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Dare I say it again? Football is back. We’re not quite at the “crisp fall air” football is back, but we’re definitely at the “first AP Top 25 poll just dropped” football is back. Let’s dive in.
Alabama, Ohio State, and Georgia make up the top 3, in that order. No complaints with me on these three, but I can imagine the good people down in Athens have something to say about the defending National Champions being two spots behind the team they beat to win.
When you think of the Bulldogs’ strengths from last season, defense comes to mind. This year, we’ll be talking about the Crimson Tide defense. This group is going to be flat-out scary. Led by projected #1 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft Will Anderson, they have talent and depth at every single position. And that offense shouldn’t be too shabby, either.
Not to be a homer (big Ohio State fan), but the only team that has a shot at competing with Alabama this season is Ohio State. They say defense wins championships, and we saw that last season with Georgia, but the Buckeyes offense on their best day is good enough to beat Alabama. The only reason Jaxon Smith-Njigba wasn’t talked about as one of the premier receivers in college football last season was because he was stuck behind first-round picks Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson. TreVeyon Henderson can make a run at being one of the best running backs in the Big 10, and C.J. Stroud can only improve from last season. If they can put it all together this year, they have the firepower to be the best team in the nation.
Are We Really Doing This Again?
If you’re a fan of Texas A&M or Notre Dame, I feel bad for you. I truly do.
I understand the hype around the Aggies. You’re coming off an 8-4 season, which is normally a failure, but you beat Alabama in a thriller and destroyed Auburn. Now, you have the number 1 recruiting class (including eight 5-star recruits) in the entire country and are ready to compete in the SEC. But, are you? Are you going to allow yourself to get excited about your recruiting class when you know it’s going to be at least a year until they’re developed and make a run at the SEC? And then something that can only happen to Texas A&M will happen anyway? Keep your thoughts and prayers and Nick Saban’s potential retirement, because that’s quite possibly the only thing that can save you from getting disappointed after preseason rankings. They’re a top-15 team, but 6 is just too high for the Aggies right now.
Notre Dame, all I have to say to you is join a conference, you cowards. Your fans deserve a true measurement of the talent of your program. I’m sick of watching you put together a “good” season to lose by 40 in the playoff. Marcus Freeman was a great hire though.
The Best Of The Rest
This is me saying something nice about Michigan because my boss went there. Michigan, you deserve the #8 ranking and your schedule is really easy. You should be undefeated until November 26th around 2:45 PM EST. Moving on.
They say the Pac-12 is dead, but you wouldn’t know it by looking at this AP Poll. Utah surprised a lot of people last year with some big wins and a very close loss to Ohio State in the Rose Bowl, and they’re expected to make another step forward this season as they’re ranked 7th in the first poll. There’s a QB competition brewing in Oregon between the legend of Bo Nix and former five-star recruit Ty Thompson. Even with the loss of Kayvon Thibodeaux, the Ducks should improve if they can get some consistency at the QB spot, they should hover right around their #11 initial ranking. And then there’s USC. Golden Boy Lincoln Riley took his talents (and some of the players from his former program) to sunny California and is expecting huge things from his new program. With a new QB under center, I wouldn’t be surprised if they finished with a better ranking than 14.
As for those ranked 15-25, you’re out of luck. I’m sorry, I don’t make the rules, it’s just the truth.* My truth might be different than your truth, but it’s the truth. I do think Miami will surprise some people in the ACC though!
It’s taking everything in my power to not say Texas here. Everything.
Frankly, I’m okay with the Top 25 teams here. LSU is unranked for the first time since 2000, but that’s deserved. You can argue Ole Miss and Arkansas behind Pitt is a mistake, but I won’t pretend like I know the complexities that go into voting for the best teams in the nation. If I leave you with one thing, it’s that Utah is going to make some noise this season. I wouldn’t be surprised if they make a push for the playoff, but they’ll be ranked in the top 5 by the end of the year. Also please follow us on Twitter so you can argue with the rest of my takes.
Put Your Knowledge To The Test
Think you can Pick’Em better than the Associated Press? Start a College Football Pick’Em Pool with RYP! Play by conference, by Top 25 games, or whatever twisted conference combinations you can think of.