Welcome to the initial Seldom Used Reserve 10, or as we like to call it SUR 10 – a weekly ranking of college football teams. Today we unveil the preseason top 10.
Our panel –
- Brandon Rink – OrangeandWhite.com multimedia editor and former Clemson beat writer for the Anderson Independent-Mail.
- Chris Cox – SUR Recruiting Analyst and contributor.
- Nic Mills – Intern in the Clemson Athletic Communications Office and SUR contributor.
- Marty Coleman – SUR editor.
The voting is done independently and without the knowledge or influence of how the others voted, tabulated by our accounting firm and hermitically sealed in a #10 envelope until unveiled each week.
Ohio State received all 4 first place votes and TCU received all second place votes, leaving a substantial gap between 1-2 and the rest of the field.
Clemson appeared on 3 of 4 ballots, with a high ranking of 5 by Rink. Rink explained his ranking in this fashion:”Dabo Swinney likes the schedule and I can see why – even with just one loss, preferably by mid-October, Clemson has an excellent shot at working its way back into the playoff mix, but like last year, injuries can change that picture quite a bit (especially come Nov. 7 against FSU).” Coleman was the only voter to leave Clemson off the ballot entirely feeling there were too many unknowns at this point to place them in the top 10. “I’d say the 11-12-13 range is where they belong right now. That could easily change if they go to Papa John’s and beat Louisville on September 17.” Cox chimed in “Chad Morris is gone, but Deshaun Watson is back and so is the nation’s best receiving corps. Sprinkle in a stable of running backs along with some talented tight ends and I think that’s a pretty good indication that Clemson is going to score plenty of points this season. The only area that could potentially derail this train is the scarcely thin offensive line or injuries… Shaq Lawson, Mackensie Alexander, and Jayron Kearse are all future NFL first rounders. Couple those players with a bevy of stockpiled talent that has yet to be unleashed and I think you’re in a pretty good position. Mills added,”When Watson was healthy I felt like they were a top 5 offense and a top 10 team. Defensively, Clemson lost a lot of stars but the guys listed as starters all have good experience.”
Auburn was the most divisive team for the panel, ranked 3rd by Cox and Rink and left off entirely by Mills and Coleman. “What am I missing? An 8-5 team with 12 returning starters and a schedule that includes Louisville,at LSU, at Arkansas, at Texas A&M, and Alabama.”, Coleman said. Rink placed his faith squarely in the coaches, “Why: The SEC has the makings of an absolute meat-grinder, but new and highly-paid DC Will Muschamp has pieces to work with and Gus Malzahn has talent stockpiled to join the conversation for elite offenses.” Cox gave these Tigers the benefit of the doubt, “Someone from the SEC has to come out on top and my pick just happens to be the Tigers from the Plains. Several key playmakers return on defense in Carl Lawson, Montravius Adams, Kris Frost, Cassanova McKinzy, and Jonathan Jones. To help their cause even more, Auburn added DC Will Muschamp along with two talented transfers in safety Tray Matthews (UGA) and Blake Countness (Michigan).” Mills echoed Coleman’s thoughts in saying, “I do have Auburn in the top 20, but find it very hard to put a team who went 8-5 last season in the top 10 to start this season.”