Preseason polls are often seen as actively silly and, sometimes, it is hard to argue with that sentiment. After all, they are based largely on past performance rather than the prediction of future success and we don’t “know” anything until the opening kick-off to the college football season in late August.
With that said, the good folks at ESPN have released their preseason top 25 and, given their perch as the biggest sports media entity in the universe, that poll matters to some degree. It comes as no shock that Alabama and Florida State are listed as the No. 1 and No. 2 teams respectively but, at the same time, the ranking presents a historic Week 1 showdown featuring the first time in history that the country’s top two teams face off in the opener.
Here is what the worldwide leader had to say about Florida State in landing the ‘Noles at No. 2 overall.
“After an encouraging finish to a turbulent 2016 season, Florida State is poised for a College Football Playoff push. The defense’s late-season emergence in 2016 bodes well, as multiple starters return at all three levels, along with the best player, Derwin James, returning from injury. FSU will lean more on sophomore quarterback Deondre Francois, whose poise under pressure wowed coach Jimbo Fisher. The Seminoles can make a major statement in the opener against Alabama.”
The rest of the list is, of course, worth your perusal, if only because there are certainly some surprises. Still, the lion’s share of the focus in the early going of the season will be on what takes place in Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta on the first full Saturday of games.
With the fact that the game is at a neutral site, this set of rankings would indicate that Alabama is a slight favorite. Still, it should be one for the ages.