The 2017 college football season is just around the corner, and it’s time to honor the best of the best for the upcoming year. The 2017 season features plenty of big names returning to the gridiron, including a standout group of quarterbacks.
Eastern Michigan played in a bowl game last season for the first time in nearly three decades, the clearest sign yet that head coach Chris Creighton has this program going in the right direction. But can the Eagles take the next step this fall? Creighton has 16 starters returning, including one of the MAC’s best quarterbacks but there are questions along the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball.
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.
Ohio, Western Michigan, Miami and Toledo finished 2016 as the top teams in the MAC, and all four should be near the top of the standings in the 2017 predictions. The Broncos have some significant personnel losses to address, but new coach Tim Lester still has enough talent to guide Western Michigan to a division title.
College football’s 2017 season starts on Aug. 26 and concludes with the national championship on Jan. 8 in Atlanta. The season is still a few months away, but it's never too early to project and rank college football's top 25 teams.
Predictions for any FBS conference and all 130 college football teams are an inexact science. Some teams are just a bigger mystery than others or a hard program to get a read on for the upcoming year. Coaching changes, transfers, players returning from injury, scheme tweaks or just overall depth chart concerns make any preseason prediction difficult for a number of teams.
The favorites to win the 2017 MAC title feature a couple of familiar faces in Toledo, Western Michigan and Ohio, but Miami is a team to watch after winning six of its final seven games last year. The RedHawks feature 14 players on Athlon’s 2017 All-MAC team, which is tied with Western Michigan for the most of any team in the league.
The MAC has seen a number of coaches move to the Power 5 ranks in recent years, but the one constant in the league remains Ohio's Frank Solich. The former Nebraska coach is the conference's longest-tenured head coach in the league and takes the top spot in Athlon's MAC coach rankings for 2017.
With the 2017 NFL Draft in the books, it's time to take an early look at 2018 and some of the top prospects on the radar for pro scouts. Although USC quarterback Sam Darnold has just 10 career starts, the sophomore ranks as the No. 1 player in the early rankings.