BOZICH | Five looks at football's Top 25 -- with U of L, UK, IU - WDRB 41 Louisville News

BOZICH | Five looks at football's Top 25 -- with U of L, UK, IU twist

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – I'm still waiting on one final serving to the 2014 college football pre-season meal – the Associated Press pre-season Top 25.

That poll will be released Sunday. The state of Kentucky has one voter. John Clay of the Lexington Herald-Leader has voted the last two seasons but in 2014 the vote shifts to Larry Vaught of the Danville Advocate Messenger.

With the arrival of the game's four-team playoff system, the polls are not as meaningful as they were during the BCS era. But they're still great for conversation, especially as we count the days until the games begin.

I've sifted through results from seven other pre-season Top 25s – Coaches, Phil Steele, Athlon, Sporting News, Lindy's, Scout and ESPN – and learned five things. (Actually, I've learned more than five things but who writes about learning six or seven things? Makes for an awkward headline.)

1. Which local team is most likely to get its nose bloodied by its schedule – Louisville, Kentucky or Indiana?

With the annual SEC love in the air, it has to be the Wildcats, but Kevin Wilson and Indiana are actually tied with UK for most possible Top 25 teams on the schedule.

Mark Stoops and the Wildcats play five teams that have stirred some Top 25 attention – South Carolina, Georgia, LSU, Florida and Missouri.

So does Indiana – at Ohio State, Michigan and Missouri with Michigan State and Penn State visiting Bloomington.

The number for Louisville is three – Florida State, Clemson and Notre Dame, the last two on the road.

2. The SEC Love Fest Goes On And On – A total of 34 teams drew at least one Top 25 vote from the seven polls, and more than 26 percent of them (nine total) are SEC teams.

Three SEC teams sit in the consensus Top 10 – Alabama, Auburn and South Carolina. Two more are consensus Top 15 – Georgia and Louisiana State. Ole Miss and Texas A&M are both Top 20 teams.

Florida, which finished 4-8 last season, is ranked in the Top 25 in five polls. Not sure I understand that one. Missouri made a pair of rankings, even after losing 14 starters.

How does the SEC's nine ranked teams compare to the four other power leagues?

The tale of the tape: Big Ten - 6 (Ohio State, Michigan State, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Penn State, Michigan); Pac 12 - 6 (Oregon, UCLA, Stanford, USC, Arizona State, Washington); Big 12 - 5 (Oklahoma, Baylor, Kansas State, Texas, TCU); and ACC only 3 (Florida State, Clemson, North Carolina).

3. Only one poll delivered a vote against Florida State as Number One. That would be The Sporting News, which picked Oklahoma first, Oregon second, Florida State third.

Is this a cry for attention or a serious question about the Seminoles?

Probably the latter, but I'll never rule out the former. TSN says FSU has a rebuilt defense, a more difficult schedule and a target on their backs.

“They're getting everyone's best shot,” according to the TSN rankings. “That combination will be a problem at some point in the season.”

4. How many teams are actually consensus Top 25 teams?

More than I imagined – 18.

I'll call the roll, five at a time: Florida State, Alabama, Oklahoma, Oregon and Auburn.

Next tier: Ohio State, UCLA, Michigan State, South Carolina, Baylor.

Group three: Stanford, Georgia, Louisiana State, Wisconsin, Clemson.

The stragglers: USC, Notre Dame, Ole Miss and, drumroll, Texas.

Sorry, Charlie (Strong). As much as Strong has worked to downplay expectations in Austin this season, his first UT team has a spot in all seven Top 25s, with the Longhorns ranked as high as 17th by Athlon and as low as 25th by Phil Steele.

5. Who are the biggest wildcard teams?

I'll nominate three – TCU, Arizona State and Texas A&M.

After eight straight winning seasons, TCU sagged to 4-8 last season. Five pre-season polls ignored the Horned Frogs. The ESPN panel of experts voted TCU 25th.

One guy is high on TCU – Phil Steele, who has Gary Patterson's team bouncing all the way back to No. 14.

Arizona State is another team inspiring debate. The Sporting News ranks the Sun Devils 13th. Three other polls have ASU in the top 18. Of course, Phil Steele, Lindy's and the ESPN experts excluded the Sun Devils. Steele doesn't even rank Arizona State in his top 53.

Then there is Johnny Manziel University. Even with the uncertainty at quarterback, Texas A&M is ranked in the Top 20 in three polls – and ignored by four others.

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