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Top 25 College Football Teams

by DraftSite on Sep. 1, 2011

The College Football season starts now, so before the first few games begin we wanted to put our Top 25 College Team Rankings for how we think the 2011 College Football Season is going to pan out. We listed our predicted end of season Top 25 teams with the 4 players that we think are going to have the greatest impact on their teams:

(If your team didn't make the cut, see the 15 Honorable Mention teams at the bottom)

 

  1. South Carolina
    1. Alshon Jeffery
    2. Stephon Gilmore
    3. Devin Taylor
    4. Bonus: Marcus Lattimore
    5. Analysis: Unfortunately this team’s success lies in the hands of Connor Shaw or Stephen Garcia. Fortunately though this team is stacked everywhere else, and if they could get future #1 pick Jadeveon Clowney in the game, opposing QB’s won’t stand much of a chance.
  2. Boise State
    1. Kellen Moore
    2. Billy Winn
    3. Nate Potter
    4. Bonus: Doug Martin
    5. Analysis: If they get past Georgia in that first game, who can’t they beat? This team is not forgetting last year’s loss to Nevada, and Kellen Moore is going to not going to let anyone forget his name either in his last stand in an incredible career. If enough big name teams lose a game, this could be their year to make a run all the way to the last game of the college football season.
  3. Alabama
    1. Barrett Jones
    2. Trent Richardson
    3. Mark Barron
    4. Bonus: Dont’a Hightower
    5. Analysis: This team is utterly loaded on the backside of their defense, so it’ll be up to the front line to hold their own. A.J. McCarron will be given every opportunity behind a strong offensive line and bruising running game, but he’ll have to rival Greg McElroy’s level of efficiency, if they don’t want to lose any games.
  4. Florida State
    1. Andrew Datko
    2. Brandon Jenkins
    3. Nigel Bradham
    4. Bonus: Greg Reid
    5. Analysis: Their defense is underrated and could bring them back to national prominence alone. Greg Reid could have a Patrick Peterson type impact on this team. Their offense is also on solid ground, and, despite taking over for Christian Ponder, E.J. Manuel has experience at QB that can not be overlooked.
  5. USC
    1. Matt Barkley
    2. T.J. McDonald
    3. Robert Woods
    4. Bonus: Matt Kalil
    5. Analysis: The talent on this team is almost unmatched anywhere in the country, and despite their probation, they are going to want to prove to people that they could have been champs.
  6. Oklahoma
    1. Landry Jones
    2. Ryan Broyles
    3. Travis Lewis
    4. Bonus: Ronnell Lewis
    5. Analysis: This team once again is loaded with weapons, but the competition won’t relent this year, and 1 loss might just take them down a notch.
  7. North Carolina
    1. Quinton Coples
    2. Dwight Jones
    3. Zach Brown
    4. Bonus: Donte Paige-Moss
    5. Analysis: UNC’s defensive line might be the best in the country, and will be a force to reckon with every Saturday. Despite Butch Davis no longer being there, UNC still has his talent on the field, especially at linebacker and wide receiver.
  8. Nebraska
    1. Taylor Martinez
    2. Jared Crick
    3. Alfonzo Dennard
    4. Bonus: Lavonte David
    5. Analysis: While the Big Ten was excited to add Nebraska to it’s conference, once the teams start playing, they’ll wish they never had. Nebraska has the potential to have a dominant defense, and an offense that will be dangerous any time Taylor Martinez has the ball.
  9. Stanford
    1. Andrew Luck
    2. Jonathan Martin
    3. Coby Fleener
    4. Bonus: Stepfan Taylor
    5. Analysis: Stanford’s offense is likely to be unstoppable next year, and if their defense could come anywhere close to their offense, they shouldn’t miss Jim Harbaugh too much.
  10. Michigan State
    1. Edwin Baker
    2. Jerel Worthy
    3. Kirk Cousins
    4. Bonus: Joel Foreman
    5. Michigan State has enough electrifying pieces on offense and impact players on defense to make a big run this year, and given their success the past few years, it should not be out of the question. Having been regarded in football as Michigan’s “Little Brother”, this could be the year that State officially steps out of their shadow.
  11. Oklahoma State
    1. Justin Blackmon
    2. Brandon Weeden
    3. Levy Adcock
    4. Bonus: Markelle Martin
    5. Analysis: Blackmon could have the type of impact on this team that Crabtree had during Texas Tech’s big run. Brandon Weeden is older than 10 of the current QB starters in the NFL, and that maturity will help this team stay composed throughout the season
  12. Notre Dame
    1. Manti Te’o
    2. Michael Floyd
    3. Harrison Smith
    4. Bonus: Tyler Eifert
    5. Analysis: Almost every year, prognosticators think that it is going to be Notre Dame’s bounce back year, yet for the last few years, they’ve disappointed. People have a right to think that they will rise considering their talent level never wanes, and this year is no exception. If they could get past two fiery Michigan teams in weeks 2 and 3, they might be able to build some momentum, which they will definitely need if they plan to get past USC, Boston College, and Stanford.
  13. Wisconsin
    1. Russell Wilson
    2. Aaron Henry
    3. Chris Borland
    4. Bonus: Montee Ball
    5. Analysis: Bringing Russell Wilson into the huddle instantly makes Wisconsin a winner again after losing steady Scott Tolzien. Their unstoppable running game didn’t go anywhere even after the John Clay departure, and while the front line on defense was their strength last year, the back 7 might make this defense a strength again.
  14. Texas
    1. Kheeston Randall
    2. Emmanuel Acho
    3. Keenan Robinson
    4. Bonus: Garrett Gilbert
    5. Analysis: People are sleeping on Texas because of last year, but they are still Texas, and the talent level they have will not allow them to fall far for long. A strong defense will help buy time throughout the season for the offense to gel and get ready for their Big-12 matchups.
  15. Oregon
    1. LaMichael James
    2. Cliff Harris
    3. John Boyett
    4. Bonus: Kenjon Barner
    5. Analysis: Oregon lost so many pieces on front-7 of their defense last year, that one would think their defense is going to fall apart this year. Yet their back-4 could be among the best in the country and could easily compensate for those loses. With Chip Kelly and LaMichael James still there it will make it nearly impossible for their offense not to succeed.
  16. Cincinnati
    1. Zach Collaros
    2. Isaiah Pead
    3. Derek Wolfe
    4. Bonus: D.J. Woods
    5. Analysis: Two years ago Cincinnati’s name returned to the ears of the mainstream, yet unexpectedly the name was lost in the wind last year. This year very well could be their bounce-back year with a strong enough offense to carry them, and a solid defense to hold them together.
  17. Iowa
    1. Riley Reiff
    2. Mike Daniels
    3. Shaun Prater
    4. Bonus: Marvin McNutt
    5. Analysis: Iowa has a lot of strong weapons this year, yet they have the misfortune of playing in the now wide open Big Ten. As usual their offensive and defensive lines will be strong, but it’ll be the guys on the outside who have the biggest impact and potentially bring this team some success.
  18. Florida
    1. Jeffery Demps
    2. John Brantley
    3. Chris Rainey
    4. Bonus: Deonte Thompson
    5. Analysis: Florida’s offense will be their MVP with Charlie Weis now their offensive coordinator. With so much speed at the skill positions, they will be hard to contain.
  19. West Virginia
    1. Bruce Irvin
    2. Julian Miller
    3. Keith Tandy
    4. Bonus: Geno Smith
    5. Analysis: Defense wins games, and West Virginia, despite the turmoil, might produce the top defense in the Big East this year. Bruce Irvin and Julian Miller create a formidable pair of bookends that will leave opposing quarterbacks little time to get rid of the ball.
  20. Texas A&M
    1. Jeff Fuller
    2. Cyrus Gray
    3. Ryan Tannehill
    4. Bonus: Coryell Judie
    5. Analysis: Having a former wide receiver at quarterback, always makes for an exciting season. Texas A&M fortunately already proved last year with Ryan Tannehill that it would be one of the more successful transition stories, and now they can feed off the late success to start off strong and give a nice farewell to the Big 12.
  21. Georgia
    1. Aaron Murray
    2. Cordy Glenn
    3. Brandon Boykin
    4. Bonus: John Jenkins
    5. Analysis: Georgia always seems to be on the verge of breaking through, yet recently they just haven’t been able to. Unfortunately, with their first two games against Boise State and South Carolina, they might have to wait to break through. Yet even if they do lose their first two games, they have the pieces to make a nice run through the second part of their season.
  22. Arizona State
    1. Vontaze Burfict
    2. Junior Onyeali
    3. Cameron Marshall
    4. Bonus: Brock Osweiler
    5. Analysis: Everyone is talking about Vontaze Burfict, but it’s Junior Onyeali at defensive end who might be just as scary. Their offense becomes a force as well when you combine speedy Cameron Marshall and up-and-coming Brock Osweiler. It’ll take a tough run through the Pac-10 to truly break through though.
  23. Houston
    1. Case Keenum
    2. Patrick Edwards
    3. Bryce Beall
    4. Bonus: Tyron Carrier
    5. Analysis: Every year there is a small-school team who’s offense is so dynamic that it lifts them up into a ranked position, and this year that team could be Houston. Case Keenum seems as if he’s been around forever, yet after coming off a lost season due to an ACL tear, he is being completely overlooked. Yet he has the ability to break some of the most prolific NCAA passing records this year. If the offense can outscore what the defense allows, they might be able to make a nice run.
  24. LSU
    1. Morris Claiborne
    2. Rueben Randle
    3. Brandon Taylor
    4. Bonus: Jarrett Lee
    5. Analysis: Even before the infamous fight, LSU was going to have a tough season. Early season matchups against Oregon, Mississippi State, and West Virginia will test them before they run through the rest of their SEC foes. Jarrett Lee is not really a drop-off from Jordan Jefferson, but they don’t necessarily have the star power that some of the LSU teams of the past have had.
  25. Southern Mississippi
    1. Austin Davis
    2. Cordarro Law
    3. Korey Williams
    4. Bonus: Lamar Holmes
    5. Analysis: Austin Davis is a sleeper quarterback in the NCAA this year, and with a relatively winnable schedule, he could lead them to a Conference-USA championship and a spot in the rankings. Yet it is their defense that will put them over the top, with a strong front-7 that will put pressure on opponents all year.

Next 15 Honorable Mention:

  • Boston College
    • Luke Kuechly could have a legendary type of impact on this team, and when Montel Harris comes back he could have a similar impact on their offense.
  • Miami
    • If they weren’t involved in their offseason mess, they might have made the top 15 with their strong defense and a coming party out for Stephen Morris
  • Arizona
    • Nick Foles and Juron Criner could create another stir in the Pac-10, but they need a few more pieces to take them over the top
  • Virginia Tech
    • The Hokies have a very winnable schedule this year, but they'll have to avoid a repeat of last year's slippage. Jayron Hosley could make a run for the Jim Thorpe award though.
  • Northwestern
    • Dan Persa is back and healthy, or so we think. If that stays the case, they could make some noise in the Big Ten
  • TCU
    • Tank and Tanner could turn TCU into a torturous time for a tired opponent (alliteration), but the loss of Andy Dalton’s leadership might just be too much this year
  • Baylor
    • Robert Griffin III’s team is bound for a very nice run in the Big 12, but he just might not be able to do it himself
  • Tulsa
    • Wanted to put Tulsa into the Top 25 following last year's great end of the year run, but Oklahoma and Oklahoma State are going to make that nearly impossible for them. G.J. Kinne will make a name for himself though.
  • Michigan
    • They have the pieces to win games, it just might take a season to work out the kinks. Denard Robinson hopefully won’t lose his dynamic style.
  • Ohio State
    • Ohio State’s first half of the season is going to be rough, but once all their guys come back from suspension, they’ll put up a fight in the Big 10.
  • UCLA
    • Tony Dye could be the break-out player in the Pac-10 this year after coming out from behind Rahim Moore’s shadow. With a tough schedule though, Rick Neuheisel and his UCLA team might struggle again.
  • Mississippi State
    • Vick Ballard is going to run through teams like they are pieces of paper, and presumably their offense could follow suit.
  • Missouri
  • BYU
  • Maryland
    • Randy Edsall will bring his UConn pedigree and potentially turn Davin Meggett into a real running back force. If Danny O’Brien could continue making strides, they might be able to win a decent amount of games.