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College football rankings: Teams snubbed in Coaches Poll Top 25, per USA Today

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College football rankings aren't an exact science, and teams that should be included in the top 25 aren't, while some that are don't belong.

That seems to be the case with just about every Coaches Poll that comes out, including the recent preseason top 25 rankings that were recently announced.

One coach went so far as to give Texas a vote as the No. 1 team in the country, despite the Longhorns going 5-7 a year ago with questions all over the roster.

Where else did the Coaches Poll go wrong this preseason? Let's take a look at the five teams that were snubbed by the voters, according to USA Today.

College football rankings: Teams snubbed in the Top 25 Coaches Poll

1. Penn State

sean clifford penn state

Quarterback Sean Clifford is back for a sixth year, and coach James Franklin vowed to the Happy Valley fan base that whatever issues have plagued his team over the past two years that it will get fixed.

This was a 5-0 team going into the landmark game at Iowa, when quarterback Sean Clifford went down with an injury, throwing the Nittany Lions' season into a tailspin. That kicked off a three-game losing skid and six losses in their final eight games.

But Clifford is back under center, cementing the most important position on the field with needed experience, and he gets a huge transfer addition to work with downfield: Mitchell Tinsley, who scored 14 times off 1,402 yards in WKU's historic offense last fall.

2. North Carolina

josh downs

UNC has an absolute stud in wide receiver Josh Downs and the inevitable questions at quarterback and offensive line will linger without improvement.

On paper, you'd expect the Tar Heels to take a major step backwards offensively: they lost star quarterback Sam Howell, the bulk of their rushing attack, and four starters on the offensive line.

But this team retains a very solid receiving corps to help along whoever inherits Howell's job, led by Josh Downs, who surpassed 1,300 yards with eight touchdowns. 

And it brings back a defensive unit that has recruited very well, coached once again by Gene Chizik to tighten up the loose ends after ranking 94th in college football last fall.

3. Iowa

spencer petras iowa

Iowa ranked in the top 10 in turnover margin, while leading the nation in interceptions and must sustain that productivity and rely on its outstanding linebacking corps to compete with Wisconsin along with Ohio State and Michigan, who join the schedule this season.

Iowa often has the defense to take it places, like last season when the Hawkeyes were in the top 5 of the AP rankings and seemingly destined for the College Football Playoff.

But patching together a consistently threatening downfield offense still evades this program. Spencer Petras returns at quarterback, but is coming off a 57.3% passing campaign for under 1,900 yards, 10 touchdowns, and nine picks.

4. Tennessee

cedric tillman tennessee football

While the offense has the ability to score with anyone in the nation, stopping anyone was an issue as their defense was on the field for more plays than any other team in the SEC and gave up nearly 30 points a game.

The Vols placed top 10 across college football in total offense and scoring per game a year ago behind the superb play of quarterback Hendon Hooker, the most technically efficient passer in the SEC last season.

He's clearly one of the conference's best returning players, but second-year coach Josh Heupel needs to ensure quality replacements for talent lost at the receiver position. USC transfer Bru McCoy is a good start and should help complement Cedric Tillman, a potential star who surpassed 200 yards against Georgia.

5. LSU

How far can LSU go in the Top 25 college football rankings this season?

It’s not like LSU is devoid of talent. They generally recruit well, but getting back to becoming a respectable unit is not that far off. If the defense can get back to stopping the run, they will be fine.

One of the biggest open questions in college football this season is just how well Brian Kelly will adapt to life in the SEC and help revive LSU's football fortunes.

He steps into a recruiting base bursting with game-changing talent and has already impressed on the trail and in the transfer portal his first time out.

But Kelly also struggled against ranked teams and Southern opponents when he was at Notre Dame and inherits a roster with issues at defensive back, offensive line, and quarterback, and plays a punishing SEC West schedule.

(h/t USA Today)


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