College Football: Pre-Season Top 20

By: Joe Cardoso

People are posting Instagram pics at the beach and on boats and living their best lives. Well for a college football junkie like me I say you can have it. I’m all in for the falling of the leaves and warm adult beverages with a side of amazing college football. I am a junkie, I’m the guy who watches North Texas Vs SMU at 12:30 am and with that being said it is time for the top 20 teams in the country heading into week 1.

20. West Virginia:

Oct 28, 2017; Morgantown, WV, USA; West Virginia Mountaineers quarterback Will Grier (7) passes the ball during the second quarter against the Oklahoma State Cowboys at Milan Puskar Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

Defense is a 4-letter word in the Big 12 but the Mountaineers will need a little bit if they want to reach their goals. They have a TON of playmakers at wideout and QB Will Grier is legit NFL quarterback. This could be a special year in Morgantown.
19. TCU:

(TCU Horned Frogs head coach Gary Patterson waits to take the field with the team before playing West Virginia Mountaineers at Amon G. Carter Stadium in Fort Worth, on Thursday, October 29, 2015. (Vernon Bryant/The Dallas Morning News)

What is this a team in the Big 12 that plays defense? Yes, sir! Gary Patterson always has a D that brings IT, led by Player of the year Ben Banogu and Ross Blacklock. The rotation along the defensive line will have other teams staying awake at night. This group should hold things down until new QB Shawn Robinson and company on offense get it right. In 17 years as head coach Patterson, he’s 160-57 don’t think he is a pushover.
18. Florida State: We have seen this movie before when a school to turn back the clock and bring in a former player or coach. They stoke the fire of way back and sometimes it is a giant boost and other times the school falls flat. Out is Jimbo Fisher and in is Willie Taggart along with that early 90’s FSU swag. Cam Akers is a stud and with Khalan Laborn form a good 1-2 punch. Will Deoandre Francois step up and be the next great FSU QB?
17. USC:

Once again the Trojans are loaded on both sides of the ball now the question is can Clay Helton put it all together and make some noise in the Pac-12. Keep an eye on true freshman J.T. Daniels and my dude Jake Olson.
16. Mississippi State: New head coach Joe Moorhead takes over a team that should be good, sorry VERY good. Nick Fitzgerald at quarterback and a nasty defense with its strength being the D-Line.
15. Virginia Tech: Why do I have the Hokies ranked so high? The amount of talent they have will gel and this team will be a factor in the ACC. Josh Jackson is a solid QB and Bud Foster will have a whole box of new toys to play with.
14. Michigan: Let me start by saying I am a DIE-HARD Wolverines fan since the days of Anthony Carter and Desmond Howard. Anyway, I think Michigan has found a REAL QB, Shea Patterson has the tools to win. People who say Jim Harbaugh is overrated may want to check the stats, he is a play here or there away from being in 2 college football playoffs and some other major bowls. Enough talk and fancy trips abroad time to play ball fellas.
13. Stanford: His name is Bryce Love and he is a straight beast expect him to be on the nightly highlight shows and online weekly. David Shaw is a fantastic coach and will figure it out in terms of getting Love the ball early and often.
12. Michigan State: As much as it pains me to write it in terms of ON THE FIELD Mark Dantonio always has his teams bring it! I still remember the epic bowl game comeback a few years back. Solid QB and defense the Spartans will be a factor in the Big 12.
11. Auburn:

We always talk about people avoiding cupcakes and playing a hard schedule. Ladies and gentlemen the Auburn Tigers got the memo. Games against Washington, road games against Georgia and Alabama. Jarrett Stidham and a group of scary grown men on the D-Line.
10. Notre Dame: I now know that nothing can stop Brian Kelly he is untouchable, and he figures out a way to make it year after year, oh and get W’s. Week 1 is a big test Vs Michigan and we find out quickly if Brandon Wimbush can throw the ball better.
9. Penn State:

STATE COLLEGE, PA – OCTOBER 21: Trace McSorley #9 of the Penn State Nittany Lions passes against the Michigan Wolverines on October 21, 2017 at Beaver Stadium in State College, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

Do NOT feel sorry for James Franklin and the men of Happy Valley. OC Joe Moorhead is gone, Saquon Barkley is gone. But one thing they do well is recruit and Trace McSorley is still under center. All the tough games are at home, grab a white tee shirt and get ready for a whiteout.
8. Miami:

MIAMI GARDENS, FL – NOVEMBER 11: Braxton Berrios #8 of the Miami Hurricanes celebrates a touchdown during a game against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Hard Rock Stadium on November 11, 2017 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

In the hype of the turnover chain, I did not forget the Canes lost 3 straight games. A ton of talent comes  back to the team and week one vs LSU is a great test.
7. Oklahoma: After what seemed like 8 years Baker Mayfield is gone and they have Kyler Murray to lead the offense. Like most teams in the playoff hunt, it will be the defense that holds it down until Lincoln Riley figures out what weapons he has.
6. Washington: Jake Browning is the Perry Ellis of College Football feels like his first year was 2010 lol. The Huskies have a real chance to represent the Pac 12 in the CFP Playoffs and the Auburn game week 1 will be MAJOR.
5. Wisconsin:

The talent is all there for head coach Paul Chryst and the Badgers now the true test is can they get it done. Jonathan Taylor will be a Heisman name and carry the load.
4. Ohio State: The Big Ten starts and ends with the Buckeyes and this year is no different. Just know that on both sides of the ball they have a ton of NFL ready talent. Once again, they travel as well with TCU and Penn State on the road.
3. Georgia:

Oct 31, 2015; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Georgia Bulldogs helmet lays on the bench during the second half against the Florida Gators at EverBank Stadium. Florida Gators defeated the Georgia Bulldogs 27-3. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

I watch a ton of two things sports and sports reality shows. QB1 followed the top QB’s in the nation through their seasons and that is where I was introduced to Jake Fromm and new freshman Justin Fields who WILL be on the field this season. Talent to replace on defense but Kirby Smart has built this program to junior Alabama like levels. D’Andre Swift is a name to write down.
2. Alabama:

(Picture Credit: Butch Dill/AP)

It will take some time for the GOAT Nick Saban to get his newest collection of 5-star recruits on defense to gel. On Offense, oh man are they loaded! Can we stop the soap opera drama and just give the starting QB job to Tua Tagovailoa? Jalen Hurst will not just sit on the bench make some packages and let him loose. Once again Rolllllll Tide.
1. Clemson:

(Picture Credit: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

No one, I repeat NO ONE has a better defensive line then the Clemson Tigers. That type of skill and leadership should lead to a birth in the CFP playoff. Kelly Bryant will improve at QB and Tee Higgins is the next stud Tigers receiver.

Each week all season long I will have my top 10, enjoy the tan and Coronas I’m washing my hoodies and getting the wool socks ready. Let’s talk all season follow me @JoeCardoso301 and the site @NutsAndBoltsSP.

Joe Cardoso
About Joe Cardoso 153 Articles
Joe (Cartright) Cardoso here! I’m the epitome of a sports junkie. An alum of the College of Southern Maryland, I received a diploma from the Maryland Institute of Broadcasting (MIB). During my tenure at MIB, I was a news/sports major and had the opportunity to intern at Fox 45 sports and Ravens Radio. I also worked as an overnight board operator for Sports Talk 980 ESPN Radio. I’ve been a total sports fanatic pretty much from the womb. My first love is soccer followed by basketball and then football. My favorite athletes are Kevin Garnett and Marino Rivera and my sports teams are the Yankees, Redskins, Michigan, Wizards, and Chelsea. My passion for sports is never ending. My sister once commented that I would probably follow pig racing if it was a sport! I had to agree. Nuts and Bolts Sports is a HUGE deal to me. It brings together others who share my obsession and love for everything sports and fulfills a life-long dream to bring sports news to fans my way.
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