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Ballot Type: human

Overall Rationale:
Bowl season showed that there was lots of parity outside of the top couple teams. The top 2 teams however were the same two teams nearly everyone predicted to win it all. I feel that its important to note that my rankings are more focused on overall season performance instead of most recent performance. This is my basic explanation for stuff like why Georgia is still ranked ahead of Texas. i™ll provide more details for each individual ranking as well as make a note on how each team performed vs my preseason poll prediction as well as my way-too-early poll (January 2018). That way everyone will be able to see how horrible I am at successfully predicting a season! P.S. I have to do this every time I provide reasonings/rationale: please be aware that those â and  things showing up in my text are by no means my own doing. It’s something to do with the poll site but you know what it adds charms to the text so whatever! Also I can’t do apostrophes or else they mes everything up with stuff like ‘ and “

Rank Team Reason
1 Clemson Tigers Undoubtedly the best. If anyone has a 15-0 team that dominated previously-undefeated Alabama at any ranking besides 1, then the mods should give them a dunce-hat flair for the entire offseason. In both my preseason and way-too-early polls, I had Clemson at #2 and I called attention to the likeliness of Clemson-Bama IV. Their defensive line was insane! I havent seen a team put consistent pressure on Alabama like that in quite a while. On the offensive side, Clemson seemed to consistently buy time for Lawrence. Clemson had an incredible season (I feel kind of stupid for not being too high on them around mid-season) and topped it off better than anyone in the cfp era.
2 Alabama Crimson Tide They lost to Clemson by more than ND did, but Alabama has the benefit of winning the SECCG as well as beating Oklahoma in the semifinals. Its honestly pretty crazy that many considered this Alabama to be one of the best of all time before the SECCG. They were killing teams and putting backups in before halftime! Even though Saban is probably sacrificing half of his roster at the moment, their season was still incredibly impressive. I had Alabama at #1 in my preseason and way-too-early polls, so I wasn™t too far off.Â
3 Notre Dame Fighting Irish I™m probably one of 5 Georgia fans that wasnt making fun of Notre Dame for their playoff performance. I knew Clemson was a legitimate title contender and additionally they had downright terrible luck. The ball bounced the other way in critical moments. I had Notre Dame at #14 in my way-too-early poll and then improved them to #8 for the preseason. Needless to say, they did much better than I anticipated. They always have a good slate of P5 games and I thought a tough schedule would produce 2-3 losses. However, I dont think any of us saw Syracuse being the biggest threat on Notre Dames schedule. Many of the other teams had a down year but that doesnt change how impressive Notre Dames overall season was. Lastly, I want to note that I called Book becoming the starter back in January of 2018. I guess I completely forgot he existed though because in my preseason poll I only talked about Wimbush. Oops. 
4 Ohio State Buckeyes Ohio State had early distractions but Day was able to keep them focused until Urban got back. Outside of their Purdue game, which grew more and more shocking as the season went on, tOSU performed really well for a majority of their season. If Marylands QB could throw a 5 yard pass accurately, maybe things would be different right now. But sometimes you need a little luck to continue your season even if you™re a top 5 team. tOSU undoubtedly ended their season appropriately with a blowout win over TTUN, a B1G title, and a Rose Bowl victory again the PAC12 champ that honestly didnt seem like much of a game until late. I had tOSU at #3 in my way-too-early poll and dropped them to #5 in my preseason poll. Those numbers average out to #4 so I was perfect!
5 Oklahoma Sooners I will henceforth refer to my way-too-early poll as WTE because good grief I want to talk about football not spend my time typing that all out over and over. Anyways, my WTE had OU at #8 and preseason at #7. I mostly said that their offense would still be electric and then trashed on Mark Stoops. Well, Stoops is gone now and that may have had an effect on OU making the playoffs. Murray honestly did better than I expected. Additionally, OU ended their season sort of similarly to Georgia last season - they avenged their regular season rival loss in their CCG and then lost to Alabama to end the season. I feel you sooner bros, but your season was absolutely nothing to scoff at. Just share some of those Heismans with the rest of us, ok?
6 LSU Tigers WTE #16 and preseason... uh... nowhere. Im beginning to realize that I knew more in January 2018 than August. I blame all the offseason mania getting to my head. LSU was a fringe top 25 team in my mind but just barely missed the cut preseason. I was insanely wrong. I have them at #6 right now because they obliterated Georgia and took down UCF. I don™t care that Milton was out, LSU was missing half of their defense so I think the injuries/absences actually possibly benefitted UCF in their bowl game. LSUs losses were to #2, #8, and #18 (in my poll at least) but the fashion of their wins was convincing. It honestly felt like LSU won by more than 1 score against UCF. And like I said early, that Georgia win was huge. 
7 Georgia Bulldogs I might get some flak for this, but I think Georgia still had a good season. Overrated, sure. But if you check my pre-bowl/playoff poll, I had both Oklahoma and tOSU ahead of Georgia. We lost two games and didnt deserve to make the playoffs. Its that simple people! Funnily enough, I nearly flawlessly predicted Georgia™s season (easier to do since I™m a fan of them vs these other teams). A regular season loss, a loss in heartbreaking fashion to Alabama in the SECCG, and facing the Big12 runner-up in the Sugar Bowl. The only thing I got wrong is that I had UGA winning the Sugar bowl and it was against WVU lol. The Sugar Bowl was not nearly as close as the score indicated. And oddly enough, it was entirely our offense to blame. The bulldog defense started off slow on Texas first drive but did well all things considered for the rest of the game. Unfortunately, the offense and special teams have Texas the ball in Georgia territory multiple times in the first half. Not a great showing for UGA, but all 3 of their losses were to top 10 teams with one being a blowout, one being eh, and one being a heartbreaker where Georgia led for all but the final minute. OH THERE HE GOES HE SAID IT HE BROUGHT UP THE ALABAMA GAME AND IS USING THAT LOSS TO BOOST GEORGIA! Except I™m not. I dropped Georgia to #6 following that game. Im just keeping Georgia at #7 because they still had a good season overall. WTE #4 and preseason #6 - like I said, I almost called UGA perfectly in the preseason. 
8 Florida Gators Georgia has the Head to Head over UF and one more win which is exactly why Florida is one spot lower. With that said, Florida did so so so much better in their bowl game. Fun fact: I was actually at the Peach Bowl surrounded by Florida fans. It was kind of gross at first, and I never really rooted for either team (a lot of my close friends hate Michigan even though I personally don™t). I did, however, have a good time. The Florida fans reminded me of myself but more tan and with a questionable sense in fashion. I didn™t really know where I was going with this but now realize I can totally pull an analogy out of my ass because of it: Georgia and Florida were basically one in the same this season. Georgia got the slight edge because of the WLOCP and additional W in the record column, but Florida was always right there as evident by the UGA-UF-LSU circle of not-suck. My WTE had Florida unranked but my preseason had them at 24 which I still feel was pretty fair. They returned a ton of talent and Mullen had proven he was a great coach before, but transition years are always risky. I also noted that UF needed to improve in recruiting for national relevance again and looky here Mullen has them recruiting well and generally ahead of schedule in every regard.
9 Texas Longhorns I did not have Texas as back in either my WTE or preseason polls. Unranked in both. Oh dear. But can you actually blame me? Pollsters been high on them before and then the ever-joyous, non-elite, people-poll r/cfb users like to call for r/cfb pollsters to lose their credentials the second Texas loses. Anyways, I was actually tempted to put Texas ahead of Georgia and Florida but since this is an overall season performance rankings I cant exactly ignore their lose to the Terps (just as I couldnt ignore UGAs Death Valley performance or the WLOCP for Florida). With that said, Hermans Horns showed the hell up to the Sugar Bowl. They jumped up from like #16 (where I had them post-CCG). The future is bright for Austin which, by the way, is a great city in my opinion. I ate my first Whataburger there a few years ago. Ok, cool. Hook Em!
10 Washington State Cougars Wow I suck at preseason predictions (unless its Georgia of course but we a™re becoming predictable in our missteps). Another top 10 team, another no-show in my preseason and WTE top 25. 11 wins proved me wrong and although they lost to UDub, they also had 2 less losses on the season. Additionally, the Pac12 performed better in bowl season this year and Washington State is one of the teams to thank for that. YA WOO COUGAR FOOTBALL!
11 Washington Huskies Alright, I saw some Washington fans complaining about falling behind Washington State in the AP poll. I like you guys (I might not for long if you ever beat us with Eason at QB) since youre the Dawgs of the West, but you have double the losses as Washington State. And even with the help of the PAC12 CCG, you finished with one less win too. #6 in my WTE and #4 in my preseason. Still, you had a good season towards the end of the season there. A close loss to a top 4 team and a conference championship is nothing to scoff at. Just clean up some of those earlier headscratching losses and you™re golden. 
12 Syracuse Orange Not in my WTE poll or my preseason poll. Although this is a fanbase that wouldnt blame me for that since a lot of the Orange faithful said themselves that they were expecting 4-5 losses this season. Their losses were to Clemson, Notre Dame, and Pitt (who still won the Coastal). And wow did they take Clemson down to the wire. You could argue that Clemson wasn™t the same as they were in the championship, but it was still an impressive performance by Syracuse (I was rooting for you guys). Im hoping that Cuse continues to play well against Clemson for years to come! Lastly, I know WVU was without Grier but they still won convincingly vs a 3-point win or something and they also doubled down on Boston College (who very well couldve beaten Boise State - well never know I guess). 
13 Kentucky Wildcats Now that all the P5 champions are covered, we can stay getting into teams that didnt win their conference but were still in the conference race until the end. Another team out of my WTE and preseason rankings. This is starting to prove that preseason rankings are usually garbage since my preseason poll wasn™t even controversial per se. They™re fun and generate discussion, but have little to no bearing on the season. Kentucky was a pleasant surprise this season! Its actually pretty cool to see a team from the SEC East that I don™t inherently hate perform well. Plus you beat Florida which is always a plus in my book especially since Ive been pulling for you guys in that game for quite a while. Kentucky lost some of the games they were expected to, but they beat plenty of teams they werent expected to. They capped off their successful season with a victory over a big-name team Penn State. Thatll do wildacats. Thatll do.
14 Michigan Wolverines 11 in preseason, 9 in WTE. I sort of correctly predicted Michigan™s season and thats probably because theyre a suffering fanbase like Georgias. We™re like brothers... only closer! Theres honestly not too much to say. They had a good season going, a playoff argument, and then they lost to OSU and then lost their bowl. We™ve seen this before because the college football gods like re-runs I guess. 
15 UCF Knights Losing Milton definitely hurt, but lets not pretend that LSU™s defense wasnt lacking players in their bowl. I like UCF as a team and as a program. What theyve accomplished in two years is fantastic! r/cfb seems to be experiencing UCF fatigue (cant say I blame the subreddit given 2018s offseason) but let™s not pretend that UCF sucks all of a sudden. SoS was a big talking point this season but weve seen plenty of teams lose to lesser opponents. UCF handled everyone they were supposed to and that™s the mark of a good team. #19 in my WTE and #23 in my preseason poll. Im going to be completely honest, I was higher on Fresno State and Boise State and I thought UCF would drop at least 1 AAC game. Simply put, I was wrong. 
16 Army West Point Again, not in my WTE and preseason polls. But at least I can say Ive had Army ranked for a while, you cowards! They lost 2 of their first 4 games (one of which was an OT loss to OU). A super impressive season for one of the academies and who doesnt love cheering for the academies! They play with a passion unlike most others. Its honestly warming watching teams play for the love of the game.
17 Fresno State Bulldogs Not in my WTE poll but did come in at #22 for my preseason poll. A rare example where my preseason poll actually improved over my WTE poll! I said: Im excited for their matchup against Boise State because the winner of that game could very well be crowned as the best G5 team in the country. Unfortunately, Fresno wasn™t crowned as the best G5 but they came awfully close! The turnaround their program has had these last few years continues to impress.
18 Texas A&M Aggies Not in my WTE and preseason polls. Although TA&MU is fairly easy to explain in that regard - a gauntlet of a schedule in 2018 (2019 will be top) with a new coach. I gave Florida a preseason ranking because they returned a ton of players and I thought that Mullen had less drama surrounding his transition than Jimbo did. With that said, Jimbo seems to fit in well for TA&MU. I know its only been 1 season, but Jimbos team played Clemson as closesly as anyone, put up the best fight against Alabama before the postseason, and had a convincing bowl win. I expect that theyll still lose a couple games next year since, again, theyll be running a gauntlet but theyll again be a solid team.
19 Utah State Aggies Not in my WTE or preseason polls. G5 teams are sort of wonky to predict and even if you give respect to G5 teams in the preseason you might get crucified by this subreddit for not putting *insert P5 team* in your ranking instead. Remember when everyone was making fun of Michigan State after the Utah State game? I wasn™t too surprised because even though I didnt have Utah State ranked, I was high on the Mountain West as a whole. The conference did not disappoint this season. 
20 Penn State Nittany Lions #12 WTE, #13 preseason. Not a bad prediction since if they finished their Kentucky comeback they wouldve finished around those rankings. They were pretty inconsistent this season it seemed. I wont forget watching the botched game against Ohio State or their nailbiter against App State, either way, they played entertaining games for neutral fans so I thank them for that.
21 Cincinnati Bearcats Not in WTE or preseason polls. I like to see G5 teams do well though! Im sad they beat VT (my 2nd favorite team) but I cant say it wasnt expected. Hell, I picked Cincy in my ESPN bowlmania. Speaking of which, Im going to use this platform to quickly complain that I was top 100 in the r/cfb pickem but I forgot to put effort into my postseason picks so it ended up being a trainwreck. Also, can those r/cfb pickem remainders please stop? The season is over! Cmon mods! Anyways, Cincy being ranked is surely a welcomed surprise this season for Bearcat fans. I just want to apologize that you guys arent ranked higher. If you were, you would be at a ranking where Id have more rational things to say. As with every explained poll I do, I start going insane by the time I get to the 20s. Ive been typing this all up for 2+ hours now and haven™t gone to the bathroom. Pleas forgive me. Good season Cincinnati! P.S. I always botch the spelling by calling it Cincinatti. It makes sense since the beginning of the word is just repeating cin twice and the emphasis is on the T. There I go again. Sorry.
22 West Virginia Mountaineers #15 WTE, #16 preseason. I thought they™d be th conference runner up but I also thought the Big12 would be less competitive so it evened out. If Grier had played, MAYBE they wouldve beaten Syracuse and maybe risen to where I predicted but that doesn™t really matter. I feel kind of bad for Mountaineer fans because this was their shot and they had some really close games that couldve gone either way with some solid teams. Even though Im a VT fan too, I do appreciate WVUs disdain for Pitt. 
23 Iowa Hawkeyes Not in my WTE or preseason polls although I acknowledge they were in my mind. Iowa practically owns spots 20-25 in a given season. Outside of their magic in 2015, they™ve been consistently a good but not great P5 team. They usually have some blunders but also have the innate ability to scare the shit out of whichever B1G team they host. Anyways, Iowa brings me to my next ranking...
24 North Dakota State Bison NDSU, FCS, WHAT!?!? The main mod man Bacondrogo practically forced us all to rank NDSU because he sent a message out to us reminding us to rank NDSU. I kid, of course, but that is actually the first time I™ve ever received a message reminding me its ok to rank a team. I was actually going to do it regardless though. Its hard to ignore a team that absolutely owns their subdivision and a lot of the NDSU fans on r/cfb seem pretty reasonable. Id like to see them move up to FBS as other dominating FCS programs have done before them, but its harder for them than it was for teams like Georgia Southern. Theyre over in an area where people generally dont care for college football as much. They need to upgrade the Fargodome, their facilities, and put more money into the program in general but theyre just not ready for that. Attendance is going down from what I hear. Theyre just not losing and they probably wont unless they schedule top G5 or P5 teams but what team would want to pay an FCS team to possibly upset them? Its a toug situation to be in, bison dudes. Competition and occasional losses boost community interest generally speaking. I, as well as many FBS guys, fully support NDSU transitioning to FBS in the future but my internet words mean nothing. They wont move up until its viable and that likely wont happen for a while. In the meantime, we should just take a step back and respect the FCSs top program. Oh, by the way I think it goes without saying that they werent in my WTE and preseason polls. Its always implied NDSU will do well in FCS play but their level of dominance this year was enough to urge an appearance in my final rankings!
25 Northwestern Wildcats Chaos personified. Not in my WTE or preseason polls. And since this is the last spot and Northwestern is the chaotic team of the century of the year, I guess I can discuss the œpreseason graveyard here. Wisconsin, Miami, FAU, USC, TCU, SCar, and VT were all teams I had ranked in either my WTE or preseason that did not even come close to finishing as well as I thought they would. So congratulations Northwestern! You™re better than all these teams (undoubtedly with Wisconsin too with that head to head vidtory - R.I.P. to my prediction of Wisconsin finishing #3 hahahahaha wow). i™ll say it again, congratulations Northwestern! You were truly the r/cfb team of the people!

Submitted: Wed 09 Jan 2019 03:48