Preseason Coaches’ Poll Keeps Bama at Number 1
The preseason Coaches’ Poll is out, and to no surprise Alabama is still in the drivers seat. Ohio State is in 2nd and given their returning starters, seem like a dangerous team this year. Florida and Texas rank 3 and 4 respectively, and while great teams I think these rankings are a bit too high. Particularly because they knock Boise State (who went undefeated last year) to the 5th spot. After the top 5, I begin to have much bigger issues with the list.
Virginia Tech is ranked 6th which is think is very high for them, as I consider them more of a 12-15 team. I would move Oklahoma and TCU above them easily and then I believe I would look at some surprise teams. Four teams I’d look to move high up on this list are Pittsburgh, North Carolina, Georgia, and Oregon State.
Now the NCAA investigations concern me a bit at UNC, and could serve as a possible distraction. Outside of that though, this defense is STACKED they have at least 6 players who should be top 3 round draft picks starting on their defense. On offense they don’t have the same number of weapons, but Greg Little is a very good receiver and should keep the offense going. Georgia has some questions on defense and at quarterback, but I think they are poised for a breakout year. Oregon State needs to replace their quarterback, but the Rodgers brothers will keep that offense moving. They also benefit from the NCAA issues at USC and the legal problems at Oregon, significantly weakening their two biggest rivals. The Beavers have an underrated defense that should help keep games close. The Panthers are the best team of the bunch, like Oregon State they need to replace their quarterback, but RB Dion Lewis and WR Jonathan Baldwin are the best RB-WR combo in the country (and yes that includes Ingram and Jones at Alabama). In addition, the Panthers have a very good defense that should be able to replace all of their key losses.
As for teams I’m not high on and think will fall (or should be out of the Top 25 altogether) include Oregon, Penn State, and Georgia Tech. Oregon has had major off the field legal issues that culminated in the loss of their starting quarterback. Things are pretty tense right now, and I could see the Ducks having some real early season struggles. Penn State is a classic example of hype. This is a team with no set quarterback, and that lost 6 defensive starters (including their three best players), they don’t exactly scream of Top 15 material to me. I think they will stay in the top 25 like Oregon, but should be in the low 20’s. Georgia Tech on the other hand I think should be out of the Top 25 entirely. They lost their top two offensive weapons as well as their two best defenders. The ACC as a whole is a lot better this year, and without that star talent I see the Yellow Jackets struggling this season.