Three-Point Stance: Work to do, conference swaps, NFL Draft
Rivals National Columnist Mike Farrell is here with 10 contenders with the most work to do between now and the start of the season, some proposed conference swaps and an NFL Draft stock report.
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1. TEN CONTENDERS THAT ARE WORKS IN PROGRESS
It’s a long way to the 2021 season, but some programs have more work to do than others during the offseason. Here are the national title contenders that are the biggest works in progress.
1. Alabama — Do I even have to rattle off all of the the players that need to be replaced? I know this is Alabama and the Crimson Tide reload, but this is ridiculous. The good news? Despite the losses of several key players, I think the defense will be much better this season.
2. Florida — With a new quarterback and all new receivers the Gators have a tough job ahead of them to remain as dangerous on offense.
8. North Carolina — Losing running backs like Javonte Williams and Michael Carter is rough and Dyami Brown and Dazz Newsome are tough to replace as well. The defense has to be better but the loss of Chazz Surratt hurts.
2. CONFERENCE SWAP MEET
It has been several years since the last round of conference realignment, but there are still programs in Power Five conferences that are clearly better fits for other leagues. It would be fun if conferences could swap programs like NFL teams trade players. Let’s start a letter campaign to make these swaps in the Power Five.
ACC-SEC — The ACC sends Georgia Tech to the SEC so the Jackets can have a prayer when recruiting against Georgia, and that rivalry can mean something and the SEC does the same for South Carolina. Take the Gamecocks out of the SEC and plop them in the ACC so they can recruit and play Clemson in conference. That way the state of Georgia is all SEC and the state of South Carolina is all ACC. Who wins in this exchange? Who cares? Both Georgia Tech and South Carolina have struggled.
Big 12-ACC — West Virginia does not belong in the Big 12. The Mountaineers belong in the ACC despite the conference's snooty take on academics. Let’s trade the Mountaineers to the ACC and get Louisville in the Big 12. That way the Pitt and West Virginia rivalry can become a conference thing and the Big 12 tightens its geographic footprint a bit by sliding west into Kentucky.
Big Ten-ACC — It’s clear to me the Big Ten isn’t a fan of Nebraska the way the Huskers were treated when they stood up and wanted to play football. And Huskers fans were not happy with the way it all shook out in the Big Ten. The Big Ten, in an attempt to hurt the Huskers, could trade them to the ACC for Boston College. It gives the Big Ten more of a Northeast television footprint like they want, BC is a high academic school like the Big Ten likes and the ACC gets another former power struggling to return to prominence. And the joke might be on the Big Ten as Nebraska would have a travel nightmare but could instantly compete it the weakest Power Five conference.
SEC-AAC — This isn’t a Power Five swap but, let’s be real, Vanderbilt hasn’t been a fit in the SEC for a long time and UCF thinks it can play with the big boys in the SEC after the Golden Knights' “national title.” Let’s let Vandy win more games and UCF see if it has what it takes. And this way the Gators can’t duck them.
Big 12-SEC — Let’s trade Missouri and Arkansas back to the Big 12 when they geographically belong and give Texas and Oklahoma to the SEC. Maybe then another program can compete in the Big 12 and we can see how well the Sooners do with an SEC schedule. That sounds like fun.
3. STOCK WATCH
Here are several players that are moving up and down draft boards.
WR Devonta Smith, Alabama — Down is relative here. There’s still no way he lasts in the back-half of the first round, but the talk about a lack of size is either real or just draft lies from franchises that covet him.
RB Jaret Patterson, Buffalo — He checked in at 5-foot-6 which was shorter than expected. It probably knocked him into the third round.
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