Whether you agree or disagree, and there is plenty to consider on both sides of the argument. The College Football season will be played. Maybe not the way we would have liked, but a version of it will be played this fall. Add to that, another schedule to kick off in the spring. With that in mind, the AP has put together it’s Preseason Top 25 poll. This is the 85th edition of this poll and there is no question this one and those that will follow it during the fall will be different. The first poll will include all the Division one programs across the country. Once the season begins, sometime in either the middle or late September, there will be 54 bowl subdivision teams that will not be eligible due to playing their seasons in the spring. That means once the year starts, 76 teams will be left to choose from.
Two of the five Power-Five conferences will delay their seasons until spring (Big-10, Pac-12). they will be joined by the Mountain West, and Mid-American leagues. The Atlantic Coast Conference, the Southeastern Conference, Conference USA, American Athletic, Sun Belt, and the Big-12 are all planning to play in the fall. Most, if not all of these leagues, will play just a conference schedule. This should delay the beginning of their year by anywhere from a week to as many as three weeks. How all of this plays out, with regards to the bowl games and National Championship game, is still to be determined.
For the second year in a row, the Clemson Tigers are the preseason number one. It’s the eighth time since the preseason poll started in 1950 that a team has been number one in the preseason poll for two straight years. The Tigers, who ended last season as the number two team in the land after losing to LSU in last year’s title game, welcome back star running Travis Etienne. Add offensive tackle Jackson Carman and defensive tackle Tyler Davis to a strong mix. Clemson will attempt to become the 12th preseason number one to end the year number one. Only two programs have gone wire-to-wire as No. 1 and they are Florida State in 1999, and USC in 2004.
There are two other teams from the conference that are ranked in the Top 25. Notre Dame, led by quarterback Ian Brook, is at number 10. They will play their entire schedule in the Conference and will, if things fall right, have the chance to play in the conference championship game in Charlotte, N.C. on either December 12 or 19. If they win that, they will have the opportunity to represent the league in the Orange Bowl if it gets played. The other league member in the Top 25 is North Carolina, who is ranked at #18. The league, for this year, will play as a 15-team, non-division setup.
College football is just not going to be the same this year.