|15||Notre Dame||South Carolina|
Matt: I don't have Arizona State listed at all in my Top 25 and you have them checking in at #11. You've got a lot of confidence in a team that is only returning two defensive starters.
Rich: Behind D.J Foster and Taylor Kelly, the Sun Devils possess one of the most explosive offenses the in the conference. As we all know, the team with the most points at the end of the game wins...
I'm rolling with the idea that the best defense is a great offense. JUCO transfers should provide enough of a buffer while getting things back on track on defense. Of course, I think that ASU will get themselves in a bit of trouble but they should be able to win a few close games with scores soaring into the 40+ range.
Matt: I've got South Carolina as a Top 10 team and you have them checking in at #15. Not a huge discrepancy but still it seems low to me. Can you explain your reasoning?
Rich: USC has had a great three year stretch. Unfortunately, I think that comes to an end without Connor Shaw and Jadeveon Clowney leaving Mike Davis as the best talent on the roster in my opinion. Needless to say, there is a possibility that the Gamecocks become one dimensional offensively in more than a handful of games, while also struggling due to a weak front and back end on defense.
Rich: I notice you have UCLA and Stanford in the 11-15 range while I have them both inside the top 10. Am I over-valuing the level of play in the PAC12?
Matt: Perhaps a little. I think the PAC12 is a solid conference, and Oregon should be strong a contender to make it into the playoff, but you could make strong cases for them being just the third or fourth best conference in the nation. My rankings of UCLA and Stanford reflect more on how I feel about those teams than any feelings towards the conference. The Cardinal lost a lot in running back Tyler Gaffney and only return one starter along the offensive line. Meanwhile, UCLA could be a sleeper in the conference race because they are loaded on offense, but I've got some questions along their front seven which is why they aren't in my Top 10.