The 2019 college football season is still six weeks away, but action is ramping up in at least one area of the sport: rankings and predictions.
Over the next few weeks each FBS conference will hold their annual media day, during which time you’ll be bombarded with preseason projections and all-league lineups that are meant to help grease the wheels for when the season actually begins Aug. 24 (when Arizona visits Hawaii).
Such lists and predictions are, for all intents and purposes, guesses. By the team the 2019 season ends in early January we’ll have a completely different picture of who are the best players and teams, but for now us starving CFB fans will take whatever we can get.
That includes Sports Illustrated’s list of the top 100 players in college football, of which two are Arizona Wildcats. Senior quarterback Khalil Tate comes in at No. 72, while junior running back J.J. Taylor is 64th.
Here’s what SI had to say about Tate:
Despite a relatively up and down season from Tate and the Wildcats, everyone knows what he is capable of after his breakout 2017 campaign took the West Coast by storm. Last fall he threw for 2,530 yards, 26 touchdowns and eight interceptions, but injuries kept him from making meaningful strides in Kevin Sumlin’s first year at the helm. If Tate can stay healthy all season to help Arizona pick up its suspect defense, the Wildcats will cause some Pac-12 South havoc.
And here’s its commentary on Taylor:
The redshirt junior will enter the 2019 season tenth in career rushing yards (2,542). Last season Taylor rushed for 1,434 yards, good for seventh in FBS, and contributed seven touchdowns to the Wildcats’ offense. Despite standing at just 5’6”, Taylor serves as a big presence on an Arizona team looking to build upon last year’s uneven start under Kevin Sumlin.
Somehow, junior linebacker Colin Schooler didn’t make the cut—he wasn’t even among SI’s list of ‘biggest snubs’—despite two massive seasons so far. SI’s disclaimer indicates the rankings are meant to assess “how significantly each player’s production will impact his team’s success this season—not how good he was last year, where he sat on 2018 statistical leaderboards or what type of NFL draft prospect he is” so maybe they don’t think Schooler is going to have that great of a 2019.
Have they seen what Arizona has to work with on the defensive line?
While Schooler’s omission may seem odd, Arizona was still fairly well represented from a Pac-12 standpoint. Only three schools—Oregon, Utah and Washington—had more players make the top 100, while three Pac-12 teams (UCLA, USC and Washington State) didn’t get anyone on the list.
The Pac-12 had 17 total selections, while the Big 12 only had 11.