It may only be July, but we are thinking about college football already. So why not make a few early predictions for the 2017 season? Here are the three teams we think have the best chance of making the College Football Playoff and going on to the national championship game.
Is there ever a year that Alabama is not on this list? It may get old seeing the Crimson Tide be projected to make the playoff each year, but you would be a fool to leave them out. After all, ESPN predicted Alabama as the No. 1 program for the next three seasons. This isn’t to say ESPN is the holy grail, but it’s a pretty fair assumption.
Even with the loss of three top defensive players, we are still confident the defense will shine just like they have in previous years. It’s the offensive woes that hit a nerve with a lot of fans. The Crimson Tide went through three offensive coordinators within only a few months and we are still unsure the direction Brian Daboll will take the offense. Will the team return to a power run game? All-SEC quarterback Jalen Hurts returns for another season, but will we see his efficiency and explosiveness improve?
Even with these questions sitting in the back of our minds, we aren’t too worried. We expect Alabama to once again win the SEC, make the playoff and even get another chance in the national championship game.
Ohio State ended last season on a rather embarrassing note, but we don’t think their devastating loss to Clemson will negatively affect their 2017 season. In fact, it will likely provide more motivation than ever before. J.T. Barrett will return to the QB position for the Buckeyes, and we are anxious to see how that plays out. Will he be able to eclipse his stand-out 2014 stats?
Some fans aren’t so sure of having Barrett at the realm after having a rather subpar offense the past couple of seasons, but we predict that Barrett’s experience will carry the Buckeyes through a strong season that might even lead to a national championship appearance. Although Barrett has had a successful three seasons as a starter, he has still yet to really clinch a national title of his own (after being sidelined in 2015 due to ankle injury), and with his final season approaching, we think his hunger for the national title combined with the talent behind him could easily take the Buckeyes all the way.
The good news for Florida State is they return with the majority of their 2016 starters. The downside? Dalvin Cook will not be in the backfield. However, Deondre Francois will return for his second season with a solid year of experience under his belt. He had an excellent first season with over 3,300 yards and 20 touchdowns, although taking his fair share of hits due to a struggling offensive line. His talent is undeniable, but can he live up to the hype?
Naturally, D12 has areas he needs to improve on – he needs to get rid of the ball quicker and read opposing defenses better, but these rookie mistakes should improve with time. But with no Dalvin Cook or veteran receivers to save him, the offense really does rest on his right arm, which could put Florida State in a prime position to make the College Football Playoff or cut their success short once again.
One thing is for sure, we are all anxiously awaiting arguably the biggest season opener of all time between Alabama and FSU. This matchup will reveal how well the Noles offensive line can hold up against one of the best defensive lines in the country. FSU has the talent to compete with the best of them, and it wouldn’t surprise us if they open the season with a win and end the season with a national title.
Be there for the College Football Playoff National Championship
You could very well see one or two of these teams in the national championship game. What are your predictions?
We predict we will see you in Atlanta! After all, how could you miss one of the biggest football games of the year? Join us at the brand new Mercedes-Benz Stadium for an experience you will never forget. Get tickets to the game, pregame hospitality with premium food and open bar, on-field access, and so much more.