College Football Preview - Contenders and Freezing Cold Takes
by Jonny Gaunt
Alabama Crimson Tide
Alabama has tremendous losses in every phase of the offense. Whether their young replacements can quickly live up to their potential will determine whether they can defend the SEC West against the Texas A&M Aggies
Oklahoma may have their most complete team since Lincoln Riley took over as head coach. If Oklahoma is to take that next step, the defense will have to carry the team at times and Rattler will need to be consistent at QB, especially with an Iowa State team looming.
The Tigers defense should be improved this year and will need to guide the team. With a favorable schedule, the opener against Georgia is easily the biggest test before the ACC Title game.
Ohio State Buckeyes
Ohio State returns much of its young talent on both offense and defense. If Stroud can be a decisive distributor the Buckeyes will win another Big Ten title. Linebackers, however, will decide whether this team can win a National Title.
The Bulldogs will be desperate to win their opener in Charlotte against Clemson. With a brutal schedule, a win would be the ultimate trump card in a resume discussion. Whether Daniels is the QB that they have been waiting for could be determined by the outcome of the SEC Championship game.
Jonny's Preseason Top 25
3. Ohio State
5. Texas A&M
7. Iowa State
8. North Carolina
10. Notre Dame
13. Miami (FL)
18. Penn State
21. Arizona State
23. Coastal Carolina
24. Oklahoma State
Texas A&M Aggies
The Aggies have been slowly building since Jimbo Fisher arrived in College Station. Finally, this is the year they have the potential to pop. With Spiller at running back, this team has the talent to win the SEC West.
Iowa State Cyclones
Campbell has built a juggernaut in Ames. With a team full of All-Americans, this team can not only spoil the Big 12 favorite Sooners' season, but the Playoff as well. If QB Brock Purdy can play within himself, this team is more than dangerous.
The Bearcats have the notoriety, schedule, and team to be the first Group of 5 team to crack the playoff. However, they will need to be perfect and receive some help along the way by the strong teams (Notre Dame and Indiana, especially) they defeat.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish
The Irish will always be a Playoff contender, but based on what they need to replace and their return to a typical schedule, it seems unlikely this season. Much of their success will be on Wisconsin-transfer QB Coan's ability to make plays.
North Carolina Tar Heels
North Carolina has the ability to defeat any team they step on the field this year with Sam Howell at quarterback. Avoiding Clemson in the regular season means the Tar Heels have a chance at a special season if they can replace their talented skill position players from a year ago.
Oregon has solidified the interior and their defense may be one of the best in the country with Thibodeaux as the anchor. However, if the offense refuses to open up and develop creativity, the season could be a disappointment once again.
The Badgers have been one of the most consistent programs in the country. So, it is widely believed they will return back to form this season after a disappointing 2020. The question remains whether they have what it takes to seize the Big ten crown (over Ohio State).
Coastal Carolina Chanticleers
With a talented QB like McCall returning for the Chanticleers, they will have an opportunity to muck up the New Year's Six bowl scenario by running the table.
Freezing Cold Takes
These can't possibly go wrong, right?
The American and another Group of 5 conference get in a NY6
Only one undefeated team entering the College Football Playoff
Iowa State wins the Big 12
The SEC only has one team in the Playoff
PAC-12 misses the Playoff (again)
Clemson or Oklahoma doesn't make the Playoff
Sam Howell wins the Heisman
Playoff teams: Ohio State, Alabama, North Carolina, Iowa State
Ohio State beats Alabama in the CFP Championship