NCAA Football Preseason Rankings 2020: Expert Reactions to Amway Top 25

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistAugust 6, 2020

Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence, left, leaves the field after a NCAA College Football Playoff national championship game against LSU, Monday, Jan. 13, 2020, in New Orleans. LSU won 42-25.(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Gerald Herbert/Associated Press

Amid the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the upcoming college football season, the preseason 2020 Amway Coaches Poll powered by USA Today was officially released Thursday afternoon.

As expected, Clemson claimed the No. 1 spot with quarterback Trevor Lawrence and a number of other key players returning from last year's 14-1 squad that reached the CFP National Championship Game.

Big Ten front-runners Ohio State finished a close second in the balloting, with Alabama, Georgia and LSU rounding out the fop five.

Here's a quick rundown of the full rankings:

1. Clemson
2. Ohio State
3. Alabama
4. Georgia
5. LSU
6. Oklahoma
7. Penn State
8. Florida
9. Oregon
10. Notre Dame
11. Auburn
12. Wisconsin
13. Texas A&M
14. Texas
15. Michigan
16. Oklahoma State
17. USC
18. Minnesota
19. North Carolina
20. Utah
21. UCF
22. Cincinnati
23. Iowa
24. Virginia Tech
25. Iowa State

While an ACC team sits atop the rankings, the SEC was well represented as usual:

SEC Mike @MichaelWBratton

SEC teams ranked in the 2020 preseason Coaches Poll: #3 Alabama #4 Georgia #5 LSU #8 Florida #11 Auburn #13 Texas A&M Others receiving votes: #26 Tennessee, #29 Kentucky & #39 Mississippi State

North Carolina is a team on the rise, and head coach Mack Brown told reporters that he was pleased with the team's position at No. 19 in the poll, via Zoom: 

Jared McMasters @McMastersJ

@DTHSports Mack Brown says that the team is excited about the new schedule and being ranked No. 19 in the coaches poll. Adds that Syracuse in Week 1 means the coaching staff will have adjustments to make in their preparation to play.

On the flip side, Cincinnati head coach Luke Fickell was not a fan of his team's placement at No. 22 on the heels of an 11-3 season: 

Justin Williams @Williams_Justin

Informed (in real time) that the #Bearcats were at #22 in the Coaches Poll, Fickell responded: "OK, I don't like that. Still disrespectful, but that's OK."

There have already been several notable players who have opted out of the 2020 season, including Penn State All-American linebacker Micah Parsons. That raises a fair question: 

Connor O'Gara @cjogara

Penn State starts at No. 7 in the Coaches Poll. I'm gonna make a wild guess that at least 99% of the coaches/SIDs who ranked the Lions did so under the premise that Micah Parsons would be playing football this year.

Chris Vannini of The Athletic provided some interesting statistics regarding the lack of Group of Five teams in the preseason poll in recent years, including a notable snub of Memphis this year: 

Chris Vannini @ChrisVannini

In recent history, there are always more Group of 5 teams in the top 25 at the end of the season than in the preseason. No respect, I tell ya. https://t.co/WHPRR2aklT

Despite the oft-overlooked nature of being a Group of Five school, UCF can still boast something that no other team in the state of Florida can: 

UCFSportsInfo @UCFSportsInfo

Florida teams ranked in the Preseason Top 25 Coaches Poll in the past 3 seasons (2018 - 2020): 1. UCF Knights That's it, that's the list! https://t.co/2HqOLCM5lC

It remains to be seen what exactly the 2020 college football season is going to look like and there's a lot to be sorted out in the days and weeks to come, but the coaches poll at least gives us something to debate in the meantime.