Another college football season is behind us, the longest one ever after starting when it was hotter than ghost pepper soup and finishing up almost a full five months later in the coldest indoor stadium press box in America.
Who says we don’t have seasons in the South?
The coronation of LSU was majestic and historical. The Bayou Bengals got in the way of what looked like it was going to be a classic final game rendering the fourth quarter uneventful enough to force those of us who had to stay up to start channel flipping.
As an Associated Press voter, I had to be up at the end of the game to send in my final ballot of the season and here’s what it looked like:
- LSU; 2. Clemson; 3. Ohio State; 4. Georgia; 5. Oklahoma.
I thought I was being bold by putting Georgia ahead of Oklahoma, a College Football Playoff team. It turns out I wasn’t as critical of the Sooners as my colleagues.
Oklahoma dropped out of the top five and was replaced by Oregon in the final poll. LSU’s penchant for blowout wins hurt the Sooners, but not the Bulldogs.
- Florida; 7. Oregon; 8. Alabama; 9. Penn State; 10. Minnesota.
Florida-Oregon or Oregon-Florida. You could have gone either way. Oklahoma at No. 7 was a bit of a surprise.
- Notre Dame; 12. Wisconsin; 13. Baylor; 14. Iowa; 15. Memphis.
Auburn finished 14th in the AP poll and Memphis was not in the top 15. Sometimes it’s about your losses more than your wins. Auburn’s losses were to four teams ranked in the top 10 and it had two top-10 wins according to the final AP Poll.
I get it.
- Appalachian State; 17. Auburn; 18. Cincinnati; 19. Texas A&M; 20. UCF.
I resisted on A&M and UCF in the last month of the regular season and probably gave too much weight to their bowl wins.
- Michigan; 22. Utah; 23. Air Force; 24. Navy; 25; Florida Atlantic.
Maybe I was too harsh on Utah and Boise State, but I wasn’t going to put Texas (No. 25 in the AP) in there with five losses.
Anyway, that’s a wrap and we already are starting to look at next year and what the preseason poll will look like.
A lot can change between now and the middle of August, but one thing that is consistent about college football hacks is that we love to start out with rankings before we know for sure what every team will look like when the season begins in September.
Really, it’s just a bookmark for what we think now. And here is what I think now (subject to change):
- Clemson; 2. Alabama; 3. Ohio State; 4. LSU; 5. Oklahoma.
Yep, the same cast of characters. Everyone wants to talk about the end of the Alabama dynasty, but I think Nick Saban comes back with a vengeance. LSU is a bit of a mystery at quarterback and Oklahoma will try to do it again with another new quarterback.
- Florida; 7. Georgia; 8. Penn State; 9. Notre Dame; 10. Oregon.
This is a big year for Florida with a favorable schedule and a roster that’s easy to like. Dan Mullen talked about the jump from 10 wins to 11 being tougher than the jump from four wins to 10 and he’s right. The jump from 11 to 12 wins is even more difficult.
- Oklahoma State; 12. Iowa State; 13. Auburn; 14. Cincinnati; 15. Wisconsin.
Just a gut feeling on the Cowboys with Chuba Hubbard back. Auburn is a team that will be difficult to figure unless Bo Nix takes a massive leap.
- Texas A&M; 17. Minnesota; 18. Baylor; 19. Iowa; 20. Michigan.
Two reasons to like A&M this year — the non-conference schedule is soft and the Aggies trade out Georgia for Vanderbilt.
- Texas; 22. Arizona State; 23. Boise State; 24. UCF; 25. Florida State.
Mike Norvell won’t turn around FSU right away, but he’ll get the Seminoles headed in the right direction. Arizona State has a ton coming back.
There it is … for now. And one final salute to the 2019 season. The 2018 season was not great in terms of the usual great games, but this past season delivered.
OK, we had one dog semifinal game, but college football was spectacular again this season. The way it is supposed to be.
Contact Pat Dooley at 352-374-5053 or at email@example.com. And follow at Twitter.com/Pat_Dooley.