No sport generates more debate over rankings than college football. And in Texas, college football is a 12-month-a-year topic.
So, as July heats up, the American-Statesman unleashes our sixth annual preseason Top 25 series. We count ‘em down, 25 to 1, one school per day, with an in-depth look at each.
Our series starts Thursday with one of the most underappreciated BCS league programs, a team that has won 40 games over the last five years and played in a bowl every time. We wrap it up Sunday, July 28, with our No. 1.
A dozen American-Statesman staff personnel voted in this year’s poll. We don’t want to give away too much, but here are a couple of stunners:
- USC — last year’s preseason AP No. 1 team — didn’t even make our cut. The Trojans folded in 2012 with a 7-6 record, and many of our voters showed their disdain for Lane Kiffin’s coaching. They are our No. 26.
- Miami, another blueblood of the sport, returns 20 starters but has won more than seven games only once in the last seven years. Sorry Hurricanes, you’re out. You’re No. 27.
Naturally, half of our top 10 is from the mighty SEC and, yes, Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel and Texas A&M received strong support.
Six Big 12 teams, including Texas, made the cut. Sounds good. But don’t hold your breath waiting to see them near the end of our series.
How’d the American-Statesman do last year?
We had Alabama No. 1. That worked out pretty well … a lot better than USC (AP media No. 1) or LSU (coaches’ No. 1).
Nineteen of our Top 25 finished in the Top 25, but only four of our top 10 made the final top 10. The media and coaches polls each had five right.
Biggest surprises, besides USC?
Texas A&M, nowhere to be found in any 2012 preseason poll, finished No. 6. Notre Dame, No. 23 on our list, ended up No. 4. Stanford, No. 25 with us, was No. 7. And No. 8 Arkansas and No. 10 West Virginia were nowhere to be found.