1. Preseason Coaches Poll Winners, Losers, Final Overall Thoughts, Observations
– Winner: 2020 Preseason Coaches Poll. There was never a weirder, crazier season than 2020, and yet the College Football Playoff was as chalky as possible. The 2020 preseason poll? 1 Clemson, 2 Ohio State, 3 Alabama. Notre Dame was 10th, Texas A&M 13th, and Cincinnati 22nd.
– Loser: 2021 Preseason Coaches Poll. From the Department of Just Sayin’ four of the 2021 Power Five champions weren’t ranked in last year’s preseason top 25. Utah was technically 26th, Michigan 33rd, Pitt got just six points, and Baylor didn’t get a single vote.
– Winner: Big 12. Oklahoma (9), Baylor (10), Oklahoma State (11). Three Big 12 teams are ranked in the top 11, and Texas (18), makes it four in the top 18.
– Loser: Big Ten. Six 2023 SEC programs were ranked in the 2022 preseason top 25. The ACC had five teams ranked – six with Notre Dame – and the Big Ten checked in with just four. The Pac-12? Three.
– Winner: Kentucky. The preseason Coaches Poll began in 1978. Kentucky was ranked 17th, and it hasn’t been in the preseason poll since. It’s 21st in the 2022 preseason poll.
– Loser: LSU. The program went from being on an all-time high with the 2019 national championship season to unranked in the 2022 preseason. This is the first time since 2000 that LSU wasn’t in the preseason Coaches Poll.
– Winner: Big name losers. Texas is coming off a 5-7 season with a late-year loss at home to Kansas. It’s 18th in the nation to start the season. USC was a mess in a 4-8 campaign. It’s 15th.
– Loser: Group of Five programs. Cincinnati (22) and Houston (25) were ranked, but they’re going to the Big 12 next season meaning no 2023 Group of Five programs were in the preseason top 25. San Diego State with 25 points was the highest-ranked G5er.
– This is obviously all a projection and an educated guess, so no dogging the preseason polls too much since they’re supposedly a jumping off point, but there’s a LOT of faith being put into teams with a lot of question marks.
All in on Clemson (4) being amazing, but can it find an offense again? Can Notre Dame (5) keep it all going with a somewhat new head coach? Can Michigan (6) find the same magic, can Texas A&M (7) be a whole lot better after fizzling a bit last year, and can Oklahoma (9) maintain and improve after losing Lincoln Riley, Caleb Williams, and needing to rebuild a bit?
Yeah, because that’s what great programs do, but that’s nothing compared to the respect given to …
– Texas. You can see where the USC thing is going with all of the talent amassed from the transfer portal – 15 is low – but there’s a massive PROVE IT factor when it comes to Texas. The parts are there to explode, but the parts were there last year, too. This also goes for …
– Miami. 17 is a ton of respect for a 7-5 team that didn’t get appreciably more talented outside of bringing aboard Mario Cristobal as the new head coach. To be fair, the last three losses in the final nine games were close and could’ve gone the other way. Okay, so it’s not that bad a ranking, but it’s still a tad high.
– You never rank teams based on potential records – that’s not fair to teams that have great talent and nasty schedules – but with that said, five teams that aren’t in the top 25 but might be at the end thanks to their respective slates, or because they’ll just be that good. From most likely to least …
1) Iowa (technically 26th), 2) Florida (37th), 3) Army (tied for 46th), 4) BYU (29th), 5) Tennessee (28th).
And on the flip side …
– Teams in the preseason top 25 that probably won’t be in the final rankings … from most likely to least. 1) Wake Forest (19th), 2) Pitt (16th), 3) Michigan State (14th), 4) Texas (18th), 5) Baylor (10th).
And finally …
– Teams that didn’t get a single point or vote that have a shot at finishing in the final rankings … from most likely to least. 1) Washington, 2) West Virginia, 3) Arizona State, 4) Memphis, 5) Marshall.
– As always, just remember, this might be a fun exercise, but the College Football Playoff rankings are the ones that matter. This sure is a blast, though. It’s one of college football’s great traditions, and it keeps on rolling.
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CFN Preview 2021: All 131 Teams
2022 Bowl Projections | Preseason Rankings 1-131
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