Today marks the first day of August. It’s the month fall camps get started all across the country in anticipation of another college football season. It also means we have football, in some form or fashion for each of the next six months.
August also means preseason polls. One after the other. Polls that mean little to nothing in the grand scheme of things, other than to give folks something to talk about while waiting for the season to finally kick off.
One of those polls was released this week by NCAA.com, as they released their preseason Top 25. The biggest surprise? The SEC isn’t the most represented conference. That honor goes to the B1G, coincidentally the conference that just so happens to be the most overrated in recent years.
Today we will take a look at the poll. See what they got right, what they got wrong, and hopefully have a little fun along the way.
25. Boise State Broncos
24. Northwestern Wildcats
23. Mizzou Tigers
22. Michigan State Spartans
21. Virginia Tech Hokies
20. Nebraska Huskers
19. UCF Knights
18. Iowa Hawkeyes
17. Auburn Tigers
16. Wisconsin Badgers
Let’s be real, once you get passed the top 10-15, these guys are basically looking for teams to plug into the rest of these holes. Not surprisingly, five of those eight B1G teams can be found in this section.
Va Tech comes in at number 21. After losing out on the Tavien Feaster sweepstakes, not that they were ever really in it, Justin Fuente needs a Top 25 finish in 2019 in a bad way. He won’t get one, however. If you’re the third best team in the ACC Coastal, you’re probably not Top 25 worthy.
Nebraska is going into year two of the Scott Frost era. This is a team coming off of a four win season that included a loss to Troy at home. And we’re penciling them in for a Top 20 season already? Let’s pump the brakes a little. We all know Frost is a great coach but he and the Huskers might still be a year away from Top 20 status. They’ll be much improved, but not that much.
UCF comes in at 19 after having their 25 game winning streak snapped by LSU in the Fiesta Bowl. One year removed from “claiming” a national title, the Knights were exposed for the frauds they were in 2018. LSU gained over 500 yards against them. Think about that fora second, LSU putting up 550 yards of offense. That’s not something you see every day. Especially with almost 400 of it coming through the air. Add in that there’s no Mackenzie Milton this season, and it’s back to reality for UCF.
Of course you can’t have a preseason poll without Auburn. They’re going to be in it every year no matter what. SEC, SEC, SEC…. Does anyone really expect more than 7 or 8 wins from a Gus Malzahn coached Auburn team anymore?
15. Utah Utes
14. Washington Huskies
13. Penn State Nittany Lions
12. Oregon Ducks
11. Texas A&M
Utah will prove to be better than number 15 when it’s all said and done. Mark it down.
The Washington Huskies could be an intriguing team in 2019. Former Georgia QB Jacob Eason is set to take over for the departed Jake Browning. They have four OL returning, so this could be a dynamic offense. Lots of new faces on defense but that’s Chris Peterson’s specialty and he will have them ready. A Week 1 matchup with Auburn in Arlington is an early season test they must pass, however.
Penn State at 13 seems a little high. Coming off a nine win season and a loss to a decent Kentucky team in the Citrus Bowl, the Nittany Lions look to climb back into B1G contention. They won’t.
No way aTm finishes in the Top 11. They’ve got one of the nation’s toughest schedules with matchups against Clemson, LSU, Alabama, and Georgia. The Aggies are a good football team and might win one or two of these games but that schedule will be to much to overcome.
10. Notre Dame Irish
9. Texas Longhorns
8. Florida Gators
7. LSU Tigers
6. Michigan Wolverines
Notre Dame comes in at ten, and will be out to prove the 2018 playoff run was no fluke. The Irish have a Week 3 matchup with Georgia between the hedges. If they have any hope of making another playoff run, that’s a must win game. Lose that one and they’re playing for a NY6 bowl, at best.
Texas is a team getting a lot of preseason love after finishing last season with ten wins. They manhandled Georgia in a 28-21 Sugar Bowl win, in a game that was nowhere near as close as the score indicates. Why Texas is getting so much hype after that game is a little perplexing though. Was it not a meaningless exhibition in which Georgia didn’t want to be in. They belonged in the CFP and therefore chose not to even show up for the Sugar Bowl. That’s been the popular narrative anyways. As we know however, it just means more. Until it doesn’t.
And Florida at number eight? What did Florida do last season to make anyone think they’d be Top 10 worthy this season? Oh that’s right, they wore Michigan out 41-15 in the Peach Bowl. What’s so special about that though? Michigan loses all their big games under Jim Harbaugh. It’s their specialty.
Speaking of Michigan, the Fightin’ Harbaughs come in at 6th. Can’t beat Ohio State. Can’t beat anyone good for that matter. Since 2012 this program is a putrid 1-14 vs Top 10 teams. Sure, they totally deserve that number six ranking.
5. Oklahoma Sooners
4. Georgia Bulldogs
3. Ohio State
2. Alabama Crimson Tide
1. Clemson Tigers
Oklahoma is another intriguing team for 2019. Jalen Hurts takes over at QB for Kyler Murray after transferring over from Alabama. We all know Lincoln Riley loves to throw the ball all over the field, and Hurts hasn’t exactly been known as that type of passer. Sure, he’ll light those non existent Big 12 defenses up, everyone does. However, what will he do if he’s matched up against an elite defense? The Sooners play Houston and UCLA out of conference, so we might have to wait until postseason play to get that answer.
Georgia at number four seems about right. However, until they beat Bama in Atlanta, nothing else matters and there’s nothing left to say. Maybe they get lucky and the road to the playoff for the Dawgs doesn’t go through Nick Saban and Co.
Ohio State at three is flat out comical. Justin Fields takes over at QB in his first season in Columbus after coming over from Georgia. The Buckeyes out of conference schedule is a joke. Florida Atlantic, Cincinnati, and Miami, Ohio. That should be criminal. Even with a nine game conference slate.
At number two is Alabama. The Crimson Tide come into 2019 desperately looking for the “Alabama Factor” that they lost somewhere along the way in 2018. For once the Tide are not getting the benefit of the doubt, and why should they? Last time we saw them, they were getting their doors blown off in the national title game.
Dabo Swinney’s Tigers claim the top spot. Clemson will look to make a fifth straight appearance in the CFP, and the schedule is very favorable. A home matchup with Texas A&M in week two is by far their toughest challenge. Get through that one and there might not be another close game on the schedule.