BOZICH | College football's top 19 teams: consensus edition
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Pre-season college football rankings usually come in two forms – Top 25 or Top 40.
So what am I doing posting a Top 19?
Trying to be clever? Sharing my superstition with odd numbers? Showing respect to Johnny Unitas, who wore that number throughout his Hall of Fame career?
The four major college football magazines – Phil Steele, Athlon, Lindy’s and The Sporting News – are all on the newsstand. I compiled the rankings from those books to form a consensus ranking.
I wanted to provide a Top 25 or Top 40. But there was a problem. Athlon and Lindy’s rank all 128 FBS teams. Steele stops at 53 (53? Huh?). The Sporting News quit at 25.
This is the compromise I chose: Limit the results to the teams ranked in the Top 25 in all four magazines. There were 19 teams.
(For the record, Louisville did not make the Top 25 in any magazine, earning No. 26 from Steele, 28 from Athlon and 31 from Lindy’s.)
Here’s your consensus Top 25 – with the highest and lowest rankings for the 19 teams:
1. Florida State – The Seminoles visit Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium Oct. 30. They’re ranked first by Lindy’s, Steele and Athlon – and third by the Sporting News. They’re the defending BCS champs – and the team to beat.
2. Alabama – No, the Crimson Tide did not earn the stray first-place vote but they are ranked second by three magazines. The Sporting News, again, is the holdout, placing Nick Saban’s team fourth.
3. Oklahoma – The Sporting News likes the Sooners on top, even though Steele and Athlon put Oklahoma fourth.
4. Oregon – One of these years the Ducks are going to win it all. They should at least make the four-team playoff this season. The Sporting News like Oregon at number 2, while Steele and Athlon rank the Ducks sixth.
5. Ohio State – So the Big Ten will miss the first playoff? Apparently so. Urban Meyer’s Buckeyes are ranked third by Steele and Athlon, but ninth by The Sporting News.
6. Auburn – If a second SEC team is going to sneak into the playoffs, the wise guys like the Tigers. Auburn sits fifth with The Sporting News and Athlon, but ninth with Steele.
7. UCLA – Remember when USC was the glory team in Los Angeles? Not in 2014. The Bruins are ranked as high as fifth (Steele), but no lower than eighth (Lindy’s, The Sporting News)
8. Baylor – This Art Briles guy is not going away. The Bears sit at seventh with the Sporting News, but 10th with Lindy’s and Athlon.
9. South Carolina – Three SEC teams in the top nine? You’re not surprised. The Gamecocks are ranked ninth by Lindy’s and Athlon and 10th in the other two magazines.
10. Michigan State – No wonder fans in Ann Arbor continue to grumble. The Spartans played in the Rose Bowl last season and might go back? Lindy’s ranks MSU seventh, while the Spartans in The Sporting News.
11. Georgia – Four SEC teams in the top 11? You’re not surprised by that either. Steele says the Bulldogs will deliver a really big year (seventh) while Georgia is 15th with The Sporting News.
12. Stanford – This is where the larger gaps in opinion start to appear. Steele puts the Cardinal 20th, 14 spots behind The Sporting News.
13. Louisiana State – Five SEC teams in the top 13? You get the picture. Athlon ranks the Tigers 19th, eight places lower than Lindy’s and The Sporting News.
14. USC – Maybe this is a vote for new coach Steve Sarkisian. Steele ranks the Trojans 12th, while they’re 16th in The Sporting News.
15. Wisconsin – Three Big Ten teams in the top 15? You’re likely to hear some fussing about that. The Badgers are ranked as high as 13th (Steele) and as low as 19th (The Sporting News).
16. Notre Dame – The Irish are the second U of L opponent to make the list, ranking as high as 13th (Athlon) and as low as 19th (Lindy’s).
17. Mississippi – Say hello to SEC team number six. The Rebels earned number 16 with Steele and 20 with The Sporting News.
18. Texas – Charlie Strong has cautioned Longhorns’ fans not to expect a national title this season. But the experts like Texas in the top 25 – as high as 17th (Athlon) and as low as 25th (Steele).
19. Florida – Will this be enough to save Will Muschamp’s job? Stay tuned. The Gators are ranked as high as 22nd (Sporting News) and as low as 25th (Lindy’s).
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