The Florida State Seminoles will open as the No. 1 team in the first AP preseason poll, says college football oracle Phil Steele. His predicted top five is rounded out with Alabama, Oregon, Auburn and Oklahoma.
The sixth spot is held down by our beloved Ohio State Buckeyes. While the Buckeyes will lose some talent, there is plenty more waiting in the wings. Here's what Phil Steele has to say:
After 24 consecutive wins to start the Urban Meyer era, the Buckeyes lost back-to-back games to close the 2013 season. However, in 2014, they looked poised to bounce back as quarterback Braxton Miller returns for his fourth year as the starting quarterback. They do lose running back Carlos Hyde and leading receiver Philly Brown but Meyer has upgraded the speed at the skill positions in the last couple of recruiting classes.
The defense loses headliners in linebacker Ryan Shazier and cornerback Bradley Roby but the defensive line returns all four starters and should be among the best in the country led by Noah Spence and Joey Bosa. The schedule again is manageable as Virginia Tech and Cincinnati both visit Ohio Stadium in non-conference play. The Buckeyes also avoid both Wisconsin and Nebraska from the West, get Michigan at home and their toughest test will be a road trip to East Lansing on November 8th against defending Big 10 Champ Michigan State.
This sounds about right. I do wish we could scrap the silly notion of a preseason poll, but that's a topic for another day.
Steele's ranking criteria can be found at his site.