In case you missed it last week, the first official AP Poll was released for the 2020 College Football season. Keep in mind, the second AP Poll that comes out will look quite different than the first. Just how different will it look, though? It was announced that the teams that have canceled their seasons would only appear in the first edition of the poll. Following the first full week of games on September 26th, all of those teams will be omitted from the top 25.
I understand there has been some talk of the Big 10 changing their mind and starting their season midway through October, but for the sake of these predictions, the Big 10 is still canceled/postponed.
With the current AP Poll, there are nine teams ranked that will not have a season. This means they will not be in the second poll, and all teams behind them will move up. For example, Alabama is currently 3, but after the polls kicks out Ohio State, Alabama will then assume the number 2 spot. This will trickle down the entire poll, including the teams in the “others receiving votes” group.
For a refresher, you can find the preseason AP Poll here.
AP Top 25: Week 2
- Florida State: Starting things off at 25 are the Seminoles of Florida State. They have three games before the poll is set to release, as well. To Florida State’s dismay, they lose to Miami on September 26th. Luckily, their two other wins and the Florida State brand will be enough to squeak them into the top 25.
- UCF (-3): Central Florida is certainly not the same team that won a “National Championship” under Scott Frost, but they are still one of the better group-of-five teams. Unfortunately, they will begin their season with a loss to Georgia Tech. Regardless, thanks to their preseason ranking, and lack of teams available, UCF only falls three spots.
- Navy: Not to be forgotten in this crazy season of football, the Midshipmen clock in at 23. They have three games before this poll will be released, and they’ll win all of them. Honestly, a case could be made to have them higher than 23, but this just seems to be where they fit at this time.
- TCU: TCU picked up their first ever 5-star recruit this past offseason in Zach Evans. This should be huge for the Horned Frogs as they already have one of the better defenses in the Big 12. Now, the somewhat improved offense will help them start conference play with a big win against Iowa State.
- Miami: The Hurricanes do not have it easy to start 2020. They have three games before the second poll: UAB, Louisville, and Florida State. Miami fans might think they are going to be 3-0 here, but it is more likely that they drop one of those games. A loss to Louisville and a rebound win against rival Florida State will be enough to land Miami at 21.
- Memphis: The Tigers are another team that will have three games under their belt by the time this poll is out. Arkansas State, Houston, and UTSA stand in the way for the Tigers. While the Houston game will be a tough matchup, the Tigers will persevere and crack into the top 25.
- App State: By the time the second poll is released, App State will have played three games. They will also have three wins on their resume. Wins against Charlotte, Marshall, and Campbell will not be anything to write home about, but it will be good enough to move the Mountaineers into the top 20.
- Iowa State (+5): It isn’t every day that a team starts their season with a loss and then moves up in the polls. This is not a normal season, though. The Cyclones have a pretty tough start to their season. They open conference play with a loss to TCU. After that, things get much tougher as they have Oklahoma the following week. It will get easier as the season progresses, but the first couple polls will not be as kind to Iowa State.
- Louisville: The Louisville Cardinals begin their season with a three game stretch of Western Kentucky, Miami, and Pitt. Right now, I have the Cardinals winning all three of those matchups. This will propel Louisville from unranked up to 17 in the second poll.
- Kentucky: Kentucky might be the most underrated team entering the 2020 season. Mark Stoops has elevated that program to heights unseen. After their week 1 win against Auburn, however, the rest of the country will take notice of the Wildcats.
- Virginia Tech: The highest preseason unranked team to enter the poll is Virginia Tech. They have two games prior to this poll and will beat NC State and in-state rival Virginia. The Hokies better enjoy it, too, because North Carolina is only two weeks away on the schedule.
- Auburn (-3): Auburn fans will not be happy with this, but they lose to Kentucky in game 1. Kentucky will be tough for anyone this year, and there is already a sense that Auburn is overlooking the Wildcats. While a bunch of teams will jump Auburn in the polls, they only fall three spots thanks to the teams not playing this fall.
- Tennessee (+12): Tennessee will have a solid matchup to start the year in South Carolina. The Gamecocks are hungry, and Muschamp is coaching for his job. The Vols should still be able to handle South Carolina and take that momentum forward into the season. Following their win, the Vols will make the biggest jump moving up 12 spots from the original poll.
- Cincinnati (+8): The Bearcats will have played two games by the second poll. Neither Army or Austin Peay should be much of a threat, and Cincinnati will claim their highest ranking ever in the AP Poll.
- North Carolina (+7): North Carolina will play two games before the second poll is released. Syracuse and Charlotte stand in their way, but it shouldn’t be much of a barrier. UNC will win both games easily and move up to 11 in the second poll.
- Oklahoma State (+5): The Cowboys had some questions surrounding their program in the offseason, but winning cures everything. They have a tough matchup with West Virginia to start the year, but they will come out victorious and take over number 10 in the AP Poll.
- Texas (+5): Texas will begin the 2020 campaign as legit playoff contenders, and that won’t change after week 1. They will handily beat up on Texas Tech and climb 5 spots into the top 10.
- Texas A&M (+5): The Aggies play host to the worst team in the SEC when Vanderbilt travels to College Station. It won’t be much to build off of, but it will allow them to move up five spots to number 8 in the country.
- Florida (+1): The Gators will face off against Lane Kiffin’s Ole Miss Rebels to start 2020. While Kiffen’s offense will cause Florida’s defense some fits, it will not be enough. Florida starts their season 1-0 and moves up a spot.
- Notre Dame (+4): Notre Dame will compete in the ACC this year, and they begin their season with matchups against Duke, South Florida, and Wake Forest. None of these teams should even pose a challenge to Notre Dame, and they begin the year 3-0. Due to the amount of teams they play before September 26th, Notre Dame jumps Florida in the second poll.
- LSU (+1): LSU has suffered a string of players opting out of this season. This shouldn’t be much of a factor in their week 1 matchup against Mississippi State, though. LSU hands Mike Leach his first loss as the new Bulldogs head coach and moves into the top 5.
- Oklahoma (+1): Oklahoma will begin their season with a matchup against Kansas State. There is nothing to worry about here if you are a Sooner. Oklahoma bumps up to 4.
- Georgia (+1): The Georgia Bulldogs might be playing a conference only schedule, but they still get to open their season with a cupcake in the form of Arkansas. Georgia wins big and moves up a spot.
- Alabama (+1): The Crimson Tide are looking for vengeance after their 2019 season, and that all begins with a week one matchup against Mizzou (tough luck for Eli Drinkiwitz). Bama wins by 30 and moves up to number 2.
- Clemson (-): Clemson opens the 2020 season as the consensus number 1 team in the country. They open their season with Wake Forest, the Citadel, followed by a bye week. The Tigers will be 2-0 after September 26th, and they will continue to sit atop the college football throne.