As the season draws near, it is time for the National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame to highlight the key rule changes that will take effect during the 2018 college football season.
The Congrove Computer Rankings released the projected final regular season rankings early Tuesday morning with Michigan State topping the chart. Oklahoma, Clemson, Washington and Miami (FLA) fill out the top 5.
Clemson is a huge favorite to capture a 4th straight ACC title in 2018, running the table with relative ease in the regular season before facing Miami as a 4.90-point favorite in the conference championship game.
The 2018 preseason Congrove Computer Rankings give us a surprising Big Ten conference championship game matchup of Michigan State and Northwestern with the Spartans favored by 4.79 points to wrap up a perfect season and advancement as the top seed to the College Football Playoff.
Oklahoma won its third consecutive conference title in 2017, this time beating TCU in the first conference championship playoff game held since 2010 which, incidentally, was also won by the Sooners.
Georgia won the 2017 SEC title, beating Auburn 28-7. But Alabama still got the last laugh as it entered the CFP Playoff as the 4-seed, defeated defending champ and #1 seed Clemson in the 1st round, and then edged #3 Georgia in overtime for its second national championship in the playoff era (2014-present).
2018 opens in the PAC-12 with a massive amount of coaching turnover as Arizona, Arizona State, Oregon, Oregon State and UCLA will begin new eras.
Parity? Not so much, unless you're comparing apples to apples. In this case, the apples are the Power 5 conferences and Notre Dame. The rest of the field would be the oranges.
Defending national champion Alabama takes the No. 1 spot in the Preseason Super 16 Poll, released today by the FWAA and NFF (Football Writers Association of America, and the National Football Foundation and College Football Hall Of Fame).
UCF captured a self-proclaimed national championship as the only undefeated team in the FBS (13-0) in 2017. The Knights went 11-0 through a regular season that began with the trials and tribulations of Hurricane Irma and ended with a 34-27 win over Auburn in the Peach Bowl.
Boise State, Fresno State and San Diego State have captured every Mountain West title since 2012. In fact, all three were co-champs in 2012, the year before the conference began staging its own championship playoff.
Army was the feel good story among independents in 2017 as the Black Knights posted a second straight winning season while notching their first 10-win campaign (10-3) since 1996. They capped it all off with a second straight win over Navy to capture the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy for the first time since 1996, and followed that up with a 42-35 upset of San Diego State in the Armed Forces Bowl.
UAB abandoned football at the conclusion of the 2014 season, but returned with a vengeance in 2017. The squad finished the regular season 8-4 went on to make the school's second-ever bowl appearance. But for all the success had by UAB, the story of the year in CUSA was written in Boca Raton where Lane Kiffin led FAU to the conference championship in his first season as the Owls' head coach.
Toledo pounded Akron 45-28 in last year's championship game to earn its first MAC title since 2004. This season, the Congrove Computer Rankings project two completely different combatants will face off in Detroit at the end of the season.
The conference splits into two divisions and will feature its first championship game on Saturday, December 1, pitting the winners of the East and West divisions against each other at the home site of the divisional champion with the best conference winning percentage.