Last Word On College Football 2017 Preseason Top 25

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GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 11: The College Football Playoff National Championship Trophy is seen on the field before the 2016 College Football Playoff National Championship Game between the Clemson Tigers and the Alabama Crimson Tide at University of Phoenix Stadium on January 11, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

From LastWordOnCollegeFootball.com

Last Word on College Football 2017 Preseason Top 25

It’s here. The season and the Last Word On College Football 2017 Preseason Top 25.

Teams are in camp. Players have the playbook. In less than three weeks, fans all over the nation will flock to stadiums to see their teams kick off the 2017 college football season. And up to that first kick-off, each team is 0-0 and has the promise of a championship season ahead of them.

As with the teams, our rankings have to start somewhere. And that somewhere is here, the Last Word On College Football Preseason Top 25 rankings. And there’s plenty to consider and talk about before we get the season under way.

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LAST WORD ON COLLEGE FOOTBALL TOP 25

FINAL 2016 RANKINGS

Rank


 Team


Points


Previous


1.

2017 Preseason Top 25

ALABAMA (15)  (0-0)

445 2
Can the Crimson Tide make it four-for-four in the CFP? Head Coach Nick Saban once again starts the season as the nation’s championship pick.


2.

2017 Preseason Top 25

OHIO STATE (2) (0-0)

422 7
J.T. Barrett and Mike Weber headline a Buckeyes team that will try to re-assert their control over arguably the best Division in college football — the Big Ten East.


3.

2017 Preseason Top 25

FLORIDA STATE  (0-0)

413 8
With Clemson’s talent loss and key matchups against Alabama and Florida, the Seminoles have a chance to make quite the statement this season.


4.

2017 Preseason Top 25USC  (0-0)

384 4
After a 1-3 start to 2016, super freshman San Darnold led the Trojans to nine straight, including a thrilling win against Penn State in the Rose Bowl. With a favorable schedule and if the O-Line plays well, the Trojans could be in the CFP.

 


5.

Clemson_University_Tiger_Paw_logo.svg

CLEMSON (1) (0-0)

372 1
Clemson lost half of their starters from last season’s championship team, but Dabo Swinney thinks he has the program to a level where they can compete for national championships every year.


6.

Oklahoma_Sooners_logo.svg

OKLAHOMA  (0-0)

343 3
Baker Mayfield’s 2016 statistics were incredible, and with nine starters returning on offense they could be even better this season. Sooner fans hope the transition from Bob Stoops to Lincoln Riley will be seamless.


7.

500px-penn_state_nittany_lions_svg

PENN STATE (0-0)

340 6
Another team with almost the entire offense back. Penn State has Michigan and Ohio State in back-to-back weeks in what will be the defining stretch of their season.


8.

University_of_Washington_Block_W_logo.svg

WASHINGTON  (0-0)

333 5
The Huskies return after winning the 2016 Pac-12 Title, and they figure to be very good again in 2017. Jake Browning, Myles Gaskin, and Dante Pettis will again key a potent offensive attack.


9. 

 wisconsin-badgers-logoWISCONSIN  (0-0) 

272 10
Steady as she goes. Paul Chryst’s unit looks too strong for any serious threat in the Big Ten West. The only close line right now is a home game against Michigan. Count on Wisconsin for their fourth Big Ten Title game in six years.


10.

Osu_ath_brand

OKLAHOMA STATE  (0-0)

270 11
Oklahoma State returns one of the best trios in the nation with Mason Rudolph, Justice Hill, and James Washington. As usual, the Sooners stand in the Cowboys way. An unfavorable schedule also works against the Pokes.


11.

Michigan_Wolverines_Logo.svg

MICHIGAN (0-0)

267 9
Michigan lost a ton of talent this past season. The opener against Florida will tell whether Harbaugh rebuilds or reloads.


12.

2000px-auburn_university_athletics_logo-svg

AUBURN  (0-0)

248 25
Will the addition of Jarrett Stidham to a potent rushing attack and stout defense help Auburn get past Alabama? We’ll have to wait until late November to find out. A trip to the CFP could be on the line.


13.

Louisiana_State_University_(block_logo).svgLSU  (0-0)

227 13
The Tigers are again considered a threat to Alabama’s West reign, but there’s still no solid quarterback and Head Coach Ed Orgeron has a second chance to prove himself in the SEC.


14.

louisville-cardinals-logo

LOUISVILLE (0-0)

201 21
Every opponent will be focused on the returning Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson. After losing three straight to end the 2016 campaign, and with a road game against Florida State, Cardinals fans must be a little worried.


15.

Stanford_plain_block_-S-_logo.svg

STANFORD  (0-0)

200 12
David Shaw loses two of Stanford’s best-ever players, but boasts depth at almost every position. Sleep on the Cardinal at your peril; they will be strong in 2017.


16.

GEORGIA (0-0)

195 NR
In Kirby Smart’s second season on the sideline, the Dawgs return 10 starters on defense, a talented quarterback, and two pro-caliber running backs. On paper, at least, they should challenge Alabama for SEC supremacy.


17. 

FLORIDA  (0-0)

187 15
Even with nine returning starters on offense, voters aren’t sold on two-time defending SEC East Champ Florida. A brutal schedule faces the Gators from Week 1 (Michigan) all the way to Week 13 (Florida State) .


18.

MIAMI  (0-0)

141 22
Miami is another team that seems to be on the rise. Head Coach Mark Richt is entering his second season, and the Hurricanes return a bevy of talent. But a new quarterback will have to deliver for Miami to make waves in 2017.


19. 

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USF  (0-0)

86 18
Charlie Strong gets his post-Texas tenure off in Tampa. The Bulls return a boatload of talent, including QB Quinton Flowers and nine players on a defense that must be better. Clearly the best Group of Five team talent-wise.


20.

west_virginia_flying_wv_logo-svg

WEST VIRGINIA  (0-0)

78 23
Probably the least known 10-win team from 2016. Dana Holgorsen will have to coach up a lot of new starters and schedule is brutal for the Moutaineers, with road games against Virginia Tech, TCU, Baylor, Kansas State, and OU.


21.

KANSAS STATE  (0-0)

73 NR
Kansas State is always a threat under seemingly-eternal coach Bill Snyder. The Wildcats return eight starters on offense including QB Jesse Ertz and get Baylor, TCU, West Virginia, and Oklahoma at home. The Dark Horse in the Big 12.


22.

vt_logo-svg

VIRGINIA TECH  (0-0)

63 17
The Hokies are another team that lost a lot of starters from 2016. On top of that, they get their two top Coastal opponents on the road. It’ll be an uphill battle for Coach Justin Fuente to stay in the Top 25 this season.


23.

utah_utes_logo-svg

UTAH (0-0)

49  19
The Utes return the fewest starters of any team in our Top 25 and play in a tough Pac-12 South. On top of that, they draw USC and UCLA (on a short week) from the South. They’ve surprised the last two years — can they make it three?


24.

TEXAS (0-0)

45  NR
2017 will be another restart for the Longhorns. Sophomore Shane Buechele is next in line for Head Coach Tom Herman’s quarterback tutelage legacy. If Herman can up Buechele’s game, the yellow rose of Texas may bloom again.


25.

TCU  (0-0)

28  NR
Gary Patterson lost some size but seems confident his team will make an impact this season. There are rumblings of a QB battle. Should be a fun season in Fort Worth.

Others Receiving Votes: Tennessee (21), Washington State (19), UCLA (18), Boise State (16), Texas A&M (15), Notre Dame (9), Troy (7), Northwestern (7), Pittsburgh (4), Mississippi State (4), Oregon (4), Minnesota (3), North Carolina State (3), Georgia Tech (2), Wyoming (1).


 

Parity?

Our voters put five teams each from the ACC, Big 12, Pac-12, and SEC, and four from the Big Ten. The one remaining was USF — the only Group of Five team represented in the poll. Conference strengths have become more popular in the last few years. Are the conferences becoming more competitive?

Notes

Some interesting notes from the balloting. Sixteen teams were on all 18 ballots. The lowest-ranked team that appeared on every ballot was nineteenth-ranked USF. The highest-ranked team that wasn’t on every ballot was Auburn at number twelve. Of all the teams listed on every ballot, LSU had the biggest span between votes. The Tigers were as high fourth and as low and nineteenth. In all, 40 teams appeared on at least one ballot.

Alabama, Ohio State, and Florida State had the smallest differences, with no more than three spots of separation on every ballot. And Clemson, the defending national champions, start the season at number five.

The most important stat? Every team in our poll is 0-0. Now each of our Top 25 must prove it on the field.

It’s Here

The long, cold off-season is over. The season is here. Each team might be 0-0, but that won’t last long. Enjoy it while you can.

About the Poll: Eighteen LWOCFB writers rank the Top 25 teams across the nation weekly to determine the best teams from around the country.

Main Photo:

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