We are less than 100 days until the start of a brand new college football season, which means it is time for Phil Steele to release his preseason first-, second-, third- and fourth-team All-American squads.
Right off the top there’s a surprise with USC quarterback Cody Kessler claiming first-team All-American honors over the likes of TCU’s Trevone Boykin (second team), Mississippi State’s Dak Prescott (third team), Michigan State’s Connor Cook (fourth team) and Ohio State’s three-headed quarterback of Cardale Jones, J.T. Barrett and Braxton Miller (none listed).
A teammate of that signal-calling triumvirate is in the backfield, with preseason Heisman frontrunner Ezekiel Elliott listed as one of the two first-team running backs. The other is Georgia super sophomore Nick Chubb.
A total of 51 FBS teams are represented on Steele’s four teams, 42 of them from Power Five conferences and nine from the so-called Group of Five.
It is amazing what winning a national title does for your reputation. Heading into the BCS final, the Big Ten was universally viewed as overrated, its players not as good as the other top conferences. But win the national title and opinions change.
Defending national champion and likely preseason No. 1 Ohio State paces all teams with eight total selections (two first team, three second team, three third team). Alabama is next up with seven (two each on the first, second, third teams, one on the fourth team), followed by Oklahoma’s six (two each on first and second teams, one each on third and fourth teams) and five each for LSU (two first, and one each from second, third and fourth), Michigan State (four on second team, one on fourth team), Notre Dame (three first team, one each on third and fourth) and USC (two first team, three second team).
Also not surprisingly, the SEC far and away leads all conferences with a total of 33 teams on all of Steele’s teams. 11 of the conference’s 14 teams have at least one player represented, the lone exceptions being two-time defending East champ Missouri, Vanderbilt and Kentucky. Following that league are the Pac-12 (21), Big Ten (20), Big 12 (15) and ACC (12).