The coaches just official released their preseason Top 25, so I thought it was time we released ours with a Pac-12 focus. The preseason hype machine is almost over, so here is one last ranking of who I think are the Top 25 teams in the nation as we kick off fall camp.
Let’s get started.
- Florida State
- Notre Dame
- Ohio State
- Stanford - Another year, another list of reasons why the Stanford reign of dominance may be coming to an end. Many of these reasons are more than legitimate (namedly, the empty spot at QB heading into fall), but Christian McCaffrey, a proven coach and system and a boatload of talent across the board still make the Cardinal a slam dunk Top 10 preseason team the Pac-12 favorite.
- USC - The Trojans have Top 10 talent but an honorable mention track record. What else is new? I have the Trojans this high because I think there is a huge drop off after the first 11 and I think Clay Helton has what it takes to at least get decent production out of his talented and experienced roster.
- Michigan State
- UCLA - The other LA school has a hard time fulfilling its potential, but I think having Josh Rosen under center could go a long ways in a conference which is breaking in new QBs almost across the board. Plus, the Bruins might have the most-talented defense in the entire Pac-12 and a coach that at least knows how to get them to 9-10 wins.
- Oregon - Everyone seems to forget that the Ducks were maybe the nation’s scariest team from Halloween until Vernon Adams went down in the Alamo Bowl. They still are loaded at the skill positions, should improve at least somewhat on defense and could be a darkhorse Playoff contender if they find a solution at quarterback that is at least 75 percent of what Adams was.
- Washington State - The fact the coaches left the Cougars out of the Top 25 shows how hard it is to get respect at Washington State. The Cougars have a proven offensive system with the Pac-12’s best quarterback and most productive receiver and return nice chunks of an offensive line and a defense which made major strides in 2015.
- Washington - The Huskies are as strong on paper going into a season as they have been in more than 10 years, but they still have a ton of questions. They have endless experience and a proven defense returning, but their overall win resume from 2015 is pretty light and they are going to have to prove they belong in the Top 25 once Pac-12 play starts.
- North Carolina
- Texas A&M
On The Edge
Louisville, Miami, Florida, Oklahoma State, Utah