AP Top 25 Podcast: Humans vs. math in early 2021 projections

Sports

Miami quarterback D’Eriq King (1) looks for a receiver as Oklahoma State defensive tackle Sione Asi (99) rushes during the first half of the Cheez-it Bowl NCAA college football game, Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2020, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

By the numbers, 2021 looks promising for Miami. Humans are more skeptical about the Hurricanes being back.

On the flip side, the math on Notre Dame suggests regression next season. The people who put together the way-too-early rankings are more bullish on the Fighting Irish maintaining their recent run of double-digit victory seasons.

On the latest AP Top 25 College Football Podcast, ESPN’s Bill Connelly, the brains behind the SP+ power rankings, joins the AP’s Ralph Russo to discuss the first projections for 2021.

How does a composite of notable way-too-early Top 25s compare to the SP+ early forecast? And why are the numbers more pessimistic about an Indiana encore and an LSU bounce back than the humans?

How will the return to college football of dozens of players who would have otherwise been out of eligibility impact the coming season? “Super seniors” such as Miami’s D’Eriq King taking advantage of the NCAA’s pandemic-related extra year of eligibility are boosting teams such as the Hurricanes and UCLA in Connelly’s system.

SP+ is high on several Pac-12 teams, but how much can the results of a truncated 2020 season really be relied upon when forecasting 2021?

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Follow Ralph D. Russo at https://twitter.com/ralphDrussoAP and listen at https://westwoodonepodcasts.com/pods/ap-top-25-college-football-podcast/

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More AP college football: https://apnews.com/Collegefootball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

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