Pat Kinnison

The Way Too Early Top 25 For 2016: Part 1

GoPokes.com's Robert Allen's way too early top 25 ranking for the 2016 season.

Everybody seems to be doing one these days, a way too early top 25 for next season. The early odds are out from Las Vegas on college football teams to win the CFP National Championship Game. Instead of just looking at ESPN or some other site and having watched so much of the bowl games and the playoff and having a lot of information to go on, we decided to do our own top 25. Here goes with the 16-25 in Part 1. 

25. Northwestern (Vegas odds to win CFP in 2016 - 1000-to-1)
Pat Fitzgerald's team started 2015 with the upset over Stanford and played well throughout, relying on defense and struggling some on offense. The Wildcats were blasted in the bowl game by Tennessee, but we think they will be improved on offense next season and Fitzgerald and his staff do a steady job. 

24. Arkansas (Vegas odds to win CFP in 2016 - 100-to-1)
Bret Bielema loses QB Brandon Allen and TE Hunter Henry but there is a foundation built in the program and the defense will be better. They impressed in the bowl win over Kansas State. 

23. Notre Dame (Vegas odds to win CFP in 2016 - 15-to-1)
They will have quarterbacks as injured Malik Zaire and DeShone Kizer will be back but heavy losses on offense with Will Fuller (WR), Ronnie Stanley and Nick Martin on the offensive line and then losing LB Jaylon Smith on defense is tough. Schedule is tough too. 

22. Iowa (Vegas odds to win CFP in 2016 - 100-to-1)
They have quarterback C.J. Beathard back but Iowa won't have the advantage of flying under the radar this season. They will be circled on opponent's schedules. Another big boost is the return of Jim Thorpe finalist at cornerback Desmond King. Injured DE Drew Ott is back as well. 

21. Oregon (Vegas odds to win CFP in 2016 - 40-to-1)
The Ducks lose a lot up front on offense and defense but they return RB Royce Freeman and WR Darren Carrington. Montana State transfer Dakota Prukop is the favorite to replace Eastern Washington transfer Vernon Adams at QB. Oregon is a trusted winner as the culture is ingrained. 

20. Ole Miss (Vegas odds to win CFP in 2016 - 20-to-1)
Oklahoma State fans know all too well what is gone in the offensive line including expected top NFL Draft pick Laremy Tunsil, Robert Nkimdiche on the defensive line, and LeQuon Treadwell at WR. Chad Kelly is back at QB and they have athletes in Oxford. 

19. Louisville (Vegas odds to win CFP in 2016 - 60-to-1)
There are schools that I don't care for and I have a bias with and Louisville is one, so for me to pick the Cardinals in the top 20 means they may be much better than that. I really don't care for Bobby Petrino but you have to hand it to him as he has the UL program back hitting on all cylinders, and with freshman QB Lamar Jackson back and all of his top receiving targets and a solid core back on defense then the Cardinals are a major threat.

18. TCU (Vegas odds to win CFP in 2016 - 30-to-1)
My buddy Doug Meacham said don't cry for him with estranged QB Trevone Boykin and bowl hero Bram Kohlhausen gone because he says Texas A&M transfer Kenny Hill will do quite nicely. TCU has some younger talent ready to jump in. They return a lot of defense but lost some heavies up front like Davion Pierson. 

17. Washington (Vegas odds to win CFP in 2016 - 40-to-1)
Remember the Cowboys bowl conquest from the Cactus Bowl in 2014, actually Jan. 2 of 2015? The Washington Huskies are almost everybody's favorite sleeper team for 2016. Chris Peterson has a good cast including QB Jake Browning and RB Myles Gaskin and the defense returns almost every starter. They also play Pac-12 rivals Stanford, USC, and Arizona State in Seattle. 

16. Florida (Vegas odds to win CFP in 2016 - 50-to-1)
Yes, I know that Jim McElwain took the Gators to the SEC East crown last season but the East is growing up fast with Tennessee better and Kirby Smart at a loaded Georgia now. UF lost a lot of top players on both sides of the ball, but get this, the name to watch at QB is Oregon State transfer Luke Del Rio. Remember him?

(Editor's note: Coming Soon: 6-15 in Part 2)


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