North Carolina State Wolfpack head coach Dave Doeren (center) leads his team onto the field prior to a game against the Boston College Eagles at Carter Finley Stadium.
Alabama opens the season September 2 against third-ranked Florida State in Atlanta. They also finished all six of those campaigns outside of the top 25.
Wisconsin led the nation in scoring defense in 2015 by allowing 13.7 points per game, and the Badgers ranked fourth past year with 15.6 points per game.
The preseason poll may not mean a whole lot, but there are some trends worth paying attention to. Florida State, 4. Southern California, 5.
While it was the Associated Press Top 25 poll that was released on Monday, the bigger item of interest for Florida State fans might have related to an earlier vote in the Amway Coaches Poll. It is the fourth time under coach Nick Saban. That said, I’d give Alabama a slight advantage to win a game by a touchdown or less. In the first week alone, the Crimson Tide will be challenged intensively. Following Alabama are Ohio State, Florida State, USC and Clemson.
Oklahoma State is making its 10th consecutive appearance in the preseason AP poll, and the third time in the last nine seasons the Cowboys have been ranked in the top 10.
Clemson, though, plummeted to No. 5. While Texas A&M and Arkansas might have something to say about that, there’s no denying Alabama will be allotted some time for younger players to grow into their new roles.
The No. 15 ranking is pretty similar to past year, when the Bulldogs were No. 18 in the preseason AP poll, and no. 16 in the coaches poll. The Bulls, coming off an 11-2 season, are ranked No. 19.
Scarbrough provided a power option in the Crimson Tide backfield as a sophomore. This is the first time since 2012 that the reigning champion is not No.1. All of those teams deserve to be ranked that high, but it would certainly be cool to see K-State football climb up the rankings and make it into the top five this season.
Only one other 2017 opponent for IU received votes to be included in the preseason poll, with Michigan State receiving just one vote.
One of the year’s great debates – whether the Big Ten surpassed the SEC as the nation’s pre-eminent powerhouse – won’t be settled for a few months. In its final season under Bradenton native and former Manatee High standout Willie Taggart, USF won a program-record 11 games.
I’ve got Washington at No. 8, the lowest-ranked team among last year’s playoff participants.
– No. 9 Wisconsin has its best preseason ranking since it was No. 7 in 2007.
– No. 19 South Florida is ranked in the preseason for second time.