I’m starting to prepare myself for the 2018 NFL Draft, and doing so makes me examine the college football landscape during the 2017 season. This preview looks at the Preseason Top-10, dynasty players to watch on these teams, and my playoff predictions. Let’s dive in!
1. Alabama Crimson Tide (projected finish: 11-1)
Nick Saban is yet again on top of a Top-25 poll heading into the season. The defense will continue the trend of being one of the best in the nation. The question will move to the offense and can it be enough to keep them on top all season. I think they lose at least one of the following games this season: Florida State, Tennessee, LSU, or at Auburn.
Dynasty Player to Watch: Calvin Ridley (WR) – He is a big play-maker and main pass catching force for the Alabama offense.
2. Florida State Seminoles (projected finish: 11-1)
Jimbo Fisher this year has the top contender in the ACC, and with that the expectations are sky high. The year is dependent on a solid year from sophomore quarterback Deondre Francois. The defense looks solid returning plenty of talent; the offense looks like it could be the question mark for this playoff contender. They have plenty of questions along their offensive line and if they can protect Francois.
Dynasty Player to Watch: Deondre Francois (QB) – He is draft eligible and with a outstanding year could be in the discussion for a 1st round quarterback.
3. Ohio State Buckeyes (projected finish: 12-0)
Urban Meyer has another chance and plenty of talent to be the coach hoisting the National Championship trophy. J.T. Barrett is a seasoned veteran at quarterback and has a new offensive coordinator who should open up the offense this season. The defensive line for the Buckeyes is the best in the nation and will eat up opposing quarterbacks. The Big Ten is stacked and the best conference in college football for this season. Can the Buckeyes survive some a tough conference and be the participant from the Big Ten in the Playoff?
Dynasty Player to Watch: Parris Campbell (WR) – With new offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson, this offense will have more firepower and create more mismatches for Barrett. I expect Campbell to have a solid season and put himself on the 2018 NFL Draft map as a top tier wide receiver.
4. USC Trojans (projected finish: 10-2)
The Trojans were the hottest team down the stretch last season and were even considered for a playoff spot. This is mostly due to a quarterback change and turning to Sam Darnold. The Pac-12 is really wide open and USC currently has the momentum to hopefully continue success and bring a title opportunity back to the bay area.
Dynasty Player to Watch: Ronald Jones III (RB) – Everyone knows about Darnold and how he could be the No. 1 pick in 2018. Jones is a physical back who can be a decent early down back in the NFL.
5. Clemson Tigers (projected finish: 9-3)
Dabo Swinney and the Clemson Tigers finally earned the right to be National Champions last season. The issue is that they lost a ton of offensive talent to the NFL. They are bound to take a step backwards and make way to Florida State and Louisville to battle it out in the ACC.
Dynasty Player to Watch: Deon Cain (WR) – All eyes will be on him as Deshaun Watson and Mike Williams are in the NFL and he is the main offensive weapon. Will he step up and show he can also be a stud Clemson wide receiver in the NFL?