AP Top 10 Projection Results
Today the preseason AP Top 25 was released with Oklahoma clearly ranked #1. Every year I am particularly intrigued by who is placed in the preseason AP Top 10 as I try to predict what those teams will be shortly after the previous season is completed.
Most AP voters usually look at a couple of criteria when they evaluate a team for the upcoming season. First they look at the number of returning starters that the team has coming back particularly at the offensive skill positions. A team that returns its starting QB and a combination of its RB and WRs is often times more highly thought of than a team that loses its starting QB but returns its entire offensive line. Similarly a team that returns most of its starters on offense but loses a lot of its defensive playmakers usually is more highly thought of than a team that returns a majority of its defensive starters but loses its skill position players on offense.
Another factor that is heavily weighted is the performance of the team in the bowl game, which undoubtedly is the lasting image of that team in the offseason. A team coming off a huge bowl win usually is more highly thought of than a team that is coming off a bowl loss regardless of what their schedule looks like for the upcoming season.
Using these criteria and a few more, I project the preseason AP Top 10 every year at the conclusion of the previous season, which in most cases is nearly 7 months in advance. Now as you all know, a lot can happen from January to August and for further proof on that check on my players lost list, which is all the changes that have been made for each team since my magazine was published in May.
In 2009 my projected Top 10 for the AP Poll was #1 Florida, #2 Texas, #3 USC, #4 Oklahoma, #5 Alabama, #6 Virginia Tech, #7 LSU, #8 Oklahoma St, #9 Ohio St and #10 Mississippi. The actual AP Top 10 was #1 Florida, #2 Texas, #3 Oklahoma, #4 USC, #5 Alabama, #6 Ohio St, #7 Virginia Tech, #8 Mississippi and#9 was a tie between Oklahoma St/Penn St.
I nailed nine of the ten teams that appeared in the Preseason Top 10 with the only exception being LSU/Penn St and I may have had something to do with that. It’s interesting to note that of the main preseason magazines, only two had Penn St ranked in the Top 10 and I had them my #1 surprise team and ranked #5. Most had Penn St out of the Top 10. Perhaps since I had them rated so high in my magazine, it influenced a few voters across the country, bumping them into the Top 10.
Last year in my February 2nd Blog, I projected the preseason AP Top 10 would be #1 Alabama, #2 Ohio St, #3 Boise St, #4 Oregon, #5 Texas, #6 TCU, #7 Iowa, #8 Florida, #9 Nebraska and #10 Virginia Tech.
The actual AP Top 10 was #1 Alabama, #2 Ohio St, #3 Boise St, #4 Florida, #5 Texas, #6 TCU, #7 Oklahoma, #8 Nebraska, #9 Iowa and #10 Virginia Tech.
For the second year in a row I nailed nine of the ten teams that appeared in the Preseason Top 10 with the only exception being Oregon/Oklahoma, which I can defend easily.
First, at the time I wrote my projection back in early February Duck QB Jeremiah Masoli was not yet suspended. With Masoli still in the fold at that point Oregon had 17 returning starters including RB LaMichael James and Masoli in the backfield. The Ducks clearly would have been a preseason Top 10 team and probably Top 5 had Masoli not been kicked off the team. Even without Masoli Oregon was still rated #11 in the preseason poll.
The team that I did not have in my projected AP Top 10 was Oklahoma (#7) and if you have purchased my magazine or listened to one of my radio shows across the country you know I thought very highly of the Sooners last year and I had them ranked #1. Like Penn St two years ago perhaps since I had them rated so high in my magazine, it influenced a few voters across the country, bumping them into the Top 10 despite the Sooners having five losses last year and the fact that they did not even finish in the final AP Top 25.
I was also pleased that six of the 10 teams are ranked in the exact position that I projected way back in February including the top 3 in Alabama, Ohio St and Boise St. I also had Texas, TCU and Virginia Tech ranked in their exact positions in the poll.
This year way back in my February 11th Blog, I projected the AP Top 10 would be #1 Oklahoma, #2 Alabama, #3 Oregon, #4 LSU, #5 Stanford, #6 Texas A&M, #7 Boise St, #8 Florida St, #9 Oklahoma St and #10 South Carolina.
The actual AP Top 10 was #1 Oklahoma, #2 Alabama, #3 Oregon, #4 LSU, #5 Boise St, #6 Florida St, #7 Stanford, #8 Texas A&M, #9 Oklahoma St and #10 Nebraska.
For the third year in a row I nailed nine of the ten teams (including top 9!) that appeared in the Preseason Top 10 with the only exception being South Carolina/Nebraska, which I can defend easily.
When I made my initial projection back in February South Carolina QB Stephen Garcia was not yet suspended for spring practice. While he is reinstated now, the suspension may have given some voters some doubt and dropped them to #12. My #11 back in February was Ohio St but naturally since then the Buckeyes have lost their star QB Terrelle Pryor and HC Tressel and therefore they were downgraded significantly.
My #12 team was Nebraska and many AP Voters had to be thinking that their top 10 needed a Big 10 team in it and therefore they got the nod. Wisconsin was #14 in my initial projection but that was before they got Russell Wilson as a transfer and they moved up to #11.
I was also pleased that five of the 10 teams are ranked in the exact position that I projected way back in February including the top 4 in Oklahoma, Alabama, Oregon and LSU. I also had Oklahoma St ranked in their exact positions of #9 in the poll.
So there you have it, next year when you see my preseason AP Top 10 projection in late January or early February go ahead and compare it to the first AP poll that will come out several months later and I know you’ll find that probably 9 or maybe even all 10 will be in the Preseason AP Top 10.