AP Top 25 Reality Check: A familiar top 10 looking to 2020
The final Associated Press Top 25 of the season has a familiar look.
LSU is No. 1 after winning the national championship. Add Clemson, Ohio State, Georgia, Florida, Oklahoma and Alabama and you have seven of the preseason top 10 teams finishing in the top 10 five months later.
In fact, for the first time since 2006 every preseason top 10 team finished the season ranked.
One last Reality Check for the AP Top 25, with an eye toward what’s to come in 2020:
No. 1 LSU (15-0)
Big games: vs. Texas; at Florida, Alabama.
Reality check: The loss of Burrow creates enough uncertainty to take the Tigers out of the running for preseason No. 1.
No. 2 Clemson (14-1)
Big games: at Florida State; at Notre Dame; South Carolina.
Reality check: The Tigers had never been preseason No. 1 until this season. They’ll likely make it two in a row.
No. 3 Ohio State (13-1)
Big games: at Oregon, Penn State; vs. Michigan.
Reality check: Despite huge losses on defense, the Buckeyes are likely a preseason top-three team.
No. 4 Georgia (12-2)
Big games: at Alabama; vs. Florida, Auburn.
Reality check: Should start in the top five for the third straight season.
No. 5 Oregon (12-2)
Big games: Ohio State, Southern California, Washington.
Reality check: The Ducks will easily be the highest ranked Pac-12 team to start the season, somewhere in the back of the top 10.
No. 6 Florida (11-2)
Big games: LSU, Georgia; at Florida State.
Reality check: The Gators have lived in the 6-12 spot the last couple years and will likely start there again.
No. 7 Oklahoma (12-2)
Reality check: Mark down the Sooners for another prolific offense and top-10 preseason ranking.
No. 8 Alabama (11-2)
Big games: Southern California, Georgia; at LSU.
Reality check: No reason to think this was anything more than a blip for ‘Bama, which should start next season in the top three.
No. 9 Penn State (11-2)
Big games: at Virginia Tech, Michigan; vs. Ohio State.
Reality check: The Nittany Lions will be a trendy alternative to Ohio State to pick out of the Big Ten and should land in the back half of the preseason top 10.
No. 10 Minnesota (11-2)
Big games: Iowa; at Wisconsin; Michigan.
Reality check: For the first time since 2004, the Gophers will start the season ranked.
No. 11 Wisconsin (10-4)
Big games: at Michigan; Notre Dame; at Iowa.
Reality check: The Badgers won’t have much buzz, but they are a reliable mid-teens pick.
No. 12 Notre Dame (11-2)
Big games: Wisconsin; Clemson; at Southern California.
Reality check: Four 10-win seasons in five years give the Irish top-10 credibility to start the year.
No. 13 Baylor (11-3)
Big games: Mississippi; at Oklahoma; at Texas.
Reality check: New coach massive turnover on defense = Bears will probably start around 20.
No. 14 Auburn (9-4)
Big games: at Georgia; LSU; at Alabama.
Reality check: Big losses on defense. Pencil the Tigers in to start about where they finished this season.
No. 15 Iowa (10-3)
Big games: Iowa State; Minnesota; at Ohio State.
Reality check: The Hawkeyes might get a bowl bump into the preseason top 15.
No. 16 Utah (11-3)
Big games: BYU; Southern California; Washington.
Reality check: The rebuilding Utes will slip back to their more typical position of overlooked heading into next season.
No. 17 Memphis (12-2)
Reality check: Even with a new coach, the Tigers could crack the top 20 and be the highest ranked Group of Five team.
No. 18 Michigan (9-4)
Big games: at Washington; Penn State; at Ohio State.
Reality check: The Wolverines will likely be ranked to start the season behind four or five other Big Ten teams.
No. 19 Appalachian State (13-1)
Key returnees: QB Zac Thomas; RB Marcus Williams.
Big games: at Wake Forest; at Wisconsin; at Georgia Southern.
Reality check: Loaded again, the Mountaineers should start the season ranked for the first time.
No. 20 Navy (11-2)
Big games: Notre Dame in Ireland; at Air Force; Army.
Reality check: With the dynamic Perry leaving, the Middies will start the season unranked.
No. 21 Cincinnati (11-3)
Big games: at Nebraska; Memphis; at UCF.
Reality check: The Bearcats should get their first preseason ranking ever.
No. 22 Air Force (11-2)
Big games: at Purdue; Navy; at Army.
Reality check: After maybe the quietest 11-win season of the season, the Falcons will have to prove themselves all over again in 2020.
No. 23 Boise State (12-2)
Big games: Florida State; at Air Force; Utah State.
Reality check: A promising returning quarterback should be enough to get Boise State into the preseason Top 25.
No. 24 UCF (10-3)
Big games: North Carolina; Cincinnati; at Memphis.
Reality check: UCF will probably start next season unranked and its fans will be angry.
No. 25 Texas (8-5)
Big games: at LSU; Oklahoma; Baylor.
Reality check: Voters can’t quit Texas so the Longhorns will probably start next season ranked again.
- Big Ten
- Clemson Tigers
- FBS (I-A)
- Florida Gators
- Georgia Bulldogs
- LSU Tigers
- Minnesota Golden Gophers
- Ohio State Buckeyes
- Oklahoma Sooners
- Oregon Ducks
- Penn State Nittany Lions
- Wisconsin Badgers