The USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll has been released, which means we can start with the over-analysis. First, the poll, with first place votes in parentheses:Preseason Coaches Poll
|1. Ohio State (28)||1,487|
|2. Texas (11)||1,378|
|3.(t) Notre Dame (9)||1,348|
|3.(t) Southern Cal (1)||1,348|
|5. Oklahoma (13)||1,320|
|6. Auburn (1)||1,206|
|7. West Virginia||1,202|
|10. Florida State||874|
|16. Virginia Tech||591|
|19. Penn State||406|
|25. Texas Tech||198|
#1 vs #2
It?s somewhat of a rare treat to get a #1 vs #2 matchup during the regular season, less rare overall with the advent of the BCS. Still, the Longhorns (barring an unfathomable collapse by Texas or Ohio State in the season opener) will participate in their second #1 vs #2 matchup in three games. Once more, they?ll be considered the challenger. We don?t yet know the AP Preseason Poll rankings, but at least by one of the polls, we?ll have ourselves a 1-2 matchup.
Regardless of where each team is ranked in the AP Poll, the winner of the game will, almost without doubt, find themselves ranked #1 on September 11th. The only thing that matters in these rankings is that you?re starting within striking distance of #1. Texas will be.
Whoops. The Coaches Got Bomar?d
The Sooners? hold on the #5 spot is tenuous, at best. Certainly, the 13 first place votes will vanish, regardless of what happens in the opener against UAB. We?ll save a fresh round of jokes for then.
Notre Dame Already Controversial
Despite nine first place votes, the Fighting Irish are tied with USC (one first place vote) in total vote points. Why? They?re clearly being ranked much lower on some ballots. Their delta score, along with Oklahoma?s (13 first place votes), is relatively high. With skeptics already abound, losses for both teams may be more heavily penalized.
Biggest Head Scratcher
Virginia Tech at #16, no doubt. This is lazy voting that reflects a tendency to overrate programs of traditional success. The Hokies have no business being ranked ahead of Iowa. And on that note, one of the top ten things I?m most excited about leaving DC is: no more Virginia Tech fans. They?d be pitiful, if they deserved any pity. It?s a gross school, in the middle of nowhere, with nasty maroon colors, and backward fans. Sound familiar?
Big 12 Breakdown
About what you?d expect. The top four perceived teams (TX, OU, Nebraska, Tech) are in the Top 25. What I?m most interested to see is what happens to Texas A&M. They very well might start the season 9-0, or 8-1 (loss to Tech). But they aren?t actually going to be any good. I?ll laugh if they back their way into a ranking, only to get humiliated in November.
Other than that, I?m not expecting any other Big 12 teams to make enough noise to be a part of this discussion. The only team with a lot of solid talent that could work their way into the picture is Iowa State. The problem for them, though, is an unforgiving schedule. They?ll need to give the ?Horns a competitive game on the 23rd of September to set the right tone.