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CFB Contenders – Beat Writers Make Case for Their Respective Teams

I can dissect X’s and O’s like a tic-tac-toe extraordinaire on a daily basis.

Upon request, I could withdraw the statistics of second-string athletes’ player profile like that of a card catalog.

I could also state my case for which four teams should pocket playoff bids come 2016. However, the attitude and environment surrounding a college football team between the public eye and the primary source of information spans far further than the average fan can venture.

Nobody knows a team quite like a beat writer.

While they spend countless hours picking apart and studying their respective school, the mission of the writer stretches further than your regular journalism job. They live, breathe, and absorb the program as a whole.

With the anticipation (yes, already) of the newborn college football season, I had the luxury of rendezvousing with a handful of the best in the biz in regards to why their team could be celebrating amidst the shredded confetti come January 2016.

Why Clemson Could Win the Title in 2015

“Clemson loses eight starters from its No. 1-ranked total defense, but the Tigers retained its rising-star coordinator Brent Venables and smartly gave plenty of reps to younger backups, even in big ballgames. While the entire defensive line must be replaced, Clemson will be extremely strong in the secondary, led by sophomore shutdown cornerback Mackensie Alexander. Skill players are littered all over the roster for Clemson’s offense, with sophomore receiver Artavis Scott and Germone Hopper, junior deep threat Mike Williams and sophomore tailbacks Wayne Gallman and Tyshon Dye all counting as home-run threats. The key to Clemson’s 2015 campaign is how quickly and how surely Deshaun Watson (188.6 passer rating in eight games) rehabs his torn ACL; if he’s at 100 percent, the sophomore quarterback is a dark horse Heisman Trophy candidate. Given a healthy Watson, a beneficial schedule (Florida State, Georgia Tech and Notre Dame all come to Death Valley) and a rebuilding South Carolina squad make it plausible Clemson could run the table into December.”- Aaron Brenner, Postandcourier.com/tigers

NCAA FOOTBALL: NOV 29 South Carolina at Clemson

With so much attention on Deshaun Watson, Wayne Gallman could have a big year on the ground for the Tigers.

Why TCU Could Win the Title in 2015

“I think TCU has a chance to win the national championship because it will get a chance to win the national championship, if that makes sense. What I mean is, the team ought to start in the top 5, and with that kind of starting position, if you just win, you’ll make the playoff and get your chance. So that is already one major hurdle cleared for a school like TCU, which in the past would not get the benefit of the doubt from name value like an Ohio State or a Florida State. But besides that, TCU should have a lot of on-field qualifications — a difference-maker at quarterback (Trevone Boykin), a play-making receiver (Josh Doctson), speed and power at running back (Aaron Green), a pass-rushing defensive end (Terrell Lathon), a run-stopping tackle (Davion Pierson) and reliable kicking (Jaden Oberkrom), plus a head coach in Gary Patterson who is one of the most respected in the nation when it comes to preparing with multiple weeks. On top of all that, there is the experience the Horned Frogs gained from 2014 and the first-hand knowledge of the damage that slipping up for even quarter can mean. There are some holes on the defense to fill, notably at linebacker and safety, and it will be important to find another tackle who can protect Boykin’s blind side. But there always are holes to fill. The Frogs should be a hungry, focused, veteran group in 2015. If luck and health are with them, too, look out.”- Carlos Mendez, Star-telegram.com

Why Michigan State Could Win the Title in 2015

“1) three projected first round picks returned, Cook, Calhoun and Conklin.
2) 5 starters in Def. Front 7 that led nation in run defense return.
Schedule is not a contributing factor – they get Oregon at home but road games at Nebraska and Ohio State will be tough.”- Mike Griffith, mlive.com

Why Arkansas Could Win the Title in 2015

“The same reason Wisconsin could for a six-year – or so – period during Bret Bielema’s tenure there. When rough-tough-mean-and-nasty works, it really works. So many teams spread and go on offense, defenses can be taken aback by the ground and pound. Arkansas will be able to do that as well as anyone next year with 1,000-yard rushers Jonathan Williams and Alex Collins back. The Razorbacks offensive line was the biggest in the country last season, too, and the bulk in both mass and number.”- Eric Bolin, Arkansasnews.com

A meager six flips of the calendar. You can do it, college football fanatics.

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