1. Final Overall Thoughts, Observations
– As always, here’s your reminder for this time of year. The AP Top 25 is a fun exercise. It’s still historically relevant, and it still helps to shape public perception, but the College Football Playoff rankings are it. They’re the ones that matter, and they’re the ones that have to be scrutinized hard. They’ll be coming out on November 17th.
– So … DON”T ANALYZE THE AP TOP 25 WHEN IT COMES TO THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF.
No, the American Athletic Conference doesn’t have a better shot at getting into the CFP top four because it has two teams – Cincinnati and UCF – ranked in the top 21. It doesn’t even matter if those two are in the top 15. That doesn’t mean an AAC team can’t make it in, but the CFP members have to act as if no other poll system exists.
– Four of the top six teams have a new starting quarterback, and Ohio State isn’t playing this year. 12 of the 16 teams in the top 25 that are still playing, though, have a returning starting quarterback. What does this mean? In general, voters like the teams that appear to be set under center, but brand name top programs are still going to get enough love to overcome that.
– Notre Dame is going to be fascinating. Now that it’s an ACC team for this one season, it’s going to give the conference that No. 2 team it’s been missing ever since Florida State took a dip. Once the rankings are redone and the Irish are 7th – or better, going forward – the ACC will be a whole lot more fun to watch.
It won’t just be a lot of decent teams going at it, and Clemson bludgeoning whatever poor soul is in its way. Notre Dame will get that much more attention – like it needs it.
– This is a weird, strange, rough, ugly year, and it’s sad to not have the Big Ten and Pac-12 around. But the AP Top 25 poll came out – the rankings have been rolling since 1936 – and the world keeps spinning. None of this seems normal, but college football is trying.