this should be no surprise. Gordon played lights out last year and was easily the top running back in the country. He's in a run-first offense that doesn't have solid QB play, so he should once again take over on offense. His numbers should rise this season, even after rushing for over 1,600 yards and 12 TD's. Who knows, he may even leapfrog Winston in the Heisman voting by January.
- Bryce Petty - This kid is easily the best QB in the country outside of Jameis Winston. He's the kind of QB you'd create on Madden. He's got a great arm, pinpoint accuracy and some good mobility which would allow him to escape the pocket in times of need. His case for Heisman winner could be further boosted for the fact that he doesn't face many top defenses. Petty should tear up the Big 12 yet again.
- Braxton Miller/Marcus Mariota (Tie) - It was just so hard to choose between Miller and Mariota because they both offer so much to the sport. They're extremely mobile QB's who are as good running the ball as they are passing it. This tie could become a reality by the end of the season because of how closley they can be compared.
Now for the big shabang, The National Title game Prediction. This is the most anticipated game in all of College Sports, even more so than the National Championship game in college basketball. So here we go, who will be in the big game?
Alabama vs. Oregon
Yep, you heard it right, Oregon will be in the National Title game. It won't come as a surprise that Alabama will make it, especially after their aforementioned #1 recruiting class. Alabama has everything it takes to make it to the big game. They may have lost A.J. McCarron, but when you have T.J. Yeldon and Amari Cooper on your offense, you should be just fine no matter who your QB is. Plus Alabama always puts out a stellar defense year in and year out.
The real surprise here is Oregon. Not many would put them in the Nat'l Title game simply because they aren't in the toughest conference in the country, and many of their wins may seem like flukes. But when you have Marcus Mariota, who may be considered the top QB in the nation by some, you've always got a chance. And hey, playing in the Pac-12 should give you a pretty good shot at winning some games (look at the bottom half of the league).
We're not going to predict the winner, because it's too hard to pick. Alabama is so good, it seems like they should just be given the trophy, but last year showed that they struggle in big games, and Oregon can take advantage of that. It will be an exciting game if it comes to fruition.