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College Football's Top 50 Offensive Lines for 2017

posted on August 11, 2017
The offensive line is often the most overlooked position for any college football team. While the linemen in the trenches don’t get enough credit, they are often the most important piece to a successful offense. Flashy skill talent and quarterbacks take home all of the accolades and headlines, but neither position can thrive without a solid offensive line.   Which teams are strongest in the trenches heading into the 2017 season? Oklahoma takes the top spot in Athlon's...
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Potential Breakout Players in FCS College Football in 2017

posted on August 11, 2017
They’re toiling right now in the heat of August, unknown to many but full of promise to those who know them well. In a couple of months, they’ll be making a name for themselves in the heat of their conference title race.   A “breakout player” is the one who’s had the talent, but not necessarily the opportunity.   With 124 teams in FCS college football, there will be make new faces emerging into key roles in the 2017 season.   Here are some potential...
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Conference USA Coaches Talk Anonymously About Conference Foes for 2017

posted on August 11, 2017
It's not easy getting college football coaches to honestly comment on another coach, player or team. Most coaches don't want to give opposing teams billboard material, which is why there is a lot of coach speak or overused clichés used during the year.   In order to get an accurate assessment of teams heading into 2017, Athlon asked coaches in Conference USA to talk anonymously about their opponents.   Related: Conference USA 2017 Predictions   Note: These scouting...
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What Pressure? USC Prepares for Hyped 2017 Season

posted on August 11, 2017
Hollywood loves producing blockbuster sequels, and all the elements needed for one such repeat exist nearby with USC football.   A Southern California-raised quarterback with Heisman Trophy buzz? A bevy of returning talent from a 10-win team? Preseason expectations set at a standard USC hasn't reached since 2008?   The subplots shaping the Trojans' 2017 season look awfully familiar to 2012, in some ways the most tumultuous of USC's roller-coaster last decade. This year's...
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Predicting the Big Ten's Biggest Upsets in 2017

posted on August 11, 2017
Every conference can claim to have a gauntlet to run through to emerge a conference champion, but this year may prove to be one of the most competitive seasons the Big Ten has seen in years. Ohio State, Penn State and Wisconsin will enter the 2017 season as some of the top favorites in the conference, but none of those teams will be able to navigate through the season without some competitive games to be concerned about.   Here are the top 10 upset alerts facing Big Ten teams this season.   10....
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Sun Belt Coaches Talk Anonymously About Conference Foes for 2017

posted on August 11, 2017
It's not easy getting college football coaches to honestly comment on another coach, player or team. Most coaches don't want to give opposing teams billboard material, which is why there is a lot of coach speak or overused clichés used during the year.   In order to get an accurate assessment of teams heading into 2017, Athlon asked coaches in the Sun Belt to talk anonymously about their opponents.   Related: Sun Belt Football 2017 Predictions   Note: These scouting...
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College Football's Top 50 Defensive Lines for 2017

posted on August 11, 2017
The rise of spread offenses and the different schemes teams face on a week-to-week basis in a college football season has altered how some defensive coordinators think. While some are placing more emphasis on building a secondary, the success of any defense starts up front. Generating a pass rush and stopping the run are two staples of any defensive scheme. The 2017 season features several talented defensive fronts returning nearly intact, including Clemson, Ohio State, Alabama, Florida...
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College Football's Top 50 Linebacker Units for 2017

posted on August 11, 2017
Picking the top linebacker units in college football is no easy task. After all, schemes dictate how linebackers are used and the rise of spread offenses generally means more defensive backs on the field. Regardless of whether a scheme utilizes a 4-3, 3-4, 4-2-5 or nickel package, linebackers are a critical component to any defense. How should a team with four starters at linebacker compare to one that uses only two? That's a tough question we tried to address. Additionally, the 2017...
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5 Impact Newcomers for the Utah Utes in 2017

posted on August 11, 2017
Utah has finally reached a point where rebuilding has given way to reloading. The Utes enter the 2017 season with some holes to fill in key positions in the secondary, along the offensive line and on special teams. Filling those holes will be a task Utah can handle.   Earlier this year, head coach Kyle Whittingham brought in his highest-rated recruiting class since the Utes joined the Pac-12. Combined with redshirt freshmen and returned missionaries from previous classes and talented...
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Heisman Watch: Ranking the Pac-12's Top Candidates for 2017

posted on August 11, 2017
The annals of Pac-12 football history are filled with stars who won the Heisman Trophy – names like Jim Plunkett, Terry Baker, Gary Beban, Marcus Allen, Carson Palmer, Matt Leinart and Marcus Mariota.   In total and throughout its various incarnations, the Pac-12 claims 11 Heisman winners; Pac-12 programs make for 12, with recent newcomer Colorado boasting a 1994 recipient in the late Rashaan Salaam.   And the Pac-12 is loaded with contenders to make it Lucky No. 13. Heading up...
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