by Lisa Horne
Preseason polls are the bane of every college football fan. Unless your team is ranked No. 1. Then they are legit, of course.
This preseason poll is based on personal observations—not reputation of a team or conference—and reflects how the teams will finish prior to the College Football Playoff.
No. 1 Florida State
The Seminoles are the reigning champs and until they lose, they are No. 1. Plus they've got this kid named Jameis Winston under center.
No. 2 Michigan State
Circle September 6 on your calendar—the Spartans travel to Eugene to play the Oregon Ducks. Sparty will be the underdog but with a stifling defense similar to Stanford's, Duck fans may be in for a rude and early season awakening.
No. 3 Auburn
Head coach Gus Malzahn has already caused chaos in his first year— Nick Saban's idyllic SEC world has been shattered. Can Malzahn go back-to-back? War damn eagle.
No. 4 UCLA
Right about now head coach Jim Mora should be begging UCLA fans to stop calling their players the "Gutty Lil Bruins." A Grizzly persona is not only more appropriate, but well deserved.
No. 5 Oklahoma
Beating Notre Dame in South Bend was special, but beating Alabama in the Sugar Bowl was the piece de résistance. Welcome back to Big Boy Football, Oklahoma. We've missed you.
No. 6 Alabama
Breaking in a new quarterback coupled with a very soft non-conference schedule—hello Florida Atlantic, Southern Miss and Western Carolina—gives me reason to believe the Tide will not be selected by the College Football Playoff committee members.
No. 7 Ohio State
If the defense improves and the rebuilt O-line jells (and protects quarterback Braxton Miller), this could be a national title season for the Buckeyes. But Ohio State has to get past Michigan State in East Lansing, Michigan and that may be too tall of an order.
No. 8 Oregon
Quarterback Marcus Mariota was well on his way to becoming a Heisman finalist until he got hurt. That wasn't the only problem. Oregon got manhandled in the trenches by Stanford and Arizona. This year the Ducks' secondary returns one veteran in corner Ifo Ekpre-Olomu.
No. 9 Georgia
The Bulldogs return 10 defensive starters and supposedly, defense wins championships. We will find out if that adage is true by the end of September when Georgia will have had played Clemson, South Carolina, Troy and Tennessee. A 2-2 record is not out of the question here.
No. 10 Kansas State
This feels like that magical 2012 season all over again. The Wildcats have an under-the-radar, returning stud quarterback in Jake Waters and nobody—and I mean nobody—has ranked Kansas State as a Top 10 team. Bill Snyder hears the deafening silence. You have been warned.
*photo courtesy of Lisa Horne