It’s been a while since I last talked about the college game, since I consider the draft as more of an NFL topic. But don’t misjudge me – I’m extremely thrilled for this upcoming year. With that in mind, I thought about the topics I believe could rule the college football season. To some degree even more so than in the pros, conferences and the success of individual teams can vary on a yearly basis. Of course there are those juggernauts we expect to be back at the top in December, but some players and different programs come out of nowhere every single year and with homefield advantages, upsets are a fixture on the schedule.
This week down in Mobile, Alabama is one of my favorite ones of the year. More than a hundred of Senior prospects for this upcoming draft are put into positions, where they are comfortable in, but also some they are not used to. The organization’s staff does an excellent job bringing together some of the top talents in the country and it’s not just about these kids from the big-name schools, but rather they give some lesser known guys a chance to show off. This really is a chance for young players to boost their draft stock. Look no further than Temple’s Haason Reddick a year ago, who went from being considered a potential late day two pick, to being selected 13th overall by the Arizona Cardinals. We saw some superstars emerge from this event in recent years and there’s a good chance someone on this list will be in that category a few years down the line.
After having two different conferences represented in the title game for the last six years, this is the first time since 2012 the two contenders are coming from the SEC. While Georgia won the conference title, Alabama didn’t even get the chance to play in the championship game. With Kirby Smart facing off against his former head coach Nick Saban and two teams that are built similar, there’s lots to talk about. Over the next couple of paragraphs, I want to analyze the paths of both these programs heading into the matchup, how they will approach it, under-the-radar contributors and the outcome of the game. Alabama has been crowned national champions four times since 2009, while Georgia is looking to do so for the first time since 1980. It’s dynasty versus contender, teacher versus student, the Tide versus the Bulldogs.
With another crazy week of college football, which included four of the top 13 teams in the country losing, I decided to make my own top 25 rankings. I largely agree with the top ten of the CFP and AP lists, I just flipped around numbers six to eight a bit. After that, I trust what I see when I put on the games each Saturday (and when I study the tape throughout the week). Of course I also have to take an outlook for each program into consideration as well, because I just can’t put any two-loss team from the Power Five, which doesn’t even have a chance to play in the conference championship game, above one who still basically controls their own destiny and has a chance to leave a mark on me and the committee. Without further ado, here’s my list:
After looking at the five best players at each offensive position a week ago, I want to do the same for the other side of the ball. Once again, this list isn’t a prospect ranking for the pro level, but rather my scouting report for the college players at this point. I came up with those names as a combination of what the players would be able to do regardless of their school and how well I think they play in the scheme of their defense.
This is not a scouting report for the pro level, but rather just based on how I’d rank them heading into this college football season according to what I saw last year and in week one just now. I obviously haven’t quite watched as much tape on them as I did on the draft prospects a few months ago, but I’ve watched a lot of college football over the last several years and couldn’t help but already take a look at a couple of games of all those guys. This list will also be interesting to look at the end of the season and when really scouting the prospects, to compare it with what I come up then.
Check in next week again for the edition on defense.