Preseason College Football Rankings 2020: Date and Predictions for Amway Poll

David KenyonFeatured ColumnistAugust 6, 2020

Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields throws a pass against Clemson during the second half of the Fiesta Bowl NCAA college football playoff semifinal Saturday, Dec. 28, 2019, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press

Tentative schedules are set across the Power Five, and the next landmark before the 2020 college football season is preseason polls.

And first up is the Amway Coaches Poll.

Scheduled for a noon ET release Thursday, it's the first Top 25 unveiled each season. While 2020 is anything but ordinary, the usual suspects are likely to sit atop the rankings.

The order of Alabama, Clemson and Ohio State is a question, but the unknown is part of the fun. As the Amway poll nears, we're projecting how the initial Top 25 is going to look.

           

Predicted Amway Top 25

1. Alabama

2. Ohio State

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3. Clemson

4. Georgia

5. LSU

6. Oklahoma

7. Florida

8. Penn State

9. Notre Dame

10. Texas

11. Oregon

12. Texas A&M

13. Auburn

14. USC

15. Michigan

16. Wisconsin

17. Minnesota

18. Oklahoma State

19. North Carolina

20. Utah

21. Iowa

22. UCF

23. Arizona State

24. Cincinnati

25. Tennessee

         

Storylines to Know

Battle for No. 1

Although LSU is the national champion, Ed Orgeron's team is likely to find itself a little further down the rankings.

Clemson fell to LSU in the title matchup but returns star quarterback Trevor Lawrence in 2020. The Tigers are overwhelmingly the best ACC team, so the Amway poll may reflect their high probability of returning to the College Football Playoff.

Trevor Lawrence
Trevor LawrenceRick Scuteri/Associated Press

But either Alabama or Ohio State also could be No. 1.

For good reason, the Crimson Tide receive an immense benefit of the doubt each season. They need to replace Tua Tagovailoa and a bunch of NFL talent, but no program has been recruiting at a higher level for a longer time than Alabama.

Granted, Ohio State comes close. And unlike the Tide, the Buckeyes bring back an elite quarterback in Justin Fields. He accounted for 50 touchdowns in his first season as a starter, so expectations are staying sky-high in Columbus.

While it's true a preseason ranking is ultimately not important, votes for the No. 1 spot are an intriguing topic to monitor.

            

Key Losses in Big Ten

In all likelihood, Top 25 ballots were due prior to Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons and Minnesota receiver Rashod Bateman opting out of the 2020 season.

The pair joined Virginia Tech corner Caleb Farley as nationally respected players who have decided not to play. Parsons earned first-team AP All-America honors last season, and Bateman secured third-team AP recognition.

While their decisions probably won't affect the poll, these are two enormous decisions to know.

Penn State is clearly behind Ohio State in the Big Ten hierarchy but still had championship dreams. Minnesota, meanwhile, is aiming to prove its 11-win season was no fluke.

Nobody is making excuses, but it's still fair to acknowledge those goals will be increasingly difficult to attain without an All-American that Penn State and Minnesota expected to have available.

              

Follow Bleacher Report writer David Kenyon on Twitter @Kenyon19_BR.