Phil Steele started a countdown today of his preseason top 40 teams. There is no surprise at No. 1. It’s Alabama, and Steele has the Tide winning the national championship yet again this season. (Yipee.)
But, have to say, it’s a bit of surprise to see Boise State down there at No. 33 … three spots behind Washington.
Most of the early polls I’ve seen this summer have the Broncos ranked somewhere in the 10-20 range. I think a lot of people figured last year might’ve been somewhat of a rebuilding year for Boise State, and then the Broncos still went out and won 11 games. So you can see how some would project them to be even better this season.
Steele tends to take strength of schedule into account when putting together these rankings, so it’s probably better to look at this less as a “preseason” poll and more of a “how they will finish” prediction.
Steele has seven Pac-12 teams in his top 40: Oregon at No. 5, USC No. 6, Stanford No. 11, Arizona State No. 27, Oregon State No. 29, UW No. 30 and UCLA No. 31.
Elsewhere, Fox Sports 1 — the network many expect to be the biggest challenger to ESPN’s dominance — is scheduled to launch on Aug. 17, and the new network still doesn’t have a deal in place with three of the nation’s four biggest carriers (DirecTV, Dish and Time Warner Cable).
That’s relevant here because FS1 is broadcasting the UW-Boise State game on Aug. 31 at new Husky Stadium. It seems unlikely that this will get as messy as the Pac-12 Networks-DirecTV negotiations, but there’s barely a month left. So we’ll see how that plays out.