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.
College football’s coordinator carousel featured a handful of big names on the move for the 2017 season. Ohio State hired former Indiana head coach Kevin Wilson to coordinate the offense, while Todd Orlando followed Tom Herman from Houston to Texas to take over the defensive signals in Austin.
Every fan has experienced it. Your team has the ball in scoring position. It’s a big moment. And before you can say, “Run the dang ball!” your quarterback is cocking back to lob the football toward the back corner of the end zone. It lands two yards out of bounds, safely out of reach of the nearest offensive and defensive players. You fill with rage. You scream obscenities at your team’s offensive coordinator as the placekicker trots onto the field to attempt a field goal.
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.