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2017 College Football FBS National Title Contenders

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By: Bart “Gunn” Weber –

Football is back! For those of you who consider the nine months of the FBS offseason grueling, September is absolutely the finest month of the year. All this patience pays off with consecutive weeks of drama and excitement that takes place on the field of battle. I love the NFL, but my heart still belongs to college football. I grew up on it and believe there is nothing better than watching two rival schools and their fan base beating up on each other.

Last season proved yet again that the college game is thriving more than ever and the conclusion was just as magical as the entire season. The playoff system has given people something to talk about all season long, but especially early on. Pundits argue over which teams belong and which teams or conferences are getting left out. Clemson’s dramatic win over Alabama capped off what I feel was one of the more exciting title games we have ever seen.

2017 is about to begin and as always there are many teams vying for those coveted playoff spots. As always, traditional powers dominate the top 25 this year in the initial rankings, with South Florida being the only school outside of the Power 5 Conferences to be ranked. Now none of that means anything as the season moves on and it sets up for the inevitable heartbreak that comes with high expectations. This season has some great early matchups that will define teams fates and give us, the viewers, some absolute mayhem to quench our lust for football chaos.

Here are my top 5 teams to win the National Championship in 2017:

5. Louisville Cardinals

Why: Lamar Jackson. Last year’s Heisman winner is poised to be even better this season and with seemingly a more experienced group around him on both offense and defense, this team can definitely be something special. After a tough loss to Clemson last season, Louisville stumbled down the stretch. If they can get more consistency on defense they have a great shot at playing a New Year’s game.

4. Michigan Wolverines

Why: Coaching, Coaching, Coaching. Jim Harbaugh has built up this team with a ton of young, talented athletes and they will all need to perform at a high level to get to the promised land. But if there is any coach in the FBS that can get his players to rise above all expectations it’s Harbaugh. If they can get by a short-handed Florida on opening weekend they will send a huge message that they are ready to take it to the next level, but their schedule is daunting to say the least.

3. Florida State Seminoles

Why: Home is where the Heart is. They open with Alabama at home to start the season and get both Miami and Louisville at home as well. If you are gonna beat Bama you have to do it outside Tuscaloosa and you have to do it early in the season. They play five of their first seven games at home, with 4 in a row to start September. If they can get by Bama it will give them the confidence to go on an early run, setting themselves up for epic games at Clemson and Florida to end the season.

2. USC Trojans

Why: Sam Darnold. SC is back in a huge way and is completely out from under the sanctions era. Their defense is more experienced than a season ago and despite losing WR talent, they still have a lot of weapons to attack with. This season all comes down to the QB position though. With a tough opening to the season, USC cannot afford to lose any ground but, as long as Darnold shows why the hype is real, this team will soar all the way to the title game.

1. Alabama Crimson Tide

Why: They have had such an epic run for so long that you don’t bet against them. This is the first year I can remember where Alabama went into a season with this much hype and excitement invested in a quarterback. Like USC, this season for Bama will come down to Jalen Hurts and how he is able to handle expectations and pressure. He showed last season he can lead a team to the title game and played very well against Clemson. That experience will be invaluable for a team lacking depth on the defensive side that they are accustomed to. An early game at FSU will test them but if they get outta Tallahassee with a W (or even lose in an epic, close barnburner) they are home free until LSU in early November. As always the Iron Bowl will play a factor but Bama is poised once again to be the top contender in the FBS.

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