Monthly Archives: January 2016

Early look at 2016 Top 25

1 Clemson – Even with the loss of several defensive standouts, the return of Heisman favorite QB Deshaun Watson puts the Tigers on top.
2 Alabama – Tide will have a new QB and RB, but HC Nick Saban just reloads the machine. D-line will be very strong again.
3 Michigan – Wolverines went from 5 wins to 10 in HC Jim Harbaugh first season.. 8 starters back on offense but need to replace QB Jake Rudock
4 Notre Dame – A number of starters depart, but a several key players return from injury including QB Malik Zaire. Road game with Clemson replaced by visit to NC State.
5 Oklahoma – 7 starters back on offense including QB Baker Mayfield, but a brutal schedule that includes Ohio State and Houston
6 Tennessee – HC Butch Jones has been building towards this year with 17 starters back from a team that lost close games to 2 of the playoff participants. Vols will be heavy favorites in East and get Bama and UF at home.
7 Baylor – Several key injuries derailed the Bears season, but those players are expected back in ’16 including QB Seth Russell. Bears have to rebuild both lines though.
8 Stanford – HC David Shaw has arguably been as good as Nick Saban in building a dynasty given the location; Cardinal bring back all everything RB/WR/KR Christian McCaffrey
9 Florida State – Noles return every single offensive starter but will need to get improved play at QB to take on a much tougher schedule that kicks off with Ole Miss.
10 Mississippi – HC Hugh Freeze’s great recruiting class of ’13 paid dividends with back to back NY6 bowls, but several of those elite players are now leaving, including DT R Nkemdiche. But with QB Chad Kelly back, offense should still be strong.
11 Ohio State – 2016 will be the biggest challenge HC Urban Meyer has faced since taking over the Buckeyes. Nine juniors declared for early entry into the draft, leaving only 8 starters back overall.
12 LSU – Not the typical slew of early NFL draft entries leaves the TIgers with an unusually experienced team. Can an offense built around a great RB, not QB, win big today’s game?
13 Oklahoma State – Pokes return QB Mason Rudolph along with four o-lineman to keep the passing game humming. With 17 starters back overall, OSU is a contender in the Big 12 but this season faces their biggest games away from T Boone Pickens Stadium.
14 Michigan State – HC Mark Dantonio has built a tremendous program at MSU, but 2016 will feature a number of challenges – the loss of 8 starters on offense, including QB Connor Cook and a schedule that includes both NW and Wisky from the B1G West plus Notre Dame and BYU OOC.
15 Washington – HC Chris Petersen slowly building talent in Seattle and this may be the year of the breakthrough, with QB Jake Browning and RB Miles Gaskin and 4 starting o-lineman returning.
16 Houston – Electric QB Greg Ward Jr returns, but the bigger story is that HC Tom Hermann is back. Cougs will be in unfamiliar position of heavy favorite, but don’t count out what Hermann has done in one season.
17 TCU – Horned Frogs stumbled down the stretch of an injury plagued season and now only return 3 starters on offense for ’16. But HC Gary Patterson has been able to plug and play and gets an intriguing prospect as former TA&M QB Kenny Hill becomes eligible
18 Georgia – Dawgs finished 2015 with such unimpressive wins that a 10-3 marquee SEC team finished unranked. New HC Kirby Smart should energize the program and with Alabama off the schedule,
19 Miami – New HC Mark Richt was criticized at UGA for not winning the big one (or enough big ones) but he’s the best coach the Hurricanes have had in 15 years. UM brings back a great QB in Brad Kayaa which means Richt could make a splash his first season.
20 Iowa – Hawkeyes finally had their breakthrough season in 2015 and have a solid core group of players returning, including QB CJ Breathard. A tougher B1G schedule makes a repeat of last years success unlikely.
21 Oregon – HC Mark Helfrich is hoping to catch lightning in a bottle for a second year in a row, with a graduate transfer from an FCS program coming in to QB the Ducks. Bigger issue may be on the defensive side of the ball, where Oregon gave up 38 ppg in ’15.
22 Florida – A poor finish took some of the shine off HC Jim McElwain’s first year, but 10 wins and the SEC East championship was well beyond expectations. Gators need to find a QB but defense should be good again, and often times improvement happens in a new coach’s second season.
23 Utah – Utes didn’t lose HC Kyle Wittingham in the coaching carousel last season, and should continue with his philosophy of defense first. Utah looking to JC to find a replacement for departing QB Travis Wilson.
24 Boise State – The offense responsible for over 600 yards in the Poinsettia Bowl returns 9 starters, including QB Brent Rypien and RB Jeremy McNichols, but must rebuild the defense. OOC schedule includes up and coming Washington State and BYU.
25 UCLA – Much heralded freshman QB Josh Rosen “The Rosen One” returns after a solid debut and leads the Bruin offense to greater heights.