2017 College Football Rankings: Alabama Number One Again!
Tide on top, but plenty of challengers this season.
The coaches poll was released last month and it was no surprise that 'Bama was the top choice. The Crimson Tide received 49 of the 65 first place votes, but this season has plenty of challengers and things could change quickly.
Nick Saban's squad opens the season against Florida State, the third ranked team in the nation. This is the marquee contest for week 1 with the loser having a tough uphill climb to get back in the race for the playoffs at seasons end.
Unlike last year, the Tide will rely on the offense early in the year. Sophomore quarterback Jalen Hurts will have a bit more pressure than last season, but with running back Bo Scarbrough in the backfield, the offensive unit should be more explosive in 2017.
The biggest question heading into the upcoming football season is on defense. This unit is usually the strength, but several stars have moved on and how quickly the front seven gels will play a big role this season.
This weekend the initial AP Poll was released and Bama' received 52 of the 61 first place votes. Ohio State, Florida State, USC, and Clemson rounded out the top-five heading into the opening kick-off later this month.
Ohio State Buckeyes battle for number two.
This is where things get interesting as Ohio State is number two in the coaches poll. The Buckeyes received five first place votes, but there's mixed reviews. Clemson is ranked fifth, but received the second most top votes with 7 and Florida State sits third with 4 votes as the top team in the nation.
It doesn't stop there as USC, arguably the hottest team at the end of 2016, sits fourth in the polls, but without any top votes.
The Trojans open against Western Michigan, but games against Stanford and Texas early in the year will give fans and voters a much-better idea of just how good this team will be.
Best of the rest.
Every year it seems a team comes from the middle of the pack and makes some noise and this football season shouldn't be any different.
Big 10 powers Michigan and Wisconsin both sit in the top-10, but questions with both programs have college football experts on the fence.
The Wolverines lost a couple big name talents to the NFL and will need to some inexperienced players to take that next step to contend. Wisconsin has questions at quarterback, but with a solid defense and one of the best rushing offenses in the nation, some early season confidence could be just the boost this program needs to make a quick climb up the rankings.
Penn State and Washington bot has superb years in 2016 and will look to build on the momentum from last year. Both schools are solid under center and could be just one big away from breaking into the playoff picture.
A 'sleeper' is usually from a smaller conference and has enough talent to challenge a big program.
South Florida is the school to watch in 2017. With duel-threat quarterback Quinton Flowers leading the offense and Deatrick Nichols, along with Auggie Sanchez heading up the defense, this program is on the rise and could surprise college football fans.
The schedule for the Bulls is favorable. A late season contest against Houston is the biggest game of the season and a win over the Cougars could propel this team into a big late season Bowl Game and possibly a shot at finishing in the top-10.