College Football 2016: Preseason Power-5 All-Conference Teams

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The upcoming NFL Combine will serve as a showcase for the top prospects in the 2016 NFL draft. Sadly, it will also serve as a reminder for college football fans about just how much star power departed for the pros this offseason.

Although many of the top performers from the 2015 season have left campus, fortunately, there’s still plenty of quality talent remaining at the collegiate level.

Returning standouts such as Stanford RB Christian McCaffrey, Clemson QB Deshaun Watson, Florida State RB Dalvin Cook, Texas A&M DE Myles Garrett and LSU RB Leonard Fournette have already ascended to star status and become household names. Plus, there are plenty of other young, up-and-coming potential breakout stars who are waiting to make a name for themselves as well this fall.

Here’s a look at the top impact players from each of the Power-5 conferences who are most deserving of preseason “All-Conference” accolades for the 2016 season.

Big Ten Championship Game Preview: Comparative Statistical Analysis For Iowa vs. Michigan State

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Ohio State Football: The Buckeyes’ Five Toughest Tests of 2015

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Receiving a high ranking in the preseason polls is an indication of tremendous respect for a college football team. With those high expectations, however, also comes the pressure to deal with the figurative target that a high numerical ranking represents.

Defending national champion Ohio State will find out what it’s like to deal with that weight and the responsibility of being anointed with a preseason No. 1-ranking when they begin the 2015 season as the consensus top-ranked team in all of college football.

When you’re considered the cream of the crop team in the sport, you’re going to get the best effort from every opponent, every week. Head Coach Urban Meyer knows that from his days leading the Florida Gators. He knows how quickly a team can degenerate from being a celebrated national champion to a four-loss also-ran.

The difference between the 2015 Buckeyes and Meyer’s 2007 Gator squad—a team which failed to materialize into much of a worthy championship defender—is expectations and talent.

Unlike that ‘07 Florida team, Ohio State will enter the upcoming season as the undisputed most talented team in all of college football. That’s why the sky high expectations are warranted.

DE Joey Bosa, RB Ezekiel Elliott, OT Taylor Decker, LB Darron Lee, FS Vonn Bell and DT Adolphus Washington are all potential first-round NFL draft picks, as well as All-American candidates. Then there’s also the much talked-about, star-studded quarterback trio of Braxton Miller, Cardale Jones and J.T. Barrett. Plus, there are plenty of other emerging young playmakers on both sides of the ball.

This fall, Colombus will be home to one of the best collections of talent that we’ve seen on a college football team in quite some time.

The burning question is: Can the Buckeyes handle the pressure of having the target on their back and repeat as national champions?

The 2015 schedule isn’t shaping up to be overly daunting or overbearing. But the 12-game slate does include its fair share of challenging matchups and hurdles to overcome.

Here’s a look at Ohio State’s five toughest tests of 2015.

Big Ten Football: 5 Players Who Are Ready to Become Stars in 2015

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This offseason, the Big Ten waved goodbye to many of the conference’s premier performers from the 2014 season—most notably future high NFL draft picks such as Brandon Scherff, Randy Gregory, Melvin Gordon and Trae Waynes.

Luckily, the league is welcoming back plenty of established big-name players such as Ezekiel Elliott, Joey Bosa, Connor Cook, JT Barrett, Shilique Calhoun and Briean Boddy-Calhoun to help make up for the loss of star power.

The conference is also home to some up-and-coming players who seem to be primed to have breakthrough campaigns this fall. Here’s a look at five players who are poised to become some of the league’s biggest breakout stars of 2015.

Big Ten Football: Picking Every Team’s MVP For 2015

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No other Power-5 college football conference has experienced as much criticism in recent years as the Big Ten has.

In a time when most of the high-profile high school football talent is being cultivated in the south and along both coasts, many prognosticators have declared that the largely Midwest-based league is headed for a steep decline in the years to come.

Well, the Big Ten managed to shut up its critics and quell fears about the league slipping behind the other power conferences when Ohio State blasted through the sport’s first ever four-team playoff and claimed a national title back in January.

It was the Big Ten’s first national championship trophy since the Buckeyes beat Miami all the way back in the 2003 Fiesta Bowl.

Ohio State has helped put the Big Ten back on the map so to speak. Now it’s up to the rest of the league to help restore the conference to a prominent level. Luckily, there’s plenty of great up-and-coming talent at all 14 of the Big Ten’s programs; not just in Columbus.

Here’s a look at every team’s most valuable player for the 2015 season.