To no one’s surprise 2017 National Champion Alabama starts on top of 2018’s Pre-Season rankings. Georgia, Clemson and Ohio State round out the Top Four. Highlights from the just released Billingsley Report finds the Big 10 projected for another strong season with four teams, #5 Wisconsin, #6 Penn State, #11 Michigan State and #13 Michigan joining Ohio State to bring a total of 5 teams ranked among the nation’s Top 13 teams. The Big 12 is projected to be a very tight race with #7 Oklahoma getting a slight nod for the conference championship and #22 Texas, #24 West Virginia, #25 TCU and #26 Oklahoma State all fighting for second place. As usual the SEC garnered the highest number of Top 25 teams. In addition to #1 Alabama and #2 Georgia, Auburn starts at #8, Mississippi State at #16, South Carolina #18, LSU #19 and Florida at #20.
The ACC and Pac 12 placed three teams each in the initial elite 25 with # 3 Clemson and #9 Washington projected as potential playoff contenders. #10 Miami (Fla.) and #21 Virginia Tech follow Clemson in the ACC and #14 USC and #15 Stanford follow Washington from the Pac 12. The two highest rated Group of Five teams are Boise State at #17 and Florida Atlantic at #23.
The season gets underway with a limited slate on August 25 and starts in earnest the next week with games from Thursday August 30 through Labor Day night, Monday September 3. Projections for the first week’s games will be posted shortly.