AP Top 25 voter Bob Asmussen stayed up late to catch Monday night’s national championship game between LSU and Clemson, which LSU won 42-25, before turning in his final ballot. Now, it’s time to look ahead to 2020. Here is his ridiculously early preseason top 10:
The return of quarterback Trevor Lawrence — who will be the first pick in the 2021 NFL draft — gives the Tigers a leg up on everybody else. And Dabo Swinney has been piling up talent at every other position, too.
Of course, the team will miss superstar quarterback Joe Burrow. Whoever takes his place will have plenty of dangerous options at receiver and running back. The defense should again be loaded, and Ed Orgeron can recruit with the best of them.
3. Ohio State
With J.K. Dobbins off to the NFL, quarterback Justin Fields might need to run more. Or, he can toss the ball to best returning receiver group in the land. Yes, the Buckeyes are fine without Urban Meyer.
We will find out early if the Ducks are playoff-worthy. Ohio State (see No. 3) visits Eugene on Sept. 12. Oregon needs a replacement for quarterback Justin Herbert, but the rest of the skill positions are set. Defense might be the Ducks’ strength.
5. Penn State
Quarterback Sean Clifford and tailback Journey Brown return. So does star linebacker Micah Parsons. And here’s some good scheduling news: The Nittany Lions host Ohio State in late October.
It was a “down” year for the Fighting Sabans, who still managed to drill Michigan in the Citrus Bowl. Tua Tagovailoa and Jerry Jeudy left early, but receiver DeVonta Smith returns after a monster season and is a superstar in waiting.
7. Notre Dame
Ian Book will again run the offense for Brian Kelly. But the schedule is challenging, with Notre Dame opening the season in Ireland against Navy, playing Wisconsin in Green Bay, Wis., and hosting Clemson.
Sure, quarterback Jake Fromm’s departure to the NFL hurts the Bulldogs. But a young, talented offense means no problems for the next guy behind center. Coach Kirby Smart has been piling up SEC-ready players in recent classes.
Why am I, a P.J. Fleck critic, putting the Gophers in my top 10? Fleck’s guys forced the issue with a breakout 2019. Quarterback Tanner Morgan returns. So does receiver Rashod Bateman and the entire offensive line. Watch out.
Coach Lincoln Riley stayed in Norman rather than move on to the NFL. Smart move. Few better jobs exist in football than coaching the Sooners. He’s got to find a quarterback, but given the recent history at the position, Oklahoma will have its pick of players.