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 we go with Part 3.
For all the Big 12 detractors, all the fans in the Big 12 Conference, and even some of the administrators like University of Oklahoma President David Boren, you might want to wait and see how the 2016 season turns out before rushing to add two schools that will take a share of the income but won't contribute the clout needed to strengthen the league, but will only serve as fodder so you can get the number back to where it matches the conference name. This could be a banner year for the league.
5. Oklahoma (Vegas odds to win CFP in 2016 - 7-to-1)
Provided concussion issues don't compromise his ability to play, Oklahoma has the quarterback warrior Baker Mayfield back. As opposing coaches, including OSU's Mike Gundy, have said that Mayfield is like a Braveheart in that he inspires and promotes his teammates to battle even above their abilities. You also have the running back tandem of Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon back. They will need to add to their receiver corps and also the defense, but there is enough there to build on.
4. Baylor (Vegas odds to win CFP in 2016 - 12-to-1)
Standout wide receiver Corey Coleman, offensive tackle Spencer Drango, defensive tackle Andrew Billings, and defensive ends Jamal Palmer and Shawn Oakman are all departed. Is there anything left in Waco? Well, there are another two or three explosive receivers including K.D. Cannon, running back John Jefferson, who rolled for 300 yards against North Carolina in the bowl game, a few defenders, and both of their top two quarterbacks in Seth Russell and Jarrett Stidham. Art Briles is still up and running on the Brazos and Baylor is still fairly loaded.
3. LSU (Vegas odds to win CFP in 2016 - 15-to-1)
Let's start with running back Leonard Fournette returning and anxious to win games and compete for a Heisman Trophy. Travin Dural and speedy Malachi Dupre are back to anchor the receivers. The offensive line is almost back in tact. Brandon Harris needs to continue to develop at quarterback. Dave Aranda will debut as the defensive coordinator and he has defensive end Arden Key and safety Jamal Adams as top talents. Problem for the Tigers is they share the same division with Alabama.
2. Florida State (Vegas odds to win CFP in 2016 - 15-to-1)
Okay, I've been chastised for picking so many schools that don't return their quarterback but I love it when a quarterback breaks in with a partner in the backfield like running back Dalvin Cook. The offensive line is experienced and talented, and Sean Maguire will compete against several contenders including talented freshman Malik Henry for the quarterback job. The Seminoles got pasted in the Peach Bowl by upstart Houston but that should further set the table for head coach Jimbo Fisher to get his team motivated for a run.
1. Alabama (Vegas odds to win CFP in 2016 - 6-to-1)
I know, the Tide will be missing Heisman winner Derrick Henry to quarterback Jake Coker to center Ryan Kelly to several talented defenders like A-Shawn Robinson. But the Tide keeps rolling out talent like running backs Damien Harris and Bo Scarbrough, receiver Calvin Ridley and anchor offensive tackle Cam Robinson. Nick Saban continues to roll out coaches too and Jeremy Pruitt will take over on defense for Kirby Smart. Alabama will be in the mix again.
I predict that Baylor upsets Alabama in one semifinal and Florida State beats LSU in the other semifinal. Baylor and the Bears blitzkrieg offense throttles Florida State to win the national championship.