With spring football about to kick in, how do each of the teams look? What are the first impressions? These are the first thoughts that can and will change over the next several months before diving deep into the team-by-team previews. Please, give us your thoughts and questions – be pleasant – hitting us at @ColFootballNews.
- The best and the brightest teams going into spring football.
- Crank up the realistic playoff expectations if everything breaks right.
- They'll all be in the mix for a conference title, with a little luck.
- Probably a bit low - all could challenge for big things.
- Some new high-risers - there's promise and potential.
- Likely bowl teams - or at least that's the expectation.
- Low-end Power 5 teams, but there's surprise potential.
- Possible bowl teams and some star Group of 5ers.
- Some bottom Power 5s and top Group of 5ers as the rankings roll on.
- Teams that have several major question marks, or are missing top talent.
- They need to replace too many key parts, but there's hope.
- They're not quite at the bottom, but they need a whole bunch of work.
- As spring ball is rolling, which teams come into the year looking up?
The Bottom Ten
19. Ole Miss
Biggest Positive: The Rebels lose just two seniors off the offensive two-deep depth chart. The defensive front should be among the best in America, while the talent level across the board is as good as anyone, but …
Biggest Negative: There are just enough big losses to hurt, and yes, that includes QB Bo Wallace. Can WR Laquon Treadwell and OT Laremy Tunsil come back and be 100%? You don’t quickly overcome losing defensive backs Senquez Golson and Cody Prewitt.
Biggest Positive: The defensive front loses Warren Herring, but it should be a brick wall, and the secondary should be among the best in the Big Ten with CB Sojourn Shelton and all four starters returning.
Biggest Negative: There’s still no Big Ten No. 1 wide receiver and, even though it’s Wisconsin and the running game will always work, Corey Clement isn’t Melvin Gordon. Three starters are done on the O line.
21. Georgia Tech
Biggest Positive: There’s a TON Of turnover on offense. The system should make up for it, but all the top running backs are gone, and the receiving tandem of DeAndre Smelter and Darren Waller will be tough to replace.
Biggest Negative: DT Adam Gostis and DE Keshun Freeman are back up front, and Demond Smith and top tackler P.J. Davis return at linebacker for what should be a strong front seven. Three starters are back in the secondary.
22. Arizona State
Biggest Positive:The defense should be fantastic with just about everyone back. Six of the top seven and 16 of the top 18 tacklers return including dangerous linebackers Salamo Fiso and Laiu Moeakiola.
Biggest Negative: It’s Arizona State, so the offense will be fine, but losing QB Taylor Kelly and WR Jaelen Strong hurts. S Damarious Randall – the team’s leading tackler - and DE Marcus Hardison are gone.
Biggest Positive: It’s Missouri, so there are always new pass rushers ready to step up, but even if there are problems the back seven should make up for it. This should be one of the better linebacking corps in the Gary Pinkel era.
Biggest Negative: Maty Mauk isn’t Aaron Rodgers when it comes to accuracy and consistency, and now he won’t have his top receivers with Bud Sasser, Jimmie Hunt and Darius White gone.
24. Oklahoma State
Biggest Positive: The Cowboys should have one of the Big 12’s best linebacking corps led by Ryan Simmons and Seth Jacobs. The secondary isn’t far behind with Jordan Sterns leading a terrific group that should be special.
Biggest Negative: There’s a ton of talent on offense, but RB Desmond Roland and playmaker Tyreek Hill are gone. Two of the top starters up front – Daniel Koenig and Chris Grisbhy – are going to be tough to replace.
Biggest Positive: Jim McElwain will instantly make the offense better. Until then, the defense will carry the team with CB Vernon Hargreaves the star of a loaded secondary. The D line will be among the SEC’s best.
Biggest Negative: Where are the offensive playmakers? QB Treon Harris is dangerous, but where’s the pop? The receiving corps might be full of veterans, but they’re not very good.
26. Texas A&M
Biggest Positive: No matter who’s throwing the ball – Kyle Allen or Kyler Murray – the passing game should be explosive with a devastating receiving corps returning. The running backs – even with Trey Williams leaving early – aren’t bad, either.
Biggest Negative: The defense that struggled so much last year has to replace three of its top four tacklers, and the secondary needs to undergo an overhaul. Even with the experience returning up front, the D has a long, long way to go to be decent.
Biggest Positive: Oh yeah, the defense. Lost in all of the problems of last year was a defense that was fantastic. The front seven is loaded, and the secondary should be even better with Jabrill Peppers ready to step in and shine. All five starters are back on the O line, but …
Biggest Negative: Oh yeah, the offense. Jim Harbaugh might be one of the best coaches in all of football, but his offense still has light years to go before it’s merely decent. The quarterback situation is more than just a question mark.
Biggest Positive: Even without Randy Gregory, the defense comes back loaded up front. Zaire Anderson and Trevor Roach are gone from the linebacking corps, but there’s enough experience to expect even more production under the new coaching staff.
Biggest Negative: There might be a few nice running backs ready to roll, but Ameer Abdullah was special. So was Gregory. There’s talent returning on defense, but starts have to emerge early on.
2015 Pre-Preseason Rankings: No. 19-28
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