College Football expert Phil Steele unveiled his annual projected top 10 of the preseason AP poll
and included three teams from the SEC in the group. The Alabama Crimson Tide landed at No. 1.
4. Florida State
6. Ohio State
Here are the factors he takes in account when make is projections:
-- Most AP voters look at the number of returning starters the team has coming back, particularly at the offensive skill positions. Teams that return most of their starters on offense but lose a lot of defensive playmakers are usually more highly regarded than teams that return a majority of defensive starters but lose top skill position players on offense.
-- Another factor weighed heavily is the performance of the team in its bowl game, which is undoubtedly the lasting image voters carry with them during the offseason. A team coming off a huge bowl win is usually more highly regarded than a team that is coming off a bowl loss, regardless of what their schedule looks like for the upcoming season.
-- Also weighed heavily is where the teams finished the previous year. Naturally, teams that finished somewhere in the rankings (Top 25) have a much better chance of being preseason top 10 than a team that finished unranked.
-- I have the last four recruiting classes factored into my formula, including the 2016 freshman class. This gives me solid perspective of the total talent on hand.