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A VERY EARLY TOP 10

Jan. 18, 2016
Jan. 18, 2016

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Jan. 18, 2016

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A VERY EARLY TOP 10

Transfers, NFL defections and final recruiting await, but here's how 2016 looks now

This is an article from the Jan. 18, 2016 issue

1. FLORIDA STATE

RB Dalvin Cook returns. S Derwin James and DE Josh Sweat are future stars. With steady quarterback play, the Noles will soar.

2. MICHIGAN

The Harbaugh Effect took hold faster than expected. Now it's time for the Wolverines to compete for championships.

3. CLEMSON

QB Deshaun Watson is back, but the Tigers are losing starters on both lines and have to go to Tallahassee next season.

4. OKLAHOMA

There are some holes to fill on defense, but QB Baker Mayfield and running back Samaje Perine will keep the offense humming.

5. STANFORD

Heisman finalist Christian McCaffrey returns, but the schedule will be brutal, especially early in the season.

6. ALABAMA

The Crimson Tide lose a ton, starting with quarterback Jake Coker and tailback Derrick Henry, but Alabama always reloads.

7. OHIO STATE

With Cardale Jones off to the NFL, J.T. Barrett will own the QB role and the Buckeyes won't have an offensive identity crisis.

8. GEORGIA

New coach Kirby Smart walks into a program stocked with talent; after nine years at Bama he should know how to unleash it.

9. MICHIGAN STATE

Much of the defense returns, and QB Tyler O'Connor has already replaced Connor Cook and won a game at Ohio State.

10. HOUSTON

QB Greg Ward Jr. and most of the offense return, and the nation's 35th-ranked recruiting class will top the Group of Five.

TEN PHOTOS