The new college football season will be upon us sooner than we think and I for one am more than happy about that, as I am sure you will be too. Of course the big teams who seem to always feature in the top 10 polls every preseason will be heavily backed to head the prediction lists, but with lesser heralded teams breaking into the top 10 last season there is much to look forward to for us college football fans in the coming months.
The two teams who fought out the national championship game in 2016 are once again expected to be featured in the playoffs when the regular season comes to an end. The defending champion Alabama Crimson Tide will once again have one of the top recruiting classes stepping onto campus as they look to hold onto the title they won with an impressive victory over the Clemson Tigers. I believe Clemson will once again make their presence felt in the ACC and should at least make the playoffs after holding on to key players and taking advantage of the excellent recruiting team head coach Dabo Swinney has assembled.A lot of so called experts take it for granted the SEC will be headed by Nick Saban’s Alabama and the ACC will see a continued period of domination by Swinney’s Clemson Tigers as the two look to meet at some point in the four team playoff.
I do not believe the dominance of Alabama is guaranteed in the SEC, particularly with so many rivals in both SEC conferences hitting the top 10 in recruiting classes. Georgia is a good outside bet for taking the SEC title with an impressive recruiting class and a change of coach bringing in Kirby Smart from the Tide. They also have the edge in what is usually seen as the weaker division within college football’s powerhouse conference. South Carolina’s rebuilding process has begun, but should take too long to complete to see them challenge traditional rivals Georgia for a place in the SEC title game and a spot in the playoff.
One of the most intriguing match ups I am looking forward to in the coming year is the Big Ten match up between Ohio State and Michigan, and their big time head coaches of Urban Meyer and Jim Harbaugh. Harbaugh will be expected to upset the Buckeyes in the coming season and make the playoffs, which is possible with a top five recruiting class heading to Ann Arbor this Fall.
On the West Coast a surprise could be in the offing with Washington my personal pick for taking the plaudits in the PAC-12 and mounting a charge towards the national championships playoffs, at the very least.
The emergence of Nebraska as a top recruiter in California has changed the landscape on the West Coast in my opinion and will probably see an improving Cornhuskers team just miss out on the playoff this season.
My personal opinion is the Clemson Tigers will go one better than last season and bring the team a second national championship following the Danny Ford led team in 1981, and first of the playoff era. The return of DeShaun Watson should result in a run for both the National Championship and the Heisman Trophy. Alabama could once again be the team they meet in the finals, but I expect a surprise to come in the shape of Kirby Smart’s Georgia taking the SEC title and the number two spot in the playoffs.