Our second publication, Athlon Sports (A.S.), will have a slightly different look than Phil Steele’s line up. Eight teams recognized by Steele’s Staff stayed in Athlon’s Top Ten, with the top three being identical, Bama, OSU, & FSU. A.S. moved Florida & Wisconsin out of the Top 10 and Auburn & Michigan have been added at 9 & 10 respectively.
Comparing Athlon Sports Ranking with Steel’s 11 thru 20 (Steele’s rank is listed after the team, check below to compare Athlon’s rating): LSU (13), Wisconsin (10), Texas (21), Oklahoma State (15), Georgia (22), Florida (9) Stanford (14), Louisville (17), Tennessee (NR), & Notre Dame (19). Athlon did not rank TCU (20)
The Publications also differed on 21 through 25: Oregon (23), Kansas State (24), Miami FL (11), South Florida (18), & Virginia Tech (25)
How Athlon Ranked the Power 5 Conferences: SEC 6 Teams: #1 Alabama, #9 Auburn, #11 LSU, #15 Georgia, #16 Florida, & #19 Tennessee; ACC 5 Teams: #3 Florida State, #7 Clemson, #18 Louisville, #23 Miami FL, & #25 Virginia Tech.; Big 12 4 Teams: #8 Oklahoma, #13 Texas, #14 Oklahoma State, & #22 Kansas State; B-10 has 4 Teams: #2 Ohio State, #6 Penn State, #10 Michigan, & #12 Wisconsin, PAC 12 4 Teams: #4 Washington, #5 USC, #17 Stanford, & # 21 Oregon; Independents 1 Team: #20 Notre Dame; AAC 1 Team: #24 South Florida
Athlon & Steele ranked only one Group of Five (G5) Team, South Florida was the choice in both cases. Interestingly, USF’s coach, Willie Taggart has departed for Oregon. Enter fired Texas Coach, Charlie Strong, this could give new meaning to the concept of the “Phoenix rising from the ashes”! I for one, hope so!
- Alabama: Nation’s Best recruiting program / a few seconds from 15-0 in 2016
- Ohio State: Meyer is 61-6 @ OSU, but only 1 B-10 Title! Bucks want more in 17
- Florida State: The Seminoles may begin and end their season against the Tide!
- Washington: A playoff team in 16, Peterson is a great coach, but is #4 a reach?
- USC: 9 straight wins to end 2016, The Bush Sanctions are over, Trojans are back!
- Penn State: The Lions have 10 starters back on O / D’s front 7 is the ? mark!
- Clemson: Watson (QB) & Williams (WR) gone! Talent yes / Experience not yet
- Oklahoma: Bobby Stoops is gone, Lincoln Riley is in, what’s next for OU?
- Auburn: Gus Malzahn’s D, not the O, will determine the height of success in 17.
- Michigan: The Wolves have 5 starters back/is the rank about Jim Harbaugh?
- LSU: Talent everywhere, QB Danny Etling & OC Matt Canada hold the keys!
- Wisconsin: Return 4 of 5 O linemen, LBs are great, & TE is an All American
- Texas: Horns have had 3 straight losing seasons, Herman is good, but this good?
- Oklahoma State: Gundy has won 10 or more games in 5 of the last 7 seasons
- Georgia: Best running combo in the country and 10 starters back on D
- Florida: QB is the ? mark, Feleipe Franks, Luke Del Rio, or ND’s Malik Zaire?
- Stanford: Shaw is outstanding, he has won 10 games +, 5 of the last 6 seasons
- Louisville: QB Lamar Jackson is back … enough said!
- Tennessee: Butch Jones has gone 9-4 the last 2 season, not good enough!
- Notre Dame: If Brian Kelly goes 4-8 again, well, Brian Kelly goes!!
- Oregon: Helfrich won 33 games in 3 years, 4-8, fired, Willie Taggart better win!
- Kansas State: Bill Snyder has won more games than any current FBS Coach
- Miami FL: Mark Richt is back … So is Miami!
- South Florida: Like Phil Steele, the only G5 Program ranked by Athlon.
- Virginia Tech: Fuente & Hokies won’t quit, comeback wins vs ND & Arkansas