The preseason AP Top 25 poll was released this morning. Which teams are ranked too high and which are ranked too low?
The start of the college football season is this week. Students are getting back to school, fall scrimmages are well underway and season ticket holders are clawing for the best seats in the house to watch their favorite team. The year officially kicks off with four games on Saturday, Aug. 25.
While these four matchups featuring MAC and Conference-USA teams might attract the attention of the dedicated college football fan, they pale in comparison to the teams projected to dominate the college football world this season.
This morning the preseason AP Top 25 poll was released, marking the time for debate. Fans, analysts and anyone else who watches college football can now agree or disagree on who is ranked too high or too low. More importantly, everyone knows who is on upset watch to open the season.
Without further delay, here is the first AP Top 25 poll:
- Ohio State
- Penn State
- Michigan State
- Notre Dame
- West Virginia
- Mississippi State
- Florida State
- Virginia Tech
- Boise State
3 Teams Ranked Too Low
The Tigers could very well contend for an SEC title this season. One of the better quarterbacks in the country, Jarrett Stidham, is returning and the team has one of the best defensive lines and linebacking corps in the country. Yes, Auburn lost the SEC Championship Game and Peach Bowl to UCF last year, but this team should be at least in the five-seven range with what they have returning.
Yes LSU lost Derrius Guice to the NFL and two quarterbacks transferred just last week, but the Tigers should still be big contenders in the SEC this year. While the ground game is a question mark, LSU has a few transfers who are expected to contribute heavily this year. Former Ohio State quarterback Joe Burrow is the favorite to win the starting job and former Red Raiders Jonathan Giles and Breiden Fehoko are expected to lead the charge at their positions. The Tigers finished 18th in last year’s final AP poll and should have fallen in a similar range.
Head coach David Shaw has turned Stanford into a legitimate contender in the Pac-12. Stanford could very well be a College Football Playoff team this season. The face of the Cardinal is running back and Heisman Trophy candidate Bryce Love. Nine projected starters are also returning on offense including quarterback K.J. Costello. While the defense struggled at times last year, most are young and returning for 2018. With a big-time Heisman candidate, this team should be ranked at least number 10 or a few spots higher.
3 Teams Ranked Too High
Since Texas upset Notre Dame on opening weekend in 2016, the phrase “Texas is back folks” has resonated through the college football world. However, this has become almost a punchline for other schools to dish out at the Longhorns. Since Mack Brown’s departure in 2013, Texas has failed to win eight games in a season. With Tom Herman now in his second season, that trend may be broken, but placing a team in the Top 25 that went 6-6 and won a mid-tier bowl game last is a bit absurd. Yes, the Longhorns could surprise everyone and be a legitimate contender in the Big 12, but this team needs to be consistent week in and week out.
2. Florida State
Replacing a coach who brought you a National Championship is never easy. After Jimbo Fisher’s departure to Texas A&M, Willie Taggart was hired to lead the Seminoles back to prominence. Even with Fisher, Florida State struggled in the ACC last year finishing 3-5. While quarterback Deondre Francois is returning after being injured last season, this team is still ranked a little too high. The Seminoles should have arguably been left on the outside looking in at about the 26-30 range.
The Sooners have the tools to be a College Football Playoff contender once again, but putting them at number seven seems a bit too high. Baker Mayfield was arguably the biggest reason Oklahoma got as far as they did in 2017 and now the reins are being handed to Kyler Murray. While the baseball prospect has talent, he is still slightly an unknown commodity in the Big 12. The defense will also have to improve if this team is to take the next step and that remains to be seen. While Oklahoma may be a Top 25 team the entire season, being ranked in the top 10 with all the talent they have lost is a bit much. This team should have fallen in the 10-12 range.