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Tomorrow's Top 25 Today: Preseason AP

By Jerry Hinnen | College Football Writer

Could Kevin Sumlin's Aggies get dinged for the NCAA inquiry into Johnny Manziel's eligibility? (USATSI)
Could Kevin Sumlin's Aggies get dinged for the NCAA inquiry into Johnny Manziel's eligibility? (USATSI)

Want to know what tomorrow's AP Top 25 will look like ... today? During the season, you'll be able to find out -- or at least, see the Eye on College Football's best guess -- on Saturday nights.

Since the season hasn't started yet, though, this is Saturday's AP Top 25 today, the special preseason edition. After considering the coaches preseason Top 25, Phil Steele's projection for the AP preseason Top 25, our CBSSports.com experts' composite Top 25, and a dash of educated guesswork, here's what we think we'll see when the AP issues its preseason poll Saturday:

1. Alabama: File under "duh."

2. Ohio State: Only slightly less of a lock at No. 2, it seems, than the Tide are at No. 1.

3. Oregon: Chip Kelly's departure hasn't seemed to dent confidence in the Ducks; the coaches named them a comfortable No. 3 over Stanford.

4. Stanford: The gap between the Cardinal and No. 5 Georgia in the coaches poll, however, was much narrower. Still, a split among voters as to which SEC team should rank highest should see the Cardinal at No. 4.

5. Georgia: The uncertainy over Johnny Manziel's eligiblity has likely solidified the Bulldogs as the top SEC team other than Alabama.

6. South Carolina: The Gamecocks may benefit from a Texas A&M "slide" as well.

7. Clemson: The ACC favorites won't rank any lower than the No. 8 spot they claimed from the coaches.

8. Texas A&M: Four times as many SEC media days members picked South Carolina to win the SEC as the Aggies, and that was pre-Autographgate.

9. Louisville: Everybody knows Louisville could easily go undefeated. Everybody also knows that against the Cards' schedule, a 12-1 might still leave them in, well, ninth.

10. Florida: Yes, expect the SEC to make up half the top 10.

11. Florida State: The Seminoles are essentially ACC co-favorites with the Tigers in Vegas.

12. Notre Dame: Steele had the Irish pegged up at No. 7, but that prediction came before the news that Everett Golson would miss the season.

13. LSU: How many teams could suffer LSU's draft losses, play in the same division with Alabama and A&M, and still be ranked in the preseason top 15?

14. Oklahoma State: This is the part of both the coaches poll and the CBSSports.com composite in which the Big 12 finally appears ... and immediately lines up three teams in a row, a reflection of the wide-open nature (or at least, the expected wide-open nature) of the Big 12 race. Oklahoma State has been building over the summer as the closest thing to a consensus favorite.

15. Texas: Margin between Longhorns and Sooners razor-thin in coaches poll, so don't be too surprised if Oklahoma's here ...

16. Oklahoma: ... even if this must be the least star-studded Sooners roster in recent memory. You know about Gabe Ikard and Aaron Colvin (or at least, you should) but could the average college football fan name any 2013 Sooner other than Blake Bell?

17. Michigan: The last four picks have been directly in line with the coaches poll, but can't deviate here, either, when the Wolverines have a decisive balloting edge on Nebraska both there and in the CBSSports.com composite.

18. Boise State: Oh yeah, these guys. Still the consensus top-rated "Group of Five" team.

19. Nebraska: Buzz for Wolverines over Huskers in the Legends seems to miss the fact that Nebraska draws Penn State, Purdue and Illinois out of the Leaders, while Michigan gets Ohio State, Penn State and Indiana.

20. TCU: Gap between Frogs and No. 22 UCLA as wide in coaches poll as between Nos. 3 and 7.

21. Northwestern: And thus we welcome you to the total spitballing portion of both the real polls and this projection. Northwestern seems to have the most widespread buzz of the remaining candidates.

22. UCLA: Bruins should ride memories of 2012 into poll, but Pac-12 media preferred Arizona State (narrowly) to win the division.

23. Miami (Fla.): The coaches had the Hurricanes outside the poll, but the guess here is that the media will give them a little more credit as the consensus ACC Coastal favorite.

24. Wisconsin: Three straight Rose Bowls says this is too low. Six losses in 2012 and a coaching overhaul says this is too high. Which means it's probably about right.

25. Southern California: Not even the memory of the Sun Bowl will keep the Trojans out of the poll.

Just for giggles, here's a guess at the top five teams in the Also Receiving Votes category: Oregon State; Kansas State; Baylor; Fresno State; Arizona State.

And remember, if -- OK, when -- this projection is off, we're all in preseason form.

 
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