Phil Steele’s AP Top 25 Projections For 2015 Are Dominated By The SEC

With yet another sign that the college football offseason is creeping and crawling along, Phil Steele has released his predictions for the preseason AP Top 25. To be clear, these aren’t Steele’s predictions for whom the top-25 teams should be, but rather what he believes the AP’s preseason list will look like. A prediction of a prediction, if you will.

For those unfamiliar with Steele, he’s a college football guru who ranks teams based on a wide variety of statistics and metrics. When it comes to prognosticators, he’s top of the pops.

In determining what the AP poll will look like, Steele dove into the myriad of ways voters evaluate teams. Namely, they tend to weigh bowl game results, returning players (especially at the skill positions), and finishing position in the previous year’s polls.

Taking those into account, it’s little surprise that Ohio State sits atop the list. The Buckeyes smoked the competition in their three postseason contests, return four legitimate Heisman Trophy candidates and finished No. 1 in last year’s polls. Entering 2015 it’s Ohio State and then everyone else.

Second on the projected poll is TCU. The Horned Frogs lost only one game last season, and it was by three points, on the road, to an equally strong Baylor squad. They finished the year by pasting Ole Miss, 42-3, in the Peach Bowl after getting boxed out of the inaugural College Football Playoff. With Heisman hopeful Trevone Boykin back under center, there looks to be little drop off in Fort Worth.

The Alabama Crimson Tide lands at No. 3. Despite ending 2014 on a down note, Alabama is a critical darling, and always will be as long as Saban lords the sidelines in Tuscaloosa. Kirby Smart and Lane Kiffin are two of the game’s brightest coordinators, and all parties have proven that the Tide reloads better than any team the country.

Captain America Art Briles and the Baylor Bears check in at No. 4 on Steele’s list. Much like TCU, the Bears were boxed out of the College Football Playoff on account of the Big 12 not having one true champion (despite the conference’s slogan of “One True Champion”).

Rounding out the top-5 are the Oregon Ducks. It’s been roughly a decade of Pac-12 dominance for the Ducks, who play flashy ball, but are usually guaranteed to lose at least one game to a lesser opponent. Voters will know everything they need about Oregon by the end of Week 2, as they travel to East Lansing to play projected No. 6, the Michigan State Spartans.

Leading the conference way is the SEC with a whopping nine teams in the rankings.

Below are the remaining 20 programs from Steele’s projections. For his reasoning behind each selection, click here.

Phil Steele AP Top 25 Predictions

  1. Ohio State Buckeyes
  2. TCU Horned Frogs
  3. Alabama Crimson Tide
  4. Baylor Bears
  5. Oregon Ducks
  6. Michigan State Spartans
  7. USC Trojans
  8. Florida State Seminoles
  9. Auburn Tigers
  10. Georgia Bulldogs
  11. UCLA Bruins
  12. Ole Miss Rebels
  13. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
  14. LSU Tigers
  15. Clemson Tigers
  16. Arizona State Sun Devils
  17. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
  18. Wisconsin Badgers
  19. Missouri Tigers
  20. Arkansas Razorbacks
  21. Mississippi State Bulldogs
  22. Oklahoma Sooners
  23. Boise State Broncos
  24. Tennessee Volunteers
  25. Stanford Cardinal

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