2017 Preseason College Football AP Rankings Top 25: 5 Things That Matter
The preseason AP Rankings were released on Monday. Here are the topics that matter most in the preseason rankings.
1. Boooooo. Think For Yourselves, AP Poll Voters
I’m not saying the AP voters mailed it in, but …
Really? The top six – Alabama, Ohio State, Florida State, USC, Clemson, Penn State – are the same in both the AP and Coaches polls?
Considering this is one of the most unpredictable and uncertain seasons ever, it seems like the AP pollsters went off the Coaches version for guidance a wee bit too much.
It’s not like there’s a massive margin between the teams 2-through-6 in either poll, but there’s a legitimate argument to be made for Florida State as at least the No. 2, if not No. 1 overall. A case could be made for USC to be top three, or outside of the top five, and Clemson might deserve more of the benefit of the doubt.
But nope … the AP went chalk.
The top four were the same in both of last year’s preseason polls, but they were vastly different after that. It was the same thing in 2015, but the rankings differed wildly after the top two in 2014.
2. The Big Ten Love Is There In Both Polls
The Big Ten got four teams – Ohio State 2, Penn State 6, Michigan 9, Wisconsin 10 – in the Coaches Poll top ten, but that was it for the top 25. It’s almost the same for the AP, except Wisconsin is ninth and Michigan 11th. In the AP poll, the next-ranked Big Ten team is Northwestern at 31 – put in the Also Receiving Votes – with Nebraska 40th and Michigan State getting one vote.
In the AP poll, the ACC got five teams – Florida State 3, Clemson 5, Louisville 16, Miami 18, Virginia Tech 21 – in the top 25. The Big 12 got five, too – Oklahoma 7, Oklahoma State 10, Kansas State 20, West Virginia 22 and Texas 23.
The Pac-12 only got four teams into the top 25, but a slew of teams are on the cusp. USC 4, Washington 8, Stanford 14 and Washington State 24 are in the top 25, but Utah, Colorado, UCLA and Oregon are in the Also Receiving Votes category.
Of course, it’s still the SEC’s world with Alabama No. 1, Auburn 12, LSU 13, Georgia 15, Florida 17, and Tennessee 25. Along with those six, Kentucky and Texas A&M are in the Also Receiving Votes category.
South Florida – No. 19 – is the only Group of Fiver in the top 25, with Notre Dame 28, Boise State 29, Houston 34, San Diego State 36, BYU 38, and Appalachian State and Tulsa tied at 39.
3. No Stoops? No Callaway? Whatever.
The first big flip-flop between the AP and Coaches polls came with the seven and eight. The coaches put Washington No. 7, Oklahoma No. 8, while the AP had the two switched around. Apparently, the lack of proven Sooner skill talent around Baker Mayfield, and the switch from Bob Stoops to Lincoln Riley, didn’t matter too much to the APers.
Even without star receiver Antonio Callaway for at least the opener against Michigan, Florida didn’t drop all that much from the No. 16 spot in the Coaches’ version, checking in at No. 17 in the AP.
4. Three Most Overrated Teams In The AP Poll
Obviously this is all speculation, but based on how the teams look going into the season …
No. 4 USC. The Sam Darnold/Rose Bowl effect is kicking in. The Trojans have to prove the O line is terrific, the kicking game is just okay, and overall, this looks like a fringe top ten team and not No. 4. It’s splitting hairs, but USC should be 10-2/9-3 good instead of an 11-1 College Football Playoff lock.
No. 19 South Florida. With an easy schedule and great offense, the Bulls will put up double-digit wins and make a ton of noise in Charlie Strong’s first season. But the defense is awful and the O rolls mainly because of the conference. This isn’t a top 25 team.
No. 22 West Virginia. This isn’t all that far off, but there’s a huge assumption that Will Grier will be a superstar quarterback and not just very good. The O line is fine, the defense okay, and the overall mix good enough to come up with a good season. No big beef, but the Mountaineers should probably be just outside of the top 25.
5. Three Most Underrated Teams In The AP Poll
No. 15 Georgia. This is a top-ten caliber team as long as the offensive line is solid. The backfield is fantastic, the linebacking corps among the best in the country, and the talent level is there across the board.
No. 18 Miami. The Hurricanes will end up playing in the ACC Championship, but again, the AP poll is supposed to be based on how the teams look right now. They still have to settle their quarterback situation, but the defense is going to be a killer, the coaching is tremendous, and once the O starts to gel, this is a top ten team.
Not Ranked Iowa. It’s absolutely ridiculous that the Hawkeyes didn’t receive a single vote after at least getting five in the Coaches Poll. There’s nothing sexy about them, the quarterback situation is a concern, and the downfield passing game isn’t there, but the 1-2 rushing punch of Akrum Wadley and James Butler is going to be special behind an amazing O line, and the defense – especially at linebacker – will be a terror.
2017 Preseason AP Poll
1. Alabama (52) 1,513
2. Ohio State (3) 1,414
3. Florida State (4) 1.396
4. USC (2) 1,325
5. Clemson 1,201
6. Penn State 1,196
7. Oklahoma 1,170
8. Washington, 1,150
9. Wisconsin 926
10. Oklahoma State 889
11. Michigan 881
12. Auburn 880
13. LSU 784
14. Stanford 695
15. Georgia 690
16. Louisville 629
17. Florida 624
18. Miami 492
19. South Florida 327
20. Kansas State 317
21. Virginia Tech 240
22. West Virginia 207
23. Texas 173
24. Washington State 133
25. Tennessee 114
Others receiving votes: TCU 98, Utah 85, Notre Dame 65, Boise State 37, NC State 26, Northwestern 25, Pittsburgh 23, Oregon 21, Houston 19, Colorado 18, San Diego State 9, UCLA 9, BYU 5, Appalachian State 4, Nebraska 4, Tulsa 4, Kentucky 3, Texas A&M 3, Michigan State 1