No surprise here: AJ McCarron
and Alabama top the 2013 preseason Coaches' Poll. (Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
By Martin Rickman
Oh man oh man oh man oh man oh man oh man oh man oh man.
The first Coaches' Poll of the year was finally released on Thursday morning, so why am I even keeping you from it? The complete preseason rankings are listed below, with the number of first-place votes for each team included in parentheses. (Spoiler alert: Defending national champion Alabama received most of them.)
1. Alabama (58)
2. Ohio State (3)
6. Texas A&M (1)
7. South Carolina
11. Notre Dame
12. Florida State
14. Oklahoma State
19. Boise State
25. Oregon State
Preseason polls are
meaningless and probably shouldn't exist usually accurate and critically important, if only because they mean we're that much closer to the season. But there are a few points of interest in our Aug. 1 look at which teams the coaches believe deserve to be ranked:
• The SEC reigns supreme once again, but not by much. The SEC has six teams in the initial poll -- all ranked in the top 13 -- while the Pac-12 and Big Ten each have five. The Big 12 is next with four ranked teams.
• There were just three teams outside the Power Five included in the preseason poll: Louisville, Notre Dame and Boise State. History tells us a few more teams from non-AQ conferences will break through, typically after the first few weeks of the season.
• Coaches don't think very highly of the ACC (outside of Clemson, Florida State and soon-to-be member Louisville). Whether it's artificial, accidental or not, this could be a good thing for the conference. The ACC generally falls flat in the first couple weeks of the season, and lesser expectations might actually lead to greater results (and a lack of losses to CAA teams). I thought UNC or Miami might have a chance to crack the rankings, but again, it's Aug. 1 and I'm trying to seriously analyze a Top 25.
• I'm a little surprised by how low LSU and Oklahoma are ranked. The Tigers and Sooners each have reasons for coaches to be wary, but seeing neither in the top 10 is still a bit strange. The Jeremy Hill suspension hurts LSU offensively, but Miles always seems to replace talent, and it usually doesn't make a difference. Stoops has a different offense in place with Landry Jones gone and Blake Bell taking over at quarterback, so the coaches could be accounting for a learning curve.
• Ohio State went undefeated last year and its 2013 schedule is extremely favorable, but I expected it to be ranked a bit lower than No. 2. Carlos Hyde's suspension hurts the Buckeyes, and the status of Bradley Roby remains unknown in the wake of his misdemeanor battery charge.
• I'm not sure about putting Florida State as low as No. 12. That defense alone could be enough to keep the 'Noles in the top 10.
• Shout out to Northwestern for its No. 22 ranking. I have high hopes for the Wildcats this year, and apparently so do our nation's headset wearers.
• Expectations are out there for Johnny Football, Kevin Sumlin and the Aggies. At No. 6, Texas A&M has its highest preseason ranking since 1995, when it finished 9-3 with a trip to the Alamo Bowl.
Did the coaches do a good job? Who was snubbed? Who is ranked too high? Let's talk about it in the comments. The first regular-season Coaches' Poll drops on Sept. 3.