Texas Longhorns Open At No. 15 In USA Today Coaches' Poll

The USA Today Coaches' Poll came out late Thursday morning, with the Texas Longhorns debuting at no. 15 nationally.

It seems like a fair assessment of where the Longhorns are coming off of a 13-12 record the last two seasons. Questions about quarterback play (and, when the coaches turned in their votes, the kicking game) give this Longhorn team a floor that is relatively low compared to the other teams on the top half of the list.

However, led by a defense that should at times be dominant, as well as a strong running game that should have the ability to wear teams down by the fourth quarter, the upside for this group is much higher than that of the 15th-best team in the country, especially if prospective starter David Ash can protect the football and capitalize on big-play opportunities presented by teams keying on the running game.

Follow after the jump for the complete rankings.

Rank Team (first-place votes) Record Points Final 2011 rank
1. LSU (18) 13-1 1,403 2
2. Alabama (20) 12-1 1,399 1
3. Southern California (19) 10-2 1,388 NR
4. Oklahoma 10-3 1,276 15
5. Oregon 12-2 1,258 4
6. Georgia 10-4 1,061 20
7. Florida State 9-4 1,055 23
8. Michigan 11-2 1,023 9
9. South Carolina 11-2 981 8
10. Arkansas 11-2 948 5
11. West Virginia 10-3 833 18
12. Wisconsin 11-3 743 11
13. Michigan State 11-3 717 10
14. Clemson 10-4 598 22
15. Texas 8-5 549 NR
16. Nebraska 9-4 501 24
17. TCU 11-2 499 13
18. Stanford 11-2 497 7
19. Oklahoma State 12-1 476 3
20. Virginia Tech 11-3 461 17
21. Kansas State 10-3 398 16
22. Boise State 12-1 271 6
23. Florida 7-6 250 NR
24. Notre Dame 8-5 166 NR
25. Auburn 8-5 66 NR

  • Texas Tech received a vote. Ha! In other news, Tommy Tuberville has a vote in the poll. Nicely done, coach.
  • Kansas State seems low at no. 21. Bill Snyder couldn't care less.
  • Overall, the Big 12 landed six teams on the top 25, with Baylor lingering just outside at no. 31. Two of those teams are the newbies, TCU and West Virginia. Texas A&M and Missouri? Only to be found in the also receiving votes category. The league has never been stronger and got better this season without those two.
Couple questions. Is Texas ranked in the right spot? And is Oklahoma a bit high given the everything that has been going on with that program and the late-season struggles of Landry Jones without Ryan Broyles, not to mention a running game that has not been particularly effective recently?
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