1. The future power ranking on ESPN Insider is a great offseason topic. I enjoyed discussing it with Travis Haney on the ESPNU College Football Podcast. Identifying the top teams in 2016 stops and makes you think about where the coaches will be and the quality of a program’s young talent. It’s no surprise that our panel rated Alabama and Ohio State 1-2; Nick Saban and Urban Meyer are the only two active coaches who have won more than one BCS title. Neither appears to be leaving his job before 2016.
2. The list is not without its surprises, though. There are six ACC teams in the future Top 25, an indication that the panel believes the league will emerge from its Pittsburgh Pirates-like slump. Stanford is the highest-rated Pac-12 team, even over Oregon, an indication that Cardinal coach David Shaw has established himself and new Ducks coach Mark Helfrich has not. USC at No. 25 is, whether intended or not, a reflection of the warmth of Trojan coach Lane Kiffin’s seat.
3. But the biggest surprise is the omission of Boise State. Perhaps everyone not in the top five conferences will suffer in the playoff era. But I don’t buy that. If the Broncos aren’t among the Top 25 programs in 2016, that means head coach Chris Petersen has finally been lured away from Boise. And I don’t buy that, either. Petersen is the winningest active FBS coach. How good is his 84-8 (.913) record? If Boise State goes 0-12 this season, Petersen’s record of 84-20 (.808) would still be fourth among active coaches.