2017 College Football Preview: The Top 10 Teams You Need To Watch

2017 College Football Preview: The Top 10 Teams You Need To Watch

With college football season finally here, let’s talk about what you really care about — those teams with the best shot to make it to the playoffs. So who will be the last four standing? Here are the 10 teams you need to watch:

1. Alabama (AP Rank 1)

College Alabama

Number one is no surprise. Nick Saban’s squad lost a ton of key players to the NFL last year, but, like always, the roster is stacked with elite prospects groomed to take their place. Watch for dangerous running QB Jalen Hurts to improve as a passer this year, junior wideout Calvin Ridley to contend for numerous awards, and for the Crimson Tide to hold on to the number one seed.

2. Ohio State (AP Rank 2)

College OSU

Urban Meyer and co. have their own incredible recruiting class and they’ll be put to good use. The Buckeyes will be led by experienced senior J.T. Barrett on offense, but the real gem of the team is the defensive line. Linemen Tyquan Lewis, Nick Bosa, and Sam Hubbard should be wreaking havoc in opposing backfields all season long.

3. Florida State (AP Rank 3)

College FSU

FSU was dealt a major blow in 2016 when safety Derwin James missed almost the entire year with a knee injury. The versatile, athletic playmaker may just be the best defensive player in college football, and the whole unit will improve drastically with him on the field in 2017. On the other side of the ball, QB Deondre Francois will look to build off of a solid freshman season without the help of do-everything RB Dalvin Cook, who is now a Minnesota Viking.

4. Clemson (AP Rank 5)

College Clemson

This may seem high for a team that seemingly lost key players at every position, but there’s still talent across the board. Junior QB Kelly Bryant has the biggest shoes to fill, but with great receiving options like Deon Cain and Hunter Renfrow still around, the Tigers don’t need him to be Deshaun Watson 2.0. They host FSU on November 11 in a game that could have major playoff implications.

5. Penn State (AP Rank 6)

College Penn St

Remember the name Saquon Barkley come awards season. The electrifying Nittany Lion RB is primed for a huge year. QB Trace McSorley and TE Mike Gesicki are no slouches either. The date to pay attention to: October 28. If they want to head to the playoffs, they’ll have to get the W when they square off against the Buckeyes in Columbus.

6. USC (AP Rank 4)

College USC

QB Sam Darnold and RB Ronald Jones give the Trojans a formidable backfield and guarantee that this offense can keep score with anyone. The defense is led by junior LB Cameron Smith and is full of solid players, but USC’s schedule will be a beast. They’ll have plenty of difficult tests, including battles against Stanford, Texas, and Washington State.

7. Washington (AP Rank 8)

College Washington

From WR John Ross to the formidable secondary trio of Kevin King, Sidney Jones, and Budda Baker, the Huskies lost a lot of talent to the NFL. But this year’s team still has a star signal caller in junior Jake Browning and plenty of young talent to pick up the pieces at corner and safety. Look for Chris Petersen’s team to be in the hunt all season long.

8. Wisconsin (AP Rank 9)

The schedule sets up very favorably for the Badgers this season. Besides a Nov. 18 battle against Michigan, this unit will almost undoubtedly be favored in every game they play. If Coach Chryst can get a step up in performance from sophomore QB Alex Hornibrook to complement their always-formidable running attack, the offense should be solid. And ‘solid’ is all this team will need on that end if the Wisconsin defense can perform as well as they did in 2016.

9. Michigan (AP Rank 11)

College Michigan

Only one starter returns on the Wolverine defense. 11 Michigan alumni heard their name called during this April’s NFL Draft. Simply put, Jim Harbaugh lost a lot of quality players heading into 2017. But the cupboard is far from bare. QB Wilton Speight is back after a solid year one, sophomore RB Chris Evans leads a great running back group, and the roster, as a whole, is loaded with five-star talent.

10. Auburn (AP Rank 12)

College Auburn

Former Baylor QB Jarrett Stidham will be given the keys on offense and he’s got a lot to work with. Sophomore WR Nate Craig-Myers and RB Kamryn Pettway should keep the points and yards flowing. The defense returns a lot of big-time playmakers and should be stout once again. The Tigers have a crucial early match up on September 9 when they go on the road to face Clemson.


Did we miss someone? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter @Eastbay. No matter how things shake out, one thing is certain: it’s going to be an amazing season.

Top Gear For The Top Five: Rep this year’s best college football teams in comfort and style

Top Gear For The Top Five: Rep this year’s best college football teams in comfort and style

With fall comes a lot of change. The turning of the leaves, the start of the school year, and of course the return of football season. For those returning to universities across the country, you’re entering campuses where your football teams have been for weeks, preparing for the upcoming season.

In late August, the 2016 College Football preseason AP Top 25 Poll was released, showing fans who to watch for this season. Although teams from multiple power conferences made the cut, we decided to focus on the top 5 schools this preseason.
Whether you are at the stadium or on your couch to start this college football season, you will want to stay up-to-date with your favorite team’s fan gear. Here are a few popular items from this year’s preseason top 5.

Alabama Fan Gear

1. Alabama – Nike College Sideline K0 Full-Zip Hoodie

No matter if you are cheering on the Crimson Tide in Tuscaloosa or at home, you don’t have to worry about comfort with this sweatshirt. Made with Therma-FIT® material, this hoodie will keep you the right temperature, no matter how chilly it may get. Beyond the Therma-FIT® material, this piece also offers breathability with its mesh sleeves. If you were concerned about people not knowing who you are rooting for, don’t be, as this sweatshirt also offers a team logo on the chest.

Clemson Fan Gear

2. Clemson – New Era College 59Fifty Front & Center Low Profile

If you are looking to show off your Tiger pride this season, try this officially team-licensed fitted hat on for size. With the large Tiger logo embroidered front and center and school name in print on the back, it will be hard to miss who you are cheering for this season.

Oklahoma Fan Gear

3. Oklahoma – Nike College Fly Shorts

Whether you are braving the Oklahoma heat at the stadium or cheering on the Sooners indoors, stay dry and comfortable in these shorts made with Dri-FIT® material that wicks away sweat and moisture. These shorts allow for easy adjustment, with an elastic waistband and drawcord for tightening or loosening. Also, with side pockets you will never have to worry about keeping your valuables safe on game day again.

Florida State Fan Gear

4. Florida State – Nike College Performance Practice Hoodie

If you want to feel like part of the Seminole team while in the stands, look no further than this performance hoodie. Worn by players in practice, this sweatshirt is designed to perform in the elements, with Therma-FIT® material to keep you warm and dry. With a large team logo on the chest, this hoodie is the perfect way to cheer your team on to victory this season.

LSU Fan Gear

5. LSU – Nike College Dri-FIT Player Training T-Shirt

Wear the gear your favorite LSU players are sporting with this Nike Dri-Fit® T-Shirt. In this shirt, you can show off your school spirit wherever you may be. Whether it’s at the gym, in the stands, or in your living room, you will always be comfortable, no matter the situation.

Whatever your team, your campus, or where you are watching the big game this college football season, Nike and New Era have all of your fan gear needs covered to help follow your team all season long.