The USA Today Coaches Poll came out Friday. Of the 59 coaches who vote on the poll, 53 of them voted Florida No. 1. No, we don’t know (and we really don’t care) which six coaches didn’t vote Florida No. 1 because the voting is secret.
In fact, we don’t even know if the coaches filled out their own ballots. Of course, we have reason to be skeptical about that and we wonder how much longer the Coaches poll will remain a viable part of the BCS process. But that’s another argument for another day
Here is a breakdown of the poll by conference with a little commentary to get your Monday started. Feel free to add your own.
The number of teams each conference placed in the Top 25 is in parentheses in bold. The other numbers are where those teams were ranked. I’m not ranking the conferences today. That will come later.
SEC (5): Florida (1), Alabama (5), LSU (9), Ole Miss (10), Georgia (13). It’s not surprising to have five SEC teams ranked. It’s not totally surprising to have four in the Top 10, because Ole Miss is getting a lot of love from a lot of people. What is surprising is for the SEC not to have a team ranked in positions 14-25. Auburn, Kentucky, Arkansas, South Carolina, and Tennessee all received votes. Vanderbilt and Mississippi State were the only SEC teams which did not receive votes.
ACC (4): Virginia Tech (7), Georgia Tech (15), Florida State (19), North Carolina (20). The ACC continues to be a very balanced league as Clemson, Miami, N.C. State, Wake Forest, Maryland, and Boston College all received votes. The ACC sent 10 teams to bowls last season and could do it again this season. But the league would trade a couple of those bowl slots for a serious contender for the BCS championship on the first Saturday in December.
Big East: (0): Yes, you read that right. The Big East got shut out of the preseason Coaches Top 25 and don’t even scratch until No. 29 with Cincinnati, the defending conference champions. The Bearcats lost 10 starters off the defense that led them to the Orange Bowl. Pat White is gone as West Virginia’s quarterback. South Florida and Rutgers could also win this league.
Big Ten (3): Ohio State (6); Penn State (8), Iowa (21). I was a little surprised to see Iowa sitting there at 21 because the Hawkeyes lost their best offensive weapon in running Shonn Greene (1,850 yards rushing in 2008). As a college football fan, it’s hard to accept that Michigan is bad. They are going to get better under Rich Rodriguez, but in the short term it’s painful to watch. I don’t see anybody other than Ohio State and Penn State in this league challenging, but keep an eye on Illinois and senior QB Juice Williams and WR Arrelious Benn.
Big 12 (4): Texas (2), Oklahoma (3), Oklahoma State (11), Nebraska (22): This league is pretty top heavy but you’d better be aware of Kansas in the North Division. The Jayhawks have a very good quarterback in Todd Reesing and Nebraska will have a new quarterback. Texas Tech will have to replace the prolific Graham Harrell at quarterback, but head coach Mike Leach always seems to find somebody who can throw for over 300 yards a game.
Pac-10 (4): USC (4), California (12), Oregon (14), Oregon State (25): If anybody is going to challenge the Trojans, this is the year. USC will have a new quarterback for the second straight year. It could be sophomore Aaron Corp or it could be true freshman Matt Barkley. The Trojans also have to replace eight starters on defense. I really like California with running back Jahvid Best, the nation’s leading returning rusher (131.67 ypg in 2008).
Mountain West (3): TCU (17); Utah (18); BYU (23): About right now the folks who play in the Mountain West are saying: “We have three teams ranked in the preseason Top 25. We had a team (Utah) to go 13-0 last season with a win over Alabama. Now explain to me why the Big East, which has NOBODY in the Top 25 gets an automatic bid to the BCS and we don’t?”
WAC (1): Boise State (16). Only a 17-16 loss to TCU in the Poinsettia Bowl kept the Broncos (12-1) from perfection last season. Sophomore quarterback Kellen Moore returns and maybe this time Boise State can be the BCS buster. The Broncos open the season at home against Oregon on Sept. 3. Win that one and they could be looking at 13-0.
Independent (1): Notre Dame (23). The Irish have a schedule that should allow them to significantly improve on last season’s 7-6 record. Jimmy Clausen enters his third year at quarterback with some weapons at wide receiver who can make plays. The defense will be better now that (former Georgia Tech DC) Jon Tenuta is running it.
So who was left out of the Coaches Top 25 who absolutely, positively should have been in there? The floor is yours.
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