The Associated Press' national college football poll has been published since 1936 and if you thought little things like a global pandemic and a patchwork-at-best upcoming season would deter them from tabulating all the numbers and assessing teams' abilities before anyone plays a meaningful down, well, then you've got another thing coming, bub.
The latest version is out today with Clemson atop the the list. Alabama is No. 3. Georgia is No. 4. Tennessee even got some love at No. 25. But on first blush it's hard not to notice the handful or so of teams that are ranked way too high. It's always dangerous to go out on a limb and proclaim that a side won't meet lofty expectations, yet in this case I have a strange and serene inner peace.
1. Ohio State
The Buckeyes check in at No. 2 and garnered 21 first-place votes. Justin Fields may be the best quarterback in the country, but it's very easy to see him regressing to far less productivity this season. Ryan Day's high-scoring offense may have finally met the one thing that can keep it out of the end zone.
2. Penn State
The Nittany Lions are No. 7 and can take some small solace in knowing that they'll go .500 in big games this campaign.
The Ducks are No. 9 and have probably earned the benefit of the doubt. My sense, though, is that Mario Cristobal's breakout season and return to the playoff will take a year longer than most experts expect.
The 12th-ranked Badgers actually saw their schedule get harder with complete cancellation, a phenomenon we've never seen before and may never see again.
Actually, No. 16 feels about right for Big Blue as Jim Harbaugh will probably challenge some directional school every week and more than hold his own solo season with an enthusiasm unknown to most men.
P.J. Fleck's boat-rowers are No. 19 but will go winless. The bright side is that he's the one guy who can actually make everyone believe that's a positive.
Kyle Whittingham's vaunted defense, coming in ranked 22nd, will pitch a shutout every week and have nothing to show for it.
No issue with Iowa's ranking. Will be the 24th-best team in the country when all is said and done.