Wednesday, August 29, 2018

At this point, heading into 2018, who are the top teams and who should we project for the College Football Playoff?

2018 Preseason AP Top 25 Poll vs. Cidsports

    1. Alabama (13-1) (1) - the Crimson Tide have won two CFP in three seasons, so they are a natural pick. But, how often do teams win national titles in back to back years in college football? Open 2018: vs. Louisville in Orlando. 
    2. Clemson (12-2) (4) - the Tigers have played in 3 straight CFP and have one title. This team has all the makings of the team to beat in 2018. Open 2018: vs. Furman, before a road trip @ Texas A&M in Week 2. 
    3. Georgia (13-2) (2) - the Bulldogs won 4 of the last 5, losing to Alabama 26-23 in OT, in the National Title Game. Open 2018: vs. Austin Peay, then open SEC East @ South Carolina in Week 2.
    4. Wisconsin (13-1) (6) - the Badgers are coming off a program first 12-0 regular season and a 34-24 win over Miami-FL in the Orange Bowl, as HC Paul Chryst enters Year 3. Open 2018: vs. Western Kentucky (6-7) on Friday night in Madison.
    5. Ohio State (12-2) (5) - the Buckeyes enter 2018, with a huge off the field distraction, with the firing of an assistant coach and the 3 game suspension of HC Urban Meyer. Open 2018: vs. Oregon State (1-11), followed by the B1G home opener vs. Rutgers, then a neutral site game vs. TCU in Arlington, in Week 2 and 3.
    6. Washington (10-3) (16) - the Huskies split 2 of the final 4 games of the season last year. The 3 losses were @ ASU, @ Stanford and vs. Penn State in the Fiesta Bowl. Open 2018: vs. Auburn in Atlanta, which is very important for the Huskies, as they seek to get back into the CFP picture, after winning the Pac 12 in 2016 and making the playoff!
    7. Oklahoma (12-2) (3) - the Sooners won 8 straight games, including Big 12 title game, before a 54-48 OT loss against Georgia in the Rose Bowl, in Lincoln Riley's first season as HC. Open 2018: vs. FAU, then host UCLA (6-7) in Week 2.
    8. Miami-FL (10-3) (13) - the Hurricane enter 2018, coming off 3 straight losses @ Pittsburgh, vs. Clemson in the ACC title game, then vs. Wisconsin in the Orange Bowl. HC Mark Richt enters Year 3 at his alma mater returning 14 starters from last season. Open 2018: vs. LSU in Arlington on Sunday night. OVERRATED
    9. Auburn (10-4) (10) - the Tigers are coming off the SEC division title last year, but lost games @ Clemson, @ LSU, against Georgia in the SEC title game, then vs. UCF in the Peach Bowl. Open 2018: vs. Washington in Atlanta.
    10. Penn State (11-2) (8) - the Nittany Lions won 4 straight games to finish last season, including a 35-28 win over Washington in the Fiesta Bowl. HC James Franklin enters Year 5, but he will have a new OC, but senior QB TRace McSorley is back, who lead the team to the 2016 Big Ten title. Open 2018: vs. Appalachian State (9-4), followed by road trip to rival Pittsburgh (5-7) in Week 2, where Panthers beat Nittany Lions 42-39 in '16.
    11. Michigan State (10-3) (15) - the Spartans return 19 starters from last year's team, which rebounded from a 3-9 season the previous season. HC Mark Dantonio enters his 12th season in East Lansing. Open 2018: vs. Utah State (6-7) on Friday night, then @ Arizona State (7-6) in Week 2, which could be a trap game for the Spartans in the desert night?
    12. Notre Dame (10-3) (11) - the Fighting Irish lost vs. Georgia, @ Miami-FL and @ Stanford last season. HC Brian Kelly enters Year 9, with 15 starters back. Open 2018: vs. Michigan, who resume series (2002-2014) and test in a season opener for the Kelly era.
    13. Stanford (9-5) (20) - the Cardinal lost 5 games last season @ USC, @ San Diego State, @ Washington State, vs. USC in the Pac 12 title game, then 39-37 loss to TCU in the Alamo Bowl. Open 2018: vs. San Diego State on Friday night, then open Pac 12 play vs. USC at home, as well.
    14. Michigan (8-5) (NV) - the Wolverines lost to MSU, @ PSU, @ UW and OSU, before the bowl loss vs. South Carolina last season, including 3 straight to finish last year. HC Jim Harbaugh opens his 4th season 0-6 vs. OSU and MSU. Open 2018: @ Notre Dame, resuming the series, since 2014, when the Wolverines lost 31-0 in South Bend. 
    15. USC (11-3) ( (12) - the Trojans @ Washington State, @ Notre Dame and 24-7 to Ohio State in the Cotton Bowl last year. HC Clay Helton enters 4th Year, with true freshman QB J.T. Daniels listed as the starter. Open 2018: vs. UNLV, then back to back road games @ Stanford and @ Texas in Week 2 and 3.
    16. TCU (11-3) (9) - the Horned Frogs rebounded in Gary Patterson's 17th season, after a 6-7 mark the previous year. Only losses were @ Iowa State and two games against OU. Open 2018: vs. Southern and only return 11 starters from last season.
    17. West Virginia (7-6) (NV) - big jump coming off 3 straight losses to Texas, OU & Utah. Lost to VA Tech to open 2017, and @ TCU and Oklahoma State, so all good programs heading into 2018. Open 2018: vs. Tennessee in Charlotte - don't see the initial ranking. OVERRATED
    18. Mississippi State (9-4) (19) - the Bulldogs open 2018, with a new HC in Joe Moorhead, former Penn State OC. The Bulldogs won 2 of the final 4 games last year. Open 2018: vs. S.F. Austin, before road trip @ Kansas State in Week 2.
    19. Florida State (7-6) (NV) - enter season with a 4 game winning streak against one P5, rival Florida, to finish 2017; welcome new HC Willie Taggert back the the 'Sunshine' state. Open 2018: Labor Day ACC home showdown vs. Virginia Tech.
    20. Virginia Tech (9-4) (24) - the Hokies lost to Clemson, @ Miami-FL, @ Georgia Tech and a 30-21 loss against Oklahoma State in the Gaming World Bowl to close out last season. Open 2018: @ Florida State on Monday night.
    21. UCF (13-0) (6) - the Knights closed out last season with a strong finish and win in the Peach Bowl over Auburn, then HC Scott Frost and staff left for Nebraska. New HC. Josh Heupel has 6 starters back on both sides of ball, after completing two seasons as Missouri's OC. Open 2018: @ Connecticut on Thursday night to kickoff AAC play and the new season. Two games vs. P5 opponents come @ UNC Week 3 and vs. Pittsburgh in Week 5.
    22. Boise State (10-3) (22) - the Broncos lost @ Washington State, against Virginia and @ Fresno State, before winning a MWC title game against Fresno State 17-14. Open 2018: @ Troy, in the home and home, where the Broncos opened last year with a 24-13 win.
    23. Texas (7-6) (NV) - the Longhorns open Year 2 under HC Tom Herman, after losses against Maryland, in opener, @ USC, vs. Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, @ TCU, Texas Tech. They pulled off a 33-16 win over Missouri in the Texas Bowl to close out last year. Open 2018: @ Maryland, who upset the Longhorns last year, in Austin, 51-41.
    24. Oregon (7-6) (NV) - the Ducks opened the HC Mario Cristoral era, with a 38-28 loss against Boise State in the Las Vegas Bowl. The Ducks lost 5 Pac 12 games last year, @ ASU, Washington State, @ Stanford, @ UCLA and @ Washington. Open 2018: vs. Bowling Green (2-10), then Portland State (0-11 in FCS) and San Jose State (2-11) in Week 2-3. Maybe they shouldn't be considered for a Top 25 position, until they open Pac 12 play vs. Stanford in Week 4 at home? OVERRATED
    25. LSU (9-4) (18) - the Tigers lost @ Mississippi State and vs. Troy, then won 6 of the last 8 games, with losses to Alabama and Notre Dame to close out 2017. Open 2018: vs. Miami-FL in Arlington.
    26. South Carolina (9-4) (27) - the Gamecocks enter 2018 coming off a 26-19 win over Michigan in the Outback Bowl. Open 2018: vs. Coastal Carolina, before hosting defending SEC champion Georgia in the SEC East opener in Week 2.
    27. Florida (4-7) (NV) - the Gators welcome back former OC Dan Mullen, who moves in as HC, after 9 seasons at Mississippi State. Open 2018: vs. Charleston Southern, then SEC East home opener against Kentucky in Week 2.
    28. Utah (7-6) (NV) - the Utes enter Year 14 under HC Kyle Whittingham, with back to back wins last year, including a 30-14 win over West Virginia, in the Heart of Dallas Bowl. Open 2018: vs. Weber State on Thursday night, before a Week 2 game @ Northern Illinois.
    29. Oklahoma State (10-3) (14) - the Cowboys lost to TCU, Oklahoma and Kansas State all at home last year, but finished strong with a 30-21 win over Virginia Tech in Camping World Bowl. Open 2018: vs. Missouri State, then South Alabama and Boise State at home in Week 2 and 3.
    30. FAU (11-3) (30) - the Owls lost the opening two games last year against Navy and @ Wisconsin, then Game 4 @ Buffalo, but rolled through the C-USA undefeated, then beat Akron 50-3 in Boca Raton. Open 2018: @ Oklahoma, as HC Lane Kiffin enters Year 2 at the helm.
    31. Arizona (7-6) (NV) - lost 4 of last 5 games to close out 2017; welcome new HC Kevin Sumlin. Open 2018: vs. BYU (4-9) - former staff lost in the 2016 opener against Cougars. OVERRATED
    32. North Carolina State (9-4) (23) - the Wolfpack opened with a loss against South Carolina, then lost @ Notre Dame, Clemson and @ Wake Forest, then beat Arizona State 52-31 in the Sun Bowl. Open 2018: vs. James Madison, then Georgia Tech and West Virginia in Week 2 and 3 at home.
    33. Texas A&M (NV) - the Aggies begin a new era under HC Jimbo Fisher, who moves over from Florida State. The Aggies lost back to back games to close out last year. Open 2018: vs. Northwestern State on Thursday night, then host Clemson in a SEC-ACC showdown in College Station in Week 2.
    34. Boston College (7-6) (NV) - the Eagles have hit the 7-6 mark in 4 of 5 seasons under HC Steve Addazio, losing last year to Wake Forest, Notre Dame, @ Clemson, Virginia Tech, North Carolina State and vs. Iowa 27-20 in the Pinstripe Bowl. Open 2018: vs. Massachusetts, before Holy Cross, @ Wake Forest and @ Purdue, in Week 2-4.
    35. Northwestern (10-3) (17) - the Wildcats are coming off back to back bowl wins in program history, as HC Pat Fitzgerald enters Year 13 in Evanston. Open 2018: @ Purdue (7-6) in a rare Big Ten opener for each team. The major question for the Wildcats is the health of senior QB Clayton Thorson, who is coming off surgery from a knee injury.
    36. Kansas State (8-5) (NV) - have won 5 of the last 6 games w/ P5 opponents to finish 2017. Open 2018: vs. FCS, South Dakota, then a non-conference home showdown against Mississippi State.
    37. Iowa State (8-5) (28) - the Cyclones has a breakout 2nd season under HC Matt Campbell, but lost vs. Iowa in OT, vs. Texas, @ West Virginia, vs. Oklahoma State and @ Kansas State. The Cyclones rebounded to beat Memphis 21-20 in the Liberty Bowl to close out the season last year.
    38. Houston (7-5) (NV) - the Cougars lost @ UTSA, Texas State, @ Tulsa, Memphis and @ Tulane in the regular season, before losing 33-27 against Fresno State in the Hawaii Bowl. Open 2018: @ Rice, before vs. Arizona and @ Texas Tech in Week 2 and 3.
    39. Memphis (10-3) (25) - the Tigers lost @ UCF twice, then lost 21-20 against Iowa State in the Liberty Bowl finish last season. Open 2018: vs. Mercer, then @ Navy in Week 2.
    40. Troy (11-2) (31) - the Trojans lost @ Boise State and South Alabama last season, then beat North Texas 50-30 in the New Orleans Bowl to finish off the season. Open 2018: vs. Boise State, then Florida A&M and @ Nebraska in Week 2 and 3.
    41. Iowa (8-5) (34) - the Hawkeyes are coming off their first bowl win, since 2010, with 27-20 victory over Boston College, in the Pinstripe Bowl. Open 2018: vs. Northern Illinois (8-5) at Kinnick Stadium. 
    42. Kentucky (7-6) (NV) - the Wildcats finished last year on a 3 game losing streak, as HC Mark Stoops enters Year 6 at the helm. Open 2018: vs. Central Michigan (8-5) in the home opener, before the SEC road opener @ Florida in Week 2.
    43. Arkansas State (7-5) (NV) - the Red Wolves lost @ Nebraska, @ SMU, @ South Alabama, vs. Troy, then lost 35-30 to Middle Tennessee in Camellia Bowl. Open 2018: vs. SE Missouri, then @ Alabama to square off with the defending national champs.
    44. Fresno State (10-4) (32) - the Bulldogs lost @ Alabama, @ Washington, vs. UNLV and vs. Boise State in the MWC title game to kickoff HC Jeff Tedford's first season at the helm. The Bulldogs closed out the season with a 33-27 win over Houston. Open 2018: vs. Idaho, then @ Minnesota and @ UCLA in Week 2 and 3.

Not Rated heading into 2018:

  • South Florida (10-2) (21) - the Bulls lost two games in the regular season against Houston, then finished league play with a loss @ UCF, then finish with a 38-34 win over Texas Tech in the Birmingham Bowl to win second straight bowl game and finish on a high note. Open 2018: vs. Elon, followed by P5 match ups against Georgia Tech, then a road trip against 
  • Washington State (9-4) (26) - the Cougars open Year 7 under HC Mike Leach and have lost back to back bowl games against Big Ten competition. After 3 non-winning seasons the first 3 seasons, the Cougars have won at least 8 wins the past 3 seasons. Open 2018: @ Wyoming (8-6 last year, 1-0, after opening 2018 @ New Mexico State), so this could be a tough start for the Cougars?
  • Army (10-3) (29) - the Black Knights lost @ Ohio State and @ Tulane in back to back weeks, then @ North Texas, before beating Navy and San Diego State to close out the season last year. Open 2018: @ Duke to kick off the new college football season!
  • San Diego State (10-3) (33) - the Aztecs lost back to back conference games against Boise State and Fresno State, failing to defend the back to back MWC titles. The Aztecs lost to Army 42-35 in the Armed Forces Bowl to close out the season. Open 2018: @ Stanford, before games vs. Sacramento State and Arizona State in Week 2 and 3.

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