Thursday morning, the USA Today released its Preseason Coaches Poll which ranks the top 25 college football teams before this season begins. The Alabama Crimson Tide were the easy number one pick with the Ohio State Buckeyes, Oregon Ducks, Stanford Cardinal and Georgia Bulldogs rounding out the top five.
At the top spot, Alabama, there isn’t much of a surprise. The Crimson Tide are coming off of a National Championship run and only lost a few pieces from either side of the ball. With quarterback A.J. McCarron returning, head coach Nick Saban has his team poised to repeat.
According to the polls, if ‘Bama wants repeat, they’ll have to go through the Ohio State Buckeyes. In Urban Meyer‘s first year as the head coach, he guided the Buckeyes to a perfect 12-0 record. If it hadn’t of been for a postseason ban, we could have possibly gotten an Alabama-Ohio State National Championship matchup last year.
With the Buckeyes returning quarterback Braxton Miller, running back Carlos Hyde and a number of other offensive starters, the pieces will still remain to build on that success. Defensively, the Buckeyes are more than primed to be one of the toughest in college football this season with Bradley Roby and preseason Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year Ryan Shazier returning.
The rest of the top five – Oregon, Stanford, Georgia – all return pieces of the puzzle from last season. While on paper the Buckeyes and Crimson Tide are out front and seemingly in a league of their own, Oregon could jump up into the top two spots this season. With quarterback Marcus Mariota returning as well as speedster De’Anthony Thomas, the Ducks could make another run if new head coach Mark Helfrich can keep things together.
If there’s one thing that we can all agree on about the preseason polls, it’s that they’re a great sign for college football to return soon. Look for Alabama and Ohio State to be the top contenders this fall. However, don’t count out Oregon or the Stanford Cardinal.