Week 4 Top 25

Chaos week already? Week 3 brought many sacrifices as the Sooners got their hearts eaten out by Wildcats and defending champions LSU felt the full fury of Mike Leach’s Air Raid offense. Other shake ups happened across the board as Miami made a statement with a blowout against rival FSU and both Georgia and Tennessee scraped past potential upsets.

Without further ado, below is our updated Top 25. Let us know what you think in the Forums or on Twitter at @Sidelines_SN!

Note: Our policy is to only rank conferences that are playing or plan on playing the next week. Thus, the Big Ten, Pac 12, MWC and MAC are still out of our rankings.

1Clemson (16)471
2Alabama (2)402
3Florida384
4Notre Dame362
5Miami (FL)344
6Georgia334
7UCF315
8Texas306
9Auburn300
10Cincinnati262
11North Carolina248
12Oklahoma State232
13Oklahoma210
14Mississippi State179
15BYU168
16Pittsburgh164
17Texas A&M161
18Louisiana152
19Memphis134
20Virginia Tech129
21Tennessee127
22LSU87
23Kansas State (1)76
24Marshall64
25Baylor61

Others receiving votes:

SMU57
Army44
Louisville28
Appalachian State23
Kentucky18
Tulsa16
Virginia14
West Virginia12
Arkansas State9
Purdue9
Georgia Tech8
Iowa State7
Coastal Carolina6
UAB5
Ole Miss5
UTSA5
Boston College4
Houston1
UTEP1

Agree? Disagree? Let us know in the forums or on Twitter @Sidelines_SN!

Big 12 Power Rankings: Week 2

By Andrew Sheridan

Image Credit: Brian Bahr | Getty Images

This past weekend saw only one Big 12 team in action: the Oklahoma State Cowboys. Oklahoma State’s matchup was a rematch of last year’s Cowboy victory over the Golden Hurricanes of Tulsa. Coming into the season, expectations were high for the Pokes as star running back Chuba Hubbard, star receiver Tylan Wallace and quarterback Spencer Sanders all returned for action. Unfortunately, the Cowboys we saw on Saturday looked nothing like the Cowboys we were told to expect this season. Spencer Sanders left for the locker room early in the game after suffering an ankle injury. In the meantime, Tulsa defended the run well holding Heisman hopeful Hubbard to 93 yards on 27 carries. Fortunately, the Cowboys found a way to move the ball and overcome a sturdy Tulsa test late in their contest.So where does Oklahoma State’s poor performance land them in their first appearance in the Big 12 Power Rankings? Let’s find out!

NOTE: This ranking list will only include teams who have played so far this season.

8) Kansas Jayhawks | 0-1

Image Credit: KU Football

Last Game: vs. Coastal Carolina, 23-38 L

Coastal Carolina took on Campbell in their matchup last week. Unfortunately for the Jayhawks, Campbell scored more points in the first half against the Chanticleers only trailing 9-21 at the break compared to KU’s 3-28. By the end of the game though, Coastal looked more similar to the team we saw perform against Kansas. After taking a week off, the Jayhawks see no movement from being the cellar dwellers of the Big 12.

Next Game: @ Baylor, 9/26

7) Texas Tech Red Raiders | 1-0

Image Credit: Jason Davis

Last Game: vs. Houston Baptist, 35-33 W

The Red Raiders are still undefeated, but even with that, they are on a very slim margin between 7th and 8th place in these rankings.Their lone game of the season, a win against Houston Baptist, looks worse by the day. As we knew last week, Tech beat a Houston Baptist team who had previously already been blown out by North Texas. Well, that looks even worse now because in Week 3, North Texas saw SMU go off for 65 points on them. Texas Tech is on thin ice, and quite honestly, they are going to need a miracle if they stand any chance against Texas.

Next Game: vs. Texas, 9/26

6) Iowa State Cyclones | 0-1

Image Credit: USATSI

Last Game: vs. Louisiana, 14-31 L

Iowa State’s first opponent, Louisiana, found themselves another challenge in Week 3. Georgia State took Louisiana to overtime before falling 31-34. Once again, this brings back a more negative look for the Big 12 team who under performed in the previous week. Iowa State sees no movement a week after falling to the Ragin Cajuns’.

Next Game: @ TCU, 9/26

5) Kansas State Wildcats | 0-1

Image Credit: Charlie Riedel | AP

Last Game: vs. Arkansas State, 31-35 L

Arkansas State’s Week 3 game against Central Arkansas was postponed, so K-State’s loss has no Week 3 comparison. As it currently stands, the Wildcats’ game against Oklahoma is currently in danger of postponement due to COVID issues with the Wildcats. K-State was missing 35 players for their game against Arkansas State. Since then, 12 players have been able to return, but 10 other players have had to quarantine. With that, the Wildcats are currently without 33 players. Other information on who the players are or what positions they play is unknown.

Next Game: @ Oklahoma, 9/26

4) Oklahoma State Cowboys | 1-0

Photo Credit: Rob Ferguson | USA Today Sports

Last Game: vs. Tulsa, 16-7 W

Chuba Hubbard’s streak of 11-straight 100+ yard games was snapped this past weekend as Tulsa was able to hold the Heisman hopeful to only 93 yards on 27 carries. Throughout the game, the Golden Hurricanes found themselves stacking the box defensively as there was simply no aerial threat from the Cowboys. Starting QB Spencer Sanders left the game early due to injury and was replaced by Junior QB Ethan Bullock who produced 41 passing yards on 8 completions (13 attempts), 0 touchdowns and an interception. Bullock was replaced by Freshman QB Shane Illingworth in the 4th quarter who immediately made an impact and produced a game-winning drive. Illingworth finished with 4 completions on 5 attempts for 74 yards. Star WR Tylan Wallace produced an optimistic amount of yards given his limited attempts, bringing in 4 receptions for 94 yards, including a beautiful snag during the go-ahead scoring drive. The Cowboy defense looked strong and tough against an improved Tulsa offense led by QB Zach Smith, who had an impressive day throwing for 166 yards and a touchdown. The Cowboy defense continually made stops throughout the game though to limit Tulsa to only one touchdown. Oklahoma State’s underwhelming performance earned them the number 4 spot in our rankings list. The Cowboys host our next team, the West Virginia Mountaineers, this coming weekend.

Next Game: vs. West Virginia, 9/26

3) West Virginia Mountaineers | 1-0

Image Credit: William Wotring | WVU Football

Last Game: vs. Eastern Kentucky, 56-10 W

West Virginia retains the #3 ranking for this week after Oklahoma State’s poor performance last weekend. Though their opponents’ strength levels were not nearly the same, West Virginia still looked light-years better than the Cowboys did, and that’s why the easily hang onto the #3 spot. However, this coming weekend will certainly tell us who is the better team as the Mountaineers and Cowboys face off head-to-head.

Next Game: @ Oklahoma State, 9/26

2) Oklahoma | 1-0

Image Credit: Sue Ogrocki | AP

Last Game: vs. Missouri State, 48-0 W

The Sooners are looking ahead to their matchup this coming weekend as they seek revenge against the Wildcats for their lone Big 12 loss from last season. Though we hope we are wrong, the Sooners may have to wait a little longer for payback as the Wildcats are struggling with numbers right now from COVID-19.

Next Game: vs. Kansas State, 9/26

1) Texas | 1-0

Image Credit: Ricardo B. Brazziell | American Statesman

Last Game: vs. UTEP, 59-3 W

There isn’t much to say here except that we can more clearly see the difference between a FBS and FCS team. UTEP is now 2-1 on the season. Both of those wins came over FCS schools; meanwhile, UTEP’s lone FBS opponent so far this season (Texas) put up 59 on them and allowed only 3 points. Texas remains in the top spot for at least another week. Can they hold onto this position after this weekend?

Next Game: @ Texas Tech, 9/26

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Week 3 Top 25

It’s a tumultuous time for college football. Every week new games are cancelled or postponed due to COVID and new players are opting out (though we don’t expect we would’ve seen much of Tate Martell in the first place). However, there’s one constant along with every other college football season; arguing over rankings. Here are ours, comprised of our writers votes. Feel free to let us know what you think in the forums (click “Sidelines Forums” in our menu and sign up!) or on Twitter.

Note: We are currently only ranking teams planning to play in the next week. This means the Big Ten, Pac 12, MAC and MWC have been left out of this poll.

1Clemson (13)372
2Alabama (1)345
3Oklahoma321
4Notre Dame302
5Georgia299
6Florida295
7Texas275
8Auburn262
9LSU260
10UCF217
11North Carolina208
12Miami (FL)203
13Texas A&M187
14Cincinnati167
15Oklahoma State148
16Louisiana (1)124
17Memphis114
18Tennessee98
19Army91
20Pittsburgh88
21BYU77
22Louisville52
23Virginia Tech50
24Kentucky47
25Marshall47

Others Receiving Votes:

SMU21
Baylor14
West Virginia9
Navy8
Arkansas State7
Arkansas7
UAB6
Coastal Carolina4
Liberty3
Tulsa3
Boston College2
Appalachian State1

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Big 12 Power Rankings: Week One

By Andrew Sheridan

Image Credit: KU Football

Football finally returned this past weekend for the Big 12, and well, it was a bit underwhelming for those schools who played against a Sun Belt team. All three Sun Belt opponents upset their Big 12 opponents, including a win over #23 Iowa State. The Red Raiders of Texas Tech narrowly avoided what would have been the worst upset of the day after holding on against Houston Baptist by a score of 35-33. West Virginia rolled against a sad Eastern Kentucky team as expected, and the typical Big 12 powerhouses rolled against their opponents.

So after one weekend of play, let’s take a look at how our Sidelines writers ranked the Big 12 teams:

NOTE: This ranking list will only include teams who have played so far this season.

7) Kansas Jayhawks | 0-1

Image Credit: KU Football

Last Game: vs. Coastal Carolina, 23-38 L

For the second straight season, the Jayhawks fell to Coastal Carolina in Lawrence. The Jayhawks looked abysmal in the first half after entering the break trailing 28-3. Quarterback still remains a huge question mark for the Jayhawks after Thomas MacVittie started the game only to throw an interception on the first drive and then fail to produce anything for the Jayhawks. Miles Kendrick was a big improvement when he replaced MacVittie, but the question is can Kendrick be consistent in his play and throw the ball with accuracy. KU Offensive Coordinator Brent Dearmon needs to find a way to use Pooka Williams more in his offense. Pooka is the best player on the Jayhawk offense and it isn’t particularly close, but Williams only saw 12 carries yesterday. Overall, Kansas looked like the Kansas team we have known for the past decade which has salvaged just 21 wins since 2010.

Next Game: @ Baylor, 9/26

6) Texas Tech Red Raiders | 1-0

Image Credit: Jason Davis

Last Game: vs. Houston Baptist, 35-33 W

The Red Raiders won their opening contest which may be enough to make you think they should be ahead of the teams that lost, but Texas Tech beat Houston Baptist by only 2 points. Houston Baptist… the team that has existed for 8 seasons while only winning 18 games throughout. In the record books, this game goes down as a win for the Red Raiders, but to anybody who watched, this game was a loss. Texas Tech’s defensive secondary was absolutely atrocious. HBU quarterback Bailey Zappe threw for 567 yards and 4 touchdowns against the Texas Tech secondary. Texas Tech quarterback Alan Bowman looked decent yesterday as he threw for 430 yards and 2 touchdowns, but that is also the Red Raiders’ play style of airing the ball out with Bowman, so he should be having these types of numbers. A two-point win over a bad FCS team is inexcusable for what should be a young and improving Big 12 team. If the Red Raiders continue to play like they did yesterday, they will find themselves at the bottom of the Big 12 come December.

Next Game: vs. Texas, 9/26

5) Iowa State Cyclones | 0-1

Image Credit: USATSI

Last Game: vs. Louisiana, 14-31 L

The Cyclones were the first Big 12 team to fall victim to the Sun Belt. The Cyclones gave up two special teams touchdowns to the Ragin’ Cajuns after Louisiana returned both a punt and a kick return for touchdowns. Brock Purdy had very high expectations coming into the season and yesterday, he did anything but live up to them. Purdy threw for only 145 yards and 0 touchdowns against the UL defense. On top of that, his accuracy was very poor as he went 16/35 with 1 interception. Simply put, it wasn’t close to being good enough. If Purdy continues to struggle this season like he did yesterday, the Cyclones could be in for a very long 2020 (as if it hasn’t been long enough as is). On the bright side for Iowa State, running back Breece Hall continues to look promising as he ran for 103 yards and a touchdown yesterday. The Cyclones have lots of work to do if they are hoping to compete in the Big 12 this season.

Next Game: @ TCU, 9/26

4) Kansas State Wildcats | 0-1

Image Credit: Charlie Riedel | AP

Last Game: vs. Arkansas State, 31-35 L

Moments after Iowa State fell to Louisiana, fellow Sun Belt member Arkansas State scored the go-ahead touchdown to take the lead over the Wildcats of Kansas State. K-State looked like they were going to dominate the game based on the first minute and a half after forcing a three-and-out, blocking a punt, and then scoring two plays later. However, Arkansas State didn’t stop pursuing the win and found themselves back in the game soon after. K-State’s defensive secondary was pummeled by the Arkansas State receivers. Arkansas State WR Jonathan Adams Jr. had himself a day bringing in 3 touchdown catches and going for 98 yards. Offensively, the Wildcats seemed very unprepared and ineffective. Normally their strong-suit, the rushing attack for K-State struggled badly. Kansas State totaled only 91 rushing yards on 39 attempts, averaging only 2.33 yards per carry. In the passing game, Skylar Thompson seemed off his rhythm after taking a very awkward hit during the first quarter in which he landed on his head. Overall, the passing game wasn’t outwardly bad, but it wasn’t great either. Thompson went 17/29 for 259 yards and 2 touchdowns, but still had several important throws that were just off the mark. Kansas State’s run blocking will need to vastly improve throughout the season if they expect to be able to make a difference in the ground game.

Next Game: @ Oklahoma, 9/26

Week 2 Top 25

After a wild first full week of college football, we have our Week 2 Top 25 poll ready. The Big 12 went winless against the Sun Belt, UNC woke up in the fourth quarter, and FSU got stung. Louisiana’s upset performance was enough to earn them a first place vote by one of our writers.

This poll is comprised of the votes of SidelinesSports.Net writers. Note: We are now only rankings teams that currently intend to play this season.

Top 25 Poll:

1Clemson (8)272
2Alabama (2)264
3Oklahoma248
4Georgia238
5Texas199
6Florida192
7Oklahoma State192
8LSU187
9Notre Dame187
10Auburn164
11Texas A&M148
12North Carolina140
13Cincinnati138
14UCF118
15Louisiana (1)95
16Memphis90
17Miami (FL)81
18Tennessee73
19Louisville71
20Army64
21BYU54
22Appalachian State52
23Kentucky35
24Virginia Tech31
25Baylor20

Others Receiving Votes:

Pittsburgh18
TCU10
SMU9
Arkansas State4
West Virginia3
UAB2
Texas Tech1
Coastal Carolina1
Houston1

Agree? Disagree? Let us know in the comments and on Twitter @Sidelines_SN!

ACC Preseason Rankings 2020

The ACC has often been ridiculed as a “basketball conference”, yet they have 3 national champions in the last decade as well as a pretty impressive bowl record in the last few years. Regardless, the ACC plans to take the field this season, and thus we’ll be watching as always. Will Clemson steamroll the conference again? Will a Coastal underdog make the championship game? Check out our preseason rankings here for our predictions (Note, we’re including Notre Dame given this season’s unusual circumstances):

15. Boston College

David Bailey - Football - Boston College Athletics

Oh, Boston College. We so badly want you to succeed to make the ACC look better, but you just haven’t figured it out. Maybe new Coach Jeff Hafley will be the secret ingredient that brings the Eagles out of the basement. One good thing is this roster is very experienced, with 17 starters returning and many being Juniors or Seniors. The Eagles have Oregon-transfer AB Phil Jurkovec who recently had his waiver approved to lead the team, and RB David Bailey has shown a lot of potential. We expect a pretty dismal season, but at least the coaching change marks a new era – and possibly a turning point.

14. Georgia Tech

James Graham developing as Georgia Tech's quarterback | Sports |  gwinnettdailypost.com

The Yellow Jackets had a horrible 3-9 campaign last season, but it was entirely expected as they were transitioning from their long used Triple Option offense. Will it all come together in Year 2? Extremely unlikely. Changing an offense like that takes a lot longer, but at least Geoff Collins now has “his guys”. Plus, there’s consistency at QB with James Graham returning. Georgia Tech will not be competing for the championship, but they could pull off a surprise upset as there’s very little on the scouting report of what this offense will look like. Being unexpected may be their best advantage.

13. Syracuse

Tommy DeVito - Football - Syracuse University Athletics

QB Tommy DeVito was the most sacked QB among Power 5 teams last season. His offensive line will have 2 new starters, for better or for worse. On the defensive side of the ball, only 4 players are returning. WR Taj Harris could be one of the best in the ACC, but will DeVito even be able to throw to him with defenses running him over? Dino Baber’s coaching is the only thing keeping this roster from the bottom of the ACC, but it could be enough to get them to a bowl.

12. Wake Forest

5 takeaways from Wake Forest's thrilling season-opening win over Utah State  | Wfu | journalnow.com

Wake Forest’s defense is experienced; they return all but 2 starters on that side of the ball and those players did fairly well last season (76th in scoring). The question is the offense; Wake had a top-20 offense last season but lost almost everybody, including QB Jamie Newman who transferred to Georgia. One of the few bright spots, WR Sage Surrat, who led all P5 players in receiving yards through 9 games last season, has opted out of the season.

11. NC State

NC State names Devin Leary as its starting QB vs. Wake Forest -  ACCSports.com

NC State had trouble finding an identity last season, starting 3 different QBs. However, once they find their guy this season (it looks to be Devin Leary), they have enough experience on both sides of the ball to form a cohesive, competitive team. The Wolfpack is returning all but 7 starters on both sides of the ball, but most are only Sophomores and Juniors. Most people are underrating this Wolfpack team, but if they don’t get a solid connection between a QB and their experienced receivers, experience won’t matter and they’ll fall to the bottom of the ACC.

Big 12 Preseason Rankings 2020

Article by: Andrew Sheridan (@SidelinesKState), Hunter Martinez-Buehrer (@Sidelines_OU)

We are only two weeks out from the first game of the Big 12 season! It’s been a long and confusing ride the past several months as the status of College Football in the Fall of 2020 has been in constant question. Alas though, we have arrived, so here it is:

The 2020 Preseason Big 12 Rankings

#10) Kansas Jayhawks

The Kansas Jayhawks have finished in the bottom two of the Big 12 every year since 2009. Several people have high hopes for the Jayhawks this season, but quite simply, we don’t see it happening. KU returns only 11 players on offense and defense combined, good for 9th in the Big 12. If you know simple math, you will realize this only accounts for 50% of total returning production. The Jayhawks also lose QB Carter Stanley leaving a big question mark at quarterback for 2020. On the bright side, the Jayhawks do return star running-back Pooka Williams, who is looking to have a break-out year in 2020. Can Les Miles find a way to improve the Jayhawks in year 2?

#9) West Virginia Mountaineers

Neal Brown enters year 2 as the head coach of the Mountaineers. The West Virginia offense seemed to find more of their groove as the 2019 season came to a close, but it was much too late to be effective on the season. If the offense can find more of a groove early on, this ranking might be too low, but until proven otherwise, the Mountaineers find themselves at the bottom of the pack. West Virginia returns lots of talent, including a highly experienced D-Line, but as mentioned before, the offense must find their groove early on in order to have a successful season.

#8) Texas Tech Red Raiders

Texas Tech returns just over 59% of their 2019 starting production. If Alan Bowman can stay healthy, the Red Raider offense could have a very successful offensive outing in 2020. Alan Bowman will be joined by a highly skilled receiving corp including veteran receivers T.J. Vasher and Seth Collins. However, the pass defense MUST improve vastly if the defense expects to have the same success the offense does. Last season, the Red Raider secondary finished ranked 128th in the country. In a conference like the Big 12, the 128th ranked secondary simply won’t cut it. Can Matt Wells find the answer in his 2nd season as the Texas Tech head coach, and can Alan Bowman stay healthy? Their season might depend upon it.

#7) TCU Horned Frogs

The Horned Frogs of TCU took a bit of a hit in 2019, going 5-7 after going 7-6 in 2018. Although the Horned Frogs don’t return many starters from 2019, the TCU defense should be stronger this year, especially in its backfield with Ar’Darius Washington, also known as the 2019 Big 12 Freshman Defensive Player of the year, leading it. However, the offense is where the real question lies and is the determining factor on how well Gary Patterson’s crew does this year. Max Duggan was supposed to lead the offense this season as a true sophomore after last year’s transfer party left him to take the starting job but has since been ruled out indefinitely due to a heart condition. This leaves even more question marks for the TCU offense. Many eyes will be on freshman Zachery Evans as well, as his production in the backfield with an offensive line that was very troubling last year. If the offense can click, watch out for TCU to turn some eyes this season.

#6) Kansas State Wildcats

Kansas State went a surprising 8-5 in Chris Klieman’s first season as head coach. Klieman and company will look to build upon the success the Wildcats had in 2019 for the 2020 season. The biggest question-mark for the Wildcats coming into 2020 is the offensive line. The Wildcats lost all five offensive-line starters after last season which leaves a whole lot of inexperience up front. Josh Rivas will have to lead the Wildcat O-Line if they expect to have any sort of success. Collectively, the Wildcats only return 8 total starters from 2019, ranking 10/10 in the Big 12. K-State will need to rely heavily on Skylar Thompson’s experience as well as their Special Teams, which returns Preseason All-American Joshua Youngblood as well as kicker Blake Lynch. Can Chris Klieman lead the Wildcats to another successful outing in 2020?

#5) Baylor Bears

Ranking Baylor for the 2020 season was really difficult. In 2019, the Bears went a surprising 11-3 on the season. However, Baylor lost A LOT during the offseason. The Bears return a solid eight starters on offense including quarterback Charlie Brewer but are only returning three on defense. A lack of experience as well as a brand new coaching staff could bring a multitude of issues. Baylor is such an unknown team going into the season. The Bears could finish with 1 loss in conference play or they could only win 1 game in conference play. Honestly, who knows? Our prediction has Baylor finishing right at the middle of the pack because while the Bears do lose a lot on defense, their new coach was the defensive coordinator for the National Championship winning LSU Tigers. Surely, that means only good things for the Bears defense then, right?

#4) Iowa State Cyclones

Brock Purdy. That’s the name you continue to hear for the next 3 months. Iowa State’s success depends solely on Brock Purdy. If Brock Purdy has success, Iowa State will have success. If Brock Purdy has a bad day, well Cyclone fans, you better hope another player such as Breece Hall can have himself a day. Iowa State returns 12/22 starters from 2019, including 7 of those 12 on defense. Iowa State needs to find that ability to close out games in 2020, unlike in 2019 when the Cyclones lost four different games by seven or fewer points. If Matt Campbell and Brock Purdy can find success as well as the rest of the Cyclones can finish games out, Iowa State could potentially have a very successful season in 2020.

#3) Texas Longhorns

“HEY LONGHORN NATION”……okay, can we all agree that this has been played out a little too much? No? Okay. “WE’RE BAAAAAAAAAACK!” In all seriousness though, an 8-5 record and Alamo Bowl victory may not have been what Texas fans were hoping for, and so as you would expect, changes were made to Coach Tom Herman’s staff during the offseason. Chris Ash and Mike Yurcich take over the mantle of Defensive and Offensive coordinator respectfully. Sam Ehlinger, Keaontay Ingram, and Brennan Eagles will be the big names on offense with Tirak Black looking to make his name as a transfer from Michigan. 73% of the 2019 defense returns for the Longhorns this year and while not performing as well as expected last year, they look to improve under new leadership from Chris Ash. Ultimately, How the Longhorns do this season comes down to their performances against Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. If they can win both or even one of those games, the Longhorns should stand a very good chance at making the Big 12 Championship Game.

#2) Oklahoma Sooners

Another year, another new quarterback for Lincoln Riley. This time, it’s Spencer Rattler who steps up to lead the offense along with seven returning starters. On the defensive side of the ball, the Sooners are ready to shake away the stigma of “Big 12 has no defense”. The defense returns eight starters from 2019 including Tre Brown, Ronnie Perkins, and Tre Norwood who will lead Alex Grinch’s group. As the Big 12 seems to have a normal league schedule with 1 non-conference game, this may seem like another Conference Championship appearance in-line for the Sooners, as they look to add a sixth championship win in a row. However, mid season roadtrips seem to be the achilles heel for this team. Our eyes this year are on the Iowa State game to see if Oklahoma can overcome the test of Brock Purdy in Ames. If they are able to do so, another Big 12 championship appearance and likely CFP appearance could be imminent. However, while the Big 12 typically runs through Norman, a different team looks to take the championship trophy on a detour route through a town about 90 minutes away.

#1) Oklahoma State Cowboys

What more can we say about the Oklahoma State Cowboys that the rest of the college football world hasn’t been thinking since Spring? They are returning 18 starters on offense and defense combined, as well as 6 specialists. Among them include Heisman Candidate Chubba Hubbard, Quarterback Spencer Sanders, Wide Receiver Tylan Wallace, and that’s just the offense! Although the defense is looking to grow from last year, they are bringing back a bunch of talent for Jim Knowles. Looking at the top 3 teams in our rankings, they have the best non conference test in the Tulsa Golden Hurricanes (compared to Missouri State and UTEP), and will be the team that is tested the most, with away games at Oklahoma and Baylor while also having tough home games with Iowa State and Texas. This Cowboy team has a lot to look forward to, and if they play their cards right, should have a strong chance at not only appearing in their first ever Big 12 Championship Game (2011 did not have a championship game), but a chance at the College Football Playoff. To have this happen, the team needs to utilize the running potential of their Heisman Hopeful RB, their 2019 Freshman Offensive Player of the Year QB, their potential Biletnikoff Award winning WR, and a defense that is looking to make a tough stand this year. Bedlam should be the Game of the Year in the Big 12 this season, and if Oklahoma State can go to the Palace on the Prairie and stun the Sooners, the sky’s the limit.

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College Football Playoff Predictions

The College Football Playoff isn’t even a decade old and it already has to adjust for a global pandemic. To be fair, the model itself doesn’t appear to be changing much – four teams will still compete in a tournament, with seeding set by the College Football Playoff committee. The semifinals will be at great locations this year; the historic Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl. As far as the rankings, the first will come out Tuesday, November 17. The Playoff Selection show itself will be Sunday, December 20. That leaves one question – who will be in?

CFP prediction 1

1. Clemson

Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence gets engaged

We’re highly expecting yet another undefeated regular season for Clemson. Their shortened schedule (with the Citadel being their only true out of conference game) leaves very few threats. Notre Dame is the only opponent that really jumps out as a test for Clemson, and while this will be a talented Notre Dame squad behind Ian Book’s leadership, it simply won’t be enough to cut it. The usual suspects like Pitt and Syracuse could provide a scare, but Trevor Lawrence’s talent and a great supporting cast (eyes on Etienne for best Running Back in college) mean they will waltz to another College Football Playoff appearance, where they’ll beat Alabama in yet another matchup but lose the title game to our next team.

2. Georgia

Kearis Jackson - 2020 - Football - University of Georgia Athletics

Of all four teams we have projected to make the playoff, Georgia returns the most overall production (65%) with 10 starters. Plus, Jamie Newman is not only a Heisman candidate but a proven baller with experience carrying a roster further than it should’ve gone. So, what happens when he is on an already good roster? We predict a national championship. Georgia has been criticized for an unimaginative offense, but we believe bringing in Todd Monken as OC will help them finally piece together both sides of the ball, as LSU did last year on their undefeated championship run. Georgia doesn’t exactly have an easy schedule, and we predict them dropping 1 in the regular season to Alabama, but we think they’ll win the SEC title game and every game afterward.

3. Oklahoma

Oklahoma football: The level Spencer Rattler is searching to reach

Seems like OU is always the fourth seed, doesn’t it? We don’t predict that changing this season. Spencer Rattler has all the makings of yet another elite OU QB, and he already has some experience in Lincoln Riley’s system. The loss of Kennedy Brooks (who announced he’s opting out) certainly hurts the diversity of OU’s offense, but Jeremiah Hall can help open up the offense. Oklahoma State is the biggest threat on OU’s schedule and we predict them or Iowa State gets a win over the Sooners this season, but we ultimately expect Riley’s coaching, an elite QB in Rattler and a top of the league passing game to bring the Sooners to another College Football Playoff appearance (but yet another semifinal loss).

4. Alabama

Najee Harris - Football - University of Alabama Athletics

This will be an interesting year for Alabama. We just hit the first 2 year title drought for the Crimson Tide since 2013-2014. They’re QB situation is interesting, with Mac Jones coming back as the projected starter but high school phenom Bryce Young waiting in the wing. The Tide’s defense looks airtight, so most questions are on the offensive side of the ball, and Najee Harris and DeVonta Smith are pretty powerful answers. We think the Crimson Tide will go undefeated in the regular season but lose the SEC title game to Georgia. This sets them up for a rematch with Clemson, and a strategic Dabo will exploit their few weaknesses (likely via Etienne) to scrape past them.

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SidelinesSports.Net Preseason Top 25

This is far from a traditional college football season. Four FBS conferences are confirmed not playing, with potentially more on the way. But, at the very least, we should hopefully get some football. With that being said, the moment you’ve all been waiting for has arrived; our Preseason Top 25! Note: We have ranked all teams for the preseason poll because of the uncertainty regarding who will play. Starting Week One, only teams playing games will be ranked.

preseason top 25

1 Clemson 540
2 Alabama 509
3 Ohio State 454
4 Georgia 445
5 Florida 426
6 Oklahoma 397
7 LSU 392
8 Notre Dame 343
9 Oregon 324
10 Penn State 323
11 Auburn 316
12 Texas 257
13 Wisconsin 251
14 Oklahoma State 248
15 Texas A&M 198
16 UCF 192
17 Minnesota 179
18 Michigan 174
19 North Carolina 157
20 Cincinnati 120
21 Memphis 109
22 USC 96
23 Appalachian State 90
24 Virginia Tech 68
25 Utah 60

Others Receiving Votes:

Iowa 57
Arizona State 47
Iowa State 46
Kentucky 45
Tennessee 43
Miami (FL) 35
Louisville 32
Boise State 31
Baylor 27
Kansas State 19
SMU 16
Washington 13
TCU 11
Texas Tech 8
Navy 7
West Virginia 7
Mississippi State 6
Pittsburgh 5
Maryland 4
Indiana 4
Duke 3
Florida State 3
Michigan State 3
BYU 2
Virginia 2
Air Force 2
Army 2
Tulane 1
UAB 1

What do you think? Who’s too high? Who got snubbed? Follow us on Twitter at @Sidelines_SN!