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Regardless of the way it could really feel typically, no workforce is ideal. Not even the School Soccer Playoff champion is ever impeccable.
For instance, whereas 2020 Alabama did not have a obtrusive weak point, the secondary had a number of tough performances throughout the season. And looking forward to the 2021 marketing campaign, there are early issues about all the highest CFP threats.
Since your definition of a high contender is probably completely different than mine or another person’s, we eradicated a number of the subjectivity. We centered on the ten applications with the strongest odds to win the 2021 title, in accordance with DraftKings.
The record is organized by these championship odds.
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Iowa State Cyclones: Good Brock, Dangerous Brock
Brock Purdy is a high quality quarterback who’s environment friendly, productive and cellular. He is additionally not resistant to questionable selections. That irritating truth confirmed up throughout a loss to Oklahoma within the Large 12 title recreation when he tossed three dangerous interceptions.
At his finest, Purdy can throw for 10-plus yards per try and supply a wonderful complement to star operating again Breece Corridor. The worst-case situation, although, has been crushing.
Texas Longhorns: Elevating the Offense
Within the easiest phrases, Tom Herman did not extract the most effective of his offense within the video games that mattered most. Throughout his four-year tenure, the Longhorns went 1-11 in regular-season video games towards opponents that ended within the AP Prime 25.
New head coach Steve Sarkisian has sparked a wave of optimism, and anticipated beginning quarterback Casey Thompson had an unimaginable bowl efficiency in reduction of Sam Ehlinger. However something we propose will occur in key video games is nothing however a projection.
Texas A&M Aggies: New Quarterback
On the brilliant facet, Texas A&M has a fairly favorable slate to start 2021. That additionally means the Aggies should win instantly whereas breaking in Kellen Mond’s substitute.
Whether or not it is Haynes King, Zach Calzada or Eli Stowers, the offense might be turning to somebody with fewer than 25 profession cross makes an attempt. That is not a disqualifying issue, however quarterbacks not at Alabama have routinely struggled to navigate the SEC of their first 12 months as a starter.
USC Trojans: The Offensive Line
This one will not require any convincing for USC followers. Final 12 months, the Trojans ranked 84th or worse in tackles for loss (7.2) and sacks (2.5) allowed per recreation. And that poor blocking additionally resulted within the nation’s 14th-least-efficient operating recreation.
Utterly turning across the unit’s efficiency might be an extremely tough activity in 2021.
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Enhancing from a subpar protection to an elite unit is feasible—Ohio State made the soar between 2018 and 2019—nevertheless it’s not a easy course of. And LSU actually struggled final season.
Because the Tigers posted a 5-5 document, they completed 98th in scoring protection and a hundred and twenty fifth (out of 127) in yards allowed per play. The ineffective 12 months led to move coach Ed Orgeron transferring on from defensive coordinator Bo Pelini and changing him with Daronte Jones.
On paper, LSU ought to have a powerful protection in 2021. The road is stuffed with expertise with Ali Gaye, Andre Anthony, BJ Ojulari, Glen Logan and Neil Farrell Jr., whereas Derek Stingley Jr. and Eli Ricks are a terrific mixture at cornerback. Key linebackers Micah Baskerville and Damone Clark are again, too.
However on paper, LSU should not have faltered as a lot final season, both. We’re not breaking any information to say navigating the SEC would require a a lot stronger protection in 2021.
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Georgia has helped present the evolution of nice protection. As an alternative of needing an amazing, disruptive entrance six/seven, the Dawgs have restricted opponents from the secondary ahead.
However in 2021, they’re mainly beginning over at cornerback.
Eric Stokes, Tyson Campbell, Mark Webb and DJ Daniel are pursuing the NFL, and Tyrique Stevenson headed to Miami. These 5 gamers held the most important roles in 2020, combining for six of UGA’s 10 interceptions and 17 cross breakups. (For good measure, departing security Richard LeCounte III snagged three of Georgia’s 4 different picks.)
Luckily for Georgia, the pass-rushing corps must be overwhelming and disruptive anyway. That power could must atone for an inexperienced protection unit, although.
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Two seasons in the past, Oklahoma had suspect depth at cornerback. Joe Burrow-led LSU uncovered that vulnerability beneath the brightest lights, wrecking the secondary within the School Soccer Playoff.
Final 12 months, nonetheless, the Sooners fared a lot better. They surged from sixtieth in yards allowed per cross to twenty first and—maybe extra notably—improved from permitting 27 touchdowns with seven interceptions to 12 scores and 16 picks.
Whereas it isn’t “beginning over” to Georgia’s stage, Oklahoma has a number of notable departures with Tre Brown and Tre Norwood. They mixed for eight of the Sooners’ 16 interceptions final season.
Now, the seemingly bolstered depth might be scrutinized.
Woodi Washington, D.J. Graham and Brendan Radley-Hiles ought to make up the first-string unit, whereas Jaden Davis, Jeremiah Criddell and Tennessee switch Key Lawrence have some expertise. Joshua Eaton performed a bit in 2020, too.
If the secondary holds up, Oklahoma is a legit nationwide championship menace. If not, the Sooners’ six-year Large 12 title streak might be in critical jeopardy.
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Expertise shouldn’t be a priority in Ohio State’s quarterback room. The notable gamers are CJ Stroud and Jack Miller—each 4-stars within the 2020 recruiting class—and incoming 5-star Kyle McCord.
Stroud, to make sure, is the favourite to switch Justin Fields. However irrespective of the starter, he’ll have zero profession cross makes an attempt getting into the season.
As talked about with Texas A&M, a brand new starter doesn’t preclude a workforce from competing for the CFP. And in Ohio State’s case, the trail by means of the Large Ten is extra favorable than the Aggies attempting to emerge from the SEC West, not to mention the SEC as a complete.
By the top of September, it could be clear Ohio State has a star quarterback. To imagine it is a certainty is daring, nonetheless.
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From an total perspective, Clemson had an honest offensive line in 2020. Nonetheless, relative to the CFP competitors—Alabama, Notre Dame and Ohio State—the Tigers had the shakiest unit.
In losses to Notre Dame and Ohio State, they mixed for simply 78 speeding yards. Even excluding 4 sacks from that quantity, Clemson averaged 1.9 yards per carry. Whereas passing wins video games on this period, an ineffective operating recreation will be problematic.
Three starters on the road return in 2021, however Clemson wants to switch left deal with Jackson Carman and heart Cade Stewart.
In all probability, Dabo Swinney’s workforce might be again within the CFP subsequent season. Fueled by an skilled protection, the Tigers stay the category of the ACC. Nonetheless, Georgia’s aggressive entrance will take a look at Clemson’s new-look unit within the opener and present whether or not the unit can deal with one of many nation’s high defenses.
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John Bazemore/Related Press
Congrats on the nationwide championship and all that. Subsequent season, simply rebuild all the offense and do it once more, OK?
Look, no person is feeling dangerous for a program with six titles within the final 12 years that persistently brings in an elite recruiting haul and just lately added the highest-ranked class within the sport’s historical past. Alabama is healthier positioned for this important transition than 100% of the opposite groups in faculty soccer.
Nonetheless, this can be a big problem.
Alabama should change quarterback Mac Jones, operating again Najee Harris, wideouts DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle, tight finish Miller Forristall and linemen Landon Dickerson and Alex Leatherwood. Whereas having top-rated prospects as replacements is thrilling, that is not a assure for fulfillment.
Once more, it is Alabama. The extent of concern is low as a result of head coach Nick Saban has frequently proved the Tide can deal with this, and 5-star quarterback Bryce Younger will lead the revamped unit in 2021.
However with Miami and Florida each on the schedule in September, Alabama should be ready for robust matchups immediately.
All recruiting data by way of 247Sports. Stats from NCAA.com, cfbstats.com or B/R analysis. Observe Bleacher Report CFB Author David Kenyon on Twitter @Kenyon19_BR.