2018 Spring College Football Rankings & Lookaheads: No. 1 to 130

2018 Spring College Football Rankings & Lookaheads: No. 1 to 130

2018 Spring Football

2018 Spring College Football Rankings & Lookaheads: No. 1 to 130

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25. Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Which Notre Dame is going to show up? Offensive coordinator Chip Long made the right adjustment last year, but it all fell a bit flat late. The O line is the problem losing Quenton Nelson and Mike McGlinchey, but the quarterbacks are strong, and the secondary should be a rock on the other side.
Spring Analysis & Breakdown

24. Oregon Ducks

There’s still a question about whether or not the Ducks can beat anyone who’s any good anymore. Mario Cristobal has the quarterback in Justin Herbert, and he’s got the veterans up front to pave the way, but both sides of the ball have to be better at this whole football thing. It’s Oregon, but the warp-speed stuff should slow down a wee bit.
Spring Analysis & Breakdown

23. Oklahoma State Cowboys

Can Hawaii transfer Dru Brown really be the star quarterback in place of Mason Rudolph? Consider this a stepback season for the program after coming so achingly close to playing for the Big 12 title. Shhhhhhh, Justice Hill might be the nation’s best running back – yeah, really – and the defense should be okay.
Spring Analysis & Breakdown

22. TCU Horned Frogs

Many will predict a big fall – not quite. Go with the assumption that Gary Patterson will have it all figured out. The Horned Frogs have good options at quarterback, but the lines need a boost and the linebacking corps could use some work.
Spring Analysis & Breakdown

21. Stanford Cardinal

Bryce Love is back. Start from there, and all the problems don’t seem so bad. The quarterback situation is a hot mess, the defensive front seven is all but starting over, and the secondary loses the best players to the NFL. But Bryce Love is back, and the line should be a plus as the season goes on. It’ll be okay.
Spring Analysis & Breakdown

20. Texas Longhorns

This will be one of the more fascinating teams of 2018. Tom Herman recruited his tail off to work around an already good base, but this could turn out to be a very, very young team – and another disappointing season if some of the new recruits can’t roll out of the box. The running game will be good, and the quarterbacks are in place, but the secondary loses all the good players and not having LB Malik Jefferson around stinks.
Spring Analysis & Breakdown

19. Virginia Tech Hokies

It’s possible this turns into a carbon copy of 2017 – a good team that wins a lot of games, but not the big ones. QB Josh Jackson has a year of experience, but O line is just okay, the linebacking corps loses a ton of talent, and the secondary is taking a hit. The Hokies will be deep in the mix for the ACC title, but they just might not have that extra gear.
Spring Analysis & Breakdown

18. Florida State Seminoles

It’s all about whether or not Willie Taggart can get more out of the offensive line. The defense underperformed, but the real culprit was a leaky O line that didn’t do enough in ACC play. However, the scoring kicked in late, and now there’s hope for a quick bounceback. The backfield is there, but there’s a whole lot of talent missing from the D.
Spring Analysis & Breakdown

17. Florida Gators

Just assume Dan Mullen will take what’s already there, tweak it, and make it all work. He has more defensive talent to work with than he enjoyed at Mississippi State, and as long as he can figure out the quarterback situation, the pieces are there to run behind an O line that gets everyone back.
Spring Analysis & Breakdown

16. West Virginia Mountaineers

QB Will Grier is back and healthy, and WR David Sills returns to catch more touchdowns. Throw in a good enough defense, and an offensive line that welcomes back four starters – and helped by a Big 12 that should take a wee step back – and Dana Holgorsen’s club needs to be in the conference championship.
Spring Analysis & Breakdown

15. Penn State Nittany Lions

It’s not too pretentious to suggest that the loss of offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead to the Mississippi State head coaching gig is almost as big as losing Saquon Barkley. Penn State’s O needs to press on without both of them, but the loss of eight defensive starters could be the bigger problem. Fortunately for Penn State under James Franklin, it’s in the reloading business.
Spring Analysis & Breakdown

14. Michigan Wolverines

The pressure is on, but remember, the 2017 team lost just about everyone. Jim Harbaugh has to finally get more production out of his quarterbacks, and welcoming in Ole Miss transfer Shea Patterson should help. The receivers are there to rock, and the defense will be the defense again, but the O line is undergoing an overhaul.
Spring Analysis & Breakdown

13. South Carolina Gamecocks

This will be the annoying team no one wants to face. There might be more offensive firepower and explosion whether Will Muschamp wants it or not. His defense might lose a whole lot of the main men, but QB Jake Bentley knows how to win, and he’s got the receivers to make the O go.
Spring Analysis & Breakdown

12. USC Trojans

If USC was sort of underwhelming last year compared to the expectations – a Pac-12 championship is nice, but it’s no CFP appearance – this year’s version might just rise up and rock. Losing Sam Darnold doesn’t help, but it’s USC – the quarterback will be fine. The pass rush should be devastating again, and the offensive line might be the best in the Pac-12.
Spring Analysis & Breakdown

11. LSU Tigers

This is going off of the assumption that LSU simply restocks the shelves and keeps on rolling. The defensive back seven will be amazing, but can the offense do its part? The skill players are inexperienced and might need to be carried for a while. As always, there’s a whole lot of speed and athleticism to get past most of the problems.
Spring Analysis & Breakdown

10. Oklahoma Sooners

Move this up if it turns out OU really does have a replacement for Baker Mayfield – especially when Kyler Murray is done with this whole baseball thing. Expect more from the ground game with Rodney Anderson being the star of the attack, but the season could come down to a defense that needs to be just a wee bit better.
Spring Analysis & Breakdown

9. Washington Huskies

Can it be two Pac-12 championships in the last three years? Yeah, especially if the defensive front seven is okay without DT Vita Vea and a few good linebackers. The offensive backfield tandem of QB Jake Browning and RB Myles Gaskin is excellent, especially around a line that should should make the ground game even more punishing.
Spring Analysis & Breakdown

8. Michigan State Spartans

It looks like the football program has weathered the offseason storm. On the field, with QB Brian Lewerke and RB LJ Scott, the offense will be fantastic, especially around the four starters returning up front. As long as the offense is just okay, look out – nine starters are back on defense, led by a nasty secondary.
Spring Analysis & Breakdown

7. Miami Hurricanes

Quarterback, quarterback, quarterback. The Canes did fine despite a good-not-amazing offensive backfield, and now, if the quarterback play can be stronger, the pieces are there to take down the ACC title. The linebacking corps might be the best in the country, the recruiting classes under Mark Richt are boosting the offense, and the Turnover Chain will be a thing again.
Spring Analysis & Breakdown

6. Auburn Tigers

As long as QB Jarrett Stidham is in one piece, it’s possible Auburn could and should do that again. The O line has a ton of replacements to make, but the receivers are there and Stidham will make everyone better. Can the D that allowed under 28 points to everyone the first ten games be just as good? That’s a stretch, but it’ll be outstanding again.
Spring Analysis & Breakdown

5. Ohio State Buckeyes

Yeah, the running backs are amazing, and the line should rebuild in a hurry, and the athletes are there on defense, and Urban Meyer the rest of the staff are still great, and the speed is back in the receiving corps, but … is there a star at quarterback who become the man? JT Barrett might have had his flaws, but he won the Big Ten championship. The QB situation has to be settled. Fast.
Spring Analysis & Breakdown

4. Wisconsin Badgers

Just when it seemed like the Badgers didn’t have the speed or skill to keep up what the biggest of boys, they had the puck on their stick with a chance to win the Big Ten title, and when they didn’t get it done, they got past a rough start to dominate Miami in the Orange Bowl.

Jonathan Taylor, Alex Hornibrook, and a few great young receivers return behind what should be the best line in college football. The defense has work to do in the secondary, and it won’t be as good overall – the light schedule had something to do with the stats – but it’ll be another great year under defensive coordinator Jim Leonhard.
Spring Analysis & Breakdown

3. Georgia Bulldogs

Now that Georgia has had a taste of a national championship, it’s time to take the full bite.

Losing Roquan Smith and all the linebackers, Nick Chubb and Sony Michel just won’t be that big a deal – that’s where the talent level is now under Kirby Smart. The quarterback situation might be stressful, but just about everyone else would kill for either Jake Fromm or Justin Fields.

The offensive line is terrific, the defensive front will be fantastic, and the NFL players on both sides will start to shine through as the season goes on.
Spring Analysis & Breakdown

2. Alabama Crimson Tide

Really? You’re worried that Tua Tagovailoa might be a bit banged up in March? Everything is fine for the defending national champs, with an amazing backfield – even for Alabama – a whole bunch of young, talented receivers, and another great O line to work everything around.

The secondary will need a while. You don’t just replace safeties like Minkah Fitzpatrick and Ronnie Harrison – even if you’re Alabama – and you don’t just find punters like JK Scott every day.

It’s all nitpicking, though. With this team, this depth, this coaching staff, and this schedule – it’s just not that bad – it’s College Football Playoff (at least) or failure.
Spring Analysis & Breakdown

1. Clemson Tigers

The Clemson quarterback situation was already strong, and then it got even better with Trevor Lawrence signing on.

The defensive front was going to be great, and then all the NFL talents decided to stick around to form an unfair front four.

The Tigers were already going to be the class of the ACC again, and now it might not even be close.

They do lose some key receivers, and the offense that broke down against Alabama has to find that extra gear again, but put 14 up on the board and that should be enough against just about everyone. Absolutely no one is running on this front four.
Spring Analysis & Breakdown

Spring Rankings By Conference 
ACC | Big Ten | Big 12 | Pac-12 | SEC
AAC | C-USA | IND | MAC | MW | Sun Belt

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