(Photo courtesy of USA Today)
I know it’s only February But, I wrote this on the first weekend with no Football, and I was bored. So without further adieu, I present to you the Grueling Truth’s first poll for the 2017 NCAA Football season.
1). Ohio State Buckeyes- Urban Meyer addressed the coaching staff on the offensive side of the ball, and the changes he made were dead on what the Buckeyes needed to do to get better. QB J.T. Barrett will return for another season, and Ohio State’s toughest conference game is probably Penn State, and they get the Nittany Lions at home.
2). Alabama Crimson Tide- Offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian has left the team, and that leaves a lot of things up in the air with the Tide on Offense. Freshman QB Jalen Hurts has limitations, and it could make matters worse for him entering his sophomore season. With that being said this is still the best football program in the country, and I have no doubt that Coach Saban will get it all figured out.
3). USC Trojans- Who thought last year after their first few games that USC would be a preseason playoff favorite in 2017? Coach Clay Helton and QB Sam Darnold have a shot to bring back the glory days of John McKay and Pete Carroll this year, and I think they may just pull that off.
4). Penn State Nittany Lions- The Lions return two Heisman Trophy candidates in QB Trace McSorley and RB Saquon Barkley. Not to mention one of the finest coaches in all of the college football James Franklin.
5). Clemson Tigers- Dabo Swinney has built a great program at Clemson, the Tigers have six straight ten win seasons and have the talent to at least win ten again. The question is can they replace Deshaun Watson?
6). Oklahoma Sooners- The return of QB Baker Mayfield makes this team a contender for the College playoffs. We will know how serious a contender the Sooners are early in the season as they will travel to Ohio State at the beginning of September.
7). Florida State Seminoles- The first game of this season against Alabama will be the most talked about matchup of the preseason. A Seminole win in the opener and this team could be off to the races!
8). Washington Huskies- The Huskies lost some big-time players off of last year’s team, but they still return a great coach Chris Peterson and a top flight QB in Jake Browning.
9). Georgia Bulldogs- RB Nick Chubb will be back, and the Bulldogs should be loaded on offense, it’s time for Coach Kirby Smart to get this team over the hump.
10). Oklahoma State Cowboys- The return of QB Mason Rudolph makes this team a contender, the question now will be can the put an improved defense on the field.
11). Michigan Wolverines- The Wolverines are losing a ton of talent off last year’s team. I rank them this high because they have Jim Harbaugh at the helm.
12). LSU Tigers- The Tigers will be led by Heisman Trophy candidate Derrius Guice.
13). Louisville Cardinals- This may look like a low rating for a team with the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, but the way their season ended has to be concerning.
14). South Florida Bulls- This is my pick for a group of five buster, they added Charlie Strong as the head coach, and they have an exciting playmaker in QB Quinton Flowers.
15). Auburn Tigers- The Tigers will once again be stout on defense, and offensively they will have a big time running game. The only major concern for this team will be at QB.
16). Wisconsin Badgers- If QB Alex Hornibrook can improve they could become a big-time contender! The schedule is easy, but the offense of the Badgers is always a concern.
17). Florida Gators- Being on the weaker side of the SEC has it’s privileges, and it will happen again in 2017.
18). Stanford Cardinal- Coach David Shaw has built a special program in Palo Alto, and as long as Shaw is at Stanford, they will contend.
19). West Virginia Mountaineers- A season-opening game against Virginia Tech will let us know right away where the Mountaineers stand.
20). Virginia Tech Hokies- The Hokies look to be formidable once again.
21). Kansas State Wildcats- Keep an eye on these Cats, they could be the surprise team of the season.
22). Colorado Buffaloes- the Buffaloes showed at the end of the season they still have ways to go, but they are getting there.
23). Miami(Fla) Hurricanes- The Canes have to find a replacement at QB, but they seem on the right track to regaining national prominence.
24). Texas Longhorns- Don’t be surprised if Tom Herman has the Longhorns in the top ten before the season is over.
25). Boise State Broncos- The Broncos as always will contend for a conference title.