The coaches top 25 was released yesterday, and had a few surprises, a few expected rankings, and a whole lot of fodder for us media types.
#1. Florida State Seminoles: It makes perfect sense to have them here. FSU was basically unstoppable last season, and they're returning most of the key parts. The biggest key, is the Heisman trophy winning, squirrel hunting, crab leg swiping, sip stealing quarterback that is Jameis Winston. Their schedule sets up nicely as they get Clemson, Notre Dame, and Florida (hey, Muschamp might turn things around) at home. They're big test away from the Doak will be in Arlington, Texas to open up the season against Ok State. Right now, it's the smart choice to make.
#2. Alabama Crimson Tide: Well, the last time we saw Alabama, they were getting taken advantage of by Oklahoma in a way that I would assume is illegal in Louisiana, but I really don't understand their legal code, so whatever. Bama is breaking in a new quarterback and has to replace a ton of talent on defense. Putting them at number two can only be justified by ROLL TAHD PAWWLLL, BAMA DON'T REBUILD BAMA RELOADS SABEAR IS GOING TO DESTROY THE BARN THIS YEAR! Needless to say, I think the Tide might be a bit overrated.
#3. Oklahoma Sooners: As stated before, Oklahoma earned a lot of respect by shocking Alabama in New Orleans last January, and it looks like the Sooners can keep rolling into this year. 10 defensive starters return, Trevor Knight is back, and Bob Stoops is one of the best coaches in the game. If the Sooners have some replacement targets for Knight, expect them to be in the playoff. I like them at #3
#4. Oregon Ducks: The Quack Attack will be flying high once again. Marcus Mariota is back under center for Oregon. The big hole to fill will be for the Black Mamba, De'Anthony Thomas. But, Oregon never has a shortage of speed, so they should be fine. A solid top 5 team.
War Eagles Tigers: The team that kept shocking us over and over again returns with a pretty loaded squad. Replacing Tre Mason at running back will be a tough task. At DT, we'll get to see what former five-star recruit Montravious Adams can do as a starter. The thing is, while Auburn has talent, they had a little bit of luck to pull out some of those games the way they did. This team has the talent to be as good if not better than last, but a few unlucky bounces of a ball might be what keeps them from the playoff. Regardless, they're a solid top five team.
#6. Ohio State Hurtin' Buckaroos: I'm assuming by this ranking that a solid team of medical specialists were able to put Braxton Miller together after Spencer Shuey laid the hammer to him last January in Miami. Anyway, they're overrated like always but should cruise through the first part of their schedule before facing Michigan State. I wouldn't rank them this high, but it wouldn't be a top 25 poll without Ohio State being too high.
#7. UCLA Bruins: This one shocked me, mostly because I didn't realize UCLA was a 10 win team last year. Pac-12 Defensive and Offensive player of the year, Miles Jack returns for his sophomore season. Jack is a rarity, playing running back and linebacker for the Bruins. I don't know enough to comment on this ranking, but I think UCLA will be a team worth watching this year.
#8. Michigan State Spartans: Losing two pieces of the No Fly Zone secondary (Darqueze Denard and Isaiah Lewis) will hurt the Spartans, but their stout defense looks to still be strong. I'd rank them above Ohio State, that's for sure.
#9. South Carolina Gamecocks: Well, our old nemesis from Columbia has some preseason hype. Someone even voted them #1, the only SEC team to receive a #1 vote. Regardless, South Carolina is talented, but they lost a little too much for me to have them in the top 10. Conner Shaw was a solid QB, and while Dylan Thompson has looked good in the PT he has received, there still may be some growing pains with him being an every game starter. Losing Jadeveon Clowney is a huge loss to the Cocks, but one they knew was coming. Mike Davis probably in the top five of SEC running backs, so their ground game will continue to be strong. They have the talent to be top 10, but there are still some questions.
#10 Baylor Bears: Bryce Petty and the point a minute offense are back. They'll be breaking in a new OL for the most part, and having to replace a lot on defense, but Baylor's strength has never been defense, so there shouldn't be too much drop off there. I could see them being ranked a few spots higher.
#11 Stanford Cardinal: They return a lot of players on defense, but I just don't see them being this high, especially with Oregon and UCLA on the schedule. But, Stanford seems to have found a system that works, so I shouldn't doubt them at this point, but I'm going to anyway.
#12 Georgia Bulldogs: UGA returns one of the best running back duos in the nation in Keith Marshal and Todd Gurley. Also they add a
freak of nature manchild blue chip running back recruit in Nick Chubb from Cedartown, Georgia (POLK COUNTY STAND UP!!!). Chubb is already drawing comparisons to Herschel Walker, which is possibly the highest honor you can get in the State of Georgia. Their quarterback Hutson Mason started two games for the Dawgs in '13 after Aaron Murray went out, so he has some experience but is still learning. UGA's success is going to depend on how teams defend their running attack. This is probably a good spot for them.
#13. LSU Tigers: This is way too high. They're replacing a lot. It's LSU, so they should reload easily, but I don't know that I'd have them this high. They get some poll points for being LSU and being consistently a top tier team, but this may be an off year.
#14. Wisconsin Badgers: Chis Borland, Pat Muldoon, and Beau Allen headline the wholes that Wisconsin has on defense. Probably this is the right sport for them. They should win at least nine games. Their schedule isn't too bad. Their opening weekend with LSU in Houston will no doubt be a fun game with two passionate fan bases.
#15. USC Trojans: Is SC back? Not like the old days. They've got talent, but it'll be interesting to see them be second fiddle in LA.
#16. Clemson Tigers: I kind of like us here in the preseason because it shows that we're a solid team, but doesn't put too high of expectations on us. Replacing arguably the best QB and WR in Clemson history will be a chore. Expect this year to be lower scoring games, but with our defense smothering teams. Honestly, us winning 11 games again is not out of the realm of possibilities. I'd have us over LSU, Wisconsin, and maybe USC. We get to prove how good we are right off the bat, so take care of business in Athens and we'll start our climb. I think we're a bit low, but I like us being not having a huge target on our back as well.
#17. Notre Dame Fighting Irish: It may or may not be in the US Constitution that Notre Dame must be ranked in all preseason polls. Everett Golson's back, so ND may be fairly decent this year. I think they're about right in the poll
#18. Arizona State Sun Devils: About right, what's up with their administration banning kegs at tailgates, though?
#19. Ole Miss Rebels: Dr. Bo (Bo Wallace) is a top five SEC QB. Laquan Treadwell, Robert Nkemdiche, and all the other recruits should be starting to come into their own as players. But, remember: It is still Ole Miss. Iexpect and 8-9 win season at best. They have enough talent to run with anyone, so I could see them stealing one from Auburn or Alabama. I hope Gameday goes to their home game against Alabama, and Corso picks Ole Miss, because one of two things will happen. He puts on the Bear head, and everyone will boo, or he puts on a Colonel Reb head/hat/beard/whatever and we get some controversy. Either way, should be a good time in the SEC.
#20. Texas A&M Aggies: No Johnny Football, so expect a drop off in on field production and wins. Should be interesting to see how the system works with a new quarterback. Like Ole Miss, A&M has the talent to make noise in the SEC West, but 8-9 wins is probably the ceiling for this year.
#21. Kansas State Wildcats: Bill Snyder is still coaching, so don't be shocked if the Wildcats do better than expected. I think they're low in this poll
#22.Nebraska Cornhuskers: There's 3 guarantees in life: death, taxes, and the Huskers losing four games.
#23. North Carolina Tar Heels: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHHAH. Why do people keep trying to make UNC football happen? Haven't we learned already
#24. Texas Longhorns: Assuming Charlie Strong has enough players left to field a team. Are nine players who buy in better than 11 who don't? Find out this fall
#25. Washington Huskies: Sure, why not?