USA Today released its preseason Coaches Poll on Thursday afternoon, where reigning champion Florida State garnered 56 of the 62 first-place votes to land atop the rankings. Here are a few thoughts on how the rankings shook out:
- The SEC landed seven teams in the preseason Coaches Poll, followed by the Pac-12 with six, the Big 12 and Big Ten with four each, the ACC with three and Notre Dame.
- It's easy to see why the Seminoles landed atop the preseason Coaches Poll. Thirteen starters return for the defending champs, including Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston. The 'Noles' schedule also presents a favorable path to a playoff berth. Florida State gets Clemson, Notre Dame and Florida in Tallahassee. Based on this poll, Florida State should cruise through the ACC -- only two other teams from that conference emerged in the poll: Clemson at No. 16 and North Carolina at No. 23.
Alabama is coming off two straight losses at the end of last season, including a Sugar Bowl upset at the hands of Oklahoma. The Crimson Tide came in second in the preseason Coaches Poll, but Alabama did not garner a single one of the 62 first-place votes. Perhaps coaches were wary of a team looking to bounce back from disappointment and replace longtime starter AJ McCarron at quarterback.
- At No. 9, South Carolina was the lowest-ranked team to receive a first-place vote. The Gamecocks could be the favorite to emerge out of the SEC East and contend for the conference title, especially with the SEC West seemingly up in the air.
- Coming off a 7-5 campaign, North Carolina (No. 23) boasts the worst 2013 record of any team ranked in the preseason Coaches Poll.
- Auburn, which begins the preseason ranked fifth in the Coaches Poll, was unranked in the preseason list this time last year. All the Tigers did was win 12 games and reach the BCS title game, where it lost to Florida State. Could another unranked team shock the country this season?
- Remember, the Coaches Poll used to account for one-third of the BCS formula, but the poll will not be a required component of the upcoming College Football Playoff. Instead, the new 13-person selection committee will be free to use any criteria necessary when it selects the four playoff teams and the participants in the New Year's Day bowls.
|Rank||team||Points||First Place Votes|
|1||Florida State Seminoles||1543||56|
|2||Alabama Crimson Tide||1455||0|
|6||Ohio State Buckeyes||1267||1|
|8||Michigan State Spartans||1050||0|
|9||South Carolina Gamecocks||1009||1|
|17||Notre Dame Fighting Irish||509||0|
|18||Arizona State Sun Devils||358||0|
|19||Ole Miss Rebels||346||0|
|20||Texas A&M Aggies||266||0|
|21||Kansas State Wildcats||257||0|
|23||North Carolina Tar Heels||175||0|