Last Word On College Football 2018 Preseason Top 25

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2018 Preseason Top 25
Stock Photo/Getty Images. Every team in the nation is playing for the College Football Playoff Championship Trophy.

The grass is mowed, pads are popping, and fans are starting to make plans. College football is back. One of the many great things about college football is the constant debate on who is best. Our writers will start that discussion with our Last Word On College Football 2018 Preseason Top 25.

Last Word On College Football 2018 Preseason Top 25

At the top, it’s a two-team race. Alabama, coming off yet another championship and a fourth consecutive playoff appearance, garnered all by two first place votes among our 20 voters. Clemson captured the other two first place votes and sits comfortable in the second spot.

The SEC again leads the way with six teams in the Top 25, although the Big Ten has five teams in the top 15, including four teams from the Big Ten East. The ACC and Big 12 have four each, the Pac-12 has three teams, and Notre Dame, UCF, and Boise State round out the rest of the rankings.

Of the 12 teams that appeared on all 20 ballots, Auburn had the biggest difference between highest and lowest votes (16 spots; 5 highest, 21 lowest). And Alabama had the least differential, appearing as either first or second on every ballot. Four other teams were represented on all but one ballot: Wisconsin, Michigan State, Michigan, USC, and Mississippi State.

Without further ado, let the discussion begin.

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LAST WORD ON COLLEGE FOOTBALL

2018 PRESEASON TOP 25

Rank


 Team


Points


Previous


1.

ALABAMA (18)  

498 1
Alabama again asserts themselves as the team to beat in college football. The Tide lost eight players to the NFL Draft just on defense. And there’s a quarterback controversy. Still, no one wants to pick against Nick Saban.


2.

CLEMSON (2) 

480 4
A formidable defensive front four, with four potential NFL Draft picks, and a weaker than normal ACC leaves Clemson in the driver’s seat for a fourth straight College Football Playoff appearance.


3.

GEORGIA  

456 2
‪Georgia came one play away from the national championship last season after winning the SEC Championship. Kirby Smart has brought a lot of talent to Athens through recruiting — Is this finally the Dawgs’ year?


4.

Oklahoma_Sooners_logo.svg

OKLAHOMA  

409 3
The post-Baker Mayfield era begins in Norman. Can a young coach and millionaire quarterback keep the wagons moving across Big 12 country. An improving conference looks to threaten the Sooner reign.


5.

OHIO STATE 

407 6
The coaching turmoil in Columbus isn’t resolved yet, but the talent remains on the field. The Buckeyes players are as talented as any team in the nation; can they avoid the yearly misstep and get back to the CFP?


6.

WASHINGTON 

395 16
The time for the Huskies is now. Chris Petersen brings back Myles Gaskin and Jake Browning and has the best defensive front west of the Mississippi River. It’s time for the Huskies to step up.


7.

WISCONSIN

369 8
The Badgers look to control the Big Ten West yet again. They have a veteran squad and a stout defense as always. With a leadership crisis in the Big Ten East, this could be Wisconsin’s year to take the conference title.


8.

Nigel BethelMIAMI

362 12
Miami is looking to repeat their successful 2017 campaign and challenge Clemson for ACC supremacy. That’s a tall task, and Hurricane fans might feel like Georgia fans after a few years of Mark Richt almost leading them to titles.


9. 

NOTRE DAME   

317 9
Notre Dame brings back a lot of talent, especially on defense. Improved play from the quarterback position will be the key for the Irish as they start a grueling schedule off in Week 1 against Michigan.


10.

PENN STATE 

310 7
Saquon Barkley is gone. So is Joe Moorhead. Penn State still has a great nucleus in place, but in the toughest division in college football, will it be enough to finally get back to the top?


11.

Stanford_plain_block_-S-_logo.svg

STANFORD 

283 18
Stanford has won the Pac-12 North three of the past five seasons. Bryce Love expects to be the preseason Heisman Trophy favorite, and David Shaw hopes K.J. Costello can lead the Cardinal back to the Division title.


12.

AUBURN   

279 10
What you believe about Auburn largely depends on what you think about Jarrett Stidham. Auburn’s defense looks like a great unit on paper, but consistency on offense was the Tigers achilles heel last season.


13.

MICHIGAN STATE

274 14
The Spartans bring back 19 of 22 starters from a ten-win team in 2017. That includes QB Brian Lewerke and RB L.J. Scott. Wins over Michigan and Penn State last season showed that Michigan State is a legitimate contender.


14.

TCU 

220 11
Gary Patterson just keeps going in Ft. Worth. Patterson again has the best defense in the Big 12, and while Texas and West Virginia are getting the dark horse votes, no coach keeps his team in it like Patterson.


15.

MICHIGAN

205 NR
Can Shea Patterson finally get the Wolverines to live up to the hype that accompanies Jim Harbaugh? There’s a lot falling into place in Ann Arbor, but it’ll be difficult to get past Michigan State, Penn State, Ohio State and Notre Dame.


16.

2017 Preseason Top 25

USC

196 13
The Trojans look to replace Sam Darnold and continue their dominance in the Pac-12 South. Can USC get to 10+ wins for a third straight season? Out of conference games against Texas and Notre Dame will likely determine that.


17. 

MISSISSIPPI STATE 

155 21
New head coach Joe Moorhead has sneaky good pieces on both sides of the ball. Nick Fitzgerald and Aeris Williams on offense and a dominant defensive line with Jeffery Simmons and Montez Sweat could challenge in the SEC West.


18.

WEST VIRGINIA

146 NR
Will Grier is in charge of Dana Holgorsen’s high powered offense in Morgantown and that has Mountaineer fans excited about 2018. They’ll face a better Big 12 and two big out of conference tests, against Tennessee and at N.C. State.


19. 

TEXAS 

140 NR
The eyes of Texas are upon Tom Herman and the 2018 Longhorns. A decade after the heights of Mack Brown’s success, Texas fans are eagerly awaiting finally returning to the top.

20.

FLORIDA STATE

111 NR
It’s a new era in Tallahassee after the acrimonious departure of Jimbo Fisher. Willie Taggart is in charge now, and the Seminoles find themselves as second fiddle in the ACC, a place they’re not accustomed to.


21.

UCF 

102 5
Scott Frost might be gone, but McKenzie Milton is back and new head coach Josh Heupel thinks he can keep the winning streak alive in Orlando. It’ll be hard to deny this team again after a stunning Peach Bowl win last season.


22.

VIRGINIA TECH

81 NR
Justin Fuente’s young team will be tested if they are going to finish the season in the Top 25. It was a brutal offseason for the Hokies, and they lost a lot of talent from 2017.


23.

BOISE STATE

76  20
In the last sixteen years, the Broncos have 16 bowl appearances, winning 10, and have an average record of 11-2. They have 13 10+ win seasons, two 9-win seasons, and a low of an 8-win season. Don’t bet against this team.


24.

SOUTH CAROLINA

49  22
Young Jake Bentley led the Gamecocks to a surprising 2017 season. He’s back, along with Deebo Samuel. South Carolina fans are eager to see if the 2018 team can challenge Georgia for the top spot in the SEC East.


25.

LSU  

39  23
Will a transfer quarterback led Ed Orgeron and the LSU Tigers back to the top of the SEC West? Or will a dominate defense again be let down by a dismal offensive side? If so, Orgeron might be on the outs yet again.

Others Receiving Votes: Memphis (32), Missouri (30), FAU (26), Boston College (15), Oklahoma State (7), Houston (7), Louisville (6), Arizona (4), Florida (4), Northwestern (4), Texas A&M (3), Oregon (3).


 

About the Poll: Twenty LWOCFB writers rank the Top 25 teams across the nation weekly to determine the best teams from around the country.

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