- SOUTH CAROLINA. Undisputed number ones since their strength and conditioning coach Jeff Dillman is the only one to describe their offseason workouts as “scary.” To be clear, he means the buy-in has been scary, as in scary-good? We hope it’s scary good. In addition to being terrified of how well things are going, Dillman is also “excited,” but that’s standard strength coachspeak. EVERYONE IN THE WEIGHT ROOM IS EXCITED IN FEBRUARY.
- VIRGINIA TECH. WAKING UP EARLY AND RUNNING AT 5:30 A.M. CONTINUING TO HAVE BIG SQUAT FRIDAY. WILL PROBABLY NEVER FALL FURTHER THAN ONE OR TWO IN THE OFFSEASON RANKINGS AS LONG AS THEY CONTINUE TO HAVE BIG SQUAT FRIDAY. VIRGINIA TECH HAS NEVER BEEN ABOUT ANYTHING BUT DISCOMFORT AND THE IRON. NOISES OF INTENSE EFFORT! GRUNTING! SO MUCH GRUNTING IN THE HOLLER. DOUBT THEIR RANKING AND PLEASE REFER TO THE SIGNAGE.
- BOISE STATE. Boxing each other to keep from getting bored? Sure. The Broncos are being instructed by a former bantamweight MMA fighter named Jesse Brock. Brock is a 140 pound MMA fighter and former champion wrestler at Boise. By definition, he has to be one of the meanest things on the planet, and capable of putting a water buffalo in a Full Nelson. Correction: Capable, and eager to put a water buffalo in a Full Nelson.
- FLORIDA. Relying mostly on user-generated content to get the word out about how hellish their workouts are. Also: Florida’s new strength coach is literally Coach Savage. Branding is so key in this department.
- FLORIDA STATE. Mat drills, which for Florida State are kind of a Bobby Bowden callback since Bowden’s offseasons were infamous for their mat work. Con: Willie Taggart calls them “The Chase” because they’re chasing a championship. (Groaaaaan.) Pro: they have set an offseason conditioning clip to Nipsey Hussle.
- ARKANSAS. Lots of sled work. Just mentioning that here to make sure everyone else who’s ever worked with a sled for conditioning before has the same sympathetic nausea reflex we just had watching that.
- WEST VIRGINIA. This article has at least five paragraphs by WVU’s strength coach talking about “toughness” and “answering the bell.” Translated: Everyone on the team is going to be running until they puke up meals they don’t even remember eating until spring ball. No fun boxing, no yoga, no entertaining competitions, just running and up-downs. They’re probably running up that hill the law school is on in Morgantown. It sucks to walk up that hill, much less run up it. (Send ice packs to WVU football players immediately plz.)
- BAYLOR. They’ve been squatting to Drake, which seems like a pretty good way to work out all those trust issues you might have. (Also “God’s Plan” is a good soundtrack because God wants you to squat.) (That’s not even debatable.)
- TENNESSEE. Looks like a lot of rolling around set to some Bourne soundtrack knockoff music. That’s fine. After Butch Jones’ nonstop sloganeering and trash can hype moves, Tennessee needs a solid three years of boring but sensible social media work.
- NEBRASKA. It’s fine now, nevermind, it’s all fine now that we got that out of the way.
WHO’S SCARY, WHO’S EXCITED, WHO’S IN PAIN