Wednesday, July 13, 2016

2016 Pre-Season College Football Top 25

I do not normally release a top 25 poll before any given season. Our rankings on this site are not standard polls as we are used to, but are based on a series of performance indicators. Our Power Ranking System (PRS) rankings are not released until after the first full week of games are played. What I am putting out here is simply a top 25 based on my schedule projections that I have been releasing over the last few months. Here are what I perceive to be the top 25 teams in the nation heading into the season based on their schedules, and the how I project these teams to fare against said schedules...let the debate begin.

1. Alabama...Can't bet against Saban and company, no matter the QB situation.
2. Notre Dame...Schedule sets up perfectly, but can the Irish execute against it?
3. Clemson...Still one of the best teams in the nation, and a playoff hopeful.
4. Iowa...Best team in watered down Big 10, schedule sets up well for them.
5. LSU...Still great on defense, but offense may keep them out of playoff.
6. Houston...Only loss could come against Oklahoma, but can be unbeaten by winning that one.
7. Baylor...Weaker schedule out of conference, but off-field issues could effect this outcome. 
8. Washington State...Could be one of Leach's best teams ever. 
9. Boise State...They keep winning, and ranking is deserved.
10. Florida State...Still good, but not as good at QB as in past years.
11. Oklahoma...Sooners could be higher at end of season, but schedule is tough.
12. Michigan...Harbaugh is building a monster in Ann Arbor, could be higher at the end.
13. Stanford...Could be a step back year for Shaw, but he's so good.
14. North Carolina...Tar Heels are primed to be ACC dark horse.
15. Oklahoma State...Cowboys could be most underrated team in loaded top half of Big 12. 
16. TCU...Could pick right up with Kenny Hill at QB. 
17. Michigan State...Top 4 Big 10 teams are separated by fractions of points.
18. Ohio State...Feeling a step back coming up, still one of the best in the country.
19. Oregon...Dakota Prukop will be the deciding factor if he can be as good as he was in FCS.
20. Tennessee...Still not entirely sold on Vols, but SEC East is pretty bad right now.
21. Western Michigan...If they can upset Northwestern in opener, sky is the limit.
22. Southern Mississippi...One of best of Group of 5, Jay Hopson was excellent hire.
23. UCLA...Evolution of Josh Rosen, overall team health is at question here.
24. Northwestern...Could be a dark horse team nobody is looking for in Big 10.
25. Georgia...New coach in Kirby Smart, much needed new direction. Bad division helps them.

Honorable Mention: Ohio, Toledo, San Diego State, Appalachian State, Cincinnati, Temple, Northern Illinois, Air Force, Arizona, Georgia Southern

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