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Preseason Poll Roundup

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AP USA Today
2 Alabama Alabama
4 Oklahoma Oklahoma
5 Oregon Oregon
6 Georgia Georgia
7 Florida State Florida State
8 Michigan Michigan
9 South Carolina South Carolina
10 Arkansas Arkansas
11 West Virginia West Virginia
12 Wisconsin Wisconsin
13 Michigan State Michigan State
14 Clemson Clemson
15 Texas Texas
16 Virginia Tech Nebraska
17 Nebraska TCU
18 Ohio State Stanford
19 Oklahoma State Oklahoma State
20 TCU Virginia Tech
21 Stanford Kansas State
22 Kansas State Boise State
23 Florida Florida
24 Boise State Notre Dame
25 Louisville Auburn
Others Receiving Votes Notre Dame, Washington, Auburn, North Carolina, Utah Washington, Louisville, Georgia Tech, Cincinnati, Texas A&M

For the most part, preseason polls (both the creation of them in itself, and the evaluation of said polls) is a futile endeavor, here at BSD we strive to bring you as much information as possible. And so: your weekly evaluation of the college football polls.

This early in the season, we'll just stick to the basic two polls to cover; later on, we'll add more (including SBN's own College Football top 25, and the BCS poll when it starts generating).

A few notes and observations from the preseason polls going into the first week of FBS division games:

  • Voters seem pretty decided that USC, Alabama, and LSU are the cream of the crop this season, with most first place votes going to those schools. Other schools receiving first place votes included Oklahoma and Michigan, who each received one vote in the AP poll (yes, Michigan received a first place vote).
  • Florida State seems pretty high for a team that perennially underachieves (see: last year, when they were preseason ranked #5), though they are coming off a divisional championship (having lost in the ACC championship game, and beating Notre Dame in the Always Overrated bowl 18-14). They do return 9 starters each on offense and defense, so who knows? This could be the first year in twenty that they live up to the hype--but don't count on it.
  • Boise State rightfully makes an appearance in the preseason poll, though, perhaps because of the loss of star QB Kellen Moore, they're at their lowest spot in the polls for the past eleven years. They may not stay in the polls past this week, though, as they take on Michigan State in week 1.
  • Notre Dame makes an appearance in the Coaches Poll, but not in the AP poll (though it was the team with the highest number of votes outside of the poll). This is not unexpected; neither should their inevitable rise and fall over the season (five of the scheduled games this season are versus teams ranked ahead of them in both polls).

  • The SEC, perhaps unsurprisingly, is the conference with the most schools in the poll, with seven (including Auburn's place in the USA Today poll); Alabama and LSU are split as the conference's highest ranked schools. The Big 12 comes in next, with six schools ranked; like last year, Oklahoma is the highest ranked in that conference. The Big Ten comes in third, with six schools ranked (including Ohio State in the AP poll; the Buckeyes are ineligible to be ranked in the USA Today Coaches Poll). Michigan is the Big Ten's highest ranked school.
  • The Pac 12 and the ACC are tied with three ranked teams each, with USC and Florida State being the highest ranked in each, respectively. Boise's jump to the Mountain West gives that conference one entry in the rankings, and the Big East only has one team, Louisville, ranked in the AP poll, and none in the Coaches Poll.
  • Penn State isn't eligible for the Coaches' Poll, but didn't receive any votes in the AP Poll, in which it is eligible.

...But what does this all mean? It all likely depends on who you ask. In 2011, Oklahoma was preseason ranked #1in both polls; they ended the season a respectable if disappointing 10-3, ranked #14 in the BCS poll. The two teams who played for the MNC last year (Alabama and LSU) came into the season ranked 2 and 4, respectively; additionally, Oklahoma State, who ended the season #3 after an overtime victory versus Stanford in the Fiesta Bowl, barely made it into the top ten in preseason polls and was picked to finish third in its conference. Michigan, on the other hand, barely received any preseason votes, yet went on to an 11-2 season and Sugar Bowl win over Virginia Tech.

In other words? This means some. But not all. Look for some of these teams to drop down, or out entirely, after the first week, and others to fall down as the season progresses. Just part of the excitement and illogicality of the entire Division 1 football system.

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