It's August, which means the start of the college football season is just around the corner. It also means that the preseason rankings will hit soon, with the Amway Coaches Poll likely to be released first.
So, why not predict how the coaches will vote in their preseason poll? Below, we'll give it a shot, along with taking a closer look at a few teams expected to be atop the rankings.
Projected Coaches Poll
1. Alabama Crimson Tide
2. Clemson Tigers
3. Ohio State Buckeyes
4. Georgia Bulldogs
5. Oklahoma Sooners
6. Wisconsin Badgers
7. Washington Huskies
8. Miami Hurricanes
9. Michigan State Spartans
10. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
11. Penn State Nittany Lions
12. West Virginia Mountaineers
13. Stanford Cardinal
14. USC Trojans
15. Florida State Seminoles
16. Auburn Tigers
17. Virginia Tech Hokies
18. LSU Tigers
19. TCU Horned Frogs
20. Michigan Wolverines
21. Georgia Tech
22. Oregon Ducks
23. Memphis Tigers
24. Boise State Broncos
25. UCF Knights
The top of these projected rankings shouldn't come as much of a surprise to anyone, with all four of last year's College Football Playoff teams in the top five. Ohio State joins those squads at No. 3, and the Buckeyes are loaded with talent, as always.
Alabama will basically be the favorite every season until Nick Saban calls it quits or loses his touch. All he's done at the school is win five national championships since 2009. Until a team proves otherwise, the Crimson Tide should be considered the best school in the country.
It wouldn't be surprising if Clemson proves otherwise, however. The Tigers are loaded, with options at quarterback in the mobile Kelly Bryant and freshman phenom Trevor Lawrence if Bryant struggles in the passing game.
But the Tigers will truly pop on defense. They'll possess one of the better defensive lines in recent memory, featuring studs like Christian Wilkins, Austin Bryant, Clelin Ferrell and Dexter Lawrence.
The Tigers are going to dominate teams in the trenches, and there aren't any other weaknesses on the defense, either. An ACC title feels like a formality at this point.
In Columbus, the Buckeyes' season will be defined by how Dwayne Haskins responds as the new starting quarterback, replacing J.T. Barrett.
He certainly won't be without help, though. J.K. Dobbins and Mike Weber are a nasty duo at running back. The offensive line lost some pieces but still has impressive depth. Ohio State has enough skill-position players in the passing game for about three teams.
The offense is stacked, so OSU comes into 2018 capable of being an elite team if Haskins plays well and if the defense is stout. Don't bet against the Buckeyes.
Oklahoma will go as far as new quarterback Kyler Murray takes them. Or Austin Kendall. The fact that a clear starting candidate has yet to emerge is worth monitoring, but this is more a situation of having two solid options, not two mediocre ones.
And then there's Georgia, which lost its share of talent to the NFL this spring but should have yet another dangerous two-headed monster in the backfield in D'Andre Swift and Zamir White. Add in another year of experience for Jake Fromm, and the Bulldogs should be in the playoff conversation once again.
From there, it gets a bit tricker projecting how the coaches will construct their initial poll of the season. But it seems like a pretty safe bet that Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State, Oklahoma and Georgia will top the list, in some order.