Here is your end-of-year Blogpoll. I don’t think there are any things that have to be overly justified here. But, just a few observations:
- The top of the Mountain West, with the exception of Boise in Stillwater, played really good ball all year — that is reflected here, and rightly I believe. I get accused of Stanning the small schools too much. But a 10-2 G5 school is at least as good as many 7-5 P5 programs.
- One conference that gets no love at the end of the year is the AAC: The Knights got their butts handed to them by a third-string SEC defense as LSU’s bumbling offense looked like Air Coryell versus a puny Knight’s defense. Memphis’ defense gacked again. Houston had 70 dropped on them. The Cincinnati Bearcats, staggered around for a half vs. a .500 Va. Tech team before turning it on.
- A G5 Playoff would be amazing: Who wouldn’t want to see the buzz saw of Utah State air it out versus Todd Monken’s Army squad? How about the defense of Cincinnati square off against the vertical Blazers? Make this happen.
- I accidentally left out Buffalo when I was typing it over from my note pad :( — The Bulls were meant to be tied for 25 with Iowa. Make mental note of that.
- Syracuse played incredibly fundamentally sound football most of the year with largely 3-star athletes. The Orange won 10 games for the first time in 17 years. Dino Babers should have won, at a minimum, ACC CotY. This team could grow into an existential threat to Clemson’s hegemony in a soft conference.
- The Big Ten was mostly abominable in the bowl season: once again, there are a lot of teams that are almost ready to compete, but never quite make it over the hump for reasons of coaching (Penn State), offense (Michigan State), defense and talent (Purdue), or some combination of all these things (Michigan). Ohio State’s coaching wasted a playoff run the last two years — every year has been 2013 ‘Bama in Columbus. That ‘Bama team, and 2017-2028 Ohio State has to be considered a cautionary tale for Georgia fans.
- Speaking of wasted years, I’ll bet Auburn wants a mulligan on a few of its games. The offensive line was never up to par; it took too long for the running game to get on track; Gus dropped too many competitive games; and what the hell happened versus Tennessee?! This was a 10-win defense with a 6-win offense.
- Texas is back — the entire state, basically. I’ve fully expected all season Jalen Hurts to move to Fort Worth in 2019 and lead the Horned Frogs. I’m standing by it. That’s the missing piece, as the defense was really good — No. 2 can lead the Frogs to a B12CG. With Dana Holgorsen taking over a very skilled Houston team; with A&M finally beginning to live up to its recruiting classes; with North Texas keeping red-hot Seth Littrell; and with the stockpiled talent in Austin, the Lonestar State’s obsessive passion with football may finally be rewarded.
- The P12 was simply ghastly this year. If Mike Leach can ever figure out the Washington Huskies, the North could be really competitive and up for grabs for the next few years: Oregon-Wazzu-W Dub-Stanford.
- Most of the marginally-ranked, nontraditional SEC teams showed their hineys in the Bowl season: Mizzou, South Carolina, and Mississippi State looked clueless in their losses. Mississippi State had an Auburn season on steroids: the most talented top-to-bottom Bulldogs team in a generation, one with defense that could compete for a national title, went 8-5. There’s simply too much talent on all of those teams to be this mediocre.
|2||Alabama Crimson Tide|
|3||Ohio State Buckeyes|
|5||Notre Dame Fighting Irish|
|10||Washington State Cougars|
|13||Texas A&M Aggies|
|15||Utah State Aggies|
|16||Fresno State Bulldogs|
|18||Army Black Knights|
|20||Boise State Broncos|
|Iowa State Cyclones|
|West Virginia Mountaineers|
|Mississippi State Bulldogs|
|Top 19 for 2019||Team|
|1||Alabama Crimson Tide|
|2||Ohio State Buckeyes|
|7||Texas A&M Aggies|
|11||Washington State Cougars|
|13||Notre Dame Fighting Irish|
|16||Iowa State Cyclones|
|19||Freson State Bulldogs|
After NSD and Spring Ball, we’ll have more on the 19 for ‘19. But for now, the thinking is that there are a lot of teams losing a ton of defense (Clemson), a ton of offense (Georgia, UCF), a ton of both (Michigan), several breaking in new QBs (U Dub, Wazzu, Ohio State, OU, UCF, etc/), and a few that are really well-positioned with enough of both to make a deep run in the new season (Alabama, LSU, A&M.)