How Many SEC Teams Could Be Ranked With a Revamped Preseason Top 25?
Should things hold, and honestly there's really no reason to think or know if they will, the Power 3 fall season we're on target to play would obviously be a huge departure for college football.
No Big Ten and no Pac-12 takes out many of the top contenders for the national title ... at least in theory it does.
There's almost no one left playing out west. Notre Dame will carry the torch for the Midwest by playing in the ACC. The northeast has Syracuse.
We'll skip the obvious joke about how that's pretty much college football every year of late, especially during the College Football Playoff era, only there's no way to get around that a significant number of top-end players will not be playing in 2020.
Even the Top 25 polls figures to look very different, assuming we get that far.
The initial coaches poll was already out, while the first AP Top 25 wasn't due to be released until Aug. 24.
Currently, only three teams in the preseason top 10 are not playing: No. 2 Ohio State (which was Phil Steele's top team in his preseason publication), No. 7 Penn State and No. 9 Oregon.
However, there were six other ranked teams that now aren't playing: Wisconsin, Michigan, Southern California, Minnesota, Utah and Iowa.
Here's how a new preseason poll might look:
- Notre Dame
- Texas A&M
- Oklahoma State
- North Carolina
- Virginia Tech
- Iowa State
- Ole Miss
- Mississippi State
If you didn't think the SEC dominated the rankings before, every team except Arkansas and Vanderbilt would be a possibility (and Missouri and South Carolina unlikely).
Also receiving votes? Try anyone still playing.
One thing I deliberately avoided for 10 Things to Ponder About a Power 3 College Football Season was the 2012 NFL Draft, just on the off-chance that a conference might change its mind and do an about-face.
So much for that.
One thing you can be certain of is when the Big Ten and Pac-12 decided to postpone and attempt to play in the spring they didn't give much thought to the draft.
Even with a reduced schedule (say eight games), playing in the spring would keep outgoing players from being able to train for the NFL combine or play in the Senior Bowl in Mobile.
For many that's their best place to shine, especially considering what the weather might be like in February and March.
Moreover, even if they played in the spring there will be talk about facing a reduced talent pool, and it would be almost impossible to do something like what Joe Burrow did in rising to the top of draft boards.
MMQB's Albert Breer touched upon the subject on Monday, including on how trainers are preparing for extended combine prep for college players opting out of the 2020 season, and also with draft analyst Rob Rang and Sports Illustrated host Robin Lundberg.
The bottom line, though, is those players would be at a huge disadvantage if the other conferences are able to play.
Did you notice?
• What’s next for embattled MLB commissioner Rob Manfred?
• At least 10 Big Ten football players reportedly have a rare heart condition associated with COVID-19.
• The hockey playoffs have been nothing short of amazing so far, highlighted by the five-overtime victory by the Tampa Bay Lightning.
• A rugby team in Australia is threatening to cut a player who breached the league’s COVID-19 protocol by going to the opening of a (biker-gang-connected) barbershop.
Note: The Sports Illustrated preseason graphic that appears in both the video and as a photo was from the 2017 season.
Christopher Walsh's notes column All Things CW regularly appears on BamaCentral