2017 College Football: Which Teams Can Reach the 10-Win Mark?
“We feel very good about the young, talented guys.”WR/TE Position Preview » https://t.co/qa6bRRqYYH pic.twitter.com/NsWOAxOSwb — FSU Football (@FSU_Football) July 28, 2017
ACC: Florida State Seminoles (9.5)I’m a bit surprised this total isn’t at 10, although the over is a -155 favorite. OK, Florida State is a 7-point underdog in Week 1 against Alabama in what could be the first-ever matchup of the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the national polls in Week 1. So let’s assume FSU loses that only because the Tide are so good.
I don’t see the Noles losing more than once more in the regular season. It won’t lose at home at all and should win at Clemson. That leaves only a trip to Florida for the likely second loss.
The biggest questions at Florida State surround its offensive line and running game, two critical components heading into the season opener. Cam Akers and Jacques Patrick appear ready to shoulder the load Dalvin Cook once carried, but the offensive line must make significant progress this fall. Florida State is the preseason choice to win the ACC in a vote of the media and has a legit Heisman candidate in QB Deondre Francois.
Big Ten: Ohio State Buckeyes (11)Only OSU and Alabama have a win total set at 11. Now, I would never recommend betting over the 11 wins because that obviously means a team must go unbeaten. But the Buckeyes should finish no worse than 10-2 pretty easily. Everyone at Ohio State, including coach Urban Meyer, believes new offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson will have an instant impact on the Buckeyes’ offense. OSU brings back perhaps the Big Ten’s top quarterback in JT Barrett.
The Buckeyes figure to be favored in every single regular-season game. Their toughest will be Week 2 vs. Oklahoma, a team they pummeled last year in Norman, Oct. 14 at Nebraska, Oct. 28 vs. Penn State and Nov. 25 at Michigan. The Wolverines are overrated with the fewest starters back in the nation.
Big 12: Oklahoma State Cowboys (9)Oklahoma is the Big 12 preseason favorite, but I like the Pokes better – plus the Sooners are all but assured a Week 2 loss at Ohio State. The Cowboys don’t have a tough non-conference game like that, instead hosting Tulsa and visiting South Alabama and Pitt. OSU should win all those games, although Pitt isn’t bad. In Big 12 play, the Cowboys host Baylor and Oklahoma while visiting Texas Tech, Texas and WVU.
QB Mason Rudolph has quarterbacked OSU to a 22-6 record as a starter and has led the Cowboys to eight victories in games in which they trailed during the second half. He led all FBS quarterbacks returning in 2017 in both interception avoidance and touchdown-to- interception ratio in 2016, and he is already the owner of no fewer than 11 school records.
Pac-12: USC Trojans (10.5)Lofty preseason expectations are the expectation at USC, but in the past five years only once — last year — have the Trojans finished higher in the final Associated Press poll than where they started the season. But USC has the potential No. 1 overall pick in next year’s draft in QB and Heisman favorite Sam Darnold. Many positions have definite starters entering 2017. There are more competitions for backup positions than starting jobs. That leads to an extra level of confidence as training camp starts, bolstered by preseason polls that have USC as a College Football Playoff contender.
“We know the hype is here,” safety Chris Hawkins said. “The standard of USC is to win national championships and Pac-12 championships. When everybody is talking about you, all you want to do is prove them right.”
The Trojans likely only have a chance to be an underdog only twice and could still be favored in those games: Oct. 21 at Notre Dame and Nov. 11 at Colorado. They avoid Oregon and Washington from the Pac-12 North.