[su_spacer size=”20″] Ohio State is the clear-cut favorite to be one of the four playoff teams this year, but the other three spots figure to have some great races and drama. Could this be a chaos season like 2007? It certainly could be in the SEC. Here is our Preseason Top 25:
- Ohio State – The defending national champions return almost every elite player, have one of the top two coaches of the 21st century and have as accomplished a three-headed quarterback monster as any school, maybe ever. Plus the schedule is cake. An 11-1 season would be a surprise. The Buckeyes look like a sure thing for the second playoff.
- LSU – The Fightin’ Tigers biggest question mark is at quarterback once again. The talent is outstanding everywhere else, led by stellar sophomore tailback Leonard Fournette. The schedule is, of course, mighty tough, but the games space out as nicely as possible. LSU has the best shot of any SEC team to get to seven or more league wins.
- Baylor – Art Briles has done an incredible job at the helm in Waco. This was one of the worst programs in major conference in the country a decade ago. Now the Bears are a Big XII power. If Seth Russell keeps it rolling at quarterback, this talent-laden team with a talc-soft non-conference schedule should have a great shot at getting one of those four coveted spots.
- Alabama – It is impressive what Nick Saban has done in Tuscaloosa, firmly establishing himself as the second best coach in Crimson Tide history – despite a third Sugar Bowl loss in seven seasons a year ago. Bama has a question mark at quarterback, but the Tide has recruited so well, there is talent and depth to have them right in the thick of the SEC race again.
- USC – Steve Sarkisian has the Trojans loaded, as the scholarship numbers have come back. USC appears to have the best talent in a tightly bunched PAC-12 South and the Trojans are eyeing a return to glory. A very difficult schedule is SC’s toughest obstacle.
- FSU – The last two seasons were off the charts for the Seminoles. The criminal report has hit all-time sickening lows. The ACC has a slew of talented quarterbacks, and Everett Golston figures to be good enough to have the Seminoles right in the thick of things.
- Oregon – The PAC-12 was the second best conference in the country a year ago, and will be strong again. But most of the strength is in the PAC-12 South. There are question marks for the Ducks, but they appear to be the class of the PAC-12 North. There is an intimidation factor there for Oregon. Who would’ve predicted that 30 or 40 years ago?
- TCU – How will the Horned Frogs handle being the hunted? Gary Patterson has done amazing work in Fort Worth, and this team will have sky high expectations. The game with Baylor has the promise to be one of the most important in the county this year. Everyone saw that coming a decade ago, right?
- Tech – The Yellow Jackets had one of their most successful seasons in the last 60 years, breaking Georgia’s hearts in Athens, topping Clemson and then winning the Orange Bowl over Mississippi State following a near miss vs. the ‘Noles in the ACC Championship Game. Justin Thomas is a difference-maker at quarterback, the Jackets top skill player of the 2010’s. The schedule is tougher this year, but Tech is the favorite on their side of the ACC.
- Texas A & M – The Aggies have been recruiting well and rediscovered their mojo with the win at Auburn last November. The SEC West is tremendously tough, but the Aggies figure to be right in the mix. The Aggies sales pitch is good too, stay home in Texas, still play in the SEC. They will have a good shot against Bama in October.
[su_spacer size=”20″] Read Jeff’s 11 – 20 picks HERE.