The 2017 preseason AP Top 25 Poll was released and there’s plenty to dissect ahead of another college football season.
Here is your Top 10:
2. Ohio State
3. Florida State
6. Penn State
10. Oklahoma State
Meantime, three other Big 12 teams made the list:
20. Kansas State
22. West Virginia
Here are five of my reactionary thoughts to the poll.
1. The Big 12 is back… maybe?
The Big 12 has five teams ranked in the Top 25. That’s tied for second with the ACC and just one behind the SEC. But the Big 12 only has 10 teams, so as a percentage, 50% of the Big 12 is ranked, compared to 43% of the SEC and 36% of the ACC. Also, if you want to get technical, TCU was ranked 26th (see more below), which gives the Big 12 an impressive 6 of 10 teams ranked in the Top 26. But the Big 12 did not have a team ranked in the Top 5. So while voters see depth in the conference, they may not see a College Football Playoff participant.
Once again, these polls are often comical to look at after the season ends, but it’s important to note that those that allegedly follow college football the closest (the AP voters) are showing a solid amount of respect for the Big 12 conference. Now it’s time to just go get it done in non-conference play.
2. Buying Texas?
Here’s a fun little tidbit from Chris Fallica of College GameDay.
Texas is the only team which had fewer than eight wins in in 2016 that is ranked in the preseason poll.
— Chris Fallica (@chrisfallica) August 21, 2017
That being said, it’s the first time Texas has been voted in the preseason AP Top 25 Poll since 2013, when it came in at #15. So is Texas back really back? Or is this more hype surrounding Tom Herman’s hiring? My guess is it’s a combination of both. We know the media wants Texas to be good, but they’ve been burnt before by the Longhorns (similar to Notre Dame, USC, Tennessee, etc).
However, we know, Charlie Strong left plenty of talent for Tom Herman. But can the new head coach put all the pieces together and start winning games? It’s long overdue.
3. Where is TCU?
The Horned Frogs were just on the outside of the Top 25 at #26. Here’s a fun fact: Three times TCU has finished with a non-wining record under Gary Patterson. All three times the Horned Frogs followed up with a double-digit win season. There is plenty to like about TCU this season from the running backs to the secondary and more, but is Kenny Hill the quarterback who can lead them to at, or near, the top of the Big 12 standings? If this whole thing “clicks” in Fort Worth this fall, TCU will be the latest team to begin the season unranked to finish the season in the top 10 (fun fact: in the past five seasons, 12 teams have begun the season unranked, yet finished in the top 10.)
4. West Virginia love
It looks like the Mountaineers are getting more respect nationally than they received from their own conference. The Big 12 preseason poll picked West Virginia to finish 6th, but they are the fourth-highest ranked Big 12 conference team in the AP Poll. Frankly, it’s well deserved.
Dana Holgorsen has his program hitting on all cylinders like it hasn’t since the Rich Rod era. Now, they get an upgrade at quarterback going from Skyler Howard to Will Grier and have the best running game in the conference. Come to think of it, 22nd in the country and 4th in the Big 12 just might be a drastic understatement when all is said and done in December.
5. Bob Stoops effect
We will never know, but I’d be curious to know where the AP voters would have Oklahoma if Bob Stoops was still the head coach in Norman. Let’s be honest, going from a nearly 20-year head coach who has won a National Championship to a 33-year-old head coach who has never held the job at any level has to be worth something, right?
Maybe OU would’ve been 5 or 6? Clemson is trying to figure out its quarterback situation and Penn State has some question marks at wide receiver and off the edge on defense. In reality it’s splitting hairs, since all these teams near the top of the rankings can’t win out, so there will be moving and shaking. But I’d be curious to know if any voters did factor in the loss of Bob Stoops in exchange for Lincoln Riley into their voting.
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