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play2020’s most anticipated college football matchups (1: 23)Texas vs. Oklahoma and Alabama vs. LSU headline some of faculty football’s most anticipated games for the 2020 season. (1: 23)8: 00 AM ETChris LowESPN Senior Creator Shut College football reporter
Joined ESPN.com in 2007
Graduate of the University of TennesseeEach week, it feels a tiny bit more accurate. College football is right here, and even when many of the groups in ESPN’s Energy Rankings did now not play this week, we did own some movement.And no longer lovely from the same earlier suspects.Hi there Billy Napier and Louisiana, which earned its first road blueprint shut over an AP nationally ranked crew in program history. The Rajin’ Cajuns shocked No. 13 Iowa Negate 31-14 in Ames and vaulted to No. 16 in the rankings.Let’s no longer ignore BYU, which on the strength of its 55-3 dismantling of Navy on Labor Day, jumped into the vitality rankings at No. 20.Georgia Tech rambled its blueprint into Doak Campbell Stadium and rallied for a 16-13 blueprint shut over Florida Negate, earning Geoff Collins’ membership the No. 22 jam this week.So as we unveil this week’s rankings, namely with those groups but to play, we are going to gather a leer at a player on each and each crew poised to own a breakout season, a player who would be an X-enlighten this season or a particular jam group that needs to step up if that crew is going to own a gigantic season.Hold into myth, the SEC would now not originate play until Sept. 26, and 6 of the terminate 10 groups again this week hail from the SEC. Also, we’re ranking most productive those groups currently scheduled to play this fall. The important thing note is “currently,” so cease tuned.`1. Alabama Crimson Tide (0-0)Offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian has made it particular that working the ball more successfully, usually a given in Tide Metropolis, might perhaps well be a precedence this season after the Crimson Tide performed 56th nationally (sixth in the SEC) in rushing offense a 300 and sixty five days in the past. Getting Najee Harris relief for his senior season was sizable, nonetheless redshirt freshman Trey Sanders is extremely-proficient and would own been a enlighten a 300 and sixty five days in the past had he no longer suffered a season-ending foot hurt.Up next: at Missouri (Sept. 26, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN)2. Clemson Tigers (1-0)Clemson touring to Wake Wooded field with out three projected starters on defense also can need made a couple of ripples all the way by means of the sport, nonetheless it no doubt did now not originate any inequity on the self-discipline. The Clemson recruiting machine has continued to roll along below Dabo Swinney, and the continuity the Tigers own loved on defense below coordinator Brent Venables has been sufficient. Clemson smothered Wake Wooded field for a season-opening 37-13 victory Saturday on the road and has now won 23 straight games in opposition to ACC opponents and held 17 of those 23 foes to 14 or fewer aspects.Up next: vs. The Citadel (Saturday, 4 p.m. ET, ACC Network)3. Oklahoma Sooners (1-0)The quarterbacks come and stoop below Lincoln Riley, nonetheless the results cease the same. Spencer Rattler, following in the footsteps of Baker Mayfield, Kyler Murray and Jalen Hurts, hit on 14 of 17 passes for 290 yards and 4 touchdowns … in the main half of. No longer a depraved debut for the redshirt freshman, as Oklahoma by no way broke a sweat in cruising to a 48-0 season-opening victory over Missouri Negate.Up next: vs. Kansas Negate (Sept. 26, Midday ET, Fox)4. Georgia Bulldogs (0-0)Dawg followers are banking on the offense being more explosive below restful coordinator Todd Monken, and the guy to gape is sophomore receiver George Pickens. He has mountainous dimension (6-foot-3, 200 kilos) to affiliate with gigantic athleticism. Pickens led Georgia in catches (49), yards (727) and touchdown catches (8) last season as a capable freshman. He’ll be even higher in 2020.Up next: at Arkansas (Sept. 26, 4 p.m. ET, SEC Network)5. Florida Gators (0-0)Todd Grantham’s defensive gadgets accumulate after the opposing quarterback, as evidenced by the Gators’ SEC-ideal 86 sacks over the last two seasons. Jonathan Greenard is long past, nonetheless Grantham plans to flip Brenton Cox loose at the Gators’ hybrid BUCK jam. The 6-foot-4, 247-pound Cox sat out last season after transferring from Georgia nonetheless will flourish in Grantham’s stress-oriented system.Up next: at Ole Stoop away out (Sept. 26, noon ET, ESPN)6. Texas Longhorns (0-0)It be laborious to think relief to a time when Sam Ehlinger wasn’t Texas’ starting quarterback. But it be no longer lovely journey that sets Ehlinger apart from many of the other quarterbacks in the nation. His mix of toughness and tell of Texas’ offense provides the Longhorns an accurate likelihood to interrupt by means of this season in the Tall 12. Of their season-opening 59-3 rout of UTEP on Saturday, Ehlinger threw five touchdown passes in the main half of and completed passes to 9 diverse avid gamers.Up next: at Texas Tech (Sept. 26, 3: 30 p.m. ET, Fox)7. Notre Dame Battling Irish (1-0)Notre Dame knows exactly what it be going to build up this season from valid faded quarterback Ian E book, and that’s the reason repeatedly comforting for a head coach. However the Irish might perhaps well be shopping for extra impact avid gamers on offense, and sophomore working relief Kyren Williams has your total tools to be one among those guys. He rushed for 112 yards and two touchdowns and also had a 75-yard reception Saturday in the season-opening 27-13 blueprint shut over Duke.Up next: vs. South Florida (Saturday, 2: 30 p.m. ET, USA Network)8. LSU Tigers (0-0)The defending nationwide champion Tigers own been gutted along their front seven on defense, most fair no longer too lengthy in the past with redshirt freshman defensive terminate Ray Parker being suspended indefinitely. Kind out Tyler Shelvin deciding to determine out for the season was also a critical blow. But LSU has recruited extraordinarily successfully, and capable freshman BJ Ojulari might perhaps be the subsequent star stoop-rusher in Baton Rouge.Up next: vs. Mississippi Negate (Sept. 26, 3: 30 p.m. ET, CBS)9. Texas A&M Aggies (0-0)Quarterback Kellen Mond needs to be more fixed throwing the ball this season, nonetheless even more crucial might perhaps be the Aggies doing a higher job of maintaining him in the offensive line and opening up more holes in the working sport. They struggled in each and each areas a 300 and sixty five days in the past. The right news is that four senior starters are relief, and coach Jimbo Fisher is assured Texas A&M might perhaps well be more physical all the way by means of the board this season on the offensive line.Up next: vs. Vanderbilt (Sept. 26, 7: 30 p.m. ET, SEC Network)10. Auburn Tigers (0-0)Don’t feel too sorry for Auburn in shedding line of defense stalwarts Derrick Brown and Marlon Davidson. Defensive line has by no way been a effort for the Tigers below coordinator Kevin Steele and faded line of defense coach Rodney Garner and might perhaps well no longer be again this season. Freshman tackle Jay Hardy has star capability. Senior tackle Daquan Newkirk is as wholesome as he’s been, and junior college newcomer Dre Butler is every other tackle the Tigers like along with returning seniors Tall Kat Bryant at terminate and Tyrone Truesdell at tackle.Up next: vs. Kentucky (Sept. 26, noon ET, SEC Network)11. Oklahoma Negate Cowboys (0-0)With the playmakers Oklahoma Negate returns on offense, as in Chuba Hubbard and Tylan Wallace, the Cowboys are going to be difficult to gape. But a smartly-recognized inquire: Can they be right sufficient on defense once they’ll also quiet no longer own to attain 40-plus aspects to blueprint shut every sport? The senior linebacker tandem of Amen Ogbongbemiga and Malcolm Rodriguez might perhaps be the heartbeat of that defense. They mixed for 203 tackles last season, and the Cowboys will need their management and manufacturing to be infectious in 2020.Up next: vs. Tulsa (Saturday, noon ET, ESPN)12. Cincinnati Bearcats (0-0)Coming off consecutive 11-blueprint shut seasons, Cincinnati hopes it would now not own to lean moderately as closely on its defense as it did a 300 and sixty five days in the past. The Bearcats will again be proficient on defense, especially up front. But to originate it three straight 11-blueprint shut seasons, quarterback Desmond Ridder needs to assemble every other step in his third season as a starter and abet the Bearcats change into stronger on offense. They own been held to 24 or fewer aspects in seven games last season.Up next: vs. Austin Peay (Saturday, noon ET, ESPN+)13. North Carolina Tar Heels (1-0)Few capable sophomores lift the more or much less expectations into this season that quarterback Sam Howell does after throwing an FBS capable-freshman-portray 38 touchdown passes a 300 and sixty five days in the past. And even when he threw two interceptions (and North Carolina struggled early offensively) in its season-opening 31-6 blueprint shut over Syracuse on Saturday, Howell confirmed in the fourth quarter why he’s one among ideal younger avid gamers in the nation. He was 6-for-6 in the Tar Heels’ last three touchdown drives. He had a key 12-yard bustle and 23-yard completion in the subsequent-to-last scoring force and a 38-yard completion in the closing scoring force.Up next: vs. Charlotte (Saturday, 3: 30 p.m. ET, RSN)14. Tennessee Volunteers (0-0)Indubitably one of many more licensed alternate alternate solutions for the SEC’s top breakout player in 2020 is sophomore working relief Eric Grey, who closed a promising freshman season with 246 rushing yards and three touchdowns in the finale in opposition to Vanderbilt. His skill jam fits perfectly in relation to how offensive coordinator Jim Chaney likes to spend his working backs, and Grey also has Ty Chandler as a capable complement at working relief. Each and each give the Vols dynamic gigantic-play threats.Up next: at South Carolina (Sept. 26, 7: 30 p.m. ET, SEC Network)15. TCU Horned Frogs (0-0)It was a downer for TCU that its opener in opposition to SMU on Friday was postponed after a gaggle of TCU avid gamers and crew examined sure for the coronavirus. However the Horned Frogs did accumulate some right news in the past week when LSU switch linebacker Marcel Brooks was granted a waiver by the NCAA to play this season. The faded five-star prospect is precisely the more or much less athletic defender who has excelled in Gary Patterson’s system and can originate an instantaneous impact.Up next: vs. Iowa Negate (Sept. 26, TBA)16. Louisiana (1-0)Clearly, Billy Napier knew what he was doing when he grew to alter into down several opportunities to interview at bigger colleges in the offseason and stayed in Lafayette. The Ragin’ Cajuns won 11 games a 300 and sixty five days in the past and would be even higher this 300 and sixty five days after taking down No. 13 Iowa Negate, 31-14, on the road on Saturday to initiate the season. There’s plenty to like about this Louisiana crew, nonetheless the Ragin’ Cajuns sure are difficult to gape play. They scored three touchdowns of 78 yards or longer Saturday, including an 83-yard punt return and 95-yard kickoff return.Up next: at Georgia Negate (Saturday, noon ET, ESPN2)17. Kentucky Wildcats (0-0)The Wildcats own been prominent below Label Stoops at constructing inequity-makers on the defensive side of the ball. The subsequent guy up would be junior weakside linebacker DeAndre Sq.. He flashed All-SEC capability in each and each of the past two seasons nonetheless has the tempo, instincts and flexibility to be one among the league’s more productive defenders in 2020 after finishing 2d on Kentucky’s crew a 300 and sixty five days in the past with 69 total tackles Up next: at Auburn (Sept. 26, noon ET, SEC Network)`18. Louisville Cardinals (1-0)Junior receiver Tutu Atwell garnered many of the preseason love and with right function. He led the ACC last season in receiving yards (1,276) and touchdowns (12), nonetheless the Cardinals demonstrated Saturday evening in their season-opening 35-21 blueprint shut over Western Kentucky that they’ve purchased plenty bigger than lovely one guy who can give a defense fits down the self-discipline. Dez Fitzpatrick and Braden Smith each and each had bigger than 100 receiving yards, and each and each had a gigantic-gainer — Fitzpatrick a 70-yarder and Smith a 63-yarder.Up next: vs. Miami (Saturday, 7: 30 p.m. ET, ABC)`19. UCF Knights (0-0)Cornerback Tay Gowan was one among 10 avid gamers, including two defensive starters, who opted out this season for UCF. Indubitably one of many fellows to gape at that vacant cornerback jam is redshirt junior Zamari Maxwell, whose journey also can quiet come in at hand in 2020. The 6-foot-1, 175-pound Maxwell started in six games last season and was one among the Golden Knights’ more improved avid gamers in the preseason.Up next: at Georgia Tech (Saturday, 3: 30 p.m. ET, ABC)20. BYU (1-0)Being in a attach to share collectively a agenda at the last minute was impressive sufficient for BYU after the Pac-12, Tall Ten and Mountain West all bailed on the autumn. Worthy more impressive, even though, was the blueprint BYU fully decimated Navy 55-3 on the road in its Labor Day opener. The scheduling challenges might perhaps well perhaps linger. BYU’s sport with Military this Saturday was postponed on myth of a “tiny quantity of sure COVID-19 take a look at results” and ensuing contact tracing within the BYU football program.Up next: vs. Troy (Sept. 26, 10: 15 p.m. ET, ESPN)21. Memphis Tigers (1-0)In its first sport with out manufacture-it-all working relief Kenneth Gainwell, who opted out for the season, Memphis quiet rolled up 502 yards in total offense in a 37-24 blueprint shut over Arkansas Negate per week in the past. Redshirt senior quarterback Brady White appears to be like hundreds safe of taking on even more of the offensive load. He threw four touchdown passes in the opener. The subsequent venture might perhaps well be getting relief on the self-discipline. Memphis’ sport in opposition to Houston this Friday has been postponed after a “critical quantity of folks” within the Memphis program own been placed into quarantine due to coronavirus protocols.Up next: vs. UTSA (Sept. 25, 8 p.m. ET, CBS Sports activities Network)`22. Georgia Tech (1-0)Granted, it be lovely one sport and Florida Negate struggled by means of a brutal offseason, nonetheless Georgia Tech made a convincing commentary Saturday evening that it would now not thought on being anybody’s punching bag in the ACC this season. The Yellow Jackets, after going 3-9 in Geoff Collins’ first season in Atlanta, fought relief from a 10-point deficit, overcame three blocked kicks and made one key defensive play after every other in the 2d half of to beat Florida Negate 16-13 on the road in the more or much less persona blueprint shut that would gather the Ramblin’ Crash a lengthy blueprint this season.Up next: vs. UCF (Saturday, 3: 30 p.m. ET, ESPN)`23. Appalachian Negate Mountaineers (1-0)It be repeatedly sophisticated to interchange a player as proficient as Darryton Evans and his 1,480 yards and 24 touchdowns from last season, nonetheless it no doubt appears to be like just like the Mountaineers own answers, presumably even a three-headed respond. Marcus Williams Jr., Camerun Peoples and Daetrich Harrington mixed for 279 rushing yards and 4 touchdowns on Saturday in a season-opening 35-20 blueprint shut over Charlotte.Up next: at Marshall (Saturday, 1: 30 p.m. ET, CBS Sports activities Network)24. Baylor Bears (0-0)Dave Aranda has coached his fragment of right defenses. But, in his first season as Baylor’s coach, the Bears are changing 9 of their top 11 tacklers from a 300 and sixty five days in the past. Shedding James Lynch and Bravvion Roy up front and their mixed 32.5 tackles for loss might perhaps well be especially sophisticated to beat, which makes Arkansas Negate switch William Bradley-King a key addition. The Bears will need the same more or much less playmaking capability from the 6-foot-4, 248-pound defensive terminate that made him an All-Sun Belt Conference desire each and each of the past two seasons.Up next: vs. Houston (Saturday, TBA)25. Miami Hurricanes (1-0)It goes with out announcing that Miami needs to be higher on offense this season after scoring 21 or fewer aspects seven cases a 300 and sixty five days in the past. There was some hope along those lines Thursday in the season-opening 31-14 blueprint shut over UAB. The Hurricanes rushed for 337 yards, and Houston graduate switch quarterback D’Eriq King passed for a touchdown and rushed for one. But King was also lickety-split to present in a while that Miami quiet has with a belief to throw the ball higher going forward.Up next: at Louisville (Saturday, 7: 30 p.m. ET, ABC)


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