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You’re Nuts: What is the biggest surprise of the college football AP top 25 preseason rankings?

Your (almost) daily dose of good-natured, Ohio State banter.

Syndication: The Des Moines Register Bryon Houlgrave/The Register / USA TODAY NETWORK

Last week college football’s preseason AP top 25 rankings were revealed. While the usual suspects sit at the top of the rankings, there were some surprises throughout the rest of the top 25. There are some teams that will be looked at as overrated, while others might be underrated. Then there are some teams that feel like they are ranked right where they should be, like two-time defending champion Georgia at the top spot, and Ohio State being ranked fourth in the poll. All this and we haven’t even seen a down of college football played yet this season!

Does the preseason AP poll really matter? Yes and no. Obviously, it is helpful to be ranked as high as possible to start the season, as that will bring more attention your way. Then again, it’s not a death sentence. Last year TCU wasn’t ranked in the preseason top 25, yet they were able to make the College Football Playoff and beat Michigan in one of the semifinal games. For some teams, making the top 25 could end up setting expectations that might be a little too high, while others might play with a chip on their shoulder if they aren’t ranked.

Today what we want to know is what stood out the most to you with the preseason AP top 25 rankings. Was there a team you feel is getting too much respect? Or is there a team like TCU out there this year that isn’t getting the credit that you think it should be getting? Maybe you feel one team should be ranked ahead of another team that is higher than them. Outside of the first four teams in the rankings, since it feels like those four are ranked exactly where they should be, there are plenty of options when it comes to changes that could be made.

Today’s question: What is the biggest surprise of the college football AP top 25 preseason rankings?

We’d love to hear your choices. Either respond to us on Twitter at @Landgrant33 or leave your choice in the comments.

Brett’s answer: Iowa being ranked

I know winning ugly is still winning, but Iowa was an absolutely dreadful watch last season. The Hawkeyes finished the season 8-5 but scored more than 30 points in just one game, and that scoring explosion came against Northwestern, who was one of the worst teams in the country last year. Spencer Petras started the year at quarterback before being replaced by Alex Padilla, who transferred to SMU during the offseason. Redshirt freshman Joe Labas closed out the year under center in the 21-0 win over Kentucky in the Music City Bowl.

The disgusting offensive output from the Hawkeyes led to goals being set for offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz this year. Whether failure to reach those goals will have any consequences, I’m not entirely convinced since Ferentz is the son of Iowa’s head coach. If anything, I feel like it’ll be like Casino where when Ace Rothstein is denied his gaming license he just switches job titles. Although I would pay to watch Kirk Ferentz be forced to fire his son because the offense was that bad.

There is reason for hope for the Iowa offense this year though, since they did scour the transfer portal and brought in Michigan quarterback Cade McNamara and tight end Erick All, as well as Ohio State wide receiver Kaleb Brown. Even though Iowa did upgrade its quarterback position, the bar was ridiculously low. Maybe McNamara will be good, I just wasn’t blown away with his play when he was at Michigan.

The reason Iowa is ranked is because of its defense. Even though defensive end Lukas Van Ness and linebacker Jack Campbell were drafted in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft, the Hawkeyes probably have a couple of cornfed bruisers waiting for their shot. Also returning this year is punter Tory Taylor, who can make up for some offensive deficiencies by flipping the field with some of his booming punts and pinpoint accuracy.

Will Iowa likely finish the season ranked in the top 25? It feels very likely with the relatively weak schedule. Aside from games at Penn State and Wisconsin, there isn’t a ton to be worried about. I just would have rather seen the Hawkeyes show some competency on offense for a couple of games before ranking them in the top 25. If any Iowa fans are mad about this, at least you’ll always have 55-24 to look back on.

Matt’s answer: Big Ten gets half of the top 10

Now I know that I am technically a year early on this, but let’s run through the top 10 in the 2023 AP Preseason College Football Poll:

2023 AP College Football Preseason Poll Top 10

Rank School Conference
Rank School Conference
No. 1 Georgia SEC
No. 2 Michigan Big Ten
No. 3 Ohio State Big Ten
No. 4 Alabama SEC
No. 6 USC Pac-12 (but really Big Ten)
No. 7 Penn State Big Ten
No. 8 Florida State ACC
No. 9 Clemson ACC
No. 10 Washington Pac-12 (but really Big Ten)

According to the esteemed and educated reporters entrusted with this sacred voting right by the Associated Press, the 10 best teams in the country to start the 2023 college football season will all be Big Ten teams in less than five months’ time. Of course, if USC or Washington goes on to win a national title in January, we can’t technically claim them (although, I would be tweeting B1G! B1G! B1G! throughout the entire game), but it does bring up the question as to whether or not the new look Big Ten will be the best conference in college football.

Obviously, at the same time in which the Big Ten welcomes Oregon, UCLA, USC, and Washington, the SEC will also bring Oklahoma and Texas on board as well, but those two teams aren’t starting the season in the top 10. I realize that the SEC is the superior conference and thanks to population migration, weather, and high school football rules, the South has an advantage over the Midwest in terms of the development of elite-level football players, but when you add in the four most competitive West Coast schools to the mix — featuring a completely different recruiting footprint — things do seem to get a bit closer.

In any given year, the tops, middles, and bottoms of the leagues could ebb and flow in competitiveness, but I think that there is a legitimate claim to be made that if things go well for B1G teams (current and future) this fall that the conference could legitimately lay claim to the Best College Football crown when the realignment dust settles in 2024.