NCAA

Way Too Early 2017 College Football Top 25 Ranking

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USA Today Sports

Way Too Early 2017 College Football Top 25 Ranking

Clemson knocked off Alabama 35-31 in Tampa, Fla. to win the 2016 College Football Playoff National Championship in one of the most thrilling and exciting championship games of all time.

But now that the confetti has been swept up and the players return back to campus, it's time to look ahead to the 2017 season.

Preseason rankings are far from an exact science, but do these way too early polls provide a good snapshot at the general consesus well in advance.

Way Too Early 2017 College Football Top 25 Ranking:

25. West Virginia: Former Florida QB Will Grier gets to man the helm for the Mountaineers. Not a great team, but they should be able to score by the bushel. 

24. Tennessee: The Volunteers are hit hard by matriculation, but Butch Jones has stockpiled enough talent. Will the pressure finally get to him, though?

23. Washington State: QB Luke Falk returns for his senior season and although the Cougars lose prolific receiver Gabe Marks, they return All-American guard Cody O'Connell. Defense should improve with nine starters returning.

22. South Florida: Head coach Charlie Taggart left for Oregon, but the Bulls got Charlie Strong in return. Some would say that's an upgrade. Remember the name Quinton Flowers. The QB has a great back story and should be in and around the Heisman talk.

21. Colorado: Mike MacIntrye was national coach of the year for a reason. The loss of QB Sefo Liufau hurts, but most of the offense returns.

20. Boise State: The Broncos are once again expected to be at or near the top of the Group of 5 with QB Brett Rypien back at the helm.

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19. Miami: The 2016 Miami defense was young and injured, but oh so talented. Even with QB Brad Kayaa headed to the NFL, the Hurricanes are going to put a hurting on folks. 

18. Georgia: Nick Chubb and Sony Michel return. Jacob Easson is in his second full season. This one shouldn't been too terribly difficult for Kirby Smart.

17. Texas: Charlie Strong did most of the heavy lifting and now Tom Herman gets to reap the benefits. The Longhorns should have a ton of experience on both sides of the ball. 

16. Louisville: The Cardinals ended the season with three consecutive losses, and on top of that, the will need to replace a bevy of top stars. The silver lining in all of this? Reigning Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson is back for his junior year.

15. Kansas State: Wildcats have a favorable home Big XII schedule and should go 3-0 in non-conference play. 77-year-old wizard Bill Snyder gets a bevy of experience back on both sides. 

14. LSU: RB Derrius Guice showed that life after Leonard Fournette might not be all that bad. LSU hired offensive coordinator Matt Canada away from Pitt. Tigers will be interesting to track.

13. Auburn: The Tigers return 17 starters from the up-and-down 2016 campaign, including tailbacks Kamryn Pettway and Kerryon Johnson. Baylor transfer Jarrett Stidham will face the fire early with a road game at Clemson.

12. Wisconsin: 16 returning starters and an easy schedule should help the Badgers once again be in position to contend for the Big Ten title. Can QB Alex Hornibrook take the next step?

11. Stanford: All David Shaw does is win 10 games a season. The Cardinal won 10 games in 2016 despite a litany of injuries. The names are important, because Stanford will once again be in the thick of things.

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10. Oklahoma State: Like David Shaw, Mike Gundy only knows how to win 10 games a year. He's won at least 10 games in five of the last seven seasons. Cowboys have enough firepower coming back to do damage.

9. Michigan: Jim Harbaugh is 1-3 against Ohio State and Michigan State and must replace 18 starters. But if there is anyone crazy enough to respond with resounding success, it's "Coach Khaki Pants." Rashan Gary and Wilton Speight will help lead the way.

8. Oklahoma: Dede Westbrook, Semaje Perine and Joe Mixon are all gone, but Baker Mayfield returns. Oklahoma seems to do better when they're not a Top 3 team to start the season.

7. Clemson: Too high? Too low? The national champs lose a majority oif their top players, including Deshaun Watson, Mike Williams and Ben Boulware. But Dabo Swinney can recruit and boy can he coach.

6. Washington: A trip to the CFB Playoff was nice, but the Huskies don't want to be a one-time thing. Chris Peterson has to replace a bunch of starters on defense, but with QB Jake Browning and RB Myles Gaskin returning, a foundation of excellence is there.

5. Southern Cal: Another "Too High, too low?" pick here. Sam Darnold looks to be the real deal, but the losses of JuJu Smith-Shuster and Adoree Jackson are going to hurt. Has the depth finally returned to USC? This is a top 10 team for sure, it's just had to figure out where exactly they fall. 

4. Penn State: 2016 was a springboard season for Penn State and with James Franklin getting back a good number of starters, the sky is the limit in 2017. Also: The Nittany Lions have Saquon Barkley. He is the best running back in the country. 

3. Florida State: Although the loss of Dalvin Cook hurts, a majority of the Seminoles' defensive starters return. With Clemson taking a slight dip due to matriculation, the ACC should be FSU's to reclaim.

2. Ohio State: A new offensive coordinator, a new running back and a lot of new faces on defense. But the talent is there, and so is both JT Barrett and some guy named Urban Meyer.

1. Alabama: Reuben Foster, Jonathan Allen and Tim Williams depart from the defense, but the Crimson Tide reload better than a Fast & Furious movie cast. Jalen Hurts returns for his true sophomore season. 

Jamion Christian, GW basketball receive commitment from Jameer Nelson's son Jameer Jr.

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USA TODAY SPORTS

Jamion Christian, GW basketball receive commitment from Jameer Nelson's son Jameer Jr.

The George Washington University men's basketball team landed the son of longtime NBA point guard Jameer Nelson Tuesday. 

Jameer Nelson Jr., a 2019 guard out of Pennsylvania's Haverford School, decommitted from his father's alma mater (Saint Joseph's) following the news that Phil Martelli would not return for the 2019-20 season. 

This marks first-year head coach Jamion Christian's second commitment since being named head coach of the Colonials after one year at Siena College. 

Nelson Sr. played in the Association from 2004 to 2018, including 10 seasons in Orlando. The point guard averaged a career-best 16.7 points per game during the 2008-09 campaign. 

The 10 moments that defined Zion Williamson's lone year at Duke

The 10 moments that defined Zion Williamson's lone year at Duke

Duke Blue Devils freshman sensation Zion Williamson officially announced on Monday what everyone knew was coming: the 6-6 forward will be foregoing his final three years of collegiate eligibility and declaring for the 2019 NBA Draft.

Williamson is expected to be the No. 1 overall pick. He announced his intention to enter the draft via his Instagram.

While he spent just one year at Duke, and the Blue Devils fell short of expectations when they fell to the Michigan State Spartans in the Elite Eight, Williamson's lone season in a Blue Devils uniform was nothing short of spectacular. 

Here are the 10 most memorable moments from his Duke career, in chronological order.

1. Debuting with a bang.

The then-No. 4 Blue Devils blew out the then-No. 2 Kentucky Wildcats 118-84 in the opening game of the 2018-19 season. All three of Duke's heralded freshman -- Williamson, R.J. Barrett, and Cam Reddish -- scored over 20 points in the win. 

Williamson went 11-13 from the field en route to 28 points in just 23 minutes. Barrett finished with 33, and Reddish added 22 as well.

  

The dynamic duo of Williamson and Barrett, who both would eventually become All-Americans, was born.

2. Dropping a 27-16-6 slash in his home debut.

In the first regular season home game, Williamson put on a show for the Cameron Crazies.

The freshman led all scorers with 27 points, and added 16 rebounds, also a game-high, in a 94-72 dominant win over Army.

He also had a season-high six blocks, and became the first Duke player under Coach Mike Krzyzewski to score 25-plus points, 15-plus rebounds, and 5-plus blocks in a game.

3. Two jaw-dropping dunks against Eastern Michigan.

The Williamson hype-train continued into the third game of the season against Eastern Michigan, where Williamson had two of his most impressive dunks of the season in the 84-46 thrashing of the Eagles.

Here's the first, an allep-oop from Reddish. Look how high his head is.

The second, with the game well in hand, Williamson unleashed a right-tomahawk dunk that was very reminiscient of early LeBron James days.

4. Steal and 360 dunk against Clemson.

In a season full of highlight plays, Williamson's dunk against Clemson might be near the top of them all.

Just take a look for yourself:

5. Block on Virginia's DeAndre Hunter.

While the Virginia Cavaliers ended up having the last laugh, as they were crowned National Champions last Monday, the Blue Devils got the better of them in both meetings this season.

In the team's second meeting with Duke up seven late in the second half, Virginia forward DeAndre Hunter looked like he had an open three-point shot from the baseline to cut the lead to four. Then Zion entered the picture.

Williamson used his world class athleticism to contest Hunter's shot, sending it several rows into the Virginia crowd. 

6. Infamous shoe incident.

When the then-No. 1 Blue Devils hosted the then-No. 8 North Carolina Tar Heels in the most hyped-up college basketball game in quite some time, the cheapest tickets were $2,989 each for a pair of them.

Unfortunately, those who were in attendance, including President Barack Obama, only caught a glimpse of the freshman sensation. WIlliamson lasted just 36 seconds before having to exit the game with a leg injury after literally bursting through his left shoe when trying to plant.

Obama even pointed it out.

The Tar Heels took advantage of Williamson being out, as Carolina forward Luke Maye exploded for 30 points and 15 rebounds in the 88-72 victory over Duke.

7. Return from injury, perfect from the field against Syracuse.

Williamson missed the next five games with an MCL injury, and Duke struggled in his absence. The Blue Devils went 3-2 over that stretch, with losses coming to Virginia Tech and North Carolina, again. They barely squeaked out a road victory over Wake Forest, who they defeated by 22 earlier in the season.

But Williamson returned for Duke's ACC Tournament campaign, and turned in arguably his most impressive performance of the season in a 84-72 victory over Syracuse.

Zion went a perfect 13-13 from the field, scoring a game-high 29 points, and added 14 rebounds as well.

8. Sweet, sweet revenge against UNC.

After missing the practically the entire first matchup and all of the second against the rival Tar Heels, Williamson and the Blue Devils got their revenge against Carolina in a 74-73 victory in the ACC Tournament semi-finals.

Williamson led Duke with 31 points (more than double than any other Duke player) and 11 rebounds in the victory. He put the Blue Devils ahead for good with a tip-in following his own miss with 31 seconds to go.

Both UNC's Coby White and Nassir Little had a chance to win it at the end, but neither could convert.

Zion got his revenge, and Duke advanced to the ACC Championship game.

9. Bounce Pass against Florida State.

The Blue Devils faced off with the Florida State Seminoles in the ACC Tournament Championship, after Florida State pulled off the upset over Virginia in the semi-finals.With Duke up by five early in the second half, WIlliamson used his dominant left hand to thread the needle between two Seminole defenders to find Tre Jones for the layup. 

Williamson showed he could do it all with one of the best passes of the college basketball season. Duke ended up winning 73-63 to take home the tournament crown.

10. And-1 against UCF.

The UCF Knights had given the No. 1 overall seed Blue Devils everything they could handle during their second round matchup in the NCAA Tournament.

The Blue Devils were on the verge of getting upset, down three points with 14 seconds remaining when Williamson came to the rescue.

Zion missed the free throw, but Barrett was able to corrall the rebound and put Duke ahead by one on the put back layup.

The Knights still almost pulled off the upset, but two final attempts rolled off the rim, and Duke lived to see another day.

While Williamson may be headed to the NBA, he provided college basketball fans with a whole lot of thrilling moments; moments that NBA fans will enjoy for years to come.

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