Doing these before the underclassmen declaration deadline is kind of pointless, but there’s a huge demand for Top 25 rankings right after the final college football bell rings. I’ll update after all underclassmen are decided, if needed.
6. Ohio State
8. Penn State
11. Stanford - The Cardinal finished the season stronger than Washington in my opinion and nearly knocked off USC in the Pac-12 Championship Game, so I’m giving them the nod even though they probably lose Bryce Love. K.J. Costello looks like the answer at QB, their offensive line has turned the corner and returns four starters, and the defense is loaded with talented veterans - especially if Justin Reid and/or Quenton Meeks return.
12. Washington - The Huskies lose Vita Vea and some other key pieces, but they also return a ton from a team that made a NY6 bowl, including left tackle Trey Adams, who went down to injury halfway through the season. They tipping point for the Huskies could be senior QB Jake Browning and whether or not he is able to bounce back as a senior. The Huskies could be a Playoff contender again if he can make improvements in his game.
13. USC - Losing Sam Darnold was a massive blow, especially because I thought he was coming back. He’s not the only piece the Trojans lose though as Ronald Jones and a number of other top players are gone. Still, the USC team that won the Pac-12 in 2017 is loaded and could easily remain atop the conference if they have one of their QBs in the stable step up.
14. Michigan State
15. West Virginia
18. Mississippi State
20. Virginia Tech
22. Notre Dame
23. Boise State
24. Florida State
25. Oregon - The Ducks were a sleeper pick for me going into 2018 with a healthy Justin Herbert, but their disaster of a Las Vegas Bowl performance has me spooked. Still, I think they are worthy of a borderline preseason Top 25 nod.
On the edge
Oklahoma State, South Carolina, Memphis, Northwestern, Utah