Sunday’s AJC offered the annual college football early-bird Top 25. Here’s the short version:
- Florida State
- Ohio State
- Notre Dame
- Michigan State
- Southern Cal
- Ole Miss
- North Carolina
- Washington State
- Oklahoma State
These teams were considered but, in the end, omitted: Arkansas, Boise State, Utah, Washington. I considered Florida for about two seconds but said, “Nah.”
I admit to peeking at other folk’s early Top 25s, and I can tell you that just about all of them had the same top dozen as I do. (SB Nation offers a compilation. You’ll see what I mean.) I have Tennessee higher than most, but I’ve been touting the Vols for two years. I have Oklahoma lower than most: That’s because I was unimpressed with what I saw in the Orange Bowl and also because the Sooners’ three best Big 12 victories — against Baylor, TCU and Oklahoma State — came against teams without their No. 1 quarterback.
As for Georgia: I think the Bulldogs will, once again, be good but not great. I think Kirby Smart could be an upgrade over Mark Richt. I think Jacob Eason, even if he’s not quite as good as advertised, will be better than Greyson Lambert/Faton Bauta. I think an empty chair will be an improvement on Brian Schottenheimer. And the schedule is not terrible. There’s no Alabama. Ole Miss has lost three big-time talents. The Tennessee game is in Athens. Florida still doesn’t have a quarterback, and the rest of the East is awful.
As for Georgia Tech: A reader asked if I’d have put the Jackets in a Top 40. My answer: No.