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.
The Pac-12 probably embraced the start of a new year. The 2018 season was not especially kind to the conference, which got pummelled on the PR front before it even started for its 1-8 bowl record to conclude the '17 campaign. An officiating controversy marred a great USC-Washington State game (that just missed the cut for this countdown), and a second straight season with the conference's championship excluded from the College Football Playoff gives fodder to naysayers.
The definition of a breakout player in college football varies from each analyst or fanbase, but one thing is certain when looking ahead at the 2019 season and the players returning: regardless of the position, breakout players will have a huge role in shaping the national championship and playoff picture.