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Papa Dudes Preseason Top 25
Robert Goddin-USA TODAY Sports

Papa Dudes Preseason Top 25

Welcome to my pre-season Top 25! Each week during the season, I’ll be updating this article with my new Top 25, so make sure to check back throughout the season. Here is how I see it shaping up before the season begins:

NO.1 ALABAMA The Tide looks to be vulnerable or as vulnerable as Alabama can get.They are replacing a ton of talent on offense and I’m sure they have great replacements, but they are unproven as of now. But, until someone knocks them off of their throne, I have to pick them.

NO.2 OKLAHOMA The Sooners are touting their defense and claim it is the real deal. I have to see it to believe it. However, if the defense is as good as advertised, they could run the table. Of course, they lose a game they shouldn’t every year.

N0. 3 GEORGIA This team has enough to talent to win it all but can they negotiate a tough schedule beginning with the opener against Clemson. They also have to go to Auburn and there is always Florida.

NO. 4. CLEMSON This is another team with some question marks at important positions. They lost a franchise-type quarterback and a first-round running back among others. They could drop a notch. But, they have to be given respect because they have earned it and it doesn’t hurt to play in the ACC. They could drop the opener to Georgia and very easily win the rest of them.

NO. 5 OHIO STATE I really wanted to pick this bunch a little lower because I think they might drop a little from where they have been. But, somebody has to beat them first. They have to replace a lot of important people and I think they might struggle early. They open at Minnesota and then Oregon comes to Columbus. Could they start off 0-2?

NO. 6: OREGON I might have the Ducks a little high because they have a tough schedule. They should win the Pac-12 but that doesn’t say a whole lot. If they could go into Columbus and beat the Buckeyes I would look pretty good. I’m more worried about conference road games at Stanford, Washington, and Utah.

NO. 7 WISCONSIN This team could be a surprise in 2021. I drew a line through 2020 because they were affected by COVID and injuries. They open with Penn State at home and play Notre Dame in game 3 in Chicago. If they can win both of those I will look pretty smart.

NO. 8 CINCINNATI I love the makeup of this team and they have the schedule that could make them a legitimate playoff contender if things break right. If a Group of 5 team has a shot at the playoffs, two things are for sure. They have to go undefeated and they must have a worthy opponent on their schedule to give them a quality win. And they have, drum roll please, Notre Dame. Beating the Irish is a resume builder.

NO. 9 USC This pick might be a stretch but the Trojans have a lot of positives. They have Utah and Stanford at home and dodged Oregon. They have to go to South Bend and play Notre Dame and they are at Arizona State that might decide the Pac-12 South.

NO. 10 MIAMI This pick is contingent with D’Eriq King being healthy and staying healthy. They open with Alabama in Atlanta and have tough road games at North Carolina and Florida State. They don’t play Clemson. And they have to avoid being upset by someone along the way.

NO. 11 NOTRE DAME The Irish have a difficult schedule and are breaking in 7 new starters on offense including the quarterback. But, Brian Kelly is a great coach and I’m confident they can win at least 9 games.

NO. 12 PENN STATE I like the Nittany Lions more than most pundits do. They have a new offensive coordinator with a proven track record and a solid defense. Two tough games at Wisconsin and Auburn at home will show me early if I goofed on this pick. If they can split these two games they will be in good shape.

NO.13 TEXAS A&M I don’t usually buy into the preseason hype regarding the Aggies. They are very optimistic for a team that lost a 4-year starter at quarterback. And what have they done in the SEC? Not much. They do have Alabama at home along with Auburn but there are road trips to Missouri and LSU and a neutral site game with Arkansas who usually gives them fits.

NO. 14 LSU I wanted to pick the Tigers higher but I’m not completely sold on the coaching staff. They always have talent and this year is no different. They have a favorable schedule with Auburn, Florida, and Texas A&M at home. They go to Alabama and there are tricky road games at Kentucky and Ole Miss.

NO. 15. UTAH The Utes are always tough on defense and they upgraded their offense when Charlie Brewer transferred from Baylor. If they can hold serve at home and upset Stanford or USC on the road they will deserve this spot.

NO. 16 IOWA STATE The Cyclones burst onto the scene last year and have everyone back for an encore. They are well-coached but they won’t be slipping up on anyone this year and can they handle the expectations?

NO. 17 COASTAL CAROLINA I know that they play in the Sun-Belt against nobodies but they might go undefeated or 11-1 and how can you keep them out with a record like that.

NO. 18 MICHIGAN I like this Wolverine team much more than others and not much is expected of them. They have a shot of going 4-0 to start the season and that could propel them to a good season. They have to play Wisconsin and Penn State on the road but get Ohio State in Ann Arbor.

NO. 19 OKLAHOMA STATE The Cowboys are another team that could jump up and bite some people. They underachieved last year when expectations were high and that has been their downfall for many years. They have tough road games at Iowa State and Texas but get the Sooners in Stillwater.

NO. 20 FLORIDA This is a team that lost a ton of players to the pros in the 2021 draft. I can see them struggling offensively. They play Alabama at Gainesville but also drew LSU from the West division and that game is in Baton Rouge. They also have the annual war with Georgia and a tough trip to Missouri.

NO. 21 NEVADA The Wolf Pack return 18 starters from a 7-2 team in 2020 including QB, Carson Strong. They have a couple of games against Power 5 schools that are winnable. If they win those and beat Boise State on the road, they will deserve this spot and maybe more.

NO. 22 NORTH CAROLINA The Heels return Sam Howell and that is great and Mack Brown draws a lot of attention because it is a good story. But are they really that good? They are going to have to play some defense and they have to replace some big-time players from 2020.

NO. 23 WASHINGTON The Huskies are usually formidable and hard to beat, but at the end of the year 3 or 4 teams have figured our out to beat them. They have Oregon at home but they are 2-14 against them in recent games. They have games at Michigan, Stanford, and Colorado which will be the difference between a good season or great one.

NO. 24 IOWA I will admit this is my 2nd favorite team next to OU. I love their hard-nosed style and how hard they compete. The problem is they usually lose some games they shouldn’t because of a lack of talent. Circle the game with Iowa State on Sept.11th and try and see it. It will be one of the best games of the year.

NO. 25 LIBERTY The Flames burst on the scene in 2020 and came within one point of going undefeated. And they have 20 starters back in 2021. They are another team with an unimpressive schedule but can we deny a potential 11-1 team?

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