As many of his teammates left school early to go to the NFL Draft, Alabama linebacker C.J. Mosley remained in Tuscaloosa for an extra year of seasoning.
That experience was apparent Saturday in the Crimson Tide’s biggest win of the season to date. Dominant defensive performances for Alabama aren’t rare, but Mosley led one of the Tide’s best efforts of the season in the 38-17 win over LSU.
When we sit down to iron out our Top 25 Poll each year at Athlon Sports, we are trying to project the final year-end standings not build a preseason power poll. It might be a small and subtle difference but an important one to acknowledge.
Injuries are a big part of any college football season. Just ask the coaching staffs at Maryland, Missouri or USC.The Terrapins lost four quarterbacks to season-ending injuries last year, while the Tigers played 2012 without the services of standout running back Henry Josey. USC lost defensive end Devon Kennard in the preseason, which played a role in the Trojans’ defense finishing seventh in the Pac-12 in yards allowed.
USCis the defending Pac-12 champion, but the Trojans will have a different look this season, especially on offense. Gone are quarterback Sam Darnold and running back Ronald Jones II, and how their replacements fare will determine if USC can defend its conference crown. The defense also lost some talent, but this unit could end up being even better as coordinator Clancy Pendergast has plenty of pieces to work with.
Washington, Oregon, Stanford and USC are projected by most to be the top teams in the Pac-12 this season, and these four programs return a good chunk of the league’s talent on the all-conference team. The Huskies lead the way on Athlon’s 2018 All-Pac-12 team with 15 selections, followed by the Ducks with 14, the Trojans with 12 and the Cardinal with 11.