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How similar could the preseason AP Top 25 be to the coaches poll?

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The release of the AP Top 25 is still a couple of weeks away, giving voters plenty of time to review every last bit of information before heading out for one final beach vacation before the start of the college football season. If you are taking your own guesses as to how the AP poll will look, consider giving the coaches poll a quick glance to help you build a foundation.

Last year’s preseason poll from the coaches and the AP had the exact same top four teams (Alabama, Clemson, Oklahoma, and Florida State) and the next six teams in their respective top 10 within one ranking spot between the two polls (for example, Michigan was No. 7 in the AP poll and No. 8 in the coaches poll, Notre Dame was No. 10 in the AP poll and No. 9 in the coaches, etc.)

If you look at this year’s coaches poll, you can probably assume a similar trend when the AP Top 25 is released later this month. Alabama figures to be as safe a bet as they come to land the top spot in the AP poll, just as the defending national champs did in the coaches poll, but the possibility of a bit more sharing of first-place votes could be expected. Clemson landed the second spot in the coaches poll and could be looking at the same position in the AP poll. After that, however, things may be a bit more interesting.

Ohio State could be the biggest question mark. The Buckeyes were No. 3 in the preseason coaches poll, but since then the status of head coach Urban Meyer has been thrown under the microscope after being placed on administrative leave and a university investigation commenced that could potentially lead to a coaching change for the Big Ten favorites. The fate of Ohio State’s head coaching situation should be confirmed before the AP ballots are due, and if Meyer is not the head coach of Ohio State, enough voters may feel a drop in the preseason pecking order could be justified at the start of the season.

It will also be interesting to see how the AP voters weigh in on programs like Michigan and UCF. Michigan has received some good buzz this offseason from certain outlets following the addition of transfer quarterback Shea Patterson to potentially be a major upgrade to an offense in desperate need of improvement. UCF is coming off an undefeated season and returns one of the top quarterbacks in the nation with McKenzie Milton, yet the coaches poll put last year’s AAC champion one spot behind another perennial Group of Five favorite, Boise State. Will the voters in the AP poll be more optimistic about UCF under first-year head coach Josh Heupel, or follow the coaches and tab the Broncos as the top G5 threat to make the New Years Six lineup at the end of the season? Just once since 2013 have multiple Group of Five programs been ranked in the preseason top 25 from the AP, when Louisville of the AAC and Boise State of the Mountain West Conference being ranked No. 9 and No. 12, respectively. There is a track record of the top G5 program from the previous season getting some AP respect in the preseason ranking the following season, so UCF fans should feel pretty confident about the chances of seeing their Knights in the preseason AP Top 25 for the first time in school history.

Knocking down the top 10 teams tends to be pretty straightforward for voters in both polls, but getting a consistent top 25 after going deeper down the rankings is where some of the bigger differences can be found. For example, last season’s preseason top 25 included Utah in the coaches poll but Washington State in the AP poll. The landing spots in the top 25 don’t usually stray too far away between spots in each poll for schools appearing in both polls, but it can happen. UCLA was No. 24 in the 2016 preseason coaches poll, but the AP placed the Bruins at No. 16 in the preseason poll. UCLA ended that season 4-8, so the coaches were at least a little bit closer to figuring out UCLA than the AP voters on this instance.

The bottom line is this; if your school is already in the coaches preseason poll, there is a very good chance your school will land in the AP preseason top 25. Furthermore, a school will likely have a similar ranking in the AP preseason poll compared to its current place in the coaches poll.

Virginia Tech transfer QB Josh Jackson tweets move to Maryland

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For the third time this offseason, first-year head coach Mike Locksley has pulled in a Power Five transfer to his Maryland program.

On his personal Twitter account Monday night, Josh Jackson announced that he has committed to continuing his collegiate playing career for Locksley at Maryland.  Nearly four weeks ago, it was confirmed that Jackson would be leaving Virginia Tech as the quarterback had placed his name into the NCAA transfer database.

As Jackson is expected to graduate from Tech in May, he would be eligible to play for Maryland this coming season.  Not only that, but he will have another year of eligibility he can use in College Park in 2020 as well.

After going through a tumultuous offseason, Jackson began 2018 as the Hokies’ starting quarterback only to suffer a season-ending injury in mid-September.

As a redshirt freshman in 2017, Jackson started all 13 games for the 9-4 Hokies. He passed for 2,991 yards and ran for another 324 yards while accounting for 26 touchdowns — 20 passing, six rushing.  The passing yards were the most for an FBS freshman that season, while the touchdowns passes were the second-most at this level.

Given the fact that he’ll be immediately eligible, Jackson will head into summer camp as the favorite to lay claim to the Terrapins’ starting job under center.

In addition to Jackson, Maryland has landed transfers from wide receiver Sean Savoy and linebacker Keandre Jones.  The former comes to College Park from Virginia Tech, the latter from Ohio State.

Ex-Arizona State LB Jalen Bates announces transfer to Colorado State

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Not long after declaring he was looking to transfer, ex-Arizona State linebacker Jalen Bates has found his landing spot. Bates is heading to Colorado State.

On Monday, Bates announced to his Twitter followers he is a Ram. The message was posted with a Photoshopped image showing him in a Colorado State football uniform. Bates started 10 games for Arizona State last season, and he has appeared in 18 games during his college career with the Sun Devils. That’s a nice addition for the Rams.

Having already earned his degree from Arizona State, Bates will be eligible to p[lay right away for the Rams this fall.

Oklahoma State OT Arlington Hambright announces transfer to Colorado

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Former Oklahoma State offensive tackle Arlington Hambright is ready for his final season of college football. He’ll play it at Colorado, Hambright announced via Twitter.

“I give all glory and praise to God, without him I would be nothing but I will be spending my last year in Boulder, Colorado playing in the Pac-12 under some GREAT coaches and for [an] amazing University,” Hambright announced, via Twitter. “Now let’s get to work!”

Reports of Hambright potentially transferring from Oklahoma State surfaced earlier this month as the player transfer fun has continued to run wild this offseason. While no specific reason for his reason for transferring has been made public, he will certainly be looking to close out his college football career on a high note. An ankle injury brought an early end to Hambright’s 2018 season after starting the first five games of the season. He did return for the Liberty Bowl against Missouri, but Hambright will look to get in a full season as a potential starter in the Pac-12 this fall.

E.J. Price, Kentucky OL with starting experience, leaves Wildcats

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Coming off one of the most successful seasons in recent memory in Lexington, Kentucky now has a hole to plug on the offensive line. Starting offensive tackle E.J. Price has reportedly left the football program. According to a report from Kentucky Sports Radio, Price will pursue other opportunities and a university spokesperson confirmed he is no longer with the program.

Price transferred to Kentucky from USC in 2017, but it was about a year ago Price suggested he was ready to leave Kentucky too. However, Price stuck with the Wildcats in 2018. He started 11 of 13 games for Kentucky as the Wildcats turned in a 10-win season capped with a victory in the Capital One Bowl against Penn State. It was Kentucky’s first 10-win season since 1977 and their first bowl victory since the 2008 season.

What’s next for Price remains to be seen. He will be required to sit out the 2019 season if he transfers to another FBS program unless he applies for a waiver and receives approval to be eligible in the fall.

As for Kentucky, the spring will open with a starting job up for grabs on the offensive line, although the return of Landon Young from a season-ending injury a year ago should help solidify the efforts up front.