The 2018 college football season sits just under two months away. While the NBA offseason has done a solid job of entertaining us, we’re ready for our favorite teams to retake the gridiron.
In 2017 a few pleasant surprises took our attention. Scott Frost led UCF to an undefeated season, while TCU, Miami, and Northwestern put together better-than-expected campaigns.
But we’re not here to talk about the positives from last season. We’re head to talk about the impending doom for the upcoming season.
25 teams finished in the AP’s ranking of the best college football teams following the 2017 season. There are five, that’s right five, who won’t make it to a bowl game this season.
1. Memphis (No. 24)
We’ll start with a less-bold prediction. With quarterback Riley Ferguson gone, the load now falls on unproven arms. Without the veteran leadership of Ferguson, the Tigers will rely heavily on the legs of running back Darrell Henderson, which could make the team one-dimensional.
The team’s leading receiver from 2017, Anthony Miller, is also gone, leaving incumbent quarterback David Moore with young wideouts.
2. LSU (No. 18)
With one pick down, we’re starting to feel a bit more bold. Ed Orgeron and company landed a massive free agent in former Ohio state quarterback Joe Burrow. However, Burrow might not even start the 2018 season.
With new players in place and an incredibly difficult schedule in store, the Tigers could be in trouble. LSU opens the season against a Miami team that was much-improved under Mark Richt and returns a healthy number of starters including a top-8 recruiting class.
This isn’t the year for Orgeron, and he might be out after.
3. USF (No. 21)
Charlie Strong and company are in for a rude awakening during the 2018 campaign. The most-pivotal piece of the 2017 team, quarterback Quinton Flowers, is now a Cincinnati Bengal. With Flowers gone, the Bulls will have to look elsewhere for the majority of their offense.
Flowers not only led the team in passing, but he also led the team in rushing. Yes, the team brought in former 5-star quarterback Blake Barnett, but he’s had trouble locking down a starting gig at every turn.
4. Stanford (No. 20)
Sure, Bryce Love decided to bring his talents back to the college game, but that won’t be enough for the Cardinal, who fielded a dreadful passing attack during the 2017 season. Love’s legs can only carry the team so far.
With trips to Oregon, Notre Dame, Washington, Cal, and UCLA, it will be tough for Stanford to hold together throughout the entire season. Opponents can stack the box against Love and try to make K.J. Costello beat them with his arm.
5. UCF (No. 6)
An undefeated season and a win over a major college football program during a bowl (Auburn), will be what lives on from the 2017 campaign. However, the Knights are now left reeling from that success. Scott Frost and company took their talents to Lincoln and will now lead the Nebraska Cornhuskers.
Meanwhile, the emotional heart of the UCF defense, Shaquem Griffin, is in the NFL. McKenzie Milton is back and will lead a potent passing attack, but offense was never the problem under Scott Frost. The team needs defense, and it will be tough to adjust after losing significant players.
There are the five programs in for a rude awakening following a season of success – bring on the criticism.