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.

Video: Blake Griffin Hypes USC’s Jordan Cameron

Video: Blake Griffin Hypes USC’s Jordan Cameron

Blake Griffin Hypes USC's Jordan Cameron

words_Brandon Richard

It seems like Los Angeles Clippers forward and NBA Rookie of the Year shoe-in Blake Griffin has been everywhere over the last couple of weeks. His plate was filled to the max at All-Star Weekend, where he participated in the Rookie Challenge, was the first rookie All-Star since 2003 and won the Slam Dunk Contest. He’s already one of the most popular players in the NBA – those things tend to happen when you’re a nightly highlight reel waiting to happen.

Looking to use some of his newly found star power for the benefit of others, Blake is giving a visual co-sign to one of his good friends, USC tight end and NFL Draft prospect Jordan Cameron. In viral video form, Blake channels the personal style and quirky personality of Mars Blackmon, Michael Jordan’s Spike Lee-portrayed sidekick from the Nike Air Jordan commercials of the ’80s and early ’90s. Of course, Blake’s alter-ego is cleverly named Mars Blakeman.

This video has absolutely no association with Nike or the Jordan Brand; instead, Blake is simply calling attention to Cameron, who is one of the top tight end prospects heading into the 2011 NFL Draft.

Check out the 2011 version of Mars and Jordan below:

Original:

Oregon Opens Matthew Knight Arena In Style

Oregon Opens Matthew Knight Arena In Style

Oregon Opens Matthew Knight Arena In Style

words_Brandon Richard

Much has been made of the University of Oregon’s brand new $230 million dollar Matthew Knight Arena, which was named after the late son of chief donor and Nike Chairman Phil Knight. Particularly grabbing headlines is the arena’s unique basketball court, which was of course designed by legendary sneaker designer Tinker Hatfield. A salute to the tree-covered region and the original 1939 NCAA Championship Oregon “Tall Firs” basketball team, the court is unlike anything we’ve ever seen.

After months of build and anticipation, Matthew Knight Arena finally opened its doors to the public, as the Oregon Ducks hosted the Trojans of USC on Thursday night. Appropriately, Phil Knight was in the house amongst the 12,400 Duck faithful for the festivities. Behind a much-needed bench contribution from guard Malcolm Armstead, Oregon was able to hold off USC by a score of 68-62, making sure that ‘The Matt’ was opened in style.

Take a look at some photos from the big night below.

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images via ESPN