We're less than a week away from the start of the 2013-2014 college football season. Let that sink in for a moment. With many of the preseason polls coming out, it's time for the one that really matters: our own preseason top 25 ballot. This poll includes the majority of our writer's picks, and will be updated every week throughout the season.
Here is our preseason top 25:
|1||Alabama Crimson Tide||--|
|2||Ohio State Buckeyes||--|
|6||South Carolina Gamecocks||--|
|8||Texas A&M Aggies||--|
|9||Florida St. Seminoles||--|
|14||Notre Dame Fighting Irish||--|
|15||Oklahoma State Cowboys||--|
|19||TCU Horned Frogs||--|
|20||Boise State Broncos||--|
|23||Michigan State Spartans||--|
Receiving votes: UCLA, Oregon State, Baylor, Fresno State, Virginia Tech, Washington, Arizona State
1-5: There was pretty much a consensus vote amongst the staff on Alabama being the number one team in the country for the start of 2013. Ohio State was also a pretty consistent pick for the number two spot by our writers. Oregon was put into the third spot, but not by much, as many voted for the Cardinal of Stanford to sit behind the Tide and Buckeyes.
It seems our writers think the Ducks and Stanford are pretty evenly matched, at least on paper. I believe once the season gets rolling, it might be easier to decide who's there to stay. Georgia also received a couple of votes for the number three spot, but will start the season our number five, the second of four SEC teams in the top ten.
6-10: South Carolina was a little bit all over the place on our writers' ballots. Some had them as high as number two, others as low as eight. The Gamecocks have something to prove this season, and with a defensive Heisman trophy candidate, all eyes will be on them. The question is can anybody besides Jadeveon Clowney step up and enter in to the national discussion?
Expectations for Clemson are once again high as quarterback Tajh Boyd and wide receiver/athlete Sammy Watkins look to bring home an ACC championship and a BCS berth. Being ranked at the number seven spot, the Tigers could potentially be a darkhorse team to play for it all this season. Texas A&M was another team LGHL's writers struggled to place. With questions about Johnny Manziel and the uncertainty surrounding his situation, it's fair for expectations to vary just a tad. Still, the Aggies remain ranked as the eighth best team in our poll.
Florida State checks in at number nine to start this season off. The Seminoles will be riding a redshirt freshman quarterback in Jameis Winston, who was the number one ranked dual-threat quarterback in the class of 2012. Louisville rounds out our top ten, and with Teddy Bridgewater leading the way, the Cardinals could be another darkhorse in the national championship race when it's all said and done. We'll get to see them open the season on September 1st against the Ohio Bobcats.
11-15: Florida is only one spot down from Louisville, a team that beat the Gators pretty soundly in the Sugar Bowl last season. If you remember last year, our top 25 poll had Texas ranked as the preseason favorite. That pick ended up not standing the test of time, but hey, that's what's fun about all these polls. The Longhorns this season come in at number 12, and if they don't have a decent year, you might see the end of the Mack Brown era.
LSU sits at number 13, and will hope to compete in the SEC and finally get over that large mountain named Alabama. If the Tigers can pull it off, they themselves might be in the hunt for another championship game. Notre Dame is coming off of a wild ride in the 2012 season, where they went 12-0 but ended up getting blown out in the title game en route to the Crimson Tide's second straight national title (if you were hoping ND would get crushed like I was, here are the highlights again). Also: something something insert Manti Te'o joke. This season, the Irish enter the rankings at number 14, followed by Oklahoma State at the 15th spot.
16-20: Some B1G love finally makes an appearance back-to-back with Michigan and Nebraska right next to each other. Both will be contending for a spot in the
national B1G championship game hoping to represent the Legends division. Oklahoma is ranked 18th to start of 2013, and the Sooners hope the recently named starting quarterback, Trevor Knight (who is also a redshirt freshman), can help lead Oklahoma back atop the Big 12. TCU ranks just above Boise State, and both the Horned Frogs and Broncos are hoping to do what they do best this season: play spoiler, and possibly see a return to another BCS bowl.
It always fascinates me that Chris Peterson refuses to leave Boise State for greener pastures, but I'm not complaining; personally I love watching the blue and orange take on powerhouses and continue to win. This year, however, the Broncos said to hell with trying to please the BCS in a schedule that has their toughest games against Washington and San Diego State/Fresno State. Really.
21-25: Probably the hardest part of these sort of polls are usually the picks that come after the top 20. This is mostly throwing darts, or picking teams you think might be just slightly under the radar, in many cases. Northwestern leads the pack of this group at number 21, as the Wildcats are hoping for what could be a pretty great season. Kain Colter will lead Northwestern as far as his arm and legs can carry them. He does have some help at the running back position, but it will be interesting to see how they fare against Cal early in the season.
USC is back again in the top 25 at number 22, but uncertainty surrounding the program of late has the Trojans ranked lower than ordinary. Michigan State, Wisconsin and Miami (FL) round out our top 25. MSU and Wisconsin both have a chance to make the B1G title game this year, though they still have plenty of question marks to address as well. The Hurricanes were a popular choice among the staff to do fairly well this year, and will have an early test against their in-state rivals the Florida Gators in week two.