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College football 2017 preview: Preseason rankings, bowl projections, All-Americans and more – Sporting News

Sporting News is ready for the 2017 college football season, even if it’s still weeks away. 

Our goal is to provide as much preseason content as possible for those who can’t stop talking about college football until Week 1, which features a monumental matchup between Alabama and Florida State at the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. The race to the fourth College Football Playoff is coming, with the championship game also in Atlanta on Jan. 8. 

We’re here to get you prepared for the 2017 college football season. Here’s a look at our preseason Top 25 rankings, bowl projections, Heisman contenders, preseason All-Americans and best Week 1 games, along with much, much more … 

College football rankings: SN’s Preseason Top 25

Alabama is Sporting News’ pick at No. 1 in our Preseason Top 25. Again. Where does everybody else fit in, including defending national champion Clemson and 2016 playoff teams Ohio State and Washington? 

MORE: Preseason Top 25

Conference predictions 

We’ll have predictions for each Power 5 conference after their respective media days. SEC picks are already in, and we’ll have ACC next. Get our picks for divisions winners, Heisman candidates, biggest games, and, of course, conference champions. 

Bowl projections 

Sporting News’ 2017-18 bowl projections have the Crimson Tide back in the national championship game, and Ohio State back in the playoff. Only they’ll be playing in a Sugar Bowl rematch in the College Football Playoff on Jan. 1. Which other teams will play in the Rose Bowl? Check out our bowl projections here. Have questions about those bowl projections? We have answers. Hint: It’s never too early to talk bowl projections. 

Heisman contenders

Louisville’s Lamar Jackson returns as the Heisman Trophy winner, but he has competition at quarterback from USC’s Sam Darnold and Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield, among others, and at running back from Penn State’s Saquon Barkley and LSU’s Derrius Guice. Get Sporting News’ picks for the Top 25 QBs and Top 25 RBs for 2017. Given that the Heisman winner has been either been a quarterback or running back for the last 20 years, it’s a good bet the winner is on one of those lists. 

Preseason All-Americans

The story of Sporting News’ Preseason All-American team is the defensive line, and a trio of super sophomores in Houston’s Ed Oliver, Michigan’s Rashan Gary and Clemson’s Dexter Lawrence. Who else made the list? We’ve also got our eye on 17 breakout players for 2017.

Trap Games 

Sometimes it takes only one game to undermine a national championship run. Sporting News — using the everlasting warning from Admiral Ackbar — knows when to say, “It’s a trap!” We found one of those trap games for each College Football Playoff contender.  

Best Week 1 games

We can’t wait for the first full weekend, which runs from Aug. 31 through Sept. 4, with that first full Saturday on Sept. 2 loaded with great games. Here are the 15 games we can’t wait to watch in Week 1.  

MORE: Huge games coming in September

College football coach rankings 

Sporting News ranked the FBS coaches from 1-130, and that exclusive club starts with national championship coaches Nick Saban, Urban Meyer, Dabo Swinney and Jimbo Fisher. We broke out the rankings for the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC

First-year coaches 

So many new coaches are on the sideline. There are 22, to be exact. Sporting News’ ranked the 22 first-year coaches, and the list starts with new Texas coach Tom Herman. How long until he has the Longhorns back in the business in the Big 12? 


Throughout the summer, we’ll address those hot topics heading into 2017 with our FAQ feature. We’ve already looked at Jim Harbaugh, Auburn and Tennessee. Do you have any other suggestions? 

National championship pick, predictions

We can’t wait to find out. How long has it been for your favorite team? We have the answer for that, too. Remember, Clemson broke a 35-year drought last season. Who’s next? 

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