Welcome to the first-ever Inscriber : Digital Magazine Top Ten college football rankings. In this new series, various writers from the Inscriber will offer their own individual rankings on which teams are the top ten in the country.
That being said, here are my top ten teams in college football.
#1 Alabama– Despite losing key players to the NFL, the Crimson Tide will be poised to claim their 3rd national championship in a row. One of the nation’s most proficient quarterbacks last year, AJ McCarron is now surrounded with the best skill players the Tide have had under Nick Saban.
Explosive sophomore wide receiver Amari Cooper had 29 receptions for 15 yards or more last season which he will surly improve on this upcoming season.
Running back T.J. Yeldon will be looking to improve on the tremendous freshman season he had last year. The only question on the offensive side of the ball is the offensive line. Bama must replace three starters but Saban has a track record of having outstanding line play so don’t expect this to be a problem for the Tide.
Once again, the defense will be among the nations best. Overall, the defense will be very experienced only loosing two key players. Overall, this Alabama team seems head and shoulders above the rest.
#2 Ohio State– The Buckeyes went undefeated last year and will look to continue their winning ways this year. Urban Meyer would love to knock off the SEC of their throne. Braxton Miller could make a run at the Heisman Trophy this season if he continued to improve in the offseason like he did during the season last year. Four starters on the offensive line are returning along with running backs Carlos Hyde and Jordan Hyde.
Both running backs should have a greater impact this season with an improved line blocking for them. The defense is the biggest concern this year for Coach Meyer. The defensive line must replace all four starters from last year.
Sophomore defensive ends in Noah Spence and Adolphus Washington turned heads in fall camp. These two have the talent to be on the All Big 10 team by the end of the season. The Buckeyes will play their most important game of the season in Ann Arbor this year when the travel to play archrival Michigan.
Also, their early trip to Berkley to play Cal could be a potential trap game. If the Buckeyes manage to navigate these two games look for them to be undefeated and playing in the National Championship game.
#3 Stanford– The Cardinal have been dominate the last four years winning at least 11 games each season. This season should be no different with Stanford returning sophomore quarterback Kevin Hogan poised to put up big numbers. The strength of this team is the defense. The defense only gave up an average of 97 rushing yards a game last season, which they can improve on as they bring back one of the best line backing units in the nation.
Stanford, also posses one of the best safety tandems in college football, staring Jordan Richards and Ed Reynolds. The offense will be led by Hogan. He won all 5 games he started while knocking off 4 top 25 teams in the process. Stanford does lose their all-time leading rusher in, Stepfan Taylor, but running backs Tyler Gaffney, Anthony Wilkerson, and Barry Sanders to dominate by committee this year. The experienced offensive line will help carve running lanes for these backs all throughout the year.
The only question mark for the offense is the tight ends and receivers. Someone must step up to give Hogan a consistent target. Playing Oregon, USC, and Notre Dame will be the toughest part of their schedule. Winning these game could vault the Cardinal into the BCS National Championship Game.
#4 Louisville– The Cardinals dominated Florida in the Sugar Bowl last season in one of the most impressive wins in the post season. Expect for Louisville to build on that momentum and become an even better team this season. Teddy Bridgewater will be an early front-runner for the Heisman Trophy this season and will have great targets to throw to down the field.
The defense is only loosing two seniors. With more experience the Coach Charlie Strong’s should be better all around this season. Stopping the run was a struggle at some points last season, look for Coach Strong to have corrected that problem during the off-season.
The Big East is extremely weak this season. Having such an easy schedule could stop the Cards from entering the National Championship conversation.
#5 Oregon– The Ducks lost Coach Chip Kelly to the NFL, but Kelly’s former offensive coordinator, Mark Helfrich, will be the new head coach. While there is always some transition time between head coach there should be very little in this change. The Ducks have the pieces in place to stay an offensive juggernaut.
Sophomore quarter back Marcus Mariota could very well make a run at the Heisman Trophy this season. Speedster De’Anthony Thomas will be busting big plays all season long like he did last year. The defense for the Ducks is what could stop them challenging for a championship.
Loosing Dion Jordan, Michael Clay, and Kiko Alonso will be mean a lack of depth for the front seven. The road trips to Stanford and Washington will be their biggest
test of the season. Once again the Ducks will be one of the best teams in the country. Is this the season they take the next step and claim a BCS National Championship Trophy?
#6 Georgia– With Aaron Murray’s decision to return for his senior season the Bulldogs will have potentially the best offense in the country. Running backs Todd Gurley and Keith Marshal should be the best one-two punch in college football this upcoming season. Also, all five starts on the offensive line are returning.
Receivers Malcom Mitchell and Michael Bennett will be looking to make big plays again like they did last year. Also, tight end Arthur Lynch was named to the pre-season all SEC team this year. A major concern for Coach Mark Richt is the defense. After loosing 12 starters Coach Richt could have a major problem.
Replacing an entire defense is very challenging and not done with out major hiccups occurring in games. Expect the defense to loose the Dawgs a couple of games this season.
#7 South Carolina– Coming off of back to back 11 win season the Gamecocks look to take another step foreword this season. Jadeveon Clowney looks to be the first defensive player to win the Heisman Trophy since, Charles Woodson. Coach Steve Spurrier has two proven quarterbacks on his team in Connor Shaw and Dylan Thompson.
With four returning offensive lineman the quarterbacks should have plenty of time to throw the ball. Running backs Mike Davis and Brandon Wilds come in untested but are said to have a tremendous amount of talent. The defense will be tested this year as they lost a strong core of players from last
year. Clowney will be the anchor of the defense next year. The Gamecocks have a rough schedule facing Georgia, Florida, and Clemson. They could easily lose one or two of those games and be out of the running for the SEC East Crown.
#8 Texas A&M- Texas A&M have a very good team on paper this year. Head Coach Kevin Sumlin is bringing back an even more potent attack than he possessed last year. Last year’s Heisman Winner Johnny Manziel will have even more attacking options with the new crop of explosive receivers coming of age.
Mr. Distraction better known as Johnny Manziel has had an extremely wild and well documented offseason.
One of the many low points of his crazy offseason was when he was kicked out of the Manning Passing academy. The lowest point was when he was accused of signing autographs for money. All of these distractions Manziel created has a very high possibility of hurting the team chemistry. The defense is going to cause problems this year for the Aggies. They lost the only defensive lineman in, Damontre Moore, who produced with any consistency.
The defensive line is very short on talent and depth. The lack of talent and depth on the defensive will cause the defense to struggle mightily. The two biggest test of the season will be when they face Alabama and LSU. Alabama will be looking to exact revenge on the Aggies from last year’s loss and Nick Saben will have his team very well ready to face the Aggies in week two of the season.
Also playing LSU in Baton Rouge will be a major struggle. The Aggies could possibly loose both of the games. This season is not the year the Aggies make a run at the national championship.
#9 Clemson– The Tigers are coming from their second straight double-digit win season. Coach Dabo Swinney’s Tigers are and early season favorite to win the ACC this season. Tajh Boyd returning for his senior will give the Tigers a boost on offense. Having to replace DeAndrea Hopkins and Andrea Ellington should be a top priority for Coach Swinney. Sammy Watkins must return to his outstanding freshman form if the Tigers expect to have an explosive attack this season. Also a running back replacement must be found.
The defense needs to step up in all aspects. Defensive coordinator Brett Venables is in his second season and should improve from last year. If the defensive line plays like they did in the bowl game against LSU this could be one of the top lines if all of football.
The whole defense is very experienced with only needing to replace one starter on the front seven. Consistency on defense is needed this year to give the Tigers the offense-defense balance to compete for a national championship.
#10 LSU– Losing 11 players to the NFL draft, Coach Les Miles will have to pull some players out of his hat. Zach Metenberger finished very strong last year and will be looking to improve on his mark of 11 touchdown passes last season. Also a trio of Jeremy Hill, Kenny Hilliard, and Alfred Blue will offer a constant run threat.
A receiver must step up this season to give Metenberger a consistent target. Losing that many players on one side of the ball will make it very tough on defensive coordinator John Chavis to keep the high level of play fans expect on the defensive side of the ball. Losing close to a dozen players and playing in the difficult SEC West will make it almost impossible for the Tigers to make a run for the National Championship.