College football is over, prepare for a long cold 8 months of pointless NFL, NCAA basketball, NBA regular season games, and, dare I say, baseball. Baseball. Four hours of stepping out of the box, back into the box, glove adjustment, and mound visits. Several publications have taken this opportunity to put out "Way-too-early" top 25 lists for 2015. Let's be honest, rating teams 11-25 is utterly pointless and incredibly difficulty and by my calculation irrelevant. Let's focus on top 10's people, because no one cares who the 17th ranked team in the AP poll is. This is the world we created. But who got their premature rankulation correct? Fair question.
ESPN's Mark Schlabach:
1. TCU Horned Frogs
The Fighting Blood Spitters lose some big cogs on defense, but still this is a popular pick, except of course that Ohio State returns everyone. TCU is a top three team, but you can't put them above a champ that was a year ahead of schedule. You're close here Mark, we really like what you've done, but you're just a bit off.
2. Ohio State Buckeyes
Yep we're a spot low her Mark, plus TCU plays in a better league than Ohio State. At least for now. These are the champs Mark, Urban demands more respect.
3. Baylor Bears
Baylor returns EVERYONE, except Petty and a couple of receivers. I still think this is high, but just by a bit. The Bears travel to TCU and they're breaking in a new quarterback. This is a quarterback game Mark, and I know Baylor has shown an ability to crank out new ones, but until they crank out a new one, I'd say we're probably at 4 or 5.
4. USC Trojans
You're high. This is typical USC hype. The Trojans will lose to an Arizona school, maybe two, plus a road game they shouldn't, plus Notre Dame, plus their 50/50 against UCLA. Steve Sarkisian is the greatest 7-6 coach in history. Going 7-6 landed him a top 5 job at USC. This ain't a top 10 team. Don't let the luster fool you Mark.
5. Oregon Ducks
Tough one, the Ducks will win the Pac 12 North by the power of Phil Knight and because the rest of that division sucks. They have to replace a lot of talent including some kid named Mariota. Oh and they travel to Michigan State. Still, I think Oregon is not backsliding, much, probably too low. Drop 'em a spot Mark.
6. Michigan State Spartans
Sparty loses defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi and a ton of talent but they get their quarterback back. Plus Dantonio is a noted defensive genius. Still the schedule is tough, Michigan State is the game Harbaugh is circling to signal a return to dominance in the home state and they get Sparty at home. This looks like 3 losses. 6 is a bit too high. Try 'em at 8 Marky baby.
7. UCLA Bruins
This one's interesting, though UCLA folded the tent against good teams in 2014. They have to replace Brett Hundley, a guy I thought was fairly overrated. Maybe that's not such a big deal. Properly rated.
8. Georgia Bulldogs
Nope, not buying it. Not at all. Mark Richt was put here to bring you humility Georgia fans. It's his spiritual gift. The top 10 isn't the call here.
9. Clemson Tigers
Let's not read too much into the win over Oklahoma. The Sooners were overrated because we read too much into their win over Alabama to close out 2013. Clemson returns 3 guys on D, but the Tigers could be explosive on offense and they play in a run down ACC that will be without Jameis and several other FSU felons. Better at 6 there champ.
10. Alabama Crimson Tide
New offensive line, new quarterback, bad secondary. Still it's Bama, so this may be a bit low. But not by much. They'll need a lot to break right to get back to the promised land. You're close, so, so close.
12. Notre Dame
The Irish return 19 starters plus a new potential superstar in Malik Zaire. Their schedule isn't exactly terrifying. I think this is a top 7 team. Mark doesn't.
Jeremy Johnson will be an upgrade over Nick Marshall. Mark it dude. Plus Will Muschamp will be back to practicing the dark arts on defense. Remember, he was the best when he left for Florida, their talent on the defensive side at Auburn. Plus they get the Tide, Ole Miss, and State at home.
18. Georgia Tech
I know they lost a ton of running back help, but they return four offensive lineman and most importantly Justin Thomas at quarterback. We aren't banking on the win over Mississippi State either, this team almost knocked off the Seminoles and ran the closest thing to an ACC gauntlet to end 2014.
The Vols are going to make a jump. If not this year then next. This is a 10 win team in a bad division that could beat anyone in their conference and they've solved their quarterback problem.