Phil Steele Blog • August 24, 2015



How did my Projected AP Top 25 fare vs Actual Preseason Top 25?



It is early February the snow is swirling around and here in the North it is an arctic freeze. Football season just ended a month ago and the freshmen classes just signed. Spring Football is still a month or so away from starting and 3 months from being wrapped up and fall camps don’t start for about a HALF A YEAR. If you are a college football fan and need a little football fix, I put up my Projected AP Top Ten at that time of year, 6+ months in advance of the season. This projected AP Top Ten has been amazingly accurate and did it again this year! First let me get into why I do this.

I have had great success with my Surprise team throughout the years. That is a list of non Top 10 teams I thought were capable of winning the national title. About 10 years ago to help produce this article I started trying to forecast what the AP Top 10 would be. Seven years ago I put out my first Projected AP Top 10 in February, SIX MONTHS in advance of the poll and even BEFORE spring started. In the first 6 years I hit 56 of the 60 teams or 93.3%!! 2014 was the 6th year and my February list HIT ALL TEN TEAMS that ended up in the actual AP preseason top ten. This year I projected my AP Top 10 on ESPN Insider way back on FEBRUARY 13th. The AP Poll was just released yesterday (about six and half months later) and I am very pleased to report that I hit on ALL TEN teams once again!! That is now 7 years of forecasting the AP Preseason Top Ten OVER SIX MONTHS IN ADVANCE and I have correctly predicted 66 of the 70 teams that have actually made the list. I find it funny that in June people are putting out a “Way Too Early Preseason Top 25” on their websites. My magazine is finished the end of May and that is NOT Way too early to forecast the season as very little happens in June and July.

Here is a look at my Projected 2015 AP Top Ten from that February 13th article on ESPN Insider and the ACTUAL 2015 AP Top Ten that was released on August 23rd, SIX months and 8 days later.

My Projected AP Top 10


AP Top 10

1. Ohio St

1. Ohio St

2. TCU

2. TCU

3. Alabama

3. Alabama

4. Baylor

4. Baylor

5. Oregon

5. Michigan St

6. Michigan St

6. Auburn

7. USC

7. Oregon

8. Florida St

8. USC

9. Auburn

9. Georgia

10. Georgia

10. Florida St

• PERFECT 10 FOR 10 IN 2015!  66 of 70 over 7 years!!

I also have predicted the AP Top 25 in advance each year as well. I do this every year right around tax day April 15th. I once again posted this on ESPN Insider on April 15th and then on my own website about a week later. Here is my projected AP poll for teams 11-25 that I put out in April and what the ACTUAL AP poll 11-25 teams are.

My Projected AP 11-25


AP 11-25

11. UCLA

11. Notre Dame

12. Ole Miss

12. Clemson

13. Notre Dame

13. UCLA

14. LSU

14. LSU

15. Clemson

15. Arizona State

16. Arizona State

16. Georgia Tech

17. Georgia Tech

17. Ole Miss

18. Wisconsin

18. Arkansas

19. Missouri

19. Oklahoma

20. Arkansas

20. Wisconsin

21. Mississippi State

21. Stanford

22. Oklahoma

22. Arizona

23. Boise State

23. Boise State

24. Tennessee

24. Missouri

25. Stanford

25. Tennessee

I am pleased to say I hit on 24 of 25 teams!!! The only miss this year is I had Miss St in the top 25 and they were #26 while I did not have Arizona in the top 25 and they were in it. I will take predicting 24 of 25 teams FOUR MONTHS in advance any time as that is a solid 96%! I would also take Miss St over Arizona on a neutral site. In 2013 I put out my projected AP Top 25 on April 3rd and over 4 months later ALL 25 teams were in the actual AP Top 25 poll in August!!
You can now see that there is really no need to wait those agonizing SIX months prior to the season to see if your team will be ranked in the preseason Top 10…just make sure you are checking out my blog in February to find out who will be in the Top 10. In April 4 months (one third of a year) in advance you can check back and find out who will be in this years AP Top 25 and that hits on about 96% of actual Top 25 teams!

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