By Jack Hamrick
With the college football season only a few weeks away, which conference will be top dog? Will we see the return of the SEC, or the rise of the Big Ten or ACC? Here’s how I’d rank the power 5.
The SEC are top dogs once again.Leading the way is Alabama and Georgia, both top 5 favorites to win the national title. With a narrow gap in between the elite and other top 25 forces, teams like LSU and Auburn, the SEC is stacked. Florida adding head coach Dan Mullen could make their offense something to worry about for the first time since they were under Urban Meyer. Also, look out for the re-emergece of Ole Miss. Even with all the allegations against Hugh Freeze, Ole Miss has still managed to land 3 and 4 star guys.
The Big Ten’s top 3, (Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State), would beat any other conferences top 3. Ohio State’s balance this year will be incredible, with one of the scariest D-Line’s in the country. Defensively, Michigan needs no help, and adding Shea Patterson should help them offensively. Finally, Penn State has Trace McSorely back for his junior season, a season I expect him to be a Heisman Candidate and the best quarterback in the Big Ten. The only reason the SEC has the edge over the Big Ten is consistency; the SEC’s bottom half is not a far drop off than that of their top tier talent.
Clemson come into the season the favorites to win the conference (as always) and a top 3 contender for the National Championship. Miami has almost everyone returning from last years unthinkable season, and hope to do something similar again. Virginia Tech should also be a solid squad, as well as Louisville. But the ACC is the BigTen’s little brother: inconsistent and not as talented.
The West Virginia Mountaineers are going to surprise a lot of teams of how well balanced they are. Returning QB Will Grier is the Heisman frontrunner, and he gets his favorite weapon back: All-American David Sills. my preseason pick to win the Big 12, I don’t think WVU will hav trouble making it through conference play. Oklahoma will continue to be a title contender year in and year out. Oklahoma State might have to take a year off, as they lost Rudolph and Washington. The Big 12’s top 3 is the second best in the country, but their bottom half is absolutely atrocious, being the reason they are ranked fourth.
No more Darnold or Falk means one thing: it’s time for the Jake Browning show. A player who we saw play well against Alabama in 2016, stay calm and make those long, pretty cross-field passes. UCLA could emerge as the better team in L.A. with the addition of Chip Kelly. There’s not much to say on the Pac 12 other than that they will have no one in the playoff this season.
The greatest sport in the world is just around the corner and I for one cannot wait for another year of sheer chaos that is college football.