For those who weren’t aware, the first USA Today Coaches Poll was announced. The resuts of the poll can be seen at the bottom of the page. (Source: www.espn.com)
Miami is ranked 13th in this poll. That’s probably about right. Had they beat Wisconsin last year in the Champs Sports Bowl, the ‘Canes are probably looking at a ranking near where fellow-ACC team Virginia Tech sits at #6. Everything about this ranking makes sense. It was around the area where Miami finished the season ranked last year, and the Hurricanes return much of their team, though they have lost some key pieces (Dedrick Epps, Jimmy Graham, Randy Phillips, Jason Fox, and Daryl Sharpton among others).
Additionally, a lot of these rankings, for better or worse or related to how people predict a team is going to do. For instance, Miami’s difficult non-conference schedule may have actually hurt them here, as most figure on a loss or two in non-conference play.
While it’s not impossible for UM to qualify for the BCS title game, a ranking as low as this probably puts it out of the question should Miami falter in any of their games, as they won’t get the benefit of the doubt playing in a conference that is viewed (unfairly in my opinion) as a second-tier league.
Other opinions on the poll:
Alabama is the defending national champion, and it’s certainly fair to vote them #1. However, it’s ridiculous to treat them as though they’re 2005 USC or 2009 Florida before the season starts. Those teams had nearly all of their main pieces coming back, while the Crimson Tide have to replace NINE defensive starters from a year ago. I realize that the majority, if not all of the replacements are four and five-star athletes, and that the offense for Alabama returns largely intact, but let’s not crown them yet.
Personally, if I had a vote (and I will vote this way in the dampfang.com poll), I would vote for Boise State as my #1 team. It’s criminal that they’re ranked behind Florida and Texas, both of whom need to replace the signal-callers that were largely responsible for the bulk of their offenses a year ago. The Broncos return 20 starters from a team that went undefeated a year ago and beat BCS teams Oregon and TCU. This may be a case once again of holding a team’s schedule against them. We’ll see how good the Broncos are when they begin the season against Virginia Tech at what is essentially a home game for the Hokies. If the Broncos win that game, they should be no lower than #2 in the next poll.
Who’s underrated in the poll? How about Oregon State, which returns Jacquizz and James Rodgers. They’re consistently overlooked, but they’ve been one game short of the Rose Bowl each of the last two seasons, and will have an opportunity to make a statement with early season games against TCU in Dallas, and at Boise State.
Another team being sold short is North Carolina, who may have the best defense in college football. Butch Davis has assembled a group reminiscent on paper of the 2003 Miami defense, and an offense that while not explosive, has enough firepower to get two or three scores against good teams. They’ll completely stifle LSU’s offense in the opener in the Georgia Dome.
Cincinnati should also be ranked. Yes, this is a team that lost Tony Pike, Mardy Gilyard, and coach Brian Kelly. But Zac Collaros proved to be an outstanding quarterback last year filling in for Pike, and there’s still a lot left from a team that went undefeated in the regular season a year ago.
Overrated? Nebraska. The pick du jour to make it some noise on the national scene this year still lacks offensive punch. Who can forget the offensive ineptitude they displayed against a Texas defense (that was gashed the week before by Texas A&M) in the Big XII Championship Game? The defense will still be really, really rough, but with a lot of the same personnel back on offense, they don’t appear to have the firepower of a Top-10 team.
Penn State also seems to be ranked a bit too high. The Nittany Lions lost ten starters from last year’s squad, including quarterback Darryl Clark. Evan Royster returns to carry the offensive load at tailback early on, but the ranking still seems to a bit too high for a team that lost as much as Penn State did. They’ll get a tremendous test early on as they travel to Tuscalossa to play the Crimson Tide in Week 2.
Who gave 38 votes to Notre Dame? The Irish went 6-6 and lost QB Jimmy Clausen and WR Golden Tate, and there’s still no evidence they’re going to play defense this fall. They’re also going through the transition to Brian Kelly as head coach, and it’s not always easy in the first games under a new staff. Chalk these votes up to the name recognition of the Fighting Irish.
Ohio State (4)
- Others receiving votes: Cincinnati 135, Houston 76, Brigham Young 66, Arizona 65, Mississippi 48, Clemson 44, Stanford 41, Connecticut 40, Notre Dame 38, South Carolina 38, Washington 26, Missouri 23, Navy 12, Oklahoma State 11, Boston College 10, Michigan State 10, Arizona State 6, California 6, Texas Tech 5, South Florida 4, Texas A&M 3, Temple 2, Northwestern 2, Mississippi State 1, Nevada 1, Northern Illinois 1, Central Michigan 1, Southern Methodist 1
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