COLLEGE FOOTBALL SCOUTING REPORTS - Sports Illustrated Vault | SI.com
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COLLEGE FOOTBALL SCOUTING REPORTS

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IT'S THAT TIME again. The Tide are rolling through their process. The Seminoles are chopping away. The defending champ, Clemson, is sliding into action, and the other 125 FBS programs are sweating through their days and spending their nights dreaming of bowl bids. What follows is SI'S PRESEASON TOP 25 and our picks for the College Football Playoff: Alabama, Florida State, Ohio State and Oklahoma State. The odds of getting the CFP field right are slim—we have yet to nail it in the first three years—but the fourth time is the charm.

The scouting reports include WEB CHARTS showing how a team ranks nationally in eight key offensive and defensive stats. The higher the rank, the closer the data point is plotted to the outside of the circle, so that the chart of a team that's No. 1 in all eight categories would look like a perfect octagon, while a team ranked last in each stat would yield a dot at the center. The charts provide a snapshot of a team's overall ability and a chance to see where it excels or falls short.

There's also a STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE RATING. We calculated this by assigning points to opponents on a sliding scale, starting with our Top 25 (which we subdivided into four tiers), then Power 5 teams, Group of Five schools, other FBS conferences and finally those from the FCS. We then adjusted based on the location of the game. The maximum possible score, which a team could get only by facing the Top 12 (and the top seven on the road), would be 94. The team with the toughest slate in our Top 25 is Texas at 58 points, while the easiest is South Florida, with 28.

LET THE FALL MADNESS BEGIN ...

SUGAR BOWL

1 ALABAMA

4 OKLA. ST.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF

ALABAMA VS. FLA. ST.

ROSE BOWL

FLORIDA ST. 2

OHIO STATE 3

NATIONAL CHAMP:Alabama

TOP CHOP

Florida State's Dervin James