Written by: John Stocco
The first top 25 of the college football season was released yesterday. With some predictable rankings there are some shockers. Here are the top 25 of the season, with some teams who got snubbed out of the top 25, and some teams you should buy or sell before the season begins.
College Football AP Top 25
5, Ohio State
9, Notre Dame
12, Texas A&M
15, Penn State
18, Michigan State
21, Iowa State
23, Washington State
Teams Who Were Snubbed
Teams that lead the list of snubbed teams are the Northwestern Wildcats, Missouri, Boise State, and USC.
I’m disappointed, but not surprised that the Wildcats were not put in the AP Top 25. Northwestern is coming off a year where they won the B1G West. Was the B1G West weak? Fair, but here’s a team that’s gotten better on both sides of the ball. There’s an upgrade at quarterback with the 5-star recruit Hunter Johnson coming in from Clemson who could help Northwestern take that next step as serious contenders, and on the defensive side of the ball they have two NFL prospects with first-round potential in Paddy Fisher and Joe Gaziano. Northwestern isn’t getting nearly enough love, and they’,re going to overachieve again.
Next on the list is Missouri. Now they just missed the top 25 with 117 votes in the AP, but I believe Missouri is better than Washington State and Syracuse. Everyone has forgotten how good Kelly Bryant is. Not only just in college football but even in the scouting room for quarterbacks. Tua, Herbert, Fromm, Jacob Eason, and even Jordan Love out of Utah State have gotten more love than Kelly Bryant. Missouri is a team that can win 9 games with Bryant leading the way along with one of the best pass-rushing defenses in the SEC.
Boise State quietly won 10 games last year, and in a Mountain West conference, they could do the same thing again. It’s a rebuilding year on the offensive side of the ball with losing Brett Rypien and Alexander Mattison, but the Boise State Broncos were one of the best defensive teams last season. Most players are returning and I don’t see them regressing.
USC is my last team who was snubbed. Missing the AP Top 25 for the first time since 2001. When it comes to talent the Trojans are in the top 3 of the Pac 12, but their problem falls on coaching. JT Daniels, Michael Pittman, Tyler Vaughns, Christian Rector, these are players on both offense and defense, and these are players that will be playing on Sunday’s. If USC can’t finish with 8 or more wins this season then it’s time for a coaching change and an open checkbook for Urban Meyer.
Teams To Buy
Teams that I believe have a legit chance to make the College Football Playoff this year are the Georgia Bulldogs, Oregon, Texas, and the Michigan Wolverines.
Third times a charm. Behind the best pro quarterback prospect in college, Jake Fromm, a Heisman dark horse in DeAndre Swift, one of the best offensive lines in football, and a defense that never quits and certainly never disappoints. This can, and I believe will be the year Georgia beats Alabama.
The Oregon Ducks might be the team facing the most pressure in college football this season. It feels like they have everything working for them, and it feels like this is the most complete team they've had in 5 years. The Ducks are not only facing the pressure from the fan base, but they’re also facing the pressure from the conference. The Pac-12 is in terrible shape, and they desperately need a team in the mix for the College Football Playoff. Oregon is their best bet.
Same story as Oregon. The Longhorns are a team facing pressure. Tom Herman has his class, and Sam Ehlinger is at the top of his game. If not now when? Oklahoma has gotten the best of them the last few years, and this is the year where Tom Herman has to make his mark and change the narrative of the conference.
Through thick or thin, I’m still here defending Jim Harbaugh. A lot of people trash college football because it’s the “same old story” but the story is going to change to end the decade and start a new era. Georgia beats Alabama, Texas beats Oklahoma, and new-look Michigan with the right personnel finally mixing with the right coaching beating Ohio State.
Teams To Sell
Teams that I don’t believe in who are looking to get upset early in the season are Washington, Auburn, Penn State, and UCF.
It’s not the end of Washington, but it’s a year of transition for the Huskies. They have an upgrade at quarterback, though there is a downgrade on defense. They’ve lost a handful of talent to the NFL, and in a year of rebuilding, I see them getting outmatched by Oregon, USC, and Utah.
A brutal schedule, a young inexperienced team, and questions about the head coach's future. That usually equals out in a losing season.
I like James Franklin, but like Washington, look at all the talent they have added to the NFL. Big time playmakers and difference-makers have graduated or have moved on from the program. Someone has to take a backseat in the Big Ten, and in 2019 I think Penn State is that team.
They’ve lost their two quarterbacks to season-ending injuries, and now Brandon Wimbush is their man. I was never a fan of Wimbush at Notre Dame, and him moving to UCF hasn’t changed my mind. UCF is still a bowl team in my eyes, but I don’t think we’re going to see the same dominance from them like we’ve seen the last couple of seasons.