It seems to be a race every year which media outlet can get its college football preseason rankings out first — kind of like which department store decorates for Christmas first.
Well, a site called NationalChamps.net has established the new standard: It just came out with its 2011 rankings, and we haven’t even made it out of recruiting. Or the bowl season. Or December.
Georgia fans — you’ll neither be thrilled nor surprised. Georgia Tech fans — get ready to rumble.
The No. 1 ranked team on NationalChamps.net’s rankings is Oklahoma, followed by Alabama, LSU and then the two BCS title game opponents, Oregon and Auburn (is Cam Newton coming back or something?).
The Dogs are ranked 21st, which seems about right given the uncertainty on defense and the offensive line and the likely departure of A.J. Green to the NFL.
Then there’s Georgia Tech, which didn’t make the site’s top 25 — or even the top 50.
The only fan base probably more upset is USC’s. The Trojans checked in at No. 43, just behind Air Force, Kentucky and Northwestern. Enjoy, Lane Kiffin.
Preseason rankings mean little even in August. So you can imagine how little weight they carry nine and a half months before kickoff. But they do say something about perception. In this case, the perception is that the Dogs have something to prove and the Jackets’ 6-6 record this season is far closer to reality than the ACC title they won last year.
Do you agree? I’m heading out to Athens Tuesday morning to chat with Mark Richt, so I figured this would be a nice warm-up to a college football column later. What are your early — really early — thoughts on next season?
Below are NationalChamp.net’s rankings, including links to brief analysis.
2011 Top 25
Click on each team for breakdown
3. Louisiana State
6. Ohio State
10. Texas A&M
11. Oklahoma State
12. Michigan State
14. Boise State
16. Virginia Tech
18. Florida State
19. South Carolina
20. Notre Dame
23. Mississippi State
Teams 26-50 depth charts included
26. West Virginia
27. Arizona State
30. Penn State
33. Miami FL
38. Miami OH
39. North Carolina State
40. Air Force
43. Southern California
46. San Diego State
48. Boston College
49. Southern Miss
50. Brigham Young
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