College football preseason polls are very important. They are expertly crafted by the college football watching world’s most accomplished writers, thinkers, and analysts, and serve as a paradigm-establishing exercise, without which college football would be rendered disorganized and chaotic. As America’s most sensible sport, college football has always relied on consistent, definite criteria and metrics to determine who the sport’s most accomplished and deserving teams are, and the preseason poll is an irreplaceable element of this foundation of objectivity and rationality.
To express to you the importance of these polls, let me posit to you the harrowing hypothetical of a world without preseason college football polls. Imagine, if you can, the horror of being unable to prognosticate four teams to appear in the college football playoff after watching a few games in September. Imagine looking at the Week 1 slate of games and seeing something like Alabama and Louisville in a neutral site game, and asking yourself if that game is at all worth your attention. “Is one of these teams ranked?!” you’ll wonder, adrift and afraid in an existence where you’ll never know the answer. Imagine that lack of predictability! The lack of unaccounted for expectations! The lack of an understanding just who, among the 130 FBS teams, ranks twenty-second and just how much better they are than the team that ranks twenty-third.
The prospect is truly horrifying. That is why I, as a service to the college football watching public, will offer to you my top-25 preseason ranking. This ranking is definite, and based on my having watched upwards of 20 games last college football season. This is an objective, well-informed top-25 ranking that will have significant consequences for the remainder of the college football season, so it is most certainly something worth arguing on Twitter over.
A very serious ranking of 25 football teams
25. Boise State - Every preseason poll starts with Boise State at No. 25. I will not stray from this custom.
24. Virginia Tech
23. Penn State
22. Tufts University - I have a master’s degree from Tufts, so I’ll concede my bias here. They have also never been ranked at any point in the history of the AP poll, which is likely due to their football program being a DIII program, and a bad one at that. Still, they’ve got a spot on my poll because I love them. Go Jumbos!
21. Texas - I definitely think the Longhorns are better than Tufts.
20. West Virginia
19. Notre Dame
18. Michigan - Shea Patterson should be pretty good for them!
17. Michigan State - The Michigan State Spartans are better at football than the Michigan Wolverines, thus this ranking is appropriate.
16. Florida State
15. Miami - Miami should be good, I presume, because they usually are. And even if they aren’t, it is entirely immaterial who is ranked as the No. 15 team in the country. Is that something you’ve celebrated in the past? Your team being No. 15? Upsetting the number fifteen ranked so-and-so’s? That isn’t a thing. Miami can have this spot. They can own it forever if they’d like. It will never matter.
12. Central Florida - Huge drop-off for last year’s national champions. Can they repeat? It’s hard to say.
7. Washington - They should be pretty good, right? They’ve got a nice campus too, with a nice stadium right on the water. And Seattle just built a light rail that has a stop literally across the dang street from the stadium, and that thing goes all the way to the damn airport. So you can land at Sea-Tac, hop on a train for a few bucks, and be at a Huskies game in, I dunno, an hour-ish? Really pretty slick little transportation thing they’ve got going on there in Seattle.
6. Ohio State
4. The Cleveland Browns - Hey, I bet the Cleveland Browns couldn’t beat Alabama! Y’all ever thought about that? This is a novel and clever take. I know so much about football.
3. The Troops - I can’t be the only one who thinks if the troops wanted to they could put together a football team and dominate the NFL.
1. Ole Miss - This is not the best team in college football, but this is my favorite team in college football. I graduated from Ole Miss, and have many fond memories of my time there. I still have many friends from Ole Miss with whom I remain in regular contact, and I intend on attending a few of their football games this year as a fan. They’re number one to me, so I’m going to rank them here.