• These 25 teams have the strongest playoff cases in the country entering Week 1—but there are two sides to every argument.
By Scooby Axson
August 22, 2017

It’s that time of year again: College football’s preseason rankings will no doubt look nothing like the ones that matter in December, and yet we lap them up in mid-August as table-setters for a new season. There looks to be no dominant team that will wipe the floor with the rest of the country, and no less than seven or eight teams have a legitimate chance of ending up taking in the confetti in Atlanta on Jan. 8, but every team who cracks the preseason rankings can talk itself into a conceivable playoff path.

Each of the top teams have questions that will certainly be answered as the season kicks into gear. Will Alabama’s last-second title loss to Clemson be the motivation to get the Crimson Tide to the playoffs for a fourth straight year? Has Ohio State solved its offensive problems? Is USC the real deal behind Heisman candidate Sam Darnold? Will a dark horse threaten and possibly even join the playoff regulars?

Below are the preseason power rankings (which exist for a different purpose than SI’s Preseason Top 25), along with one reason why each team will and won’t make college football’s final four.

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Maybe next week: Utah, Tennessee, Colorado, TCU, NC State.

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