|Daily Blog •January 26, 2013|
For the past several years I have projected the preseason AP Top 10 nearly six months in advance and I have correctly projected at least nine of the Top 10 teams each year and last year I projected all 10 of them correctly on January 30, 2012, more than six months prior to it being released in August! It is one of my more popular blogs in the off-season and last year with its overwhelming popularity I decided to expand it for the first time to 24 teams on March 2. Despite it being five months prior to being released, I correctly projected all 24 teams to be among the Preseason AP Top 25 teams!
Coming up on Wednesday I will release my Projected AP Top 10 for 2013! I will mention it now and I will mention it numerous times throughout that blog that this is not MY preseason Top 10 for next year, it is where I project the AP Top 10 to come out at the start of the season.
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 WR’s 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 6 months in advance. Now as you all know, a lot can happen from January to August including injuries, suspensions, transfers, etc.
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.
In 2010 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 the 2010 magazine or listened to one of my radio shows across the country you know I thought very highly of the Sooners as I had them ranked #1. Like Penn St in 2009 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 in 2009 and the fact that they did not even finish in the final AP Top 25.
I also am pleased that six of the 10 teams were ranked in the exact position that I projected 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.
Last year I projected the preseason 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 that appeared in the Preseason Top 10 with the only exception being South Carolina/Nebraska, which I can defend easily.
First, when I released my projection back in February of last year South Carolina QB Stephen Garcia was still on the team and was not suspended which would end up costing him the spring and summer with the team. With Garcia’s status up in the air at the time of the AP ballots being due in late July and early August, South Carolina was dropped a bit giving way to Nebraska. The Cornhuskers meanwhile were my pick to win the Big Ten in last year’s magazine which probably influenced a few voters as well.
Last year was simple….I listed 10 teams all the way back on January 30, 2012 and all 10 teams made the cut come August. That gives me a 4-year run of hitting 37 out of the 40 teams (93%) six months in advance!