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6 Teams Ready to Turn Close Losses into Big Wins in 2017

By Athlon Sports, 2 months 1 week ago
Looking back at the preseason polls once a season has ended is like looking at an old yearbook before your high school reunion. I really thought that hair style looked good? And what’s with that shirt? What was I thinking?   I really thought Tennessee was a top-10 team? How could I have believed that Ole Miss and Michigan State were going to be fine after what they lost following...

College Football's Top 50 Defensive Backfields for 2017

By Steven Lassan, 2 months 1 week ago
Finding and evaluating cornerbacks and safeties is one of the most difficult jobs for any college football coaching staff. Competition level and a variety of offenses in high school create a several obstacles in player evaluation. But for some programs, finding the next stars at defensive back is an easy task. Florida State and Alabama top Athlon's best defensive backfields...

College Football's Top 50 Linebacker Units for 2017

By Steven Lassan, 2 months 2 weeks ago
Picking the top linebacker units in college football is no easy task. After all, schemes dictate how linebackers are used and the rise of spread offenses generally means more defensive backs on the field. Regardless of whether a scheme utilizes a 4-3, 3-4, 4-2-5 or nickel package, linebackers are a critical component to any defense. How should a team with four starters at linebacker...

College Football's Top 50 Defensive Lines for 2017

By Steven Lassan, 2 months 2 weeks ago
The rise of spread offenses and the different schemes teams face on a week-to-week basis in a college football season has altered how some defensive coordinators think. While some are placing more emphasis on building a secondary, the success of any defense starts up front. Generating a pass rush and stopping the run are two staples of any defensive scheme. The 2017 season...

College Football's Top 50 Offensive Lines for 2017

By Steven Lassan, 2 months 2 weeks ago
The offensive line is often the most overlooked position for any college football team. While the linemen in the trenches don’t get enough credit, they are often the most important piece to a successful offense. Flashy skill talent and quarterbacks take home all of the accolades and headlines, but neither position can thrive without a solid offensive line.   Which teams...

College Football's Top 50 Wide Receiver Groups for 2017

By Steven Lassan, 2 months 2 weeks ago
The 2017 season features a significant amount of turnover at wide receiver, opening the door for new stars and breakout players to emerge this fall. However, despite some big names moving onto the NFL, there is a clear No. 1 receiver group returning this season. Oklahoma State is loaded with talent, including first-team All-American James Washington, LSU transfer Tyron Johnson and senior Marcell...

Predicting the Big 12's Biggest Upsets in 2017

By Allen Kenney, 2 months 2 weeks ago
Preseason practices have started all across Big 12 country. While a select few schools are angling for a conference championship, or even more, others would take a bowl bid and a signature win or two.   Luckily for the upstarts, the wide-open style of play across the league opens the door for plenty of shootouts – and those track meets always carry upset potential.   Here...

College Football's Top 50 Running Back Units for 2017

By Steven Lassan, 2 months 2 weeks ago
While every college football team would prefer to have an established, superstar No. 1 running back, using a committee of options is the preferred approach to save wear and tear on the starter. Some teams prefer to split the carry workload close to a 50-50 split or use certain players in situational roles. Regardless of the usage, more teams are looking to a committee of players to...

Big 12 Coaches Talk Anonymously About Conference Foes for 2017

By Athlon Sports, 2 months 2 weeks ago
It's not easy getting college football coaches to honestly comment on another coach, player or team. Most coaches don't want to give opposing teams billboard material, which is why there is a lot of coach speak or overused cliches used during the year.   In order to get an accurate assessment of teams heading into 2017, Athlon asked coaches in the Big 12 to...

Ranking the Big 12's Quarterbacks for 2017

By Steven Lassan, 2 months 3 weeks ago
Standout quarterback play and high-powered offenses are usually an annual storyline in the Big 12. And with the return of Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield and Oklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph, that theme should continue into 2017. Mayfield is one of the frontrunners to win the Heisman Trophy this fall, while Rudolph is supported by the nation’s No. 1 receiving corps. The Big 12 has...