NEW­EST SU­PER­POWER

CROSS OFF AN­OTHER MILE­STONE FOR CLEM­SON, COL­LEGE FOOT­BALL’S

The Peterborough Examiner - - Sports -

NO. 1 CLEM­SON

COACH: Dabo Swin­ney CON­FER­ENCE: ACC 2018 FIN­ISH: No. 1 (15-0) KEY GAMES: vs. No. 12 Texas A&M, Sept. 7; at No. 22 Syra­cuse, Sept. 14; vs. Florida State, Oct. 12; at South Carolina, Nov. 30. OUT­LOOK: Sopho­more QB Trevor Lawrence re­turns to de­fend the Tigers’ na­tional cham­pi­onship, lead­ing a loaded of­fense with WRs Tee Hig­gins and Justyn Ross and RB Travis Eti­enne. Af­ter hav­ing four de­fen­sive line­men drafted, three in the first round, sopho­more DE Xavier Thomas leads the next wave of fu­ture NFL play­ers. A fifth straight Col­lege Foot­ball Play­off ap­pear­ance seems like al­most a fore­gone con­clu­sion.

NO. 2 ALABAMA

COACH: Nick Sa­ban 2018 FIN­ISH: No. 2 (14-1) KEY GAMES: at No. 12 Texas A&M, Oct. 12; vs. No. 6 LSU, Nov. 9; at Mis­sis­sippi State, Nov. 16; at No. 16 Auburn, Nov. 30. OUT­LOOK: QB Tua Tago­v­ailoa leads an­other ex­plo­sive of­fense, with All-Amer­ica WR Jerry Jeudy. The only ques­tion is: What does new of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Steve Sark­isian bring to the Tide af­ter a stint in the NFL? Can­di­dates to be the break­out star on defense are DE LaBryan Ray and fresh­man NG D.J. Dale. The Crim­son Tide is the only team to make the play­off all five sea­sons of its ex­is­tence.

NO. 3 GE­OR­GIA

COACH: Kirby Smart 2018 FIN­ISH: No. 7 (11-3) KEY GAMES: vs. No. 9 Notre Dame, Sept. 21; vs. No. 8 Florida in Jack­sonville, Nov. 2; at No. 16 Auburn, Nov. 16; vs. No. 12 Texas A&M, Nov. 23. OUT­LOOK: Close losses to Alabama the last two years have kept the Bull­dogs from the ul­ti­mate prize. Is this the year QB Jake Fromm gets Ge­or­gia over the hump? RB D’An­dre Swift works be­hind maybe the best of­fen­sive line in the coun­try. Look for fresh­man OLB Nolan Smith to make an im­pact as a pass rusher.

NO. 4 OK­LA­HOMA

Coach: Lin­coln Ri­ley 2018 fin­ish: No. 4 (12-2) Key games: vs. Hous­ton, Sept. 1; vs. No. 10 Texas in Dal­las, Oct. 12; No. 21 Iowa State, Nov. 9; at Ok­la­homa State, Nov. 30. Out­look: For­mer Alabama quar­ter­back Jalen Hurts, a grad­u­ate trans­fer, tries to be­come the third straight Ok­la­homa Heis­man Tro­phy win­ner. Ri­ley’s of­fense fig­ures to be po­tent again, even with a re­built of­fen­sive line. The defense needs im­prove­ment and the Soon­ers brought in co­or­di­na­tor Alex Grinch, for­merly of Wash­ing­ton State and Ohio State, to tighten things up. LB Ken­neth Mur­ray is a nice player to build around.

NO. 5 OHIO STATE

COACH: Ryan Day. 2018 FIN­ISH: No. 3 (13-1). CRIT­I­CAL GAMES: at No. 24 Ne­braska, Sept. 28; vs. No. 18 Michi­gan State, Oct. 5; vs. No. 16 Penn State, Nov. 23; at No. 7 Michi­gan, Nov. 30. OUT­LOOK: Day takes over for the re­tired Ur­ban Meyer. Job #1 is de­vel­op­ing tal­ented QB Justin Fields, a trans­fer from Ge­or­gia. The defense, which strug­gled might­ily last sea­son, has new co-co­or­di­na­tors in Greg Mat­ti­son and Jeff Hafley. DE Chase Young is likely to be the Buck­eyes’ next high first-round draft pick pass rusher.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.