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The 2016-17 academy football analysis was a tremendous, ceaseless run of absurd action. But now that it’s over, can we go advanced and alpha the 2017 analysis already?
Sadly, it will be about seven months until we accept allusive amateur again—unless you put a lot of banal in bounce football, and if so, acceptable on you. But if not, it’s activity to be a while afore this admirable sports has annihilation alarming to discuss. That is, added than Bleacher Report’s Super Aboriginal Top 25 for aing season.
This poll is voted on by 10 associates of Bleacher Report’s academy football staff: Michael Felder, David Kenyon, Adam Kramer, Brian Pedersen, David Regimbal, Barrett Sallee, Brad Shepard, Greg Wallace, Christopher Walsh and Eric Yates.
First-place votes are account 25 points, with anniversary afterwards point account one beneath point all the way bottomward to one for 25th place. The 25 teams with the best poll credibility accomplish our list, but we’ve additionally acclaimed some of those who aloof absent the cut.
Check out how we see things sitting branch into the offseason, again accord us your thoughts in the comments section.
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Quarterback Clayton Thorson and crammer active aback Justin Jackson acknowledgment in 2017 for the Wildcats, but they lose top receiver Austin Carr and arresting standout Anthony Walker. Northwestern could accept the best breach in the Big Ten’s West Analysis aing year.
Gone are academy career sack baton Derek Barnett and several key abhorrent stars, including quarterback Joshua Dobbs. But Tennessee is still the Best of Life and no one can booty that abroad from Butch Jones and his staff.
Kevin Sumlin’s Aggies backslid to accomplishment 2016 abundant the way they did the antecedent few seasons, but able recruiting has abeyant stars cat-and-mouse for their shots. A&M will be adolescent at quarterback but should body about 1,000-yard rusher Trayveon Williams, aback it’s 29-0 beneath Sumlin aback accepting 200-plus yards on the ground.
Last analysis was already branch decline afore quarterback Josh Rosen got hurt, but his acknowledgment brings achievement for UCLA. So does abacus Jedd Fisch as abhorrent coordinator afterwards the success he had developing Michigan’s passers the aftermost two years.
Justin Fuente fabricated the alteration from allegorical drillmaster Frank Beamer a seamless one in 2016, but he’ll be starting over on breach afterwards record-setting quarterback Jerod Evans and top receivers Isaiah Ford and Bucky Hodges all declared for the NFL draft.
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Poll points: 20
Top abiding players: RB Josh Adams, LB Te’von Coney, OL Mike McGlinchey, LB Nyles Morgan, WR Equanimeous St. Brown, WR Kevin Stepherson, S Drue Tranquill
Biggest losses: DT Jarron Jones, QB DeShone Kizer, CB Cole Luke, LB James Onwualu, QB Malik Zaire
2017 opener: Sept. 2 vs. Temple
Notre Dame’s 4-8 almanac in 2016 was its affliction aback 2007, and while things were bad, it wasn’t a absolute disaster. Seven of the losses were by eight credibility or fewer, mostly because of a aegis that couldn’t accomplish a stop and appropriately will be beneath new administration in the anatomy of Mike Elko.
The aforementioned goes for the Fighting Irish’s hit-and-miss offense, with Mike Sanford, now active Western Kentucky, replaced by Chip Long. Drillmaster Brian Kelly will allocate him with putting calm a arrangement that a absolutely ambiguous quarterback can advance in as one passer (DeShone Kizer) is axis pro and the added (Malik Zaire) is transferring.
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Poll points: 33
Top abiding players: RB Alex Barnes, FB Winston Dimel, QB Jesse Ertz, WR Dominique Heath, WR Byron Pringle, CB D.J. Reed, CB Duke Shelley, DE Reggie Walker
Biggest losses: WR Deante Burton, RB Charles Jones, LB Elijah Lee, DE Jordan Willis
2017 opener: Sept. 2 vs. Central Arkansas
Let’s get this out of the way: Bill Snyder is a astrologer and he may aloof alive forever. At 77, he’s d no signs of stopping, and with one of his best sets of returners in years, his 2017 Kansas State aggregation could be amid the best acknowledged of his actual continued career.
The affairs for aing analysis would accept been abundant bigger had arch tackler Elijah Lee not autonomous to abandon his chief year, but the Wildcats accept affluence advancing aback to accomplish up for his departure. Accession analysis of a advantageous Jesse Ertz active and casual out of K-State’s old-school formations will be fun for us to watch and arresting for opponents to accord with.
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Poll points: 34
Top abiding players: RB Zack Moss, QB Troy Williams, P Mitch Wishnowsky
Biggest losses: OL Garett Bolles, DE Hunter Dimick, WR Tim Patrick, K Andy Phillips, DE Pita Taumoepenu, RB Joe Williams, S Marcus Williams
2017 opener: Aug. 31 vs. North Dakota
With so abounding cogent losses, not aloof on breach and defense, but additionally appropriate teams in the anatomy of ultra-reliable article Andy Phillips, why in the apple did our voters rank Utah for 2017? Because we’ve abstruse not to calculation out the Utes as continued as Kyle Whittingham is in charge.
The Pac-12’s longest-tenured drillmaster by six years—he’s been with the Utes aback 2005—always manages to acquisition a way to alter ancient players, and we’re assured the aforementioned aing year. It could be harder to do than on best occasions, but if Troy Williams can body off a solid 2,757-yard, 20-total touchdown inferior campaign, there’s allowance for optimism.
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Poll points: 43
Top abiding players: WR Bryce Bobo, WR Shay Fields, LB Rick Gamboa, RB Phillip Lindsay, QB Steven Montez
Biggest losses: CB Chidobe Awuzie, QB Sefo Liufau, LB Kenneth Olugbode, S Tedric Thompson, CB Ahkello Witherspoon
2017 opener: Sept. 2 vs. Colorado State (in Denver)
Colorado was one of the bigger surprises of 2016, activity from 4-9 in 2015 to 10 wins and a Pac-12 South Analysis title. The Buffaloes won’t be cheating up on anyone aing season, but they additionally won’t accept the aforementioned lockdown aegis to clip accession push.
In accession to accident best of the best players from a ancillary that captivated six teams to beneath 20 points, Colorado absent arresting coordinator Jim Leavitt to new Oregon drillmaster Willie Taggart’s staff. The Buffaloes may charge to angular aboriginal on their defense, as the breach is accident career casual baton Sefo Liufau, who will be replaced by oft-used advancement passer Steven Montez.
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Poll points: 56
Top abiding players: RB Justin Crawford, RB Kennedy McKoy, RB Martell Pettaway
Biggest losses: LB Justin Arndt, CB Rasul Douglas, WR Shelton Gibson, QB Skyler Howard, OL Tyler Orlosky, RB Rushel Shell III, WR Daikiel Shorts Jr.
2017 opener: Sept. 2 vs. Virginia Tech (in Landover, Maryland)
West Virginia will be mostly starting over on aegis with the accident of eight starters, never the best way to arch into the offseason aback arena in the offensive-minded Big 12. The Mountaineers additionally say goodbye to their starting quarterback and a dependable rusher, but those areas are abundant added abounding for the future.
Will Grier, who shined for Florida in 2015 afore accepting abeyant for actionable the NCAA’s biologic policy, will be acceptable aing season. He’ll accept no curtailment of players to duke off to as Justin Crawford ran for 1,184 yards this accomplished year, including a 331-yard d adjoin Oklahoma, while Kennedy McKoy and Martell Pettway anniversary had 100-yard amateur as freshmen.
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Poll points: 58
Top abiding players: QB Quinton Flowers, RB D’Ernest Johnson, CB Deatrick Nichols, LB Auggie Sanchez
Biggest losses: WR Rodney Adams, LB Nigel Harris, RB Marlon Mack
2017 opener: Aug. 26 at San Jose State
The sole non-power appointment aggregation in our rankings is alone advised as such because of its adjustment in the American Athletic Conference. South Florida’s aptitude is commensurable with abounding adeptness programs, and the accession of Charlie Able as arch drillmaster furthers that notion.
Strong’s arresting accomplishments should amalgamate with a about complete aegis to acutely advance that breadth for the Bulls, who in 2016 accustomed 31.6 credibility per game. They additionally denticulate 43.8 per d abaft the dual-threat abilities of Quinton Flowers. He may still acknowledge for the NFL draft, but as of now, Flowers is set to acknowledgment afterwards a inferior analysis in which he threw for 2,807 yards and 24 touchdowns and ran for 1,530 yards and 18 scores.
Losing Marlon Mack is significant, but D’Ernest Johnson was a able advancement who tallied for 14 TDs this accomplished year.
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Poll points: 58
Top abiding players: DE Joe Jackson, WR Ahmmon Richards, LB Shaquille Quarterman, RB Mark Walton
Biggest losses: WR Stacy Coley, CB Corn Elder, LB Jermaine Grace, S Rayshawn Jenkins, QB Brad Kaaya, TE David Njoku, RB Joseph Yearby
2017 opener: Sept. 2 vs. TBD
Mark Richt’s aboriginal analysis at his alma academy produced nine wins, including bristles beeline to end the year. The Russell Athletic Bowl achievement over West Virginia was a acceptable springboard into the offseason. Now Richt gets to actualization what he can do with a aggregation fabricated up of added of his own players as graduation and the allurement of the NFL abstract has attenuated the roster.
The above Hurricanes quarterback has to analyze academy career casual baton Brad Kaaya’s successor. Advancement Malik Rosier attempted alone four passes in three amateur in 2016, and there will be a bulk of ambiguous players (including two from the 2017 recruiting class) that could be in the mix.
Miami accustomed 18.5 credibility per d in 2016, second-best in the ACC, looks able in the advanced seven but has some holes in the secondary.
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Poll points: 64
Top abiding players: QB Shane Buechele, WR Devin Duvernay, WR Armanti Foreman, LB Malik Jefferson, DT Poona Ford, RB Chris Warren III, OL Connor Williams
Biggest losses: RB D’Onta Foreman, S Dylan Haines, QB Tyrone Swoopes
2017 opener: Sept 2. vs. Maryland
There will be no first-year chargeless canyon for Tom Herman at Texas, not with what above drillmaster Charlie Able larboard abaft in Austin. Able didn’t get abundant time to actualization what he could do with all the aptitude he assembled, and as a result, Herman will be accepted to win appropriate away. Based on what he has to assignment with, that shouldn’t be a problem.
Other than D’Onta Foreman’s absolutely barefaced jump to the pros afterwards his 2,028-yard inferior season, Texas brings aback about the absolute aggregation that was on the acreage at the end of 2016. That’s not necessarily the greatest affair for the Longhorns defense, which accustomed 31.5 credibility per game, but with Herman bringing coordinator Todd Orlando with him from Houston, apprehend that assemblage to accomplish a apparent improvement.
Shane Buechele should body off a able accurate apprentice analysis in which he threw for 2,958 yards and 21 touchdowns, and the acknowledgment of Chris Warren from a knee abrasion that bound him to four amateur in 2016 should advice ample the abandoned larboard by Foreman.
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Poll points: 74
Top abiding players: WR Antonio Callaway, CB Chauncey Gardner, S Marcell Harris, OL Martez Ivey, K Eddy Pineiro, RB Jordan Scarlett, DE Jabari Zuniga
Biggest losses: LB Alex Anzalone, QB Austin Appleby, DT Caleb Brantley, LB Jarrad Davis, OL David Sharpe, CB Teez Tabor, CB Quincy Wilson
2017 opener: Sept. 2 vs. Michigan (in Arlington, Texas)
Florida has won the aftermost two SEC East Analysis titles, but in abounding ways, they acquainted like victories by default, as the blow of the analysis bootless to alive up to expectations and enabled the Gators to booty the top atom admitting some woefully bad offense. Don’t apprehend them to be able to get by with the aforementioned blueprint in 2017, admitting able abiding rushers and pass-catchers put the Gators in a bigger position than in the contempo past.
It will all depend on what Florida does at quarterback. Austin Appleby was a one-year rental and now it’s up to accession from the accumulation of Luke Del Rio, Feleipe Franks, Kyle Trask or admission accomplish Jake Allen to appear as a accurate performer.
This is alike added acute for aing season, aback Florida’s defense, which it has leaned on so abundant beneath drillmaster Jim McElwain, has already absent four players to aboriginal NFL abstract declarations in accession to linebacker Jarrad Davis.
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Poll points: 95
Top abiding players: LB Joey Alfieri, WR JJ Arcega-Whiteside, WR Trenton Irwin, RB Bryce Love
Biggest losses: S Dallas Lloyd, RB Christian McCaffrey, WR Michael Rector, DE Solomon Thomas
2017 opener: Sept. 2 at Rice
Stanford is accident an absurd advantageous blackmail in Christian McCaffrey, a alive apostle in Solomon Thomas and affluence of added notable pieces. Yet the Cardinal, which concluded on a six-game win band afterwards aperture 4-3, attending to be reloading rather than rebuilding.
Bryce Love could be a dark-horse Heisman Bays applicant as he takes over for McCaffrey in the backfield. As a sopre, he ran for 783 yards and averaged 7.05 yards per carry, topping 100 yards three times including in both amateur in which he started in abode of McCaffrey.
The Cardinal alum two starters on the abhorrent band but will add the two best accouterment affairs in the 2017 chic in Foster Sarell and Walker Little. Their quarterback bearings is ambiguous afterwards Keller Chryst tore his ACL in the Sun Bowl, but K.J. Costello could be a to booty over afterwards redshirting in 2016.
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Poll points: 99
Top abiding players: K Rodrigo Blankenship, LB Lorenzo Carter, RB Nick Chubb, QB Jacob Eason, WR Terry Godwin, RB Sony Michel, S Dominick Sanders, DT Trenton Thompson
Biggest losses: OL Brandon Kublanow, WR Isaiah McKenzie, OL Greg Pyke, CB Maurice Smith
2017 opener: Sept. 2 vs. Appalachian State
Kirby Smart got a bit of a canyon in his aboriginal analysis apprenticeship Georgia, but there won’t be any such elbowroom in 2017. The Bulldogs will accompany aback added aptitude than anyone abroad in the SEC East by a advanced margin, and annihilation abbreviate of a analysis appellation will be advised a above disappointment.
That was the case alike afore inferior active backs Nick Chubb and Sony Michel both absitively to appear back. With them in tow, Georgia’s breach has all the weapons it needs but will accept to clean an abhorrent band that is accident three starters.
Georgia’s aegis is set to acknowledgment about complete and is abacus some actual advice in the anatomy of the nation’s No. 2 recruiting class.
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Poll points: 100
Top abiding players: K Daniel Carlson, DE Marlon Davidson, RB Kerryon Johnson, S Tray Matthews, RB Kamryn Pettway, QB Sean White
Biggest losses: DT Montravius Adams, CB Joshua Holsey, OL Alex Kozan, DE Carl Lawson, WR Tony Stevens
2017 opener: Sept. 2 vs. Georgia Southern
Since accident the final BCS championship d afterwards the 2013 season, Auburn has gone a accumulated 23-16 with no bigger than the 8-5 almanac it had this accomplished year. Still, the Tigers accept the aptitude to be a amateur in the ultra-tough SEC West and should activate 2017 ranked, clashing aftermost season.
A assembly of ball-carriers will be at Auburn’s auctioning with the leash of Kerryon Johnson, Kam Martin and Kamryn Pettway accumulation for 2,439 yards and 21 touchdowns in 2016. Their active adeptness will accompaniment whoever ends up actuality quarterback, whether its Sean White or ex-Baylor passer Jarrett Stidham.
Auburn’s aegis accustomed 17.1 credibility per game, but abounding of its top players are affective on.
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Poll points: 121
Top abiding players: WR D.J. Chark, WR Malachi Dupre, QB Danny Etling, RB Derrius Guice, DE Arden Key, CB Donte Jackson
Biggest losses: S Jamal Adams, LB Kendell Beckwith, RB Leonard Fournette, DT Davon Godchaux, C Ethan Pocic, LB Duke Riley, CB Tre’Davious White
2017 opener: Sept. 2 vs. BYU (in Houston)
There are few certainties in academy football, but one of them is aerial expectations for LSU activity into a analysis behindhand of what happened the year before. Clashing the contempo past, though, the Tigers arch into the offseason on a about aerial agenda based on how they played beneath drillmaster Ed Orgeron.
That doesn’t beggarly LSU isn’t activity to accept to alter some big departures, admitting its perennially able recruiting should advice with best of that.
Leonard Fournette’s advancement already emerged during the additional bisected of 2016 in the anatomy of Derrius Guice, who is a to claiming all of the annal Fournette set during his career. Guice is already able-bodied on his way, accepting run for a single-game almanac 285 yards and four touchdowns adjoin Texas A&M on Thanksgiving en avenue to 1,387 yards and 15 TDs for the year.
Danny Etling brought adherence to the quarterback position, but the Purdue alteration isn’t affirmed the starting job in 2017. LSU’s admission recruiting chic includes two casual prospects, best conspicuously 4-star Myles Brennan.
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Poll points: 131
Top abiding players: LB T.J. Edwards, TE Troy Fumagalli, QB Alex Hornibrook, WR Jazz Peavy
Biggest losses: LB Vince Biegel, RB Corey Clement, QB Bart Houston, S Leo Musso, RB Dare Ogunbowale, CB Sojourn Shelton, LB T.J. Watt, WR Robert Wheelwright
2017 opener: Sept. 1 vs. Utah State
Wisconsin may accept been the greatest three-loss aggregation in academy football history afterwards abyssal through a abundantly boxy 2016 schedule. The 2017 slate isn’t attractive as challenging, but the Badgers additionally won’t be as loaded with acquaintance as they were this accomplished season.
A above catechism mark is whether Alex Hornibrook, who breach snaps with Bart Houston at quarterback, is accessible to be the full-time guy. He alone attempted 31 passes in Wisconsin’s final four amateur and had seven interceptions adjoin nine touchdowns for the year.
Also ambiguous is the approaching of larboard accouterment Ryan Ramczyk, a accord All-American who Bleacher Report NFL abstract able Matt Miller has called as a first-round pick. He’s yet to acknowledge or advertise his return, but alike afterwards him, Wisconsin would be in acceptable actualization on the abhorrent band with four added starters set to return.
And the aegis will still be good, losses aside. That ancillary of the brawl has been a Midwestern basic for years and that should continue.
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Poll points: 139
Top abiding players: RB Justice Hill, QB Mason Rudolph, WR James Washington
Biggest losses: DT Motekiai Maile, WR Jhajuan Seales, S Jordan Sterns, DT Vincent Taylor
2017 opener: Sept. 2 vs. Tulsa
Mason Rudolph needs 547 yards to become Oklahoma State’s career casual leader. James Washington has averaged 19.2 yards per accession and is already one of the best receivers in academy history. And Justice Hill ran for 1,142 yards as a freshman, breaking Thurman Thomas’ academy record.
The Cowboys are ample on breach like few added teams are for 2017, and a sixth 10-win analysis in the aftermost eight years looks possible. OK State could additionally accomplish an actualization in the Big 12 championship game.
OK State’s bigger aperture to ample is on the autogenous of the arresting line. Tackles Motekiai Maile and Vincent Taylor accumulated for 10 sacks and 19 tackles for accident this accomplished season.
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Poll points: 139
Top abiding players: CB Jaire Alexander, LB James Hearns, QB Lamar Jackson, WR Jaylen Smith, RB Jeremy Smith
Biggest losses: DT DeAngelo Brown, LB Devonte Fields, TE Cole Hikutini, LB Keith Kelsey, WR James Quick, RB Brandon Radcliff, WR Jamari Staples
2017 opener: Sept. 2 vs. Purdue (in Indianapolis)
Does bringing aback the ascendant Heisman Bays champ accomplish up for a accomplished blend of losses? Louisville is acquisitive so, because alfresco of Lamar Jackson, the Cardinals will be mostly new in agreement of appulse players in 2017.
Louisville has to alter its arch non-quarterback rusher, its top three receivers and its arch tackler (Keith Kelsey), forth with a ample allowance of its advanced seven.
That will put added burden on Jackson to at atomic match—if not surpass—his amazing numbers from this accomplished analysis aback he threw for 3,543 yards and 30 touchdowns and ran for 1,571 yards and 21 scores. In adjustment for that to happen, though, the Cardinals will charge to bank up an abhorrent band that accustomed 47 sacks, third-most in FBS, and graduates two starters.
Despite the abridgement of abiding names added than Jackson, though, don’t calculation the Cardinals out as continued as Bobby Petrino is calling plays.
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Poll points: 172
Top abiding players: OL Ben Bredeson, C Mason Cole, RB Chris Evans, DE Rashan Gary, DT Maurice Hurst, QB Wilton Speight
Biggest losses: OL Ben Braden, TE Jake Butt, DE Taco Charlton, WR Jehu Chesson, WR Amara Darboh, CB Jourdan Lewis, LB Jabrill Peppers, RB De’Veon Smith, DE Chris Wormley
2017 opener: Sept. 2 vs. Florida (in Arlington, Texas)
Jabrill Peppers didn’t comedy in Michigan’s Orange Bowl accident to Florida State because of a hamstring injury, and afterwards he appear Tuesday he was axis pro afterwards his redshirt green analysis it agency we’ve apparent the end of the able star’s academy career.
Our voters went with the acceptance Peppers was gone, which forth with its abounding abandonment appulse seniors agency Michigan has a lot of starters to replace. It additionally agency we’ll get to see aloof how able Jim Harbaugh’s recruiting has been, aback best spots will get abounding with players he’s added the accomplished two years.
Based on the voting, we’re additionally d that these newcomers will be able to fit in aloof accomplished and accumulate the brawl rolling. Harbaugh has gotten the best out of players that he inherited, so we it’s fair to anticipate his access on those he alone recruited to Ann Arbor is alike added persuasive.
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Poll points: 177
Top abiding players: LB Keishawn Bierria, QB Jake Browning, RB Myles Gaskin, WR Chico McClatcher, S Taylor Rapp, DT Vita Vea
Biggest losses: S Budda Baker, CB Sidney Jones, LB Joe Mathis, DT Elijah Qualls, WR John Ross, LB Psalm Wooching
2017 opener: Sept. 1 at Rutgers
The arresting Pac-12 champions charge alter some above stars, decidedly on defense, but with the acknowledgment of the inferior duo of Jake Browning and Myles Gaskin, a additional afterwards appointment appellation and acknowledgment to the playoffs are in play.
Browning threw for 3,430 yards and 43 touchdowns aftermost season, attached the Pac-12 TD almanac in the process, while Gaskin is advancing off back-to-back 1,300-yard hasty efforts. Accession will advance him against the top of the school’s career hasty account as he needs 1,375 to top Chris Polk for first.
Injuries on the arresting ancillary this accomplished analysis enabled Washington to body abyss at abounding key positions, and those ancient backups are accessible to become full-time stars. Tyler Rapp, an FWAA apprentice All-American, led the Huskies with four interceptions, with two of those advancing in the Pac-12 appellation d win over Colorado.
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Poll points: 189
Top abiding players: WR Mark Andrews, QB Baker Mayfield, CB Jordan Thomas
Biggest losses: LB Jordan Evans, RB Joe Mixon, RB Samaje Perine, S Ahmad Thomas, DT Charles Walker, WR Dede Westbrook
2017 opener: Sept. 2. vs. UTEP
Oklahoma had a brace of Heisman Bays finalists in 2016 but couldn’t get into the playoffs. Accepting alone one appear aback agency the affairs shouldn’t be any better, but aback that returner is the active Baker Mayfield, annihilation is possible, and he’s abundant to accede the Sooners a playoff contender.
Dede Westbrook’s graduation and the aboriginal abandonment of rushers Joe Mixon and Samaje Perine beggarly the Sooners will be attractive for some new abhorrent leaders, but they still accept Mayfield for one added year. Mayfield’s adeptness to ad-lib should advice arch the gap while new targets are identified, admitting the aboriginal d at Ohio State will be a above analysis for that rebuilt offense.
The Sooners could acknowledgment as abounding as eight arresting starters if their actual absolute draft-eligible players all stick around, and that could accommodate a able addition while the breach gets settled.
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Poll points: 199
Top abiding players: RB Saquon Barkley, LB Jason Cabinda, TE Mike Gesicki, QB Trace McSorley
Biggest losses: LB Brandon Bell, WR Chris Godwin, DE Evan Schwan, DE Garrett Sickels
2017 opener: Sept. 2 vs. Akron
The agitation will acerbity on as to whether Penn State should accept been in the playoff instead of Ohio State or Washington, but what will be adamantine to altercate is the bulk of aptitude the Nittany Lions will accept on duke for 2017. Unless it has a abruptness advertisement for the NFL abstract from accession like quarterback Trace McSorley, the Lions will access aing analysis as a top playoff contender.
McSorley’s comedy beneath the advice of abhorrent coordinator Joe Moorhead enabled Penn State’s breach to arise this accomplished year, decidedly in the additional bisected of games. He threw for 3,614 yards and 29 touchdowns, with 18 of those TDs advancing afterwards halftime, and active into the offseason accepting befuddled four TD passes in anniversary of his aftermost three games.
Saquon Barkley, who ran for 1,496 yards and 18 TDs in 2016, enters his inferior year defective 1,361 yards to become PSU’s career hasty leader.
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Poll points: 199
Top abiding players: DT Clelin Ferrell, LB Kendall Joseph, DT Dexter Lawrence, WR Ray-Ray McCloud, DE Christian Wilkins
Biggest losses: LB Ben Boulware, RB Wayne Gallman, TE Jordan Leggett, WR Artavis Scott, CB Cordrea Tankersley, DT Carlos Watkins, QB Deshaun Watson, WR Mike Williams
2017 opener: Sept. 2 vs. Kent State
Clemson is the ascendant civic champion, but it is not our voters’ aces to be No. 1 branch into 2017. Don’t alarm this bent but rather an appraisal of what the Tigers accept advancing aback for their appellation defense.
Namely, an experience-lacking breach aback Deshaun Watson, Wayne Gallman and top receivers Artavis Scott and Mike Williams are all abrogation early. However, it’s not a absolutely bald awning on offense, aback Hunter Renfrow, who has bent bristles touchdown passes in the accomplished two playoffs and who snagged the title-winning touchdown on Monday, will be a inferior in 2017.
The Tigers aegis is additionally in acceptable shape, decidedly on the arresting line, area Clelin Ferrell and Christian Wilkins are aback and will serve as the courage of that unit.
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Poll points: 215
Top abiding players: LB Jerome Baker, QB J.T. Barrett, DE Tyquan Lewis, RB Mike Weber
Biggest losses: WR Noah Brown, CB Gareon Conley, C Pat Elflein, S Malik Hooker, LB Raekwon McMillan, RB Curtis Samuel
2017 opener: Aug. 31 at Indiana
Another year, accession annular of aboriginal departures for Ohio State accepting replaced by the aing crop of approaching stars that drillmaster Urban Meyer has recruited to Columbus. It’s not as cogent a about-face as afterwards the 2015 season, but there are some above holes to fill, decidedly in the secondary.
Redshirt green cornerback Marshon Lattimore is still mum on his future, and the Buckeyes accept to alter at atomic two starters from the aback band in Gareon Conley and Malik Hooker. That agency replacing players who had 11 of the Buckeyes’ 21 interceptions and three of their seven pick-sixes. One actuality who could anon accomplish an appulse there is Jeffrey Okudah, the No. 12 amateur in the 2017 recruiting chic who committed to OSU during Saturday’s Army All-American Game.
OSU’s breach won’t charge as abundant rebuilding from a cadre standpoint, with J.T. Barrett advancing aback for his chief year and Mike Weber advancing off a able 1,096-yard achievement as a redshirt freshman. Schematically, though, the Buckeyes will change as above Indiana drillmaster Kevin Wilson comes on as abhorrent coordinator.
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Poll points: 217 (two first-place votes)
Top abiding players: DE Brian Burns, QB Deondre Francois, S Derwin James, CB Tarvarus McFadden, WR Nyqwan Murray, DE Josh Sweat
Biggest losses: RB Dalvin Cook, DE DeMarcus Walker, CB Marquez White
2017 opener: Sept. 2 vs. Alabama (in Atlanta)
Saying goodbye to the school’s single-season and career hasty baton will be tough, but alfresco of Dalvin Cook, the Seminoles are set to accompany aback a appealing ample offense. It’s a about adolescent one as well, starting with Deondre Francois, afterwards he put calm a solid redshirt apprentice analysis with 3,350 yards, 20 touchdowns and bristles hasty scores.
Nyqwan Murray’s achievement in the Orange Bowl—104 accepting yards and two TDs, including the game-winner—bodes able-bodied for FSU’s accepting corps, alike if inferior Travis Rudolph ends up declaring for the draft. The run d will be in the easily of either inferior Jacques Patrick or admission apprentice Cam Akers, the No. 4 anticipation in the 2017 recruiting class.
DeMarcus Walker’s accomplished two seasons on the arresting band produced 26.5 sacks and 36 tackles for loss, but the buffet absolutely isn’t bare. Brian Burns and Josh Sweat accumulated for 15.5 sacks in 2016, and Burns earned FWAA Apprentice All-America honors. FSU will get aback assurance Derwin James afterwards he absent about all of his green analysis with a knee injury.
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Poll points: 235
Top abiding players: QB Sam Darnold, RB Ronald Jones II, CB Iman Marshall, LB Cameron Smith
Biggest losses: CB Adoree’ Jackson, OL Damien Mama, WR JuJu Smith-Schuster, OL Chad Wheeler
2017 opener: Sept. 2 vs. Western Michigan
Few teams concluded the 2016 analysis hotter than USC, which takes a nine-game win band into aing analysis and brings aback a ascent brilliant in Sam Darnold to run its offense. As a redshirt freshman, he threw for 3,086 yards and 31 touchdowns on 67.2 percent casual and he abstracts to be a Heisman Bays applicant aback aing analysis begins.
The Trojans will charge to clean on the abhorrent line, accident both tackles and bouncer Damien Mama from a accumulation that alone accustomed 12 sacks. The new band will accessible holes for Ronald Jones II, who has run for 2,069 yards and 20 TDs in his aboriginal two years but now will get a adventitious to be a featured aback instead of agreeable carries.
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Poll points: 246 (eight first-place votes)
Top abiding players: QB Jalen Hurts, RB Damien Harris, WR Calvin Ridley, RB Bo Scarbrough
Biggest losses: DE Jonathan Allen, LB Ryan Anderson, LB Reuben Foster, TE O.J. Howard, LB Tim Williams
2017 opener: Sept. 2 vs. Florida State (in Atlanta)
Alabama won’t arch into 2017 with a adventitious to be the aboriginal three-time civic best aback Yale in the backward 1800s, but that doesn’t beggarly the Crimson Tide won’t be ample branch into 2017.
A lot will depend on which of the Tide’s abounding abundant draft-eligible players appear back, a account that includes Bo Scarbrough, who who ran for 273 yards and four touchdowns in the final two amateur afterwards actuality a advancement best of the season. Scarbrough is accepted to return, as will best of the non-seniors who will appetite to avenge the last-second accident to Clemson.
A above addition for Alabama will be not accepting to adjudge who its quarterback is in during the offseason. Admitting Jalen Hurts struggled in the civic championship, the sopre-to-be showed he can run things and will assignment with new coordinator Steve Sarkisian to acquisition a able balance.
All slides accounting by Brian J. Pedersen. Follow the columnist on Twitter at @realBJP.
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