JD’S TOP 15

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JD’S TOP 15

Jeff Dantzler
Jeff Dantzler

This is a season unlike any other. The Big 10 just announced that they are rejoining the party. Almost every game will be intra-conference – including a 10-game SEC only schedule. Alabama and Clemson have both been to five of the six College Football Playoffs. It’s a grind, especially in the SEC, but this year, first and foremost, fans are just excited to see the pads a poppin’.

  1. Alabama – Nick Saban’s run in Tuscaloosa has been incredible, and the key has been elite class after elite class. This year, Alabama also returns three players who would have likely been first round picks in this past draft. They’re loaded again. Bama opens this week at Mizzou.
  2. Clemson – Dabo Swinney’s Tigers have greatly separated themselves from the rest of the ACC pack. They get elite guys back for their senior seasons, and just don’t take the blows during the regular season. Clemson is an easy 2-0 and it’s hard to imagine a scenario where they aren’t undefeated or maybe once beaten headed to the playoffs.
  3. Ohio State – Of all the rejoicing Big Ten fans, Buckeyes fans are leading the parade. Ohio State lost a lot of talent to the NFL, but like Clemson in the ACC, they’ve been lapping the field in the Big Ten in recruiting.
  4. Georgia – There are a slew of questions for the Bulldogs offensively and at placekicker. The defense has the potential to be one of college football’s very best. Under Kirby Smart’s watch, Georgia has risen to college football’s elite class. The Bulldogs shouldn’t sleep on Arkansas since new coach Sam Pittman knows Georgia’s personnel.
  5. Oklahoma – Boomer Sooner is also in that elite class. Lincoln Riley has kept it rolling from the Bob Stoops era. There was some carnage from the playoff last year, and the big question in Norman is whether the defense can make a big jump? OU welcomes Kansas State, which has had to stew this week.
  6. Florida – Under Dan Mullen’s watch, the Gators have gone 10-3 and 11-2 the last two seasons, plus posted a 3-0 record against Florida State and Miami. The goal this season is to get to the SEC Championship Game. Florida opens this week against Ole Miss, as Lane Kiffin makes his debut in Oxford.
  7. Texas A&M – The Aggies return a lot of personnel for Jimbo Fisher’s third season and the hopes and expectations from the 12th man are there for a run at Atlanta. The schedule last year was all-time tough. This is a “no excuses” year in College Station. A&M opens in College Station with Vanderbilt.
  8. Notre Dame – For the first time ever, the Fighting Irish are playing a conference football schedule. Notre Dame’s defense should again be good, but the Irish lost some juice in the passing game. It’s 2-0 with wins over Duke and South Florida. A trip to Wake Forest is coming up.
  9. Auburn – Everyone in the SEC has a tough schedule. The Tigers could have a grind in the opener, with Kentucky coming to the Plains. Bo Nix is back for his sophomore season at quarterback. Auburn is fast and physical. Despite losing a trio of elite defenders taken in the first two rounds of the draft, the Tigers will be tough on “D.”
  10. Texas – This is a big year for Texas, much like the Aggies. Can the Longhorns get past Oklahoma and to the top of the Big XII? It’s off to Lubbock to take on Texas Tech for the Longhorns Saturday. Sam Ehlinger is back for his third season as the ‘Horns QB.
  11. LSU – Coming off one of the greatest and most successful seasons in the history of college football, the Tigers are feeling great. Even though they lost a vast majority of their starters from last season. Mississippi State heads to Baton Rouge Saturday for the season opener.
  12. BYU – The Cougars opened a lot of eyes with a dominating 55-3 win over always-tough Navy. Zach Wilson is a very good quarterback and BYU is tough and physical. Troy heads to Provo this Saturday.
  13. North Carolina – The Tar Heels are off this week again after last week’s game was cancelled. Up next is a trip to Boston College. Mack Brown is recruiting well and Sam Howell is a terrific quarterback. North Carolina is a leading contender to challenge Clemson in the ACC.
  14. Tennessee – The Volunteers righted the ship in the second half of last season, and rebounded from a disastrous start to post an 8-5 record. Tennessee has a lot back and the biggest expectations in the program since 2016. It’s a big showdown with South Carolina in Columbia Saturday.
  15. Army – The Knights of the Hudson are rolling at 2-0. Jeff Monken’s triple option is firing impressively. It should be a good game at Cincinnati on Saturday. Army came awfully close to beating Oklahoma and Michigan the last two years. These Cadets look a lot like their 11-2 standouts of 2018.

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