With only a handful of spring games remaining across the country, I think its time to take a look at an early college football top 25. I can’t believe we are in the neighborhood of 4 months away from the college football season. It seems like an eternity. What’s better to do than some way to early rankings to start a little a conversation going.
For your viewing pleasure here are a few other absurdly early (as we like to call them) top 25 rankings
1. Alabama Crimson Tide
The schedule is a piece of cake outside of the game at Texas A&M, and Nick Saban is the best coach in the business. If they win at College Station, they’ll cruise to the national title game.
2. Stanford Cardinals
I like Stanford’s physical play. I would love to see them match up with Alabama, and Oregon without Chip Kelly makes Stanford the Pac 12′s best team.
3. Texas A&M Aggies
How did both Alabama and Texas A&M manage to avoid Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina? Johnny Manziel could be even better in 2013.
4. South Carolina Gamecocks
Jadeveon Clowney is the country’s best defensive player, and the schedule is quite favorable. If they beat an improved UNC team win at Georgia they could run the table to the SEC Championship game. What Steve Spurrier has done in Columbia is remarkable.
5. Oregon Ducks
Chip Kelly is gone, but De’Anthony Thomas is back at RB. The Ducks will just be to fast for most teams.
6. Ohio State Buckeyes
Urban Meyer makes the Buckeyes better than what they really are. Braxton Miller is a possible Heisman candidate at QB. Playing in waterdowned Big 10 with a weak non conference schedule gives the Buckeyes no margin for error. Lose 1 game and their national title hopes are finished.
7. Clemson Tigers
Tajh Boyd is one of the best returning QB’s in the nation. Clemson proved by beating LSU last season, they are capable of playing and beating some of the best teams in the nation. If Clemson beats Georgia early in the season, they’ll be right in the thick of the national championship chase.
8. Louisville Cardinals
Teddy Bridgewater shredded Florida’s defense apart in last season’s Sugar Bowl. I could see The Cardinals being at least touchdown favorite over every team on their schedule. I am not kidding.
9. Georgia Bulldogs
QB Aaron Murray and RB Todd Gurley are two of the nation’s best at their positions. The offense is scary good, but the defense is suspect. It was a mediocre unit last season, that lost several NFL bound players. The Dawgs are solid but their defense will cost them 1 or 2 games.
10. Florida Gators
Despite the Sugar Bowl debacle, this was a very good defensive team. It’s the offense that’s shaky at times.
11. Florida State Seminoles
The Noles have assembled enough talent now that they don’t rebuild they reload. RS Freshman Jameis Winston played so well in the spring Junior Clint Trickett transferred. They lost a lot of talent, but after a tricky game at Pittsburgh to open the season they shouldn’t be seriously threatened before October 19, when they visit Clemson.
12. LSU Tigers
LSU lost a roster of future NFL players. They won’t contend for a national title, but I certainly wouldn’t overlook them in the SEC West.
13. Oklahoma Sooners
Oklahoma is starting to disappoint as frequently as Georgetown in the NCAA basketball tournament. Great records but lose when it really counts. Bob Stoops needs to correct that.
14. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Notre Dame earned their BCS title shot last year, but lets be honest there was a little luck involved. Brian Kelly for the foreseeable future will keep Notre Dame a top 20 fixture.
15. TCU Horned Frogs
Gary Patterson is one nation’s elite coaches. Patterson and Chris Peterson college football’s version of Brad Stevens and Shaka Smart. They are always mentioned for jobs around the country but they haven’t left. TCU should be fantastic on defense.
16. Texas Longhorns
For all the talk of Texas’s decline, they went 9-4 last year. A dangerous early game at BYU will tell us if Mack Brown might want to think about retiring.
17. Boise St. Broncos
If Boise St. wins at Washington and at BYU, they may find themselves playing for a national title.
18. Northwestern Wildcats
The Wildcats are coming off a 10 win season and bowl win. They return a bunch of players and get Ohio State at home. They could make some real noise in the Big 10 this year. I think they are the conference’s 2nd best team.
19. Vanderbilt Commodores
Another strong season and Jame Franklin will be in Gary Patterson Chip Peterson territory. The schedule is daunting with games at Texas A&M, South Carolina, and Florida. They also play Georgia at home. A repeat of a 9 win season will be difficult.
20. Oregon State Beavers
Mike Riley has turned Oregon State into a very dangerous team in a short period of time. They are still a year or two away from contending for a Pac 12 title though.
21. Michigan Wolverines
I’ve seen Michigan ranked anywhere from the fringe of the top 10 to unranked. If Michigan beats Notre Dame, they stand a good chance of entering November undefeated.
22. Oklahoma St. Cowboys
Mike Gundy always produces one of the nation’s elite offenses.
23. Northern Illinois Huskies
What if Northern Illinois wins at Iowa and Purdue? With Jordan Lynch back it’s possible, and then what? Another BCS game?
24. Baylor Bears
Baylor ended the season on absolute fire. Art Briles’s team may have had the most unstoppable offense this side of Texas A&M at the end of 2012. Underestimate Baylor if you want post RG III.
25. Miami Hurricanes
Miami made some strides last year, and with the NCAA business starting to wind down, Al Golden’s Canes will enter 2013 in my mind as the ACC Coastal Division favorites. They get Florida down in Miami early in the year. Win that one, and Canes will open some eyes in a hurry.