There is no question that preseason college football rankings are a good barometer in terms of which teams to watch during upcoming campaigns. With that said, it is almost guaranteed that the rankings will change significantly after just one week of play. It essentially happens on a yearly basis, and it's unlikely that this year will be any different.
Since there are two games on the Week 1 schedule that will pit AP Top 25 teams against each other, that means two highly touted teams are going to get off to disappointing starts. In addition to that, there are several Top 25 teams on upset alert against unranked teams that are looking to prove that they deserve more respect.
Here are three Top 25 teams that will have their work cut out for them in Week 1 and will ultimately fall in the rankings by virtue of losses.
With the ACC in much worse shape than usual this season, hopes are high for the Clemson Tigers. Clemson will open the season as the No. 8 team in the country, and an undefeated year isn't outside the realm of possibility.
The Tigers will face their toughest test of the season first, though, as they are set to host the No. 5 Georgia Bulldogs.
This is unquestionably the marquee matchup of Week 1, and it's unfortunate that a national championship contender could very well be knocked from contention right off the bat.
Both of these teams will be desperate, but the better all-around team at this point appears to be Georgia. Clemson's offense may be a tad more explosive due to the combination of quarterback Tajh Boyd and wide receiver Sammy Watkins, but it will have to adjust to the losses of running back Andre Ellington and wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins. Georgia should have more balance on that side of the ball, with quarterback Aaron Murray and running back Todd Gurley carrying equal loads.
It's important to note that Georgia has an absolutely brutal schedule to start the year, as pointed out by Doug Gottlieb of CBS Sports, but that does ensure that the Bulldogs will be focused.
Georgia was 18th in the nation in points against last season, so defense is going to be the difference maker when these quality teams lock horns. Clemson will still have an opportunity to reach a BCS bowl game, but expect the Tigers to fall out of the Top 10 after Week 1.
The TCU Horned Frogs have been one of the premier mid-major teams in college football over the past several years, as they have become an AP Top 25 mainstay.
TCU fans are excited about the team's No. 20 ranking to open the season, but all signs point to that going by the wayside quite quickly.
Rather than taking the easy way out and crafting an easy nonconference schedule, TCU decided to open at home against No. 12 LSU. While that decision is an admirable one, it will also cost the Horned Frogs the opportunity to reach a BCS bowl, in all likelihood.
Defense has been the hallmark for both TCU and LSU in recent years, so this figures to be a low-scoring affair. With that said, quarterback play is going to be of the utmost importance. The erratic play of Zach Mettenberger hurt the Tigers to a certain extent last season, but with Cam Cameron now serving as his offensive coordinator, brighter days are ahead. TCU has a different problem at quarterback, as neither Casey Pachall nor Trevone Boykin has taken control of the starting job. Because of that, it's possible that both will play against LSU, according to ESPN College Football.
While playing two good quarterbacks always seems like a good idea in theory, it almost never works out. Rather than using the strengths of both signal-callers, it basically throws the offense out of whack.
If TCU is actually considering this strategy, then it can kiss its chances of beating LSU goodbye.
Regardless of what the Horned Frogs do, though, LSU is simply the better team, and it will push TCU to the brink of falling outside of the Top 25.
Like TCU, Boise State is one of the few teams outside the major conferences that has proven capable of playing with the big boys.
The Broncos are definitely dark-horse contenders in terms of reaching a BCS bowl this season due largely to an easy schedule, but they can't afford to look past Washington in Week 1. The Huskies aren't ranked currently, but they are a very dangerous team that could very well crash the Pac-12 party by the time the season is over.
Few teams have the potential to be as explosive offensively as Washington this year. Quarterback Keith Price should be even more comfortable this season, running back Bishop Sankey is coming off a monster year, and the receiving duo of Kasen Williams and Austin Seferian-Jenkins should be huge for Washington this season as well.
Perhaps the one concern that the Huskies have heading into the regular season is Seferian-Jenkins' status, as the star tight end hasn't yet been cleared to play due to a broken pinkie, according to The Seattle Times.
Even so, the Huskies have the firepower necessary to compete with the Broncos.
Boise State beat Washington by two points in the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas last season, but Washington's roster has had sufficient time to gel since then. Also, this game will mark the first at newly renovated Husky Stadium, so the crowd should be insane.
Boise State has proven over the years that it should never be underestimated, but Washington will enter this game with a chip on its shoulder, and it will lead to a minor upset to start the season.
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