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CFB 2017-18 Preview/Predictions
Published at 9/1/2017
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Millen  Bill


So, the NCAAF season is about to get underway, and while week 1 isn't as good as last year's week 1, we still have a championship preview in 3 FSU vs 1 Alabama. But before that, here is my full CFB preview, focusing on Power 5 teams.

Rankings (75) with season predictions: (1st 4 are playoff, first 2 are championship teams, 1 is the winner)

1. Florida State Seminoles (Predicted record: 12-0) ACC Winners

Key players: QB Deondre' Francois, RB Cam Akers (freshman), CB Tarvarus Mcfadden, DT Derrick Nnadi, S Derwin James, LB Matthew Thomas, DE Josh Sweat, TE Marvin Saunders, WR Keith Gavin, DE Brian Burns

FSU opens the season with Alabama, an immediate test, but I think FSU's talent is just enough to outmatch Bama in a battle of 2 great coaches, in Jimbo Fischer and Nick Saban. If they beat Bama, I don't see them losing again. Their defense is top 5 in the country, Francois is a very solid QB (when healthy), and Cam Akers, while not expected to immediately replace Dalvin Cook, should mostly replace his production along with Junior RB Jacques Patrick. The WR group doesn't have a specific player with a lot of volume last year, but expect WR's Keith Gavin and Nyqwan Murray should provide Francois with adequate targets. The O-Line must improve. Then, the defense features a D-Line that combined for 23 sacks with Nnadi, Brian Burns, and Josh Sweat. Senior LB Matthew Thomas, one of their leading tacklers, returns to anchor the defense, and the secondary has Derwin James, this year's Jabrill Peppers (but a better pass defender) and shutdown corner in Mcfadden. This team looks like a championship team with all-around talent, even with tough games against Miami, NC State, Clemson, Louisville, and Florida.

2. Ohio State Buckeyes (12-0) Big Ten Winners

Key players: QB JT Barrett, RB Mike Weber, WR Parris Campbell, DE Tyquan Lewis, DE Nick Bosa, DE Sam Hubbard, LB Jerome Baker

OSU is ready for a revenge run for their 31-0 loss to champions Clemson. Newly hired OC Kevin Wilson should be able to help JT Barrett take the next step to become a QB who can throw well from the pocket. He gets back RB Mike Weber, who was very good last season, plus gets Freshmen RB's Antonio Williams and JK Dobbins to make a great RB group, but loses H-Back Curtis Samuel and WR Noah Brown, though Parris Campbell is expected to take the next step to replace Samuel. They'll need another player to step up, as well as TE Marcus Baugh to produce more. The defense returns a stacked front 7 and an incredible group of DL's, but lost 3 of 4 starters from the secondary. Freshmen top ranked DB's Shaun Wade and Jeffrey Okudah need to come in and produce next to remaining starter Damon Webb and returnee Denzel Ward. OSU is a title contender, but I don't think they'll beat FSU.

3. Alabama Crimson Tide (11-1, L vs FSU) SEC Winners Key players: QB Jalen Hurts, RB Bo Scarbrough, WR Calvin Ridley, Cb Anthony Averett, DB Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB Ronnie Harrison, LB Shaun Dion Hamilton, DE Da'shawn Hand, DT Da'Ron Payne, RB Damien Harris, LT Jonah Williams

 Don't be surprised if LSU ends up here instead of Bama. 

4. USC Trojans (11-1, L vs Notre Dame) Pac-12 Winners Key Players: QB Sam Darnold, RB Ronald Jones II, LB Cameron Smith, Cb Iman Marshall, LB Porter Gustin, WR Deontay Burnett

5. Oklahoma State Cowboys (11-1, L vs K-State) Big 12 Winners Key Players: QB Mason Rudolph, RB Justice Hill, WR James Washington, LB Chad Whitener, S Tre Flowers, WR Jalen McClesky, CB Ramon Richards

6. Penn State (11-1, L vs OSU) Key Players: QB Trace Mcsorley, RB Saquon Barkley, WR Daesean Hamilton, WR DeAndre Thompkins, TE Mike Gesicki, DB Marcus Allen, LB Jason Cabinda

7. Clemson Tigers (11-1, L vs FSU) Key Players: QB Kelly Bryant, WR Deon Cain, DT Christian Wilkins, DE Clellin Ferell, DT Dexter Lawrence, LB Kendall Joseph, OT Mitch Hyatt, S Van Smith

8. LSU Tigers (11-1, L vs Alabama) Key Players: QB Danny Etling, RB Derrius Guice, WR DJ Chark, DE Arden Key, CB Kevin Toliver II, DB Donte Jackson, DT Christian Lacouture, S Ed Paris, OL Will Clapp and KJ Malone

9.  Washington Huskies (11-1, L vs UCLA) Key Players: QB Jake Browning, RB Myles Gaskin, RB Lavon Coleman, WR Dante Petis, OT Trey Adams, C Coleman Shelton, DL Vita Vea, DL Greg Gaines, LB Azeem Victor, LB Keishawn Bierria, S Taylor Rapp

10. Oklahoma Sooners (10-2, L vs OSU and OKSU) Key Players:QB Baker Mayfield, OT Orlando Brown, CB Jordan Thomas, WR Jeff Badet

11. Louisville Cardinals (10-2, L vs Clemson and FSU) Key players: QB Lamar Jackson, LB James Hearns, CB Jaire Alexander, WR Jaylen Smith, DE Trevon Young

12. Michigan Wolverines (10-2, L vs OSU and Penn State) Key players: QB Wilton Speight, RB Chris Evans, OL Mason Cole, OL Ben Bredeson, DE Rashan Gary, DT Maurice Hurst, DT Bryan Mone, DE Chase Winovich, LB Mike McCray

13. Georgia Bulldogs (10-2, L vs Notre Dame and Auburn) Key players: QB Jacob Eason, RB Nick Chubb, RB Sony Michel, OL Isaiah Wynn, LB Roquan Smith, DL Trenton Thompson. 

14. Stanford Cardinal (10-2, L vs USC and Washington) Key players: QB Keller Chryst, RB Bryce Love, WR Trenton Irwin, TE Dalton Schultz, OL Nate Herbig, LB Joey Alfieri, CB Quenton Meeks, CB Alijah Holder, S Justin Reid

15. Miami Hurricanes (10-2, L vs FSU and North Carolina) Key players: RB Mark Walton, WR Ahmmon Richards, TE Christopher Herndon, LB Shaq Quarterman, DE Joe Jackson, DT Kendrick Norton, DB Dee Delaney

16. South Florida Bulls (12-0)AAC Winners Key players:QB Quinton Flowers, RB D'ERnest Johnson, DL Josh Black, WR Temi Alaka,D Josh Love

17. Northwestern Wildcats (10-2, L vs Penn State, )Key players: RB Justin Jackson, S Godwin Igwebuike, QB Clayton Thorson, LB Nate Hall, WR Flynn Nagel and Jalen Brown, TE/FB

18. Auburn Tigers (9-3, L vs Clemson, LSU, and Alabama) Key players: QB Jarrett Stidham, RB Kamryn Pettway, RB Kerryon Johnson, OT Braden Smith, WR Nate Craig-Myers, DL Marlon Davidson, S Tray Matthews, CB Carlton Davis.

19. Wisconsin Badgers (9-3, L vs Northwestern, Michigan, Illinois) Key players: LB T.J. Edwards, DB D'Cota Dixon, RB Bradrick Shaw, WR Jazz Peavy, TE Troy Fumagalli, C Michael Deiter

20. Notre Dame (9-3, L vs Miami, Stanford, NC State) Key players: QB brandon Wimbus

21. Kansas State Wildcats (9-3, L vs Vandy, Oklahoma, West Virginia)

22. NC State (9-3, L vs Louisville, Clemson, FSU)

23. West Virginia Mountaineers (9-3, L vs OKSU, Oklahoma, Texas)

24. Washington State (9-3, L vs Stanford, Washington, USC) Key players: QB Luke Falk

25. Florida Gators (8-4, L vs Michigan, LSU, Georgia, FSU) Key players: All 3 QB's (Malik Zaire, Luke Del Rio, the other Felip guy

26. Virginia Tech (8-4, L vs Clemson, W Virginia, Miami, Pittsburgh)

27. Tennessee Volunteers (8-4, L vs LSU, Alabama, Florida, Georgia)

28. Texas Longhorns (8-4, L vs Oklahoma State, K State, USC, Oklahoma)

29. UCLA Bruins (9-3, L vs USC, Washington, Stanford) Key players: QB Josh Rosen

30. Wyoming (11-1, L vs Oregon) Key Players: QB Josh Allen

31. Oregon Ducks (8-4, L vs Washington, Washington State, Stanford, UCLA)

32. Boise State Broncos (10-2, L vs Wyoming, Washington State) Mountain West Winners

34. BYU Cougars (7-5, L vs LSU, Wisconsin, Boise State, Mississippi State, Utah)

33. Mississippi State (8-4, L vs LSU, Georgia, AUburn, Alabama)

35. TCU Horned Frogs (7-5/8-4, L vs OKSU, W Virginia, Texas, Oklahoma, K State)

36. Colorado Buffaloes (7-5 L vs Utah, USC, UCLA< Washington, Washington State)

37. Georgia Tech (7-5, L vs North Carolina, V Tech, Georgia, Miami, Clemson)

38. Arkansas Razorbacks (7-5, L vs LSU, Alabama, Auburn, Mississippi State, TCU)

39. Toledo (11-1, L vs Miami, MAC winners)

40. Pittsburgh (6-6, L vs North Carolina, NC State, Penn State, Oklahoma State, V Tech, Miami)

41. Louisiana Tech (C-USA winners, 10-2, L vs Mississippi State, South Carolina)

42. Troy (10-2, L vs Boise State, LSU, Sun Belt winners)

43. Memphis Tigers (10-2, L vs UCLA and Houston)

44. South Carolina (6-6, L vs Arkansas, NC State, Clemson, Tenessee, Georgia, Florida)

45. Texas A&M Aggies (6-6, L vs

46. Nebraska Cornhuskers (7-5, L vs Oregon, Northwestern, Wisconsin, OSU, Penn State)

47. Houston (9-3, L vs Arizona, Navy, USF)

48. North Carolina Tar Heels (7-5, L vs NC State, Louisville, Notre Dame, Miami, V Tech)

49. Indiana Hoosiers (7-5, L vs OSU, Michigan, Penn State, Wisconsin, Illinois)

50. Utah Utes (6-6, L vs Washington, Oregon, UCLA, Washington State, Stanford, UCLA)

51. Illinois Fighting Illini (7-5, L vs OSU, Wisconsin, Northwestern, USF, Nebraska) Key players: QB Chayce Crouch, RB Kendrick Foster, WR Malik Turner, LB Tre Watson, SS Patrick Nelson, WR Mike Dudek

Michigan State will suck but LJ Scott will be great

Teams with higher records in 7-5 or 6-6 go first.






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