Preseason rankings don’t mean anything and yet they interest us so much heading into the 2015 season, with Ohio State, the national champions, getting all the first place votes while the top 5 is rounded off with TCU, Alabama, Baylor and Michigan State.
1. Ohio State Buckeyes (61 first place votes): The Big Ten and National champions getting all the first place votes due to very little turnover of talent and their depth at quarterback.
2. TCU Horned Frogs: Still probably think they got shafted in the CFP selection. They shared the Big 12 title and won the Chick-Fil-A bowl impressively last season.
3. Alabama Crimson Tide: Lost in the playoff semifinal but won the SEC once again, and expected to come out of that conference once again, despite the dented reputation.
4. Baylor Bears: Shared the Big 12 title, didn’t get voted into the playoffs and lost in a rollercoaster of a game to Michigan State in the Cotton Bowl Classic. Also have to deal with Bryce Petty entering the NFL.
5. Michigan State Spartans: Last season have a big bowl game win to make them forget about the season-defining loss to Ohio State. Their games against Oregon and the Buckeyes once again look like the difference maker from a historic to just a good season.
6. Auburn Tigers: Coming off a disappointing 8-5 season that included losing to Wisconsin in the Outback Bowl.
7. Oregon Ducks: Lost in the championship game for the second time in five years. Will also be watched closely in how they deal with Marcus Mariota going to the NFL.
8. USC Trojans: Is this the year USC are back? Beat Nebraska in the Holiday Bowl last season, but have a tough schedule this year, including playing in Eugene before rivalry week.
9. Georgia Bulldogs: Always start the season as the favorites in the SEC East, and usually find a way of messing it up.
10. Florida State Seminoles: Their loss to Oregon in the College Football Playoff and the departure of Jameis Winston makes them the most vulnerable they’ve been over the last three or four years in the ACC.
11. Notre Dame Fighting Irish: Don’t play Florida State this season, and are hoping their win over LSU eight months ago will be part of a strong season, which Brian Kelly really needs.
12. Clemson Tigers: Clemson had a big 40-6 win over Oklahoma to make it a 10-3 season. Playing at home against Florida State is always encouraging.
13. UCLA Bruins: A new quarterback and UCLA start this season with slightly lower expectations compared to last season.
14. LSU Tigers: The last few seasons and the preseason rankings show LSU’s star has slightly faded, no longer expected to win or contend for the top spot in the SEC.
15. Arizona State Sun Devils: Somehow blew an incredible shot at playing for the conference title last year.
16. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets: How far can the triple option take them this year? Once again, probably towards winning their division, nothing more.
17. Ole Miss Rebels: Another team starting a new quarterback, hoping their defense can carry them towards a couple of upsets in the SEC West like last year.
18. Arkansas Razorbacks: Got an appetite from last year but a much more difficult schedule as well, which makes dreams of winning the SEC West unrealistic.
19. Oklahoma Sooners: Another bad season capped off with an embarrassing bowl game loss might start shaking the foundations beneath Bob Stoops.
20. Wisconsin Badgers: If they can actually get some decent quarterback play besides their usual powerhouse running, expect them to easily win their division.
21. Stanford Cardinal: A big test year for David Shaw, trying to prove the Cardinal aren’t on their way down permanently and last season was just a minor setback.
22. Arizona Wildcats: Not playing Oregon really really helps.
23. Boise State Broncos: Sadly, they can’t hope for more than what they had last year, which was winning in the Fiesta Bowl against Arizona.
24. Missouri Tigers: If the defense remains one of the best in the league, Missouri might once more surprise in the SEC East.
25. Tennessee Volunteers: After improving to 7-6 with a bowl win last season, this is supposed to be the year Butch Jones takes the hungry Volunteers to be taken seriously realm.