Here is a fun exercise I like to do before going to ACC and SEC Media Days. I take about five preseason magazines, put all of their predictions down on paper and compare them. There is not a lot of heavy lifting involved, but it gives you a mini consensus of what other people thinking.
The five magazines I used this year are: Athlon, Lindy’s, Phil Steele, The Sporting News, and a new one published by the folks who produce The Kickoff.
Example: Here are the pre-season Top Fives for each magazine:
Athlon: Florida, Oklahoma, Texas, USC, Ohio State
Lindy’s: Florida, Texas, Oklahoma, USC, Virginia Tech
Phil Steele: Florida, Texas, USC, Oklahoma, Penn State
Sporting News: Florida, Texas, Oklahoma, USC, Ole Miss
The Kickoff: Florida, USC, Texas, Oklahoma, Ohio State
What did we learn? That Florida, USC, Texas, and Oklahoma are in everybody’s top four in some combination. Four of the five magazines had different No. 5s: Ohio State, Virginia Tech, Penn State, and Ole Miss.
Conclusion? A lot of people are going to be surprised if the two teams in the BCS championship game don’t come from the mix of Florida, USC, Texas, and Oklahoma.
SEC TEAMS IN THE TOP 25
Athlon: Florida (1), Alabama (6), Ole Miss (10), Georgia (14), LSU (17)
Lindy’s: Florida (1), LSU (6), Alabama (7), Ole Miss (9), Georgia (17)
Phil Steele: Florida (1), Ole Miss (6), Alabama (8), Georgia (13), LSU (17)
Sporting News: Florida (1), Ole Miss (5), LSU (8), Alabama (13), Georgia (15)
The Kickoff: Florida (1), LSU (6), Georgia (10), Alabama (11), Ole Miss (16), Tennessee (25).
What did we learn? All five magazines had Florida, Alabama, Ole Miss, Georgia, and LSU ranked. The Kickoff added Tennessee at No. 25. Georgia is ranked between 10 and 17 with four of the magazines having the Bulldogs between 13-17. I think that’s about right.
Conclusion: Ole Miss and LSU are all over the map. Ole Miss is as low as No. 5 and as high as No. 16. LSU is as low as No. 6 and as high as No. 17. Alabama is in the Top 10 in three magazines and are rated No. 13 and No. 11 in two others. That is why the SEC West race is going to be so interesting.
ACC TEAMS IN THE TOP 25
Athlon: Virginia Tech (8), Florida State (15), North Carolina (19), Georgia Tech (22)
Lindy’s: Virginia Tech (5), Georgia Tech (16), Florida State (18), North Carolina (19)
Phil Steele: Virginia Tech (11), Miami (21), Clemson (25).
Sporting News: Virginia Tech (6), Georgia Tech (11), Florida State (17), North Carolina (23)
The Kickoff: Virginia Tech (8), Georgia Tech (13), Florida State (17), North Carolina (19).
What did we learn? Everybody but Phil Steele has Virginia Tech in their Top 10, so that should get your attention if you’re an Alabama fan. Miami, which is expected to be better in Randy Shannon’s third year, only cracked one Top 25 (Phil Steele). That’s because everybody else likes Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, and North Carolina in the Coastal Division ahead of the Hurricanes.
Conclusion: Virginia Tech is a solid favorite to win the Coastal, but not without a fight. The Atlantic is wide open as four magazines like Florida State but Clemson jumped into Phil Steele’s Top 25. N.C. State, in its third season under Tom O’Brien, could be a surprise team
What are your thoughts? Do these guys have it about right? Tomorrow we will break down the order of finish in the ACC and on Friday we’ll do the SEC. That should be enough homework to get us ready for media days.
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