On Monday August 24th the Associated Press (AP) released its preseason Top 25, a highly anticipated event that college football fans anticipate annually as they try to see were voters place their favorite teams.
The release of the preseason top 25 means that football is very close to arriving, and that is no different this year. The college football season is set to begin next week on September 4th with Central Arkansas playing UAB. There are no games featuring top 25 opponents, however there are three games featuring teams that are not far from going ranked in Central Arkansas vs UAB (UAB is tied for last in receiving votes with one vote) Arkansas State vs Memphis (Memphis is currently placed at #26) and BYU vs Navy (Navy currently has six votes, placing them at #40).
If the season had been played out and had not been affected by COVID-19, then focusing in on the preseason poll, Utah State would have faced three teams with receiving votes in Boise State (28 votes), Washington (21 votes) and Air Force (1 vote). If out of conference games are played in the Spring and the rankings are still being used, Utah State may be facing more teams with receiving votes. Air Force is out of the mix as they have been cleared to play two games this season against Army and Navy to preserve the Commander in Chiefs trophy.
Also of note with the college football playoff announcing that it will only hold a playoff for those teams playing in the fall, however (to include the New Years Six games), it might be unlikely that a rankings system is used due to the lack of something to compete for. While bigger bowl games such as the playoff and new years six will almost certainly be played if the season follows through, it is unclear whether the lower tier bowl games will be played, especially with less teams in the fall to fill those spots. There may or may not be a competition pitting the top teams in the Spring against each other, but what if there isn’t? That’s a big question that will require a big answer. If there is no true competition outside of conferences in the Spring, then what is the point of playing? There wouldn’t be a playoff or any big bowl games to play for and there would be a very quick turnaround to prepare for a hopefully normal 2021 season.
There are still plenty of unanswered questions about the 2020 season or how playing Spring football will both work and be worth playing, but answers are sure to come as the season begins on next Thursday.