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Topic: ELA 130 Team Countdown

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847badgerfan

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Re: ELA 130 Team Countdown
« Reply #350 on: June 08, 2018, 01:53:50 PM »
17. Virginia Tech Hokies
#3 in ACC

Ruh roh… From ESecPN:

Virginia Tech starting quarterback Josh Jackson is dealing with an academic issue that could impact his future eligibility, a source confirmed to ESPN on Thursday.
Jackson remains on the team while he awaits word from the university about any potential discipline.
His father, Fred, told The Richmond Times-Dispatch that they expect a resolution soon.
U RAH RAH! WIS CON SIN!

ELA

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Re: ELA 130 Team Countdown
« Reply #351 on: June 08, 2018, 02:12:01 PM »
Whoopsies.  That would be a major loss.  He IS the offense for them at this point.

ELA

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Re: ELA 130 Team Countdown
« Reply #352 on: June 09, 2018, 12:11:28 PM »
15. Mississippi State Bulldogs
#4 in SEC
After years of swirling rumors, Dan Mullen finally left for the one job that probably had the sway to do it.  But boy did he leave the cupboard FAR from bare.  Joe Moorhead bet on himself when he left his FCS head coaching job at Fordham, one where he had made the tournament in three consecutive seasons, to take the Penn State offensive coordinator position.  It paid off handsomely for both sides.  He ignited a Penn State offense, and likely saved James Franklin’s job, while getting himself a Power 5 head coaching job of his own.  One that is a much more attractive job than when Mullen took it nine years ago. What looked like a major problem when Nick Fitzgerald was lost for the season a year ago in the Egg Bowl, did turn out to be one...in the form of a quarterback controversy.  The senior should be healthy, but his replacement, freshman Keytaon Thompson, was dynamic in his first start in the Gator Bowl, outperforming former Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson in an upset win over Louisville.  There is seemingly no issue, its Fitzgerald’s job, but after having it all to himself last year, he now has to look over his shoulder at the sophomore if he begins to struggle.  And while he has never struggled to run the ball, he still hasn’t developed as much as a passer as Joe Moorhead would like.  Fitzgerald’s style fits Mullins’ offense, Moorhead will have to adapt his.  He wants more of a downfield passing game, but the Bulldogs were last in the SEC in passing yards and completion percentage, but having the third most effective running game.  Fitzgerald would have joined running back Aeris Williams with over 1,000 yards rushing if not for the injury, he finished with 984 yards, and a team high 14 rushing touchdowns.  Defensively it’s all about the line.  In a conference known for its defensive trench play, Mississippi State may have the best starting four in the league.  Depth wise, nobody can compete there with Bama, ever.  But those top 4 guys I would take over anyone else’s starters.  The issue is behind them, where both linebacker and cornerback are major, major questions.  Being able to generate so much with just four guys will help, but in an era where teams are rotating guys up front so much, how often will they all be on the field together, when you are asking them to be responsible for so much.
Key Players
QBNick Fitzgerald, Senior
RBAeris Williams, Senior
WRKeith Mixon, Junior
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DEMontez Sweat, Senior
DTJeffrey Simmons, Junior
SMark McLaurin, Senior

14. Miami Hurricanes
#2 in ACC
For the first time in a long time, Miami had swagger.  Some of that was false bravado.  Some of that was tiresome shticks (like a turnover chain).  But if there is any program who can wear that well, it’s Miami.  And it doesn’t bother me.  Most other schools try it, it wears thin, and you can’t wait for it to be exposed.  At the U?  I love them for being what they are.  The Canes got as high at #2 at 10-0 going into the regular season finale at Pitt, before a stunning upset loss to the Panthers, an ass whoopin’ from Clemson in the ACC Championship Game, and a loss to Wisconsin in the Orange Bowl sent them to an 0-3 finish and a #13 ranking.  Don’t buy any talk about them being a phony.  Let’s not forget they had a pair of wins, in November, not September, over #13 Virginia Tech and #3 Notre Dame, by a combined 69-18.  This team was for real, they just hit a slump at a wrong time.  The team still had major deficiencies, but for how overdone the turnover chain became, it represented a very real thing, a very fun, very aggressive defense, that hoped if they forced you to make quick decisions, you wouldn’t be able to find the holes to exploit them.  And it worked.  They were by most metrics a solid, but not special defense.  But they led the ACC in sack rate and led in turnovers forced by almost 0.5 per game.  But 10-3 is a good start, the program is rejuvenated.  Mark Richt felt stale at Georgia, he seems to have found a happy place at his alma mater.  While his former school is recruiting off the charts, nobody is noticing just how well Richt is recruiting at Miami, bringing in the #8 overall class and #2 in the ACC, on the heels of a #12/#2 class a year ago.  It may seem like Miami always recruits like that, but they don’t, it’s their best class in a decade.  For those who felt the offense was inconsistent last year, a huge influx in talent is coming, including arguably the #1 RB and #1 TE recruit in the nation, a top 5 QB and a 4* WR.  That quarterback, Jarren Williams, could factor into 2018.  Malik Rosier wilted against better competition, even getting benched against Pitt, while technically still being the starter for a 10-0 team.  He completed only 44% of his passes and had 5 picks to go with only 3 touchdowns, and saw his per carry average drop from 3.7 ypc to 2.9 ypc.  It will be surprising for anyone but Rozier to begin the season under center, but not unthinkable.  We saw Richt pull the plug on him once already.  The running game struggled initially once Mark Walton was lost to injury, but Travis Homer proved to be an all-ACC caliber back, and he’s running behind a better offensive line now.  The receivers are young, but insanely talented.  That’s the position group that they have most quickly flipped.  Defensively, the back seven should still be outstanding.  The issue is the front, and that’s why I don’t have the Canes in my top 10 as plenty of other places do.  They disrupted a lot up front, and it made everything behind them work.  Is that secondary just as good if they have to cover for longer?  I suspect we’ll have to find out.  Keep an eye on their Friday night game in Chestnut Hill in late October, that could be a sneaky fun one.
Key Players
RBTravis Homer, Junior
CTyler Gauthier, Senior
GNavaughn Donaldson, Sophomore
.
LBShaquille Quarterman, Junior
CBMichael Jackson, Senior
SJaquan Johnson, Senior

Cincydawg

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Re: ELA 130 Team Countdown
« Reply #353 on: June 10, 2018, 10:33:53 AM »
I was not sold on Richt as the coach for Miami, and still am not.  

bamajoe

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Re: ELA 130 Team Countdown
« Reply #354 on: June 10, 2018, 11:53:42 AM »
I think he has done well at Miami. What would he need to do gain your approval?

ELA

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Re: ELA 130 Team Countdown
« Reply #355 on: June 10, 2018, 03:16:13 PM »
13. Oklahoma Sooners
#1 in Big XII
The Sooners came oh so close to validating everyone who turned "Big Game Bob" into a laughing moniker for a coach that more often than not lost the game that mattered the most over the second 75% of his tenure.  Then they squandered a 17 point lead in a season ending Rose Bowl loss to Georgia, and the questions surrounding the programs place among the nation's elite remain.  Now the Sooners enter a bit of a reload year, but for the first time in two decades, without Bob Stoops.  Comparing this to what Stoops rebuilt in Norman is laughable, but considering we have no track record, at any level, of Riley having to do this, it's worth a note.  It appears Oklahoma avoided what could have been a bigger rebuild by Kyler Murray agreeing to a baseball deal with the Athletics that will also allow him to be Oklahoma's starting quarterback this fall.  Losing your Heisman Trophy winning quarterback is never ideal, but losing his heir apparent on top of that would have been a major issue.  Don't be surprised to see an even more ground game focused Oklahoma team this year.  Murray is a dual threat, and even with Abdul Adams transferring to Syracuse, the Sooners return two of their three 500+ yard backs.  They'll be running behind a line that features a pair of future pros at guard, but have questions on the outside.  While that may seem slightly out of character for the Oklahoma program going back to the Sam Bradford days, this was an offense that led the conference by a wide margin in rushing yards, yards per carry and rushing attempts a year ago.  Those numbers should be even bigger this year.  The defense is where I see major, major issues though.  The linebackers are fantastic, with the always consistent Caleb Kelly leading the unit, and the conference's best freshman defender from a year ago in Kenneth Murray.  The problem is when they look in front of them and behind them, they may not recognize anyone they are playing with.  Not just playing, but heavily relying on true freshmen in the trenches is usually not the mark of a team that expects to compete for championships, but the Sooners have so little experience there, that their three Top 100 defensive line recruits (ends Ronnie Perkins and Ron Tatum, and tackle Michael Thompson) could all play very heavily.  The schedule does them no favors with the "easy stretch to open" that features a dangerous Florida Atlantic team needing a win to enter the New Years Six conversation, a dangerous Iowa State team which handed the Sooners their lone regular season loss a year ago, and a pair of teams in Army and Chip Kelly's UCLA that feature offenses that are no fun to prepare for in a single week.  And that's the easy part of the schedule.  Where Oklahoma does benefit is that they seem to be hitting their rebuild year in the same year that their top two contenders in recent years, Oklahoma State and TCU, are as well.  I think Texas is coming, but is still a year away.  West Virginia has the best quarterback but too many other holes.  Kansas State is consistently good, but never great anymore.  Iowa State has to prove it to me.  So while I think this Sooners team could be in for a rude bowl game, absent a true contender in a good place to take it, I still think they somehow grind their way to another Big XII title.
Key Players
RBRodney Anderson, Junior
WRMarquise Brown, Junior
GBen Powers, Senior
.
LBCaleb Kelly, Junior
LBKenneth Murray, Sophomore
PAustin Seibert, Senior

CatsbyAZ

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Re: ELA 130 Team Countdown
« Reply #356 on: June 10, 2018, 08:53:40 PM »
See my SC cautioning for why I feel the same about Oklahoma being overrated and due for a letdown. A great QB, Baker Mayfield in their case, uplifted the program beyond the ceiling of the coaching and with him now gone, think Texas A&M turning into an 8-5 program post-Manziel.

847badgerfan

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Re: ELA 130 Team Countdown
« Reply #357 on: June 11, 2018, 09:04:57 AM »
I was not sold on Richt as the coach for Miami, and still am not.  
I have a feeling he's going to do just well enough to keep his job for a long, long time. History repeats itself.
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ELA

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Re: ELA 130 Team Countdown
« Reply #358 on: June 11, 2018, 11:09:47 AM »
12. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Independent
Through October, Notre Dame was absolutely rolling last year.  A 1 point loss to Georgia was entirely forgivable.  They demolished a bunch of teams that turned out to be pretty good in Boston College (by 29), Michigan State (by 20), USC (by 35) and NC State (by 21).  While early NFL departures of running back Josh Adams, receiver Equanimous St. Brown (along with #2 WR Kevin Stepherson's removal), and all-American lineman Quenton Nelson (along with the graduation of fellow all-American Mike McGlinchey), leaves the offense a bit of a question mark, the defense should be the best in South Bend since the 2012 unit that got the program as close as they've been to a national championship since David Gordon's field goal split the uprights for Boston College in 1993.  It's a defense with so much experienced talent that two guys who started most of last season in the secondary, in cornerback Nick Watkins, and safety Jalen Elliott, would have been relegated to rotational duty due to the return from injury of Shaun Crawford, and the fact that Navy transfer Alohi Gilman is now eligible.  Instead, Watkins elected to take a grad transfer to Houston.  Notre Dame ranks #1 nationally in terms of returning defensive production. The issue is who is not returning, defensive coordinator Mike Elko, who did such a good job turning the Irish defense around in one season, that Texas A&M backed up a Brinks truck to bring him to College Station.  So Notre Dame is on their third defensive coordinator in as many seasons, and it remains to be seen what that means.  Offensively, while St. Brown and Stepherson moved on, the overall talent should be better.  Miles Boykin had his coming out party in the second half of the Irish's comeback win over LSU in the Citrus Bowl, including the amazing catch and run 55 yard touchdown pass with under 90 seconds to play.  Along with leading returning receiver Chase Claypool, they provide a pair of 6'4"/6'5" targets that will be a matchup nightmare for anybody.  Can anyone get them the ball?  Brandon Wimbush battled accuracy issues all season, but was enough of a big play threat, combined with his running ability, to keep his job.  But in the Citrus Bowl, down two scores, Kelly turned to freshman Ian Book, who almost single-handidly won the game, with a little help from Boykin's post catch run.  Obviously the only guy on campus more popular than the backup quarterback, is a backup quarterback with a whole offseason to revel in a bowl comeback victory.  It was enough to make Irish fans forget how bad he was in his lone start, a win over North Carolina, where Notre Dame won in spite of him.  But either way, whoever emerges from the job will be asked to do more without Josh Adams, the nations most underrated running back last season this side of Justin Jackson.  To add confusion to the mix, Phil Jurkovec, a top 100 recruit, joins the mix in the fall.  Kelly has never been shy about flipping his quarterbacks, so seeing any of them to being the season would not be surprise.  They open at home, under the lights, against possibly the best defense in the nation in Michigan.  So he better get this pick right, or the seat will be hot for him again before Labor Day even arrives.
Key Players
QBBrandon Wimbush, Senior
TAlex Bars, Senior
CSam Mustipher, Senior
.
DTJerry Tillery, Senior
LBTe'von Coney, Senior
CBJulian Love, Junior

ELA

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Re: ELA 130 Team Countdown
« Reply #359 on: June 12, 2018, 09:03:39 AM »
11. Michigan Wolverines
#5 in Big Ten
I always end this countdown by doing a Way, Way Too Early Top 25 for the following year.  Last year I believe I pegged Michigan as my Way Too Early #2 team for 2018.  Everyone expected Michigan to take a half step back in 2017, before finally putting it all together in Year 4 for Harbaugh.  Nobody left early, and Michigan added Shea Patterson.  So why the drop?  In fairness, having a team coming off an 8-5 season as #11, if you removed the winged helmet, and the Harbaugh hysteria, and inserted a generic team, would raise eyebrows for such a precipitous rise.  So this is projecting Michigan to be quite a bit better.  But while the half step back last year was expected, the Wolverines took an even bigger one than expected.  While there were 3 games on paper they looked to be underdogs in, it was hard to even imagine a loss on the rest of the schedule.  And you figured they weren’t going to lose all 3 losable games.  So 10-2 is what I figured.  8-5, with the best win being?  At Purdue?  Sort of was by default, as Michigan went 1-5 against bowl teams.  This is their make or break year though.  The defense will be every bit as good as it’s been under Don Brown.  The line maybe doesn’t have the insane depth it had two years ago, but this is probably the best the back seven has been during Harbaugh’s tenure.  He has to get the offense figured out.  Enter Shea Patterson, Jim McElwain and Ed Warriner.  Between the three of them, the hope is to fix a passing game, which has continued to sputter.  I think Ed Warriner is the most important of the three.  Michigan has had talent at quarterback, but they haven’t been able to protect it.  No matter what Patterson’s pedigree is, the line play has to improve, and Warriner is as good as any coach in college football there.  The question is whether he has the talent to work with right now.  Aside from Ben Bredeson, there are a lot of question marks on the line.  Jim McElwain, from head coach at one of the best jobs in college football, to a position coach, seems like a short term marriage, but if he can get a three deep full of blue chip receivers to actually perform up to their lofty rankings, Michigan fans will take it.  It also remains to be seen how much can be improved by removing Tim Drevno from the situation.  The usage of personnel last year was often times some of the most confounding I’ve ever seen.  Simply putting guys in the right position to succeed will be an improvement.  This is obviously a big year for Harbaugh.  In the last thirty years exactly one Big Ten coach failed to win a conference championship within his first four years, and ultimately went on to do so.  That was Ron Turner, in Year 5 at Illinois.  In the last 50 years, that number rises to 2 as you add George Perles in Year 5 at Michigan State.  Much like the last few years, the defense is championship level, but the question is can the offense just be good enough?  With Ohio State and Penn State in mini reboot years, this season is well timed for the roster to make a step forward, but I still have too many questions about the passing game to predict it.
Key Players
QBShea Patterson, Junior
RBKaran Higdon, Senior
GBen Bredeson, Junior
.
DERashan Gary, Junior
DEChase Winovich, Senior
LBDevin Bush, Junior

Brutus Buckeye

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Re: ELA 130 Team Countdown
« Reply #360 on: June 12, 2018, 10:05:47 AM »

The Top Ten's gonna have 4 Big Ten, 3 Sec, 1 Pac, 1 Acc, 0 Big XII and 1 Aac. 
1919, 20, 21, 28, 29, 31, 34, 35, 36, 37, 42, 44
WWH: 1952, 54, 55, 57, 58, 60, 61, 62, 63, 65, 67, 68, 70, 72, 74, 75
1979, 81, 82, 84, 87, 94, 98
2001, 02, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19

FearlessF

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Re: ELA 130 Team Countdown
« Reply #361 on: June 12, 2018, 12:26:12 PM »
sounds about right
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FearlessF

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Re: ELA 130 Team Countdown
« Reply #362 on: June 12, 2018, 12:54:27 PM »
Phil Steele believes the Big Ten has five potential top-10 teams: Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State, Michigan State and Wisconsin — not necessarily in that order.

The Buckeyes might actually be better off at quarterback with Dwayne Haskins than they were with J.T. Barrett, Steele said.

https://journalstar.com/sports/huskers/football/phil-steele-predicts-martinez-will-start-for-a-team-that/article_b0ea8124-e1aa-5185-beed-c6940ce0b940.amp.html
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Brutus Buckeye

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Re: ELA 130 Team Countdown
« Reply #363 on: June 12, 2018, 01:21:06 PM »
Michigan is getting their usual lofty helmet bump like they do every year, but the other four have certainly earned their preseason accolades. 
1919, 20, 21, 28, 29, 31, 34, 35, 36, 37, 42, 44
WWH: 1952, 54, 55, 57, 58, 60, 61, 62, 63, 65, 67, 68, 70, 72, 74, 75
1979, 81, 82, 84, 87, 94, 98
2001, 02, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19

 

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