By: Andrew Nason
College Football season is right around the corner. Check out my prediction, top teams, and top players to watch this upcoming season.
National Champion: USC
The teams with the best quarterbacks tend to win championships, unless its Alabama of course. Last year, Clemson had Deshaun Watson, and won it all. This year, the Trojans have Sam Darnold, and while I think Ohio State, Alabama, and Florida State may be more talented teams, I’ll take Darnold to return USC to glory.
College Football Playoff Field: USC, Alabama, Ohio State, Florida State
Florida State will be hurt by what I expect to be a season opening loss to Alabama, but they should recover to win the ACC over Clemson, who lost just too many weapons on the offensive side of the ball for me to put them back in the playoff. Ohio State and Penn State will battle it out for the Big Ten title, but the Buckeyes all-world defensive line should control Penn States running game and earn them a birth.
Heisman Trophy Winner: Sam Darnold, QB, USC
Yes, that’s right, I’ve got USC winning it all and their QB winning the Heisman. I’m all in on the Trojans this season. Darnold should put up great numbers against the PAC-12 this season, and lead the men of Tory to an undefeated season.
Heisman Trophy Finalists:
Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville
Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma
Jackson, the reigning Heisman winner, struggled at the end of last season, as it appears that with more film, teams were able to design defenses to hold him in check. He should put up good numbers again, and as the reigning winner, will be in the conversation all year, but he won’t do enough to win it again. Mayfield seems to always be in the conversation, but without many of his weapons from last season, he likely will only have a strong enough case to earn a trip to New York. Barkley is the best running back in college football, but good Big Ten defenses should be able to keep him from putting up other-worldly numbers this season.
Top Offensive Freshmen: Cam Akers, RB, Florida State
The number 2 running back recruit in the nation last year, Akers steps into a great situation as the Seminoles need to replace all-time great back Dalvin Cook. Akers should see the majority of the carries this season and put up big numbers thanks to the combined high-level play of second year quarterback Deondre Francois.
Top Defensive Freshmen: Jeffery Okudah, CB, Ohio State
Ohio State had their two starting cornerbacks from last season, Gareon Conley and Marshon Lattimore, drafted in the 1st round of the draft this past May, leaving them with a lot to replace. Denzel Ward should lock up one side, leaving the other side of the defensive secondary wide open. Okudah was a highly recruited corner and is a freakish athlete, and has a great chance to win the starting job for the playoff contending Buckeyes.
Top Running Backs
Top Wide Receivers
Top Tight Ends
Top Offensive Linemen
Top Defensive Linemen
Top Defensive Ends/Outside Linebackers
Top Inside Linebackers
Nason's Preseason Top 10 Teams