Tiger Kings: Ranking the five best college football felines in 2020

Derrick Brown Auburn celebrates a sack
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Ricky Dimon

NCAAF · 2 years ago

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Since graduating from Davidson (The College That Stephen Curry Built), I have been writing about sports--just about any and all you can think of!--and coaching tennis in Atlanta, Ga. Beyond the four major sports, I am an avid tennis fan and cover the ATP Tour on a daily basis. If I'm not busy writing, you can generally find me on a tennis court or traveling the world wherever a sporting event takes me.

The Netflix series “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, and Madness” replaced March Madness as this month’s biggest craze. In light of that fact, it’s time to dream of better days ahead for sports fans when they can watch actual games instead of television shows.

Here is look at the five best Tiger teams heading into the 2020 college football campaign.

1. Clemson Tigers

Clemson did not have enough to challenge LSU in an all-Tiger National Championship, but the ACC champions have to like their chances in 2020. After all, they did not lose their quarterback. Trevor Lawrence will be back for his junior season, while LSU’s Joe Burrow is obviously off to the NFL following his unbelievable senior year. Clemson also returns running back Travis Etienne. Burrow, Etienne, and company are +275 favorites to win the College Football Playoff.

2. LSU Tigers

No team in college football lost more than LSU. That’s only natural after being by far the best team in the sport. Burrow is gone along with wide receiver Justin Jefferson, running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire, center Lloyd Cushenberry, and defensive standouts Grant Delpit, K’Lavon Chaisson, and Patrick Queen. As for the coaching ranks, offensive guru Joe Brady jumped ship to join Matt Rhule’s staff with the Carolina Panthers. Jefferson is -140 to be selected with one of the first 21 picks of the NFL Draft.

3. Auburn Tigers

Despite LSU’s aforementioned departures, head coach Ed Orgeron will obviously reload as opposed to going through some sort of rebuilding process. In fact, the Bayou Bengals have a good chance of maintaining their status as the best team in the SEC—ahead of even division rivals Auburn and Alabama. Auburn is losing star defensive lineman Derrick Brown, but on the other side of the ball quarterback Bo Nix is back. Nix is +2800 to win the Heisman Trophy; Lawrence, meanwhile, is a +475 second choice behind Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields (+450).

4. Memphis Tigers

Memphis was the best team outside of the Power 5 conferences this past season, winning the American Athletic Conference title and earning a berth in the Cotton Bowl before falling to Penn State. As such, head coach Mike Norvell was one of the hottest commodities in the business and he ended up bolting for Florida State. From a player personnel standpoint, however, Memphis remains in good shape. Quarterback Brady White, receiver Damonte Coxie, and running back Kenneth Gainwell are all returning.

5. Missouri Tigers

Missouri started the 2019 season 5-1 and 2-0 in the SEC, but it quickly deteriorated into a disaster once the heart of the SEC East schedule began. Keep in mind that the SEC East schedule is not that tough, but the Tigers still lost to just about everyone left and right. Head coach Barry Odom is out, as is quarterback Kelly Bryant. Former Appalachian State boss Eli Drinkwitz is in after the Mountaineers went 13-1 in 2019. Mizzou’s new-look offense could be run by incoming freshman Brady Cook. Whatever the case, it will probably be years before these Tigers are kings of their own division.

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