Brian: SB Nation recently published its way too early 2011 college football rankings. While BC wasn't ranked (let's be honest ... nor should they be), a quick glance has the Eagles playing four teams in the preseason Top 25 -- no. 5 Florida State, no. 14 Notre Dame, no. 17 Virginia Tech and no. 23 UCF?
Here's what Andy Hutchins had to say about ranking UCF #23 in the preseason?
"Could the Knights be the non-Boise State/TCU mid-major darling of 2011? Quarterback Jeffrey Godfrey is already one of the five best dual-threat quarterbacks in college football, and has tons of upside if he can improve as a passer. UCF's young defense was impressively stingy (17.1 points allowed per game) in high-scoring Conference USA in 2010, and while it will have to replace outgoing seniors in the linebacking corps and secondary, a mean pass rush returns largely unchanged from last fall."
For a team that returns just 12 starters, including just four on defense, and saw several key assistants bolt for greener pastures, #23 for UCF seems a bit optimistic, no? Your thoughts?
Jeff: We have talked about this before. There is no reason for UCF to be ranked. Period and end of discussion.
UCF does have a nice quarterback. Fine. So did Central Michigan for a while and they couldn't stay in the top 25 for more than a week or two over a five-year stretch. UCF beat Georgia in a bowl game last season and they should be applauded for that. However, that same Georgia team finished 6-7 on the season playing in a very down SEC East. Florida was the only team from the SEC East to manage a victory in their bowl game last season and only South Carolina played a ranked team in those bowl games. The only other two AQ schools that UCF played last season were N.C. State and Kansas State and UCF lost to both. If you're reading this you know N.C. State had a decent year and handled BC. Kansas State, however, lost to Syracuse in their bowl game who BC had an easy time beating last season. Kansas State failed to beat a single bowl bound team last season other than UCF of course. Their wins in the Big 12 were highlighted by a win over Texas who famously did not qualify for postseason competition last year.
Now, maybe some voters think that UCF is going to improve between now and September. OK, on what basis? Six starters on defense are gone along with two offensive lineman. And who is Godfrey going to throw to as his two top receivers graduated as well? Maybe the coaches and recruits are that good that they'll make up for some of this talent loss? I doubt it because several coaches have been picked off for other jobs as well. There is no reason to think that UCF will be as good as they were last season, let alone better. BC should be favored in their game in Orlando and BC is not a ranked team, so why is UCF?
Brian: Any other beefs with SBN's preseason top 25? Would you have Florida State, Notre Dame and Virginia Tech ranked higher or lower than they are?
Jeff: Notre Dame got their usual preseason love back and we'll see how they do. Virginia Tech might be a little high as well but you can't blame voters for erring on the high side with their recent track record. Florida State I surprisingly have no beef with at number five.