Phil Steele’s preseason No. 1 for 2016 is an absolute shocker
GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 11: Head coach Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide celebrates after defeating the Clemson Tigers in the 2016 College Football Playoff National Championship Game at University of Phoenix Stadium on January 11, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona. The Crimson Tide defeated the Tigers with a score of 45 to 40. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Phil Steele’s annual preseason preview magazine is currently available on the Apple and Google Play app stores. The magazine is one of the best previews available in college football, and it contains a ton of content related to all FBS football teams.

One of the best pieces from that magazine is Steele’s preseason Top 40, and he is feeling quite bold with who he has at No. 1. No, it’s not Alabama or Clemson, or even LSU or Oklahoma; it’s Florida State.

Here’s what Steele has to say about the Seminoles.

The Seminoles were my #1 surprise team in the country in 2013 and took home the National Title. This year’s squad could be even strong if a solid QB emerges, and I think one will. Since that National Title, Florida St has brought in the #4, #3, and #1 recruiting classes.

Steele goes on to say that Florida State’s greatest strength this season will be their improved experience. They return 17 starters from their 10-3 2015 team, making them prime contenders to move up to the College Football Playoff tier in 2016.

RELATED: Phil Steele explains his Playoff prediction that has two SEC West teams

Steele’s Top 40 stays in line with his expectation that the SEC could get two teams into this year’s Playoffs. Steele has Alabama at No. 2 and LSU at No. 4. LSU is very similar to Florida State, as both are three-loss Power 5 teams that return a ton of starters from the 2015 season.

Perhaps one of Steele’s biggest surprises is his potential Pac-12 champion: the Washington Huskies. Washington was 7-6 in 2015, but they are becoming a trendy pick as a darkhorse team to rise in the Pac-12. Of course, Steele blows the doors off of “trendy pick” here and is predicting outright success for the Huskies.

Steele’s Top 10 is below. To see his entire Top 40, you can either grab a copy of his magazine, or visit, where he is currently posting updates day-by-day.


1. Florida State
2. Alabama
3. Oklahoma
4. LSU
5. Clemson
6. Ohio State
7. Tennessee
8. Washington
9. Notre Dame
10. Stanford

Bo was born in Atlanta, GA, and has always been a savvy sports follower. He attended Georgia Tech and has previously worked with ESPN TrueHoop, HawksHoop, and the Georgia Tech Newsroom. He covers national college football for FanBuzz.
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