Ranking all 130 college football teams is no easy task, but with the first Saturday of action on Aug. 26 approaching quickly, it’s never too early to see how every FBS program stacks up for 2017. At the top, Alabama leads the way as Athlon’s projected national champion. The Crimson Tide lost to Clemson on the final play of last year’s title game, and even though both sides of the ball have a few holes to fill, coach Nick Saban’s program is still the team to beat. Ohio State is a close No.
Congratulations, WakeyLeaks. Wake Forest’s game-plan breach from a highly unlikely source — radio analyst and former assistant coach Tommy Elrod — managed to make already-paranoid college football coaches even more paranoid.
The Pac-12 boasts a talented group of running backs returning for 2017, as Washington’s Myles Gaskin, Oregon’s Royce Freeman and USC’s Ronald Jones are expected to challenge for All-America honors. Freeman missed most of last season due to injury but has the most returning rushing yardage of any FBS player this fall.
It’s no secret quarterback play is an integral part of every college football team and its hopes of winning a national title, contending for a conference championship or simply making a bowl. And if you need any evidence, take a look at last year's CFB Playoff contenders.
In 2012, the SEC’s perceived dominance over the rest of college football was an unquestioned fact of life in the sport. Five years later, the conference with the most money, most fertile recruiting base and most passionate following looks like a shadow of its best self, reduced to Alabama and the 13 Dwarves. What the heck happened?