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Thread: ESPN Post-Spring Top 25

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    Default ESPN Post-Spring Top 25

    1. Ohio State

    2016 record: 11-2, 8-1 Big Ten
    Last Way-Too-Early ranking: 4
    Returning starters: 8 offense, 7 defense, 0 special teams

    Key losses: C Pat Elflein, CB Gareon Conley, RB Curtis Samuel, WR Noah Brown, S Malik Hooker, LB, Raekwon McMillan, P Cameron Johnston, CB Marshon Lattimore, K Tyler Durbin

    Outlook: After Clemson demolished Ohio State 31-0 in a CFP semifinal last season, Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer shook up his coaching staff. New offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson seems determined to have quarterback J.T. Barrett throwing the ball down the field more often. That will require better protection from the offensive line and more consistency from the receiver corps. On defense, the Buckeyes will have one of the best front sevens in the country, but three starters must be replaced in the secondary. Cornerbacks Denzel Ward and Damon Arnette and safety Damon Webb emerged as possible replacements this spring. The Buckeyes will get an early test with a Sept. 9 home game against Oklahoma.

    2. Florida State

    2016 record: 10-3, 5-3 ACC
    Last Way-Too-Early ranking: 2
    Returning starters: 7 offense, 9 defense, 2 special teams

    Key losses: RB Dalvin Cook, OT Roderick Johnson, WR Kermit Whitfield, WR Jesus Wilson, G Kareem Are, DE DeMarcus Walker, CB Marquez White

    Outlook: There were two welcome sights for FSU fans in the spring game: safety Derwin James was back on the field and early enrollee Cam Akers looked like the Seminoles' next star running back. Akers, ESPN's No. 1 running back in 2017, ran for 87 yards on 10 carries in the spring game and emerged as the heir apparent to departed star Dalvin Cook. James, who played in only two games last season because of a left knee injury, looked healthy with seven tackles and two sacks. FSU's offensive line remains a work in progress, although Josh Ball might have taken the lead to replace Roderick Johnson at left tackle. The offensive line will have to gel quickly, with a Sept. 2 opener against Alabama in Atlanta looming on the schedule.

    3. Alabama

    2016 record: 14-1, 8-0 SEC
    Last Way-Too-Early ranking: 1
    Returning starters: 6 offense, 5 defense, 1 special teams

    Key losses: TE O.J. Howard, DE Jonathan Allen, DE Dalvin Tomlinson, LB Tim Williams, LB Ryan Anderson, LB Reuben Foster, S Eddie Jackson, CB Marlon Humphrey, OT Cam Robinson, WR ArDarius Stewart

    Outlook: The Crimson Tide's focus this spring was getting quarterback Jalen Hurts more comfortable in the pocket in his second season. The early results under new offensive coordinator Brian Daboll were encouraging, especially in the spring game, in which Hurts and early enrollee Tua Tagovailoa combined to pass for 614 yards with five touchdowns. Alabama coach Nick Saban wants the Tide to be more balanced on offense, after finishing 87th nationally in passing (210.3 yards per game) in 2017. Receivers Robert Foster and Jerry Jeudy emerged as potential big-play threats, which would help take some attention away from star receiver Calvin Ridley.

    4. USC

    2016 record: 10-3, 7-2 Pac-12
    Last Way-Too-Early ranking: 3
    Returning starters: 6 offense, 8 defense, 2 special teams

    Key losses: WR JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR Darreus Rogers, OT Chad Wheeler, OT Zach Banner, G Damien Mama, NT Stevie Tu'ikolovatu, SS Leon McQuay III, CB Adoree' Jackson

    Outlook: After quarterback Sam Darnold guided the Trojans to nine straight victories, including a memorable Rose Bowl win, they figure to be a popular CFP pick, and he'll be among the leading Heisman Trophy candidates. First, the Trojans will have to find him new receiving targets and pass-blockers. Michael Pittman Jr., Velus Jones Jr. and Tyler Vaughns look like the guys next in line behind top receiver Deontay Burnett. The offensive line lost three starters and remains in flux because of injuries, but Chuma Edoga seems pretty entrenched at left tackle.

    5. Penn State

    2016 record: 11-3, 8-1 Big Ten
    Last Way-Too-Early ranking: 5
    Returning starters: 9 offense, 7 defense, 2 special teams

    Key losses: C Brian Gaia, WR Chris Godwin, DE Evan Schwan, LB Brandon Bell, SS Malik Golden, OT Paris Palmer, DE Garrett Sickels

    Outlook: After breaking through under coach James Franklin last season, the Nittany Lions will try to stay neck-and-neck with Michigan and Ohio State in the Big Ten. Penn State went into spring practice needing to find big-play receivers and pass rushers. Juwan Johnson and DeAndre Thompkins seem capable of helping replace Chris Godwin's production on offense, and end Shareef Miller and linebacker Jarvis Miller look like guys who can get to the quarterback. As long as quarterback Trace McSorley and tailback Saquon Barkley stay healthy, the Nittany Lions should be a CFP contender for the second straight season.

    6. Oklahoma State

    2016 record: 10-3, 7-2 Big 12
    Last Way-Too-Early ranking: 10
    Returning starters: 7 offense, 6 defense, 1 special teams

    Key losses: DT Vincent Taylor, WR Jhajuan Seales, LT Victor Salako, DT Motekiai Maile, LB Jordan Burton, LB Devante Averette, FS Jordan Sterns

    Outlook: With quarterback Mason Rudolph and wide receiver James Washington deciding to return for their senior seasons, the Cowboys already looked primed to challenge rival Oklahoma for a Big 12 title. Then the Pokes added two graduate transfers -- Clemson cornerback Adrian Baker and Cal left tackle Aaron Cochran -- who might be able to help right away. Much of the buzz this spring focused on former LSU receiver Tyron Johnson, who sat out last season under NCAA transfer rules, and now appears ready to be another weapon. Of course, if the Cowboys are going to win their first Big 12 championship since 2011, they'll probably have to beat the Sooners in the Bedlam Series, which they've done only twice since 2003.

    7. Clemson

    2016 record: 14-1, 7-1 ACC
    Last Way-Too-Early ranking: 6
    Returning starters: 5 offense, 7 defense, 1 special teams

    Key losses: QB Deshaun Watson, WR Mike Williams, WR Artavis Scott, C Jay Guillermo, TE Jordan Leggett, RB Wayne Gallman, DT Carlos Watkins, LB Ben Boulware, SS Jadar Johnson, CB Cordrea Tankersley

    Outlook: Clemson's search for Deshaun Watson's replacement was still open at the end of spring practice, although Kelly Bryant remained in front of talented early enrollee Hunter Johnson and two other contenders heading into preseason camp. Though Clemson's defense should be stout, especially in the trenches, its offense figures to be a work in progress heading into the season. It won't have much time to figure it out, with a Sept. 9 home game against Auburn and Sept. 16 road trip to Louisville.

    8. Oklahoma

    2016 record: 11-2, 9-0 Big 12
    Last Way-Too-Early ranking: 8
    Returning starters: 8 offense, 7 defense, 2 special teams

    Key losses: WR Dede Westbrook, RB Joe Mixon, RB Samaje Perine, DT Jordan Wade, DE Austin Roberts, LB Jordan Evans, FS Ahmad Thomas

    Outlook: Quarterback Baker Mayfield might be back, but the Sooners spent the spring trying to reload at the skill positions. After star tailbacks Joe Mixon and Samaje Perine left early for the NFL draft, four players -- Abdul Adams, Rodney Anderson, early enrollee Trey Sermon and juco transfer Marcelias Sutton -- shared carries this spring. Jeffery Mead, a 6-foot-5 senior, looks to be in line to replace Dede Westbrook as OU's go-to receiver. He had a 70-yard touchdown catch in the spring game. With eight offensive linemen with starting experience returning, the Sooners should once again have one of the country's most explosive offenses.

    9. Washington

    2016 record: 12-2, 8-1 Pac-12
    Last Way-Too-Early ranking: 7
    Returning starters: 7 offense, 7 defense, 1 special teams

    Key losses: WR John Ross, G Jake Eldrenkamp, G Shane Brostek, DE Joe Mathis, LB Psalm Wooching, DT Elijah Qualls, S Budda Baker, CB Kevin King, CB Sidney Jones

    Outlook: While many eyes were on Washington quarterback Jake Browning after he underwent shoulder surgery in January, the Huskies worked this spring to replace three starters in the secondary and to find a replacement for All-American receiver John Ross. Thankfully for the Huskies, Browning was able to return for spring practice and threw 10 passes in the spring game. Receiver Dante Pettis is back after averaging 15.5 yards per catch with 15 touchdowns in 2016. Brayden Lenius, who was suspended last season, and freshman Jordan Chin also had good springs. Jordan Miller and Byron Murphy were the most consistent cornerbacks, and they're in line to start in the secondary this coming season.

    10. Auburn

    2016 record: 8-5, 5-3 SEC
    Last Way-Too-Early ranking: 11
    Returning starters: 9 offense, 8 defense, 1 special teams

    Key losses: WR Tony Stevens, G Alex Kozan, OT Robert Leff, DT Montravius Adams, DE Carl Lawson, CB Joshua Holsey, CB Johnathan Ford

    Outlook: Former Baylor quarterback Jarrett Stidham looked better than advertised in Auburn's spring game, completing 16 of 20 passes for 267 yards with one touchdown. He seems to already have a firm grasp of new offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey's system, which has to be a sigh of relief on the Plains after the Tigers struggled on offense the past two seasons. With tailbacks Kamryn Pettway and Kerryon Johnson returning, and Nate Craig-Myers emerging as a big-play receiver, the Tigers have all the pieces in place to be explosive again. Defensively, Auburn focused on rebuilding its defensive front, and Paul James III showed signs of being a capable pass rusher. Former five-star recruit Byron Cowart moved from end to tackle in hopes of reviving his career.

    11. Wisconsin

    2016 record: 11-3, 7-2 Big Ten
    Last Way-Too-Early ranking: 12
    Returning starters: 7 offense, 7 defense, 1 special teams

    Key losses: WR Robert Wheelwright, QB Bart Houston, OT Ryan Ramczyk, RB Corey Clement, LB Vince Biegel, LB T.J. Watt, FS Leo Musso, CB Sojourn Shelton, K Andrew Endicott

    Outlook: The Badgers seem well positioned to repeat as Big Ten West champions, even after losing star tailback Corey Clement and linebackers T.J. Watt and Vince Biegel. Wisconsin has a lot of depth coming back on defense, in addition to Hawaii transfer Nick Nelson, who probably grabbed one of the starting cornerback jobs during the spring. The Badgers will have a new defensive coordinator for the third straight season; defensive backs coach Jim Leonhard was promoted after Justin Wilcox was named Cal's new coach. Pitt transfer Chris James, Bradrick Shaw and Taiwan Deal will probably share carries while trying to replace Clement's production. The Badgers miss Ohio State and Penn State during the regular season and play Michigan at home on Nov. 18.

    12. LSU

    2016 record: 8-4, 5-3 SEC
    Last Way-Too-Early ranking: 9
    Returning starters: 7 offense, 5 defense, 1 special teams

    Key losses: RB Leonard Fournette, WR Travin Dural, C Ethan Pocic, G Josh Boutte, TE Colin Jeter, DE Lewis Neal, DT Davon Godchaux, LB Tashawn Bower, LB Duke Riley, S Jamal Adams, CB Tre'Davious White, WR Malachi Dupre

    Outlook: Ed Orgeron's first spring did little to alleviate LSU fans' lingering concerns about the team's offense. Returning starting quarterback Danny Etling struggled mightily during the spring game, and then he underwent minor back surgery when spring practice was over. The bad news for new offensive coordinator Matt Canada: Neither Justin McMillan nor early enrollee Lowell Narcisse seemed ready to push Etling. In fact, Orgeron wants to see incoming freshman Myles Brennan play before he names a starter. Another concern for the Tigers: Star defensive end/linebacker Arden Key hasn't participated in football activities since February for unexplained personal reasons. Orgeron has said he hopes that Key returns to the team at some point this summer.

    13. Georgia

    2016 record: 8-5, 4-4 SEC
    Last Way-Too-Early ranking: 13
    Returning starters: 7 offense, 10 defense, 2 special teams

    Key losses: WR/KR Isaiah McKenzie, LT Tyler Catalina, C Brandon Kublanow, OT Greg Pyke, S Maurice Smith

    Outlook: Kirby Smart feels much better about his team heading into his second season as Georgia's coach, especially since sophomore quarterback Jacob Eason has a full season under his belt. With tailbacks Nick Chubb and Sony Michel returning, Georgia's running game should be potent -- as long as the offensive line improves. Receivers Terry Godwin and Javon Wims were more consistent this spring, and Tyler Simmons and Mecole Hardman also emerged as potential playmakers. Georgia brings back 10 defensive starters, but star tackle Trenton Thompson missed the spring because of an undisclosed medical condition. Smart says he hopes to have Thompson back before the start of preseason camp.

    14. Michigan

    2016 record: 10-3, 7-2 Big Ten
    Last Way-Too-Early ranking: 14
    Returning starters: 4 offense, 1 defense, 0 special teams

    Key losses: WR Amara Darboh, WR Jehu Chesson, OT Ben Braden, G Kyle Kalis, OT Erik Magnuson, TE Jake Butt, RB De'Veon Smith, LB/RB Jabrill Peppers, DE Chris Wormley, NT Matthew Godin, DT Ryan Glasgow, DE Taco Charlton, LB Ben Gedeon, CB Jourdan Lewis, SS Dymonte Thomas, FS Delano Hill, CB Channing Stribling

    Outlook: If Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh really wanted to have some fun with his fans, he might have left his players' names off the back of their jerseys during the spring game. With 18 starters to replace, and 11 early enrollees already on hand to help in the rebuilding process, the Wolverines will be a much different team this coming season. Quarterback Wilton Speight is back, but he'll have to find new targets and three new blockers before the Sept. 2 opener against Florida in Arlington, Texas. The personnel losses are even worse on defense, where 10 starters either exhausted their eligibility or turned pro early. But linebackers Devin Bush and Mike McCray, defensive end Rashan Gary and tackle Maurice Hurst are nice building blocks to start with.

    15. Miami

    2016 record: 9-4, 5-3 ACC
    Last Way-Too-Early ranking: 16
    Returning starters: 6 offense, 8 defense, 1 special teams

    Key losses: QB Brad Kaaya, RB, Joseph Yearby, WR Stacy Coley, TE David Njoku, G Danny Isidora, CB Corn Elder, FS Rayshawn Jenkins, S Jamal Carter Sr.

    Outlook: The Hurricanes showed some promise in Mark Richt's first season, and they'll have to find a capable replacement for departed quarterback Brad Kaaya if they're going to continue to improve in Year 2. Junior Malik Rosier, who was Kaaya's backup the previous two seasons, and sophomore Evan Shirreffs were the co-leaders at the conclusion of spring practice. Another quarterback who was competing for the job, Jack Allison, decided to transfer. Two early enrollees, offensive lineman Navaughn Donaldson and receiver DeeJay Dallas, looked as if they might be able to help right away. Much of the buzz around Miami this spring surrounded its 2018 recruiting class, which is currently ranked No. 1 by ESPN.

    16. Stanford

    2016 record: 10-3, 6-3 Pac-12
    Last Way-Too-Early ranking: 15
    Returning starters: 7 offense, 9 defense, 1 special teams

    Key losses: RB Christian McCaffrey, DE Solomon Thomas, WR Michael Rector, WR Francis Owusu, G Johnny Caspers, SS Dallas Lloyd, S Zach Hoffpauir, K Conrad Ukropina

    Outlook: The Cardinal have lingering issues at quarterback heading into the offseason, with returning starter Keller Chryst still working his way back from a torn ACL in his right knee he suffered in the Sun Bowl. Senior Ryan Burns, who returned to school for a fifth season, completed 10 of 15 passes in the spring game. K.J. Costello, who was the No. 2 pocket passer in the 2016 class, struggled in the spring and completed 5 of 13 passes in the spring game. Tailback Bryce Love, who is in line to replace star tailback Christian McCaffrey, was limited by an undisclosed injury, allowing Cameron Scarlett and Dorian Maddox to get the bulk of work.

    17. Louisville

    2016 record: 9-4, 7-1 ACC
    Last Way-Too-Early ranking: 18
    Returning starters: 5 offense, 7 defense, 2 special teams

    Key losses: WR Jamari Staples, WR James Quick, TE Cole Hikutini, RB Brandon Radcliff, NT DeAngelo Brown, LB Keith Kelsey, LB Devonte Fields, S Josh Harvey-Clemons

    Outlook: After the Cardinals dropped their last three games in 2016, they tried to regain momentum by shoring up their offensive line and simplifying their defense during spring practice. Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Lamar Jackson was sacked 46 times last season, and former Florida assistant Mike Summers is back to help better protect him. Former tackles Lukayus McNeil and Kenny Thomas were working at guard, and juco transfer Toriano Roundtree was working at tackle. Jackson also spent the spring working under center more, and coach Bobby Petrino wants him to spend more time reading through his progressions and throwing down the field more. Cornerback Shaq Wiggins transferred to Tennessee, and backup quarterback Kyle Bolin left for Rutgers.

    18. Kansas State

    2016 record: 9-4, 6-3 Big 12
    Last Way-Too-Early ranking: 17
    Returning starters: 8 offense, 6 defense, 2 special teams

    Key losses: WR Deante Burton, G Terrale Johnson, RB Charles Jones, DE Jordan Willis, LB Elijah Lee, LB Will Davis, LB Charmeachealle Moore, S Donnie Starks, SS Dante Barnett

    Outlook: The Wildcats received quite a scare this offseason, when 77-year-old coach Bill Snyder revealed that he'd been receiving treatments for throat cancer since December. Snyder was well enough to coach the Wildcats during the spring, but several of his team's key pieces were missing. Returning quarterback Jesse Ertz missed the spring while recovering from surgery on his right shoulder, and Kansas State was also missing its top two offensive linemen and top two receivers. With Ertz sitting out, sophomore Alex Delton and freshman Skylar Thompson shared reps. Wide receiver Carlos Strickland, a Cal transfer from Dallas, was a big bright spot in the spring.

    19. USF

    2016 record: 11-2, 7-1 AAC
    Last Way-Too-Early ranking: 20
    Returning starters: 7 offense, 9 defense, 2 special teams

    Key losses: RB Marlon Mack, WR Rodney Adams, OT Kofi Amichia, G Dominique Threatt, LB Nigel Harris, SS Nate Godwin, CB Johnny Ward

    Outlook: Charlie Strong spent his first spring at USF trying to install a power running game to complement quarterback Quinton Flowers' playmaking abilities. USF still wants its offense to play fast under coordinator Sterlin Gilbert, and the Bulls have three good running backs -- D'Ernest Johnson, Darius Tice and Elijah Mack -- even after Marlon Mack left early for the NFL draft. Safety/linebacker Malik Dixon, a potential starter, announced after spring practice that he's transferring to a junior college, and the Bulls picked up a pair of former Duke defensive linemen, Marquies Price and Brandon Boyce, who will have to sit out this upcoming season under NCAA transfer rules.

    20. West Virginia

    2016 record: 10-3, 7-2 Big 12
    Last Way-Too-Early ranking: 22
    Returning starters: 4 offense, 3 defense, 2 special teams

    Key losses: WR Shelton Gibson, WR Daikiel Shorts, OT Adam Pankey, G Tony Matteo, C Tyler Orlosky, QB Skyler Howard, RB Rushel Shell III, DE Noble Nwachukwu, NT Darrien Howard, LB Justin Arndt, S Jarrod Harper, CB Rasul Douglas

    Outlook: There has been quite a bit of hype surrounding former Florida quarterback Will Grier, who transferred to West Virginia in April 2016. He looked as good as advertised in the Mountaineers' spring game, completing 12 of 18 passes for 202 yards, and drawing praise from coach Dana Holgorsen for his command of the offense and huddle. The Mountaineers still have some uncertainty on both lines of scrimmage. Only one returning offensive lineman -- guard Kyle Bosch -- has more than 10 career starts, and each of the three starting defensive linemen must be replaced. Adam Shuler, Xavier Pegues and Reese Donahue emerged as potential starters on the defensive line this spring.

    21. Florida

    2016 record: 9-4, 6-2 SEC
    Last Way-Too-Early ranking: NR
    Returning starters: 9 offense, 5 defense, 2 special teams

    Key losses: CB Teez Tabor, CB Quincy Wilson, LB Jarrad Davis, LB Alex Anzalone, LB Daniel McMillian, NT Joey Ivie, DT Caleb Brantley, S Marcus Maye, OT David Sharpe

    Outlook: Even though Florida has won back-to-back SEC East titles in Jim McElwain's first two seasons, he's catching some heat for the way his offense has performed. McElwain hopes Feleipe Franks can help the Gators dramatically improve the passing game this coming season. Franks, a 6-foot-6 freshman, completed 8 of 14 passes for 119 yards with one touchdown in the spring game, and he takes a big lead over freshman Kyle Trask heading into the summer. Luke Del Rio, who started six games at quarterback last season, had surgery on his left shoulder in January and then minor surgery on his right (throwing) shoulder in March.

    22. Virginia Tech

    2016 record: 10-4, 6-2 ACC
    Last Way-Too-Early ranking: 25
    Returning starters: 5 offense, 7 defense, 2 special teams

    Key losses: QB Jerod Evans, WR Isaiah Ford, WR Bucky Hodges, G Augie Conte, OT Jonathan McLaughlin, DE Ken Ekanem, DT Woody Baron, DT Nigel Williams, FS Chuck Clark

    Outlook: After guiding the Hokies to 10 wins in his first season, Justin Fuente faces a pretty big rebuilding job in Year 2. He hasn't settled on a starting quarterback, and three players -- redshirt freshman Josh Jackson, early enrollee Hendon Hooker and juco transfer A.J. Bush -- remain in contention heading into the offseason. Two other early enrollees, Caleb Farley and Dalton Keene, were impressive this spring and might be able to help. Farley opened spring at cornerback but moved to receiver and produced immediately. The Hokies also have lingering questions at tailback and the right side of the offensive line.

    23. Texas

    2016 record: 5-7, 3-6 Big 12
    Last Way-Too-Early ranking: 23
    Returning starters: 8 offense, 10 defense, 1 special teams

    Key losses: RB D'Onta Foreman, WR Jacorey Warrick, G Kent Perkins, TE Caleb Bluiett, SS Dylan Haines

    Outlook: New Texas coach Tom Herman spent the spring tearing down -- literally and figuratively -- what has been an underachieving program the past few seasons. From the locker room to recruiting, Herman hasn't been shy about putting his stamp on the program in a big way. On the field, Herman declined to name a starting quarterback, but Shane Buechele appears to be the clear leader, after throwing for 369 yards with three touchdowns in the spring game. Injuries hampered the Longhorns' search for D'Onta Foreman's replacement this spring, and tight end Andrew Beck broke his foot during offseason workouts.

    24. Boise State

    2016 record: 10-3, 6-2 Mountain West
    Last Way-Too-Early ranking: 24
    Returning starters: 5 offense, 6 defense, 0 special teams

    Key losses: RB Jeremy McNichols, OT Mario Yakoo, G Steven Baggett, G Travis Averill, WR Thomas Sperbeck, LB Ben Weaver, FS Chanceller James, LB Darren Lee, DE Sam McCaskill

    Outlook: The Broncos figure to be the best team from a Group of Five conference, especially with quarterback Brett Rypien entering his third season as a starter. Boise State has to replace star tailback Jeremy McNichols, who ran for 1,709 yards with 23 touchdowns last season, and his expected replacement, Alexander Mattison, missed the spring after undergoing shoulder surgery. The Broncos were looking for two new starting linebackers, and then senior Joe Martarano, the expected starter in the middle, left the team to pursue baseball. Junior college transfer Michael Young emerged as a potential starter at one of the cornerback spots.

    25. Washington State

    2016 record: 8-5, 7-2 Pac-12
    Last Way-Too-Early ranking: 21
    Returning starters: 7 offense, 9 defense, 2 special teams

    Key losses: WR Gabe Marks, WR John Thompson, C Riley Sorenson, G Eduardo Middleton, FS Shalom Luani, WR River Cracraft

    Outlook: With quarterback Luke Falk coming back, the Cougars should have one of the most prolific passing offenses in the FBS. But Falk has to find some new primary targets and receivers Isaiah Johnson-Mack and Dezmon Patmon showed they're ready to help Tavares Martin Jr. this coming season. The Cougars also figure to continue to get their running backs involved in the passing game, as James Williams and Keith Harrington combined for 19 catches in the spring game. Running backs Gerard Wicks and Jamal Morrow were both limited in the spring with injuries.

    Dropped out: Colorado

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    Knee jerk reactions:

    #1 0hi0 State - I don't see a case for them to be #1; they would be #4 in my rankings. 0su has a very manageable schedule (B1G is mediocre at best) and should cruise to the B1G Championship.

    #2 FSU - Deandre Francois is an absolute stud QB and the defense is loaded. Has a stronger case for #1 than 0hi0. Should win the ACC.

    #3 Alabama - Hurts should improve going into year 2 and the defense will reload. Should win the SEC and once again make the CFP.

    #5 PSU - Should PSU be a good football team in 2017? Yes. Should they be Top 5? No. I don't believe in Franklin. Their saving grace is an extremely easy schedule.

    #7 Clemson - Despite losing a ton of skill position players, the only real question mark here is QB. Clemson has the best front 7 in America and defense will be dominant. If QB plays well, will challenge FSU for the ACC and possibly go back to the CFP.

    #8 Oklahoma - How long are we going to continue pretend Oklahoma is good and a contender? Stoops might be the worst big game coach in the country.

    #9 Washington - loses a ton from last year. Will be more likely to fall back to reality IMO.

    #10 Auburn - This is a case of writers looking at the name on the jersey and the conference they play in and not evaluating the team. Even though Stidham looks like the real deal and the offense should put up a ton of points; their defense will be a shit show.

    #12 LSU - I am a believer in LSU this year. I don't think they will beat Bama, but I like their OC hire in Canada and think they could be the 2nd best team in the SEC this season.

    #13 UGA - This is a tough one. They play in a garbage division - the SEC East absolutely sucks out loud. They are clearly the most talented team in that garbage division; but they have a potato as a head coach. Schedule is cake and has 10 wins built in. We will see.

    #14 Michigan - They lose 18 starters, but the Jim Harbaugh suck-off fest continues. Their saving grace is playing in the B1G...which makes the schedule very easy. Even opening with Florida really isn't that difficult as McElwain is bad coach and they are really void of talent.

    #15 Miami - Even with the loss of starting QB Kayaa, they might be my surprise team of 2017. Mark Richt is a very good coach and will have Miami playing well in year 2.

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    Bleacher Report releases post-spring Top 25 rankings - it's a little more realistic than ESPN's IMO.

    25. Kansas State Wildcats

    24. Boise State Broncos

    23. Texas Longhorns

    22. Florida Gators

    21. TCU Horned Frogd

    20. Oregon Ducks

    19. West Virginia Mountaineers

    18. Miami Hurricanes

    17. Stanford Cardinal

    16. South Florida Bulls

    15. Wisconsin Badgers

    14. Louisville Cardinals

    13. Georgia Bulldogs

    12. Penn State Nittany Lions

    11. Auburn Tigers

    10. Michigan Wolverines

    9. Washington Huskies

    8. Oklahoma Sooners

    7. Oklahoma State Cowboys

    6. LSU Tigers

    5. Clemson Tigers

    4. USC Trojans

    3. Ohio State Buckeyes

    2. Florida State Seminoles


    1. Alabama Crimson Tide

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    The ACC sucks outside of a falling Clemson and FSU. I don't think OSU is #1 either, but Wiscy, M State and Penn State are formidable in the B1G and D-1 in general. IMHO

    Still the pre-season rankings will adjust after 9-16 to a better representation of the better teams. Hell maybe not 'til October.
    "The quarterback question lingers, but the Browns traded and traded and traded and traded and traded and acquired nine players and three high draft choices.

    It's tough to argue those results." Pat McManamon 5-3-16

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    Quote Originally Posted by jaydog View Post
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    The ACC sucks outside of a falling Clemson and FSU. I don't think OSU is #1 either, but Wiscy, M State and Penn State are formidable in the B1G and D-1 in general. IMHO

    Still the pre-season rankings will adjust after 9-16 to a better representation of the better teams. Hell maybe not 'til October.
    The B1G was exposed for the mediocre conference it it last year:

    #3 0su got destroyed by #2 Clemson 31-0
    #5 PSU 49 lost to #9 USC 52-49
    #6 Michigan lost to #11 FSU 33-32
    #8 Wisconsin got a cupcake match-up with WMU...a MAC school

    The four Top 10 schools went 1-3 when having to leave the conference and play powers from other conferences. That is not good.

    As far as the ACC goes - Clemson and FSU are elite programs; that is 1 more than the B1G has. The B1G has 0su...that's it. Michigan hasn't won anything in recent memory and neither has PSU. One year in which they were embarrassed when they actually had to play somebody outside of the conference doesn't make them powers again. Michigan State, Wiscy and PSU are basically the same as Louisville, UNC, Miami, etc...

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    Your conference better hope Clemson has a respectable year or it's just FSU.

    And I'll take M State or Wisy over Louisville, UNC or Miami every day. You may not, but that's OK.

    Outside of OSU getting hammered PSU and Michigan lost by 4 points. Total. Between them. I'd say they can win in the ACC day in and day out. ( I know USC isn't in the ACC btw)
    "The quarterback question lingers, but the Browns traded and traded and traded and traded and traded and acquired nine players and three high draft choices.

    It's tough to argue those results." Pat McManamon 5-3-16

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    Quote Originally Posted by jaydog View Post
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    Your conference better hope Clemson has a respectable year or it's just FSU.

    And I'll take M State or Wisy over Louisville, UNC or Miami every day. You may not, but that's OK.

    Outside of OSU getting hammered PSU and Michigan lost by 4 points. Total. Between them. I'd say they can win in the ACC day in and day out. ( I know USC isn't in the ACC btw)
    0su and Michigan win the ACC day in and day out? 0su can't beat Clemson...and never has (0-3)...so there goes that theory. Michigan already proved they can't beat FSU. Sorry man, but the ACC is stronger at the top...it's been proven on the field...so the idea of them winning the conference easily is a joke. Clemson and FSU would dominate the B1G just like they do the ACC.



    You have to come to grips with the reality that the B1G was overrated last season (and the B1G has sucked for quite a while) - everybody else has.

    Per the Sagrin Ratings, the ACC was the best conference Top-to-Bottom last season:

    1. SEC West
    2. ACC Atlantic
    3. ACC Coastal
    4. Pac 12 North
    5. Big 12
    6. B1G East
    7. B1G West
    8. SEC East
    9. Pac 12 South

    The sad part is that I give 0su credit for being a very good football team and one of the 4 elite programs currently in college football. That list is Alabama, Clemson, 0su and FSU. That's it right now in terms of elite programs...which puts 2 in the ACC. Michigan has won 1 major bowl since 2004 (2011 Sugar Bowl); and under Harbaugh has 0 division titles, 0 conference titles, 0 major bowl wins. They aren't there yet...they have to win something first.

    For Comparison, Major Bowl wins since 2004:

    0su - 6
    Clemson - 4
    FSU - 3
    Alabama - 6
    Michigan - 1

    Anyway, those are the 4 elite teams at the moment - but the list is fluid - and others can be added...though I'm not sure who else has a realistic shot at being added soon.

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    Yeah that was last year. I don't Clemson as a top team this year. They'll be very good, but not a champion. OSU will be better than them. Outside of FSU and Clemson...meh.

    The ACC is a basketball conference. Not football.
    "The quarterback question lingers, but the Browns traded and traded and traded and traded and traded and acquired nine players and three high draft choices.

    It's tough to argue those results." Pat McManamon 5-3-16

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    Quote Originally Posted by jaydog View Post
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    Yeah that was last year. I don't Clemson as a top team this year. They'll be very good, but not a champion. OSU will be better than them. Outside of FSU and Clemson...meh.

    The ACC is a basketball conference. Not football.
    What do you consider a Top Team? Top 2? Top 5? Top 10? Clemson is a Top 10 team and with good QB play, a Top 5 team again this year. You better start learning to respect Clemson because that isn't changing anytime soon.

    The ACC may have historically been a basketball conference; but we have more National Championships this decade than the B1G. The ACC also has more college football playoff wins; more draft picks (1st round and overall). So the tables have turned and the B1G is playing catch-up to the ACC in football.

    Michigan loses 18 starters - all of whom they couldn't even make the playoffs with despite a mediocre schedule. Why should I believe they are better than Clemson, FSU, Louisville or even Miami this year? They were a mediocre 1 dimensional team last year; that won't change.

    PSU will be a sexy pick to win the B1G or at least challenge for the CFP - not sure I'm sold on them either.

    0hi0 should waltz through the B1G easily...very easily.

    This should be a good season and really more wide open than the previous couple dominated by Alabama and Clemson.

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    I'm thinking a top team to be top 5-6-7 ish. I still would prefer at least 8 teams in the playoffs to better cover those teams that have two losses that are still very good teams and to compete against weaker conference teams that go undefeated or have an unusually talented group of guys for a season.

    I'm not buying PSU or Michigan as a powerhouse either. The ACC may be an up and comer, but it'll take more than a Clemson title, their first in decades, to convince me the ACC is stronger. If they or FSU can win another title in the next year or two then hell yeah. The ACC would be loaded at the top, but we could say that about damn near every conference. I like Dabo Swinney too. He's a helluva recruiter and coach.

    And BTW every college football championship caliber team has several easy teams on their schedule. That's par for the top teams...because they're all that much better. We could could go back and forth splittin' hairs about who may or may not have a tougher schedule, but you'll never agree OSU has a harder schedule than Clemson than I would agree Clemson's is tougher.

    When Tressel was here he had some weak non-conference opponents that when they were scheduled 6 years earlier were good teams. Coaches try to schedule tough games, but also allow for smaller conference D-1 teams, that are competitive in state, to have a shot at the big time programs too.

    Who is Clemson's toughest non-conference opponent this year? The ACC is 63-78-2 vs the B1G. I just looked it up to verify what I already understood. It doesn't mean the ACC sucks. It's just that it's a basketball conference. Also the ACC is 51-45 vs the Big 12 conference.

    Over time the ACC should be better due to the addition of Dabo and maybe if Miami can get back to it's glory days then it'll be recognized as such with a continued strong FSU program. I would love to see the ACC steal some recruits from the SEC.
    "The quarterback question lingers, but the Browns traded and traded and traded and traded and traded and acquired nine players and three high draft choices.

    It's tough to argue those results." Pat McManamon 5-3-16

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    Quote Originally Posted by jaydog View Post
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    I'm thinking a top team to be top 5-6-7 ish. I still would prefer at least 8 teams in the playoffs to better cover those teams that have two losses that are still very good teams and to compete against weaker conference teams that go undefeated or have an unusually talented group of guys for a season.
    I think 8 might be in the cards down the line - however, I know they love the way things are playing out right now; and things won't be revisited until this current contract is up.

    I'm not buying PSU or Michigan as a powerhouse either. The ACC may be an up and comer, but it'll take more than a Clemson title, their first in decades, to convince me the ACC is stronger. If they or FSU can win another title in the next year or two then hell yeah. The ACC would be loaded at the top, but we could say that about damn near every conference. I like Dabo Swinney too. He's a helluva recruiter and coach.
    FSU won a Natty in 2013 - which makes more teams from the ACC than the B1G in the last 20 years. The list of teams form the B1G ten reads....0hio...that's it. The B1G has been dominated by 0hi0 and nobody else has mattered. That makes 0hi0 a power; and the rest of the conference kind of irrelevant.

    - Since 1997, the ACC has won 3 National Championships (FSU 2x's; Clemson 1); the B1G has won 2 (0hio 2x's).

    And BTW every college football championship caliber team has several easy teams on their schedule. That's par for the top teams...because they're all that much better. We could could go back and forth splittin' hairs about who may or may not have a tougher schedule, but you'll never agree OSU has a harder schedule than Clemson than I would agree Clemson's is tougher.
    When Tressel was here he had some weak non-conference opponents that when they were scheduled 6 years earlier were good teams. Coaches try to schedule tough games, but also allow for smaller conference D-1 teams, that are competitive in state, to have a shot at the big time programs too.[/quote]

    That's not true - when the schedule is tougher, I will be fine admitting it. When the B1G is better, I will be fine admitting it. It simply hasn't been for quite a while. As a fan, I want the easiest schedule possible to get me to the playoff...that is all that matters. I couldn't care less if we played the easiest schedule in the nation as long as we went undefeated and went to the playoff. That's the truth.

    And yeah, we all play some cupcakes - you have to. You can't play a full schedule of FSU's. You have to build in some wins with some smaller in-state schools - and Clemson is required by law to play 1 smaller instate school per year.

    Who is Clemson's toughest non-conference opponent this year? The ACC is 63-78-2 vs the B1G. I just looked it up to verify what I already understood. It doesn't mean the ACC sucks. It's just that it's a basketball conference. Also the ACC is 51-45 vs the Big 12 conference.
    Clemson plays Auburn this year - which in the preseason polls is a Top 10-12 team. We play 2 SEC schools in most years - Texas A&M is on the schedule in 18 & 19...and we scheduled them when they had Manziel and after the season they Bama...so we thought they would be better. Our AD is on the CFP selection committee; so he knows how we have to schedule in order to be a legit contender.

    As far as the all-time record of ACC vs B1G you quoted; that's cool and all...but it goes back to the 40's and 50's....who cares. The modern era...hell, the 2000's are all that matter right now - and this basketball conference has been a better football conference than the B1G for quite some time. Not all era's are the same. The B1G used to be a power prior to the SEC taking the reigns in the 90's. Once the new millennium hit, the B1G faded and has never returned. The ACC has really only become a power this decade. It's all cyclical with coaches and QB's.

    We can pick an era of relevance as well - since 1970, both Clemson and 0hi0 have the same amount of National Championships - 2.


    And all I really care about is Clemson's record vs the B1G (and we can look at the Big XII as well). Hell, over the last 4 years, Clemson is 4-0 vs both conference's best, 0hi0 and Oklahoma...with blow wins over both.

    Over time the ACC should be better due to the addition of Dabo and maybe if Miami can get back to it's glory days then it'll be recognized as such with a continued strong FSU program. I would love to see the ACC steal some recruits from the SEC.
    The B1G is playing catch-up to the ACC in football. Maybe Harbaugh & Franklin will help 0hi0 not be the only legitimate threat in the conference. We'll have to wait and see. Until then, the B1G is looking up at the ACC watching big boy football be played.

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