With the AP releasing its top 25 today, I figured I'd offer up my own top 25. I based these on my power rankings, which reflect my views on the objective strength of each team.
BH's official preseason top 25
2. Florida State
7. Ohio State
9. Notre Dame
13. Texas A&M
17. Ole Miss
(tie) Michigan State
22. Oklahoma State
Just missed the cut: Houston, Penn State
Notes and whatnot
*Best way to think of these: If teams met on a random Tuesday at Hamill Field in Tulsa, Oklahoma, which one would I favor to beat all the others? Then work down from there. (A tie would mean I see the teams as essentially even.)
When the season actually comes around, I try to slot the teams in order of their bodies of work – whom you beat, where and how decisively.
*Nick Saban has assembled such an overwhelming conglomeration of talent at Alabama that I don't even need to look at the team's relative strengths and weaknesses to know the Crimson Tide have the top team in the country. I couldn't care less about the quarterback situation, new faces on the defensive line and any of the other apparent questions about the team.
All things being equal, I'd favor 'Bama by about 2.5 over FSU right now. I'd make the gap between the Tide and Miami/Texas at No. 25 around 16.5 points.
*Lots to love about Clemson's offense, especially considering the best player in college football, Deshaun Watson, is pulling the trigger. Expecting the defense to replace so many talented contributors for the second year in a row is asking a lot.
*I actually see a significant gap between Oklahoma at No. 6 and Ohio St. at No. 7 of about 3.5 points.
From a pure talent standpoint, the Sooners fall short relative to teams like the Buckeyes and Georgia and USC. A quarterback like Baker Mayfield can paper over quite a few shortcomings, though, and he has an abundance of weapons at his disposal.
Also, take a look at the distance between OU and the rest of the Big 12. Expectations for the Sooners are deservedly high.
*A couple teams with a chance to move up significantly in the course of the season: UCLA, Texas A&M, Ohio St., Florida and Texas.