The 2017 college football season ended on a high note, with epic games in both the Rose Bowl and the College Football Playoff. While the 2018 campaign may find it hard to live up to that level of drama in its postseason, it is never too early to look ahead at what is to come and that means the production of “way-too-early” rankings lists far and wide.
ESPN produces one such list and, given the nature of the organization, it receives quite a bit of attention. At the top, Alabama sits at No. 1 on the heels of their national title and, outside of that, there are no surprises in the top five with blue blood programs that return high-level competitors on both sides of the ball.
The rest of the Top 5 after Alabama: Clemson, Ohio State, Oklahoma, and Georgia.
From there, the first non-lock is Wisconsin, who lands at No. 6 overall, and running back Jonathan Taylor is projected to “be a leading Heisman Trophy contender in 2018” to lead the way. Other interesting choices in the top half of the rankings include Michigan State (No. 9) and West Virginia (No. 10), who will be led by the return of Will Grier at the quarterback position.
Once again, though, no Group of 5 team is “projected” to make a legitimate run at the College Football Playoff, with only Boise State and UCF (both outside the top 15) included in the mix. Those schools aren’t surprising to see given recent pedigree but, for the Knights, the loss of Scott Frost leaves a significant burden on the shoulders of the returners, headlined by McKenzie Milton.
For the full power rankings, go here.