2016 NCAA FB Top 25 Rankings

The NCAA FB season just ended, but why not rank the teams for 2016?

1. Alabama Crimson Tide

You might be as bored as I am that Alabama will likely be at the top as usual, but you have to admit its quite impressive. Alabama doesn’t rebuild, they reload. Although the Tide are losing their starting quarterback and Heisman winning running back, they continuously have the No. 1 recruiting class and seem to plug guys in and make it work. Oh by the way, they have 6’3 240 pound running back replacing Derrick Henry; his name is Bo Scarborough… Have fun SEC safeties.

2. Clemson Tigers

There shouldn’t be any surprise that the Tigers are No. 2 on my list because they are bringing back almost their entire offense, including Heisman finalist, Deshaun Watson. Although they are losing a couple of key players on defense, Brent Venables will get them right and they will for sure be back in the College FootballPlayoff. Clemson will be hungry for another chance at the title and they will bring their best game every week.

3. Ohio State Buckeyes

Urban Meyer doesn’t have a three way tie at quarterback headed into this off season, so maybe they can focus on one guy and one style of play and be a little more productive early in the season. I think the Buckeyes simply had too much talent last year and they didn’t know what to do with it at times (granted they only lost one game). The Buckeyes lose a few of good defensive players and a couple of key offensive players, but they do have J.T. Barrett (Heisman candidate).

4. Stanford Cardinal

Do I need to say more than Christian McCaffrey is coming back? He is a Heisman candidate and he will lead this team to the Pac 12 championship. With that said, the Pac 12 looks like it will be a bit weaker than usual which definitely helps the Cardinal out. This young defense gets one year older and will be very good this upcoming season. Their top two question marks are replacing Kevin Hogan at quarterback and finding a receiver to take some attention off of the run game.

5. Oklahoma Sooners

If you thought the Sooners offense was explosive this season, wait until you see what they do with their second year with Baker Mayfield, Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon. The Sooners will definitely need help defensively while losing a bulk of their front seven and also Zach Sanchez in the secondary. Not only will the Sooners be challenged in the Big XII, but also two of their three non-conference games include an up and coming Houston Cougars team, and a hungry Ohio State.

6. Florida State Seminoles

Florida State might creep into the top five before the season starts because they return every starter on offense and have an array of talent with that group. Dalvin Cook has another year behind an experience line, plus some very good receivers to help keep the eyes off of him at all times. The question for the Seminoles is, do they stick with Sean Maguire at quarterback or throw in the highly talented freshman, Malik Henry?

7. Baylor Bears

Art Briles will have his hands full trying to replace four starting offensive lineman and their best receiver, Corey Coleman. The upside to the offense is that Seth Russell will be returning for his senior season and will be a great leader for the Bears. Baylor is losing some freaks on the defensive line, but with this offense, they will always be in the game.

8. Ole Miss Rebels

The Rebels are losing some big time names like Treadwell, Tunsil and Nkemdiche, but they are returning the SEC’s best quarterback in Chad Kelly. Chad Kelly has proved he can beat Alabama, now he and the offense as a whole need to be more consistent in the 2016 season. A good quarterback can take you a long way, and I think Chad Kelly can lead them to a successful season.

9. Michigan Wolverines

The Wolverines bring back almost everyone on offense with their biggest question mark being quarterback. I think it is safe to say that whomever Jim Harbaugh puts under center will pan out just fine under his coaching. Michigan will have to get over the hump and beat the big name teams on the road.

10. LSU Tigers

LSU has a good chance to make the College Football Playoff. I think it will come down to if they beat Alabama or not. Leonard Fournette is a freak of nature and he will run wild again in the 2016 season. Hopefully they can replace their two offensive tackles to help Fournette out even more. The biggest need for LSU, as it has been for several years, is a quarterback. They need to be able to take some pressure off of Fournette. The Tigers will be very good defensively, so a solid offensive will make them deadly.

11. Notre Dame Fighting Irish

I have been debating on putting Notre Dame on this list for the past six spots. The reason I didn’t is because they are losing their two best playmakers, Fuller and Prosise, two first round offensive lineman, and star linebacker Jaylon Smith. However, they do return a healthy Malik Zaire who has the potential to lead this team to the College Football Playoff and could possibly be in the Heisman discussion late in the season. The Irish will need to upgrade their defense tremendously if they want to beat the good teams.

12. Oregon Ducks

The Ducks will once again be relying on a D1AA transfer quarterback inDakota Prukop from Montana State. I hesitated putting Oregon at No. 12 because they are so hit or miss. They have the ability to be very good or really bad. The need some major help defensively and they are praying their new quarterback pans out. With that said, at best, I see Oregon losing only two games, but for sure two games. I can also see Oregon losing six or seven games if they don’t have a decent quarterback.

13. Michigan State Spartans

It will be a different look under center in 2016 for the Spartans as they graduate Connor Cook. Needless to say, quarterback is their No. 1 priority this upcoming offseason. Once they find a quarterback, they might want to start looking for some top talent guys to catch it for him because they also lose their two best receivers from the 2015 season. If that isn’t enough damage to this team, they also lose key lineman on both sides of the ball. Defense will be their key to many wins, but they will need to find some answers on offense if they want a shot in the B1G.

14. UCLA Bruins

The Bruins looked like a very good football team at times this year, and then not so much at times. They will need to focus on being more consistent this upcoming season and bringing their “A” game against the better teams. The Bruins lose Myles Jack but bring back an experienced Josh Rosen. This offense should put up good numbers, but they will need to be able to stop some of the good teams better than they did last year.

15. Tennessee Volunteers

Josh Dobbs, senior quarterback, will be their key to success. Their four losses this past season were to OU, Florida, Alabama, and Arkansas. They lost each one by seven points or less. This team has the potential to be very good, but they will need to finish in the big games.

16. USC Trojans

The Trojans will need to find a quarterback but they have a talented running back to help with inexperienced in that position. The Trojans will be challenged in the Pac 12 but they have a chance to do special things if they can get a good quarterback and replace some good defensive lineman.

17. Georgia Bulldogs

The hiring of Kirby Smart will help this defense out immensely. He has a talented set of running backs and a very athletic secondary. His biggest challenge is finding a quarterback to lead this team through the SEC.

18. TCU Horned Frogs

Last year was not the ordinary Gary Patterson defense. Look for them to get back on track with a veteran defense. The offense is losing Trevone Boykin and bowl game hero, Bram Kohlhausen. They will more than likely replace them with the one and only Kenny Trill from Texas A&M. Kenny Hill has the talent to lead this team to some big time victories.

19. Auburn Tigers

This year’s team didn’t look like a Gus Malzahn team in any way. They lacked productivity on offense and could not score points when it mattered. Their biggest problem was the absence of the quarterback run game, but they should get that next year with their transfer quarterback John Franklin III. This will be a bounce back season for Gus Malzahn and the Auburn Tigers, but they will have to face some very tough SEC teams in the process.

20. Houston Cougars

The Cougars open with Oklahoma as their first game of the season. Its put up or shut up time for the Houston Cougars. They are returning a solid defense and an explosive offense to say the least. Quarterback, Greg Ward, looks to end his remarkable career with an even better season than last year. Greg Ward’s duel threat ability makes him tough for any defense in the country.

21. Wisconsin Badgers

The Badgers will play physical, smash noes football like always and they will be good at it. They will bring back a pair of running backs with experience, most of their offensive line, and also most of their defensive front seven. Wisconsin has one of the hardest schedules in the 2016 season. They open with LSU, back-to-back road games at Michigan State and Michigan, and then also face Ohio State and Iowa late in October.

22. Washington Huskies

Chris Petersen will be heading into his third season as head coach and he will definitely have this team be competitive. Washington will return the best defense in the Pac 12 and they should get ore production from sophomore quarterback Jake Browning.

23. Oklahoma State Cowboys

The Cowboys will score a lot of points this upcoming season. Quarterback, Mason Rudolph, is back for his junior season and he will throw to a deep receiving core while standing behind the same exact lineman he did this past season. OSU will have to play TCU, OU, and Baylor on the road.

24. Louisville Cardinals

The Cardinals will be talented on the defensive side of the ball. If Lamar Jackson can play more consistently in 2016, the Cardinals have a legitimate shot at competing in the ACC.

25. Iowa Hawkeyes

Most of the defense will be back so they will be tough defensively again, but they still don’t have many answers on the offensive side of the ball. Lets just hope their 2016 season doesn’t look anything like the Rose Bowl…

Top 5 out – Florida, North Carolina, Texas A&M, Arkansas, Washington State

Follow Dru on Twitter @DruSmith8

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