5. Toledo Rockets
The Rockets are the first team in NCAA history to return three players that were all-conference and have caught at least 10 touchdowns in a season. Those guys are named Cody Thompson, Jon’Vea Johnson, and Diontae Johnson. The latter Johnson has 88 receptions for 1515 yards and 16 TD’s in his career at Toledo, J. Johnson has 91 catches 1656 yards and 15 TD’s, and Thompson has 133 receptions for 2665 yards and 20 TD’s. I don’t know if you can find any wide receiving group in the history of college football with those numbers.
As relief, sophomore running back Shakif Seymour is coming off an excellent freshman year where he collected over 700 yards while averaging over six yards a carry with 12 TD’s. If the Illinois transfer QB, Eli Peters, can get the ball to his playmakers without making too many mistakes and the offensive line can hold up (lost three starters) I can see Toledo repeating as MAC champions.
4. Virginia Tech Hokies
Josh Jackson stormed onto the scene a year ago and became one of the best young quarterbacks in all of college football… until he got to Miami. Regardless, he finished the year as a borderline 60% passer and was just nine yards short of 3000 yards.
Justin Fuente has never had a 1000-yard rusher in his career and that might not change in 2018. The Hokies had 584 carries in 2017 and Jackson lead the team in attempts with just 124. Five different players carried the ball over 70 times and four of them are back.
At receiver, they bring back three of their top four including the shifty sophomore Sean Savoy and junior Eric Kumah, who had 28 catches for 342 yards a year ago. However, there is one guy who blew up deep into his true freshman year that has Hokie fans excited. WR Hezekiah Grimsley had 10 of 12 receptions and 119 of his 139 yards in the final two games of the season against Virginia and Oklahoma State. That momentum should carry onto this year and he could become one of Josh Jackson’s primary weapons.
3. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
The Ramblin’ Wreck have two legitimate guys who will likely surpass their combined 2199 rushing yards and 23 TD’s from 2017. We all know they can barely throw the ball and QB TaQuon Marshall has yet to prove to be a threat doing so -- he passed for a putrid 37.1% in 2017. They also return seniors Qua Searcy and Clinton Lynch who averaged 6.0 and 7.5 yards per carry, respectively. You can’t ask for a more experienced backfield if you’re coach Paul Johnson, especially in the year after a down year.
Georgia Tech has developed a weird pattern of success and failure. In odd years since 2013 they have won seven, three, and then five games. In the even years of 2014 and 2016 they won eleven and nine. 2018 is an even year and if this pattern does in fact exist I expect to see a much-improved Georgia Tech team.
2. Florida State Seminoles
Team’s that Willie Taggart coached over the last three years have averaged 36, 43.8 and 33.6 points per game. Anywhere in that range is where we should expect Florida State to be after a year that they averaged 27.8 points per game, 70th nationally, with a true freshman playing quarterback.
They return an experienced offensive line to block for running backs Cam Akers, Jacques Patrick and Khalan Laborn. The receiving corps hasn’t proved anything to anybody. They have just eight returning touchdown catches. Half of them came from Nyqwan Murray and two of them came from people who had a combined five catches in 2017. Redshirt freshman Tamorrion Terry has the hype machine on full-blast in Tallahassee, so let’s see if Florida State and Taggart can turn the offense up in 2018.
1. Boston College Eagles
I have been open about my hunch that Boston College will be one of the biggest surprise teams of the 2018 college football season and it’s not only because AJ Dillon is one of the elite running backs in all of college football. They return 139 starts on the offensive line, second most in America, and return their top seven receivers, including third-team all-ACC TE Tommy Sweeney.
QB’s Anthony Brown and Darius Wade both got significant playing time in 2017 and that helps from both a leadership and experience standpoint. If one goes down, they have another guy who has been there and done that. However, they both need to work on throwing less interceptions in 2018. It would be wise to expect a significant increase from their 25.7 PPG from their 2017 season which ranked 85th nationally.
Who has the best offense on Miami’s schedule?
This poll is closed