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Mr. Mascot vs. Jason's Potential CFB Top 25 Disappointments

A head-on-head weekly editorial sports debate

August 08, 2018 - 11:55 am
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You smell that? Do you smell that? College Football, son. Nothing else in the world smells like that. I love the smell of football in the morning. Smelled like... victory. Alright, that Lieutenant Colonel Bill Kilgore quote from Apocalypse Now was a stretch but, you get the idea, it’s football season. Side note, if you’ve never seen Apocalypse Now do yourself a favor. Set aside about two hours and some change to watch it. Fantastic. Man, Francis Ford Coppola knows how to direct and make some sold wine. Side note, if you’ve never had any Coppola wine do yourself a favor and set aside around $13-15 and try it. Fantastic. Boy that went off the rails! Anyways, Jason and I are going to tell you what four teams that are in the Coaches Top 25 Poll today that will take a tumble by season’s end. 

Mr. Mascot:

University of Central Florida Knights (#23)- Of course my first example doesn’t follow the pattern. Will UCF be in the top 25 at the end of the season? Yes. Do I think they will crack the top 10? NO. Nor do I think they should. Last year the Knights claimed their ‘national title’ after beating up a marginal Auburn squad in the Peach Bowl. That is a major win for you and your program but, that’s not a national title win. So, this season they are without linebacker Shaquem Griffin (Seahawks) and corner Mike Hughes (Vikings). Griffin was a leader that made that UCF defense click or as well as it could click. Let’s not forget they gave up 42 points to USF and 55 to Memphis. The Knights also lost their head coach, Scott Frost, who is now coaching at Nebraska. The question is can QB McKenzie Milton and new head coach Josh Heupel be enough to have a repeat 2017 season?… doubtful. UCF does have one thing in their advantage... a cakewalk of a schedule. You look pretty good when you’re whopping Temple, SMU, SC State, UConn etc… I think there will be a few missteps in games they would have won last year. Enjoy the prestigious Hefty Bag Bowl in Piscataway, NJ.

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Oklahoma Sooners (#5)- “Baker Mayfield is gone” would be the typical approach to this argument. Yes, that is a serious loss for the Sooner offense. But, I’m taking a look-see at their defense. Last year they ranked 67th and gave up 349.9ypg. That’s not great. On top of that, they lost five defensive players to injury already. And lost Ogbonnia Okoronkwo who was selected by the Los Angeles Rams with the 23rd pick in the fifth round. He racked up 17 sacks and 30 tackles for loss over the last two seasons. They will go 4-0 to start the year (FAU, UCLA, ISU, Army) but, then eventually they have to try and stop Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, WVU and Baylor. Odds are they round out the season in the high teens?  

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Jason:  

Penn State (#9): The Nittany Lions have been one of the best teams in the country the last two seasons and are once again the College Football Playoff discussion with a #9 preseason coaches poll rankings. However, it'll be tough for them to hang on in the top 10 for long. They should finish the season in the Top 25 thanks to playing in a weak Big Ten conference. Losing eight defensive starters from last year's 11-2 team, their top wide receiver, tight end and most importantly, running back Saquon Barkley, Penn State will have a different look to them this season. James Franklin is a very good coach, and Penn State will not have to go through a very tough rebuild, but many true freshmen on the defensive line will need to step up. Five-star linebacker Micah Parsons has been talked about as being a true freshman who can step in and contribute right away and Ricky Slade will take on the backup running back role to junior Miles Sanders. The Nittany Lions still have Heisman Candidate Trace McSorley at quarterback, but don't be surprised if the new set of weapons and lack of Saquon Barkley in the backfield causes McSorley to struggle after a 3,000 yard and 28 touchdown season last year. In addition, the Nittany Lions lost their offensive coordinator to Mississippi State. Penn State's defense only allowed 16 points per game last season and they certainly won't be able to repeat that with the personnel change. They open up the season with two very possible trap games. First against Appalachian State, which I don't even need to explain, and second against in-state rival Pittsburgh. Either one of those teams can beat Penn State and put an end to their season within the first two weeks. Later in the season, Penn State faces both teams they lost to last year in Ohio State and Michigan State. They also will have a tough challenge against Michigan and Wisconsin. 

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Auburn (#10): Last year the Tigers surprised everyone. Jarrett Stidham looked like a top quarterback and the Tigers were in the playoff race until the final few weeks of the season. I just don't see that happening for them again this season. Auburn has always been a hit or miss type team and they struggle to stay consistent since Cam Newton left over seven years ago. Auburn barely lost to Clemson last season and was just a Georgia win away from making the CFB Playoff, but two of the Tigers top receivers are recovering from knee injuries and their schedule is extremely difficult this season. Auburn opens up the season against Pac-12 favorite Washington and still has to face title contenders Georgia and Alabama once again. Four offensive line starters are gone and if the Tigers are unable to fix that problem, it'll be a long season for Stidham and the Tigers offense. Plus, they play in the SEC. I know they made the championship game last year, but the SEC is always eventful. 

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