2017 AP Preseason Rankings & Poll Prediction

2017 AP Preseason Rankings & Poll Prediction

Teams & Conferences

2017 AP Preseason Rankings & Poll Prediction

2017 AP Preseason Rankings & Poll Prediction


What will the 2017 preseason AP college football rankings look like? It’s our prediction and best guess for what the poll will be to set the tone for the season.


2017 AP Preseason Rankings & Poll Prediction

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Here’s the theory when it comes to the preseason polls and the AP ranking based on the beliefs and whims from a selection of national media types and/or coaches – they know what they know about the teams that they know, and then they rank the teams with the quarterbacks they’ve heard of.

That’s not to say the preseason polls and rankings are warped or wrong, but they’re an interesting snapshot of the overall perception of how the college football world looks going into the season – nothing more.

Fortunately – unlike back in the day when the polls were how the supposedly best team at the end of the season was determined – these fun exercises don’t matter anymore in the national championship chase.

Oh sure, the AP will still name its own national champion if it feels like rolling that way, but good luck selling a team to the world that didn’t win the College Football Playoff National Championship Game.

So with that in mind, here’s the best guess at trying to get into the minds of the AP voters and what they’re going to submit.

25. UCLA Bruins

Brand name team, brand name quarterback. The voters will have a collective, “oh yeah, Josh Rosen,” moment when it comes time to figure out their 25th-ranked team.
2016 AP Preseason Ranking: 16
2016 AP Final Ranking: Not Ranked

24. USF Bulls

There’s going to be a nod to the Group of Five somewhere on the list. San Diego State, Boise State, and Houston will all be in the running, but USF will be the hot GOFer going into the season, especially with Charlie Strong now at the helm.
2016 AP Preseason Ranking: Not Ranked
2016 AP Final Ranking: 19

23. Washington State Cougars

Just enough love will be thrown to Mike Leach’s team to get it into the top 25. Again, the voters will like the quarterback situation with Luke Falk one of the hot pro prospects ready to roll.
2016 AP Preseason Ranking: 28
2016 AP Final Ranking: 40

22. Virginia Tech Hokies

This will be a fun one to see where the voters are considering there’s no national star power. The quarterback situation is a bit murky, but it’s a really, really good team that has just enough in place to push for the Coastal title.
2016 AP Preseason Ranking: Not Ranked
2016 AP Final Ranking: 16

21. Oregon Ducks

Get ready for the theory that 2016 was a strange aberration, and that Willie Taggart will turn the powerhouse back around in a hurry. It’s a good assumption.
2016 AP Preseason Ranking: 24
2016 AP Final Ranking: Not Ranked

20. Texas Longhorns

While this whole list is an educated guess, this is the really the close-eyes-throw-dart ranking – and it’ll be among the most interesting things to watch for. Texas should be top 20 good, but it could barely slip into the top 25, or get a whole ton of respect and be a shocking top 15er. Let’s just split the difference for now.
2016 AP Preseason Ranking: 36
2016 AP Final Ranking: Not Ranked

19. West Virginia Mountaineers

Partly because West Virginia has been above-average over the last few years, and partly because Florida transfer quarterback Will Grier will be everyone’s feature story at some point, there’s a chance to slip into the top 20.
2016 AP Preseason Ranking: Not Ranked
2016 AP Final Ranking: 18

18, Wisconsin Badgers

Wisconsin always starts out the season underrated – WAY outside of the top 25 in last year’s preseason poll – and then it gets into the Big Ten Championship. Don’t be stunned if it starts out just outside of the top 20, and why? A bajillion players made the Maxwell Award Watch List – there weren’t any Badgers. There’s no star power to rally around.
2016 AP Preseason Ranking: 32
2016 AP Final Ranking: 9

17. Michigan Wolverines

Wherever Michigan is to start the season, it’s going to be underrated. Even if it loses to Florida to start the season, don’t assume this is going to be a down year in any way after losing so many key starters. And if it beats the Gators? You’ve been warned.
2016 AP Preseason Ranking: 7
2016 AP Final Ranking: 10

16. Miami Hurricanes

Another one of those perception teams that’ll be fascinating to see where it falls, this will be a vote for Mark Richt and the belief that he’s about to do something special.
2016 AP Preseason Ranking: 26
2016 AP Final Ranking: 20

15. Stanford Cardinal

The voters won’t know what to do with this. It’s Stanford, so there’s a consistency factor that’ll kick in to get it into the top 15. But how many AP voters – right now and no looking – can name a Cardinal player?
2016 AP Preseason Ranking: 8
2016 AP Final Ranking: 12

14. Louisville Cardinals

Lamar Jackson, Lamar Jackson, Lamar Jackson. The clunkers to end last season will still be fresh in the voters’ minds, but with No. 8 back, this might be way too low. Don’t be surprised if the Cardinals are in the top 15.
2016 AP Preseason Ranking: 19
2016 AP Final Ranking: 21

13. LSU Tigers

Derrius Guice will be everyone’s All-American running back, and DE Arden Key will become a massive national story as the season gets closer, and the possible 2018 No. 1 overall draft pick isn’t 100% healthy.
2016 AP Preseason Ranking: 5
2016 AP Final Ranking: 13

12. Florida Gators

How much will the addition of Malik Zaire change the Florida offensive dynamic? The defense will be great, and now with the hope of a bigger year from the O, the voters will love it.
2016 AP Preseason Ranking: 25
2016 AP Final Ranking: 14

11. Oklahoma State Cowboys

Welcome to everyone’s it team as the season gets closer. QB Mason Rudolph will be a bigger pro prospect star, and James Washington will be everyone’s All-America receiver. It’ll be just enough to get OSU close to the top ten.
2016 AP Preseason Ranking: 21
2016 AP Final Ranking: 11

10. Georgia Bulldogs

Hype, hype, hype. Last year, Tennessee was the star program from the SEC East, and it showed with a preseason No. 9 ranking. Georgia isn’t quite as strong as last season’s Vol team looked, but it won’t be far off. Speaking of hype …
2016 AP Preseason Ranking: 18
2016 AP Final Ranking: 27

9. Auburn Tigers

The AP voters will be a big part of Jarrett-Mania. Baylor transfer QB Jarrett Stidham is expected to ramp up the quarterback play to a whole other level, while the running game will be every bit as strong.
2016 AP Preseason Ranking: 33
2016 AP Final Ranking: 24

8. Washington Huskies

Yeah, this might be too high, but it’s dead on right. There will be too many concerns about the defensive losses, but the Huskies will be more than fine. Will the AP voters realize just how amazing the offense will be again? Yeah – UW will be in the top ten.
2016 AP Preseason Ranking: 14
2016 AP Final Ranking: 4

7. Penn State Nittany Lions

Opinions will vary wildly about the Nittany Lion team that comes back loaded. Was it all for real? Will the offense be even better led by RB Saquon Barkley, who’s possibly the nation’s best running back. This AP ranking will be more about the teams up top rather than Penn State – who could slip into the top five.
2016 AP Preseason Ranking: Not Ranked
2016 AP Final Ranking: 7

6. Clemson Tigers

What will the perception be? The Tigers lose just about everyone of note on offense, but the defense will be amazing – will the defending national champs get any respect? Yup, and it’ll show with being just outside for the top five.
2016 AP Preseason Ranking: 2
2016 AP Final Ranking: 1

5. Oklahoma Sooners

The Sooners would probably have started the season as the AP preseason No. 3 team if Bob Stoops was still the head coach. The concern over what life will be like with Lincoln Riley will be enough to put the Sooners out of the big four.
2016 AP Preseason Ranking: 3
2016 AP Final Ranking: 5

4. Ohio State Buckeyes

Sort of like the knee-jerk reaction that Alabama has to be automatically No. 1 to start the season, Ohio State on talent and Urban should be a lock to kick things off in the top five somewhere. The Clemson Fiesta Bowl loss will still be fresh, but it won’t matter too much in the first rankings.
2016 AP Preseason Ranking: 6
2016 AP Final Ranking: 6

3. Florida State Seminoles

As if an epic Week One needs more hype, there’s a chance the Noles start out at No. 2 in the joyful hope and anticipation for a classic when they square off against Alabama to start the season in Atlanta. On talent and experience, you’re not totally insane to think about putting them No. 1.
2016 AP Preseason Ranking: 4
2016 AP Final Ranking: 8

2. USC Trojans

Whether at two or three, let’s get the call started now … OVER-RATED (clap clap, clap, clap, clap). The assumption will be that the USC team that crushed and killed everything in its path to close out last season will simply pick up where it left off. Combine that with the Sam Darnold factor, and the Trojans are a lock to be in everyone’s top three.
2016 AP Preseason Ranking: 20
2016 AP Final Ranking: 3

1. Alabama Crimson Tide

Lather. Rinse. Repeat. The talent level is still off the charts, and there’s no way, no how the Crimson Tide won’t once again be the No. 1 team up top to start the season by a ten-mile margin.
2016 AP Preseason Ranking: 1
2016 AP Final Ranking: 2

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