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What Might Be: Can we look ahead without looking back? Times change, but do they really? I'm not trying to get philisophical, but just bear with me.

You know it's never too early to talk college football. So here we go again.

The early prognostications have been flowing freely for the past several months with some notable disparities from recent years.

Now when the season arrives, the usual suspects will be back among the regular contenders, but there has been some doubters. Maybe they've got good reason.

I gave you the history of the FPI a few weeks ago and how it rarely varies in having the same teams at the top of the rankings year in and year out.

Those teams are Alabama, Ohio State, Clemson and Georgia - in the playoff era.

Big Game Boomer is a Twitter guy that listed his preseason rankings last week. I give him credit. He went against the grain. I like that. Status quo is boring, although it's norm most years.

One prediction stood out most. No, it was not that Georgia was not No. 1. I'd pick the field against them too. I'm not sure I'd pick Michigan as Boomer did. The Vegas guys have somebody other than Georgia. Who is the only question.

Alabama was picked No. 11. That's the surprise. This might just be the season that the Tide slips. Boomer had them No. 11 (not that far-fetched).

There is history on their side though. Every Nick Saban team since his first in Tuscaloosa has finished No. 10 or better. That's 15 straight.

They are replacing Bryce Young. The consistent contenders are all replacing QBs - Georgia included.

I went back and looked at Bama's history. Will they win it in 2023. There's a lot of questions to be answered, but Saban has not gone longer than three years without a natty.

Here is rundown of Bama's year-end rankings under Saban in the AP Poll:

2022: 5
2021: 2
2020: 1
2019: 8
2018: 2
2017: 1
2016: 2
2015: 1
2014: 4
2013: 7
2012: 1
2011: 1
2010: 10
2009: 1
2008: 6
2007: unranked

The average finish in those seasons is No. 3.

Ohio State has placed in the top ten nine straight times - every year of the playoff era (2014-22).

Georgia has the third longest active streak at six since season's end in 2017.

Clemson has the next longest run during the Saban years. The Tigers finished in the AP Top 10 six straight times from 2015-2020.

Kirby Smart might be the next Nick Saban. He still has a ways to go, but it's a nice start. He could also be the next Dabo Swinney. Dabo has been outside of the top ten the past two seasons. Who knows - he might win it this year.

Maybe it's Harbaugh's turn at Michigan. They did lose to TCU in the CFP last year. But that was last year.

One thing that's certain is the lack of certainty. Some say history is the leading indicator of future events. Others say there is a first time for everything. I'm sticking with history.