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10 Things We Learned from Week 3's AP and USA Today Coaches Polls

Randy ChambersAnalyst ISeptember 10, 2012

10 Things We Learned from Week 3's AP and USA Today Coaches Polls

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    After a Week 1 college football season that didn't tell us much, Week 2 was much more revealing and interesting. Many upsets took place, a few teams proved that they are true contenders and we saw a few teams that certainly have their work cut out for them this season.

    We may only be two weeks into a long college football season, but we are quickly seeing which teams are serious this year and which teams aren't as good as we thought.

    The new polls have been released and there is certainly a lot to take from both the AP and USA Today Coaches Poll.

    Here are 10 things that we have learned from the release of the Week 3 polls.

Voters Were High on Texas A&M

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    Although Texas A&M has yet to be ranked in 2012, both coaches and writers were very high on the Aggies. The Florida Gators walked away with a close victory, as Kevin Sumlin's club played their first conference game as members of the SEC.

    Running back Mike Gillislee continues to impress this season, rushing for 83 yards and scoring two touchdowns in the Gators' 20-17 victory.

    Maybe it was because the Aggies are great on paper, or maybe it had to do with playing in a hostile environment such as Kyle Field, but the win moved Florida up six spots in both the AP Poll and Coaches Poll.

Kansas State Is a True Contender

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    Remember the 10-win season the Kansas State Wildcats had last year, and everybody considered it to be the surprise of the year?

    Well, it seems like everybody is buying into the Wildcats again this season.

    Kansas State has scored over 50 points the first two weeks of the season, including dominating the Miami Hurricanes on both sides of the ball last weekend. They are a team that is now ranked 15th in the AP Poll and 14th in the USA Today.

    We will learn a lot about this team when they travel to Norman in a couple of weeks to play the Oklahoma Sooners, but if the Wildcats can continue this type of play, we have a serious contender in the Big 12.

USC Is Losing Some of That Edge

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    USC is still considered the favorite to win the Pac-12 by many and are 2-0 to begin the season, but the Trojans haven't looked impressive so far. In Saturday's victory over Syracuse, the USC defense allowed 21 first downs to the Orange, 455 total yards and was flagged for a total of 12 penalties.

    The defense of the Trojans is not as good as it looks on paper, particularly the secondary, as many opposing receivers are running around open. This team must figure things out quickly and has to become more disciplined, as 20 combined penalties in two games is unacceptable.

    The Trojans actually dropped a spot in the USA Today Poll, while LSU is only four first-place votes behind in the AP Poll.

UCLA Is Better Than We All Expected

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    Remember everybody questioning the hire of head coach Jim L. Mora during the offseason? Many were wondering why the UCLA Bruins would hire a head coach who had no college experience and was mediocre in the NFL.

    Well, not only is the recruiting off the charts right now for UCLA, but the team is also 2-0, with an impressive victory over the Nebraska Cornhuskers. The defense certainly has to improve if the Bruins are going to continue to make noise in the Pac-12, but this is a team that certainly looks like it is heading in the right direction.

    UCLA went from being unranked to landing in the top 25 of both polls.

Everyone Loves TCU

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    TCU finally played its first game of the season during the weekend and handed Grambling State a 56-0 loss. Of course, this is a victory that the Horned Frogs are not running around bragging about, but it was good enough to move the program up four spots in the AP Poll and two spots in the USA Today.

    The Horned Frogs are in their first season in the Big 12, but are a team that is capable of making a run this year. Quarterback Casey Pachall is one of the better quarterbacks in the country, the wide receiver corps is deep and the defense has always been one of the best that college football has to offer.

    Watch out for TCU, as they are just one impressive victory away from cracking the top 10.

Writers See Something in Florida State

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    Unfortunately, we weren't able to see if the Florida State Seminoles were able to cover the 70.5-point spread that was given out against Savannah State. The Seminoles took a 55-0 lead in the third quarter before the game was called due to horrible weather.

    Despite the Seminoles not having an impressive victory yet, they continue to move up in the AP Poll. Beginning the season at No. 7, Florida State has now found a way to sneak into the top five, as they have moved up one spot each week.

    We will see just how good this team is when they take on Clemson in a couple of weeks. Hopefully this isn't another season where the Seminoles let us down against tougher competition.

Losing to a Heavy Underdog Is Unacceptable

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    There were many upsets this week and every one of those teams paid the price.

    Arkansas lost to Louisiana-Monroe, of all teams, and went from being the No.8 team in the country, to falling completely out of the top 25. Nebraska lost to UCLA, Oklahoma State lost to Arizona and, of course, Wisconsin found a way to lose to Oregon State.

    All four of those teams have completely been knocked out of the AP Poll, opening up spots for many new teams.

    The writers have shown that losing to a heavy underdog will be unacceptable this season.

But Coaches Show More Compassion

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    While every team that has suffered an upset last week was knocked out of the AP Poll, the Coaches Poll was a little more cautious on making knee-jerk reactions. Despite losing to a team in the Sun Belt Conference, in Arkansas, the Razorbacks are still in the USA Today Poll. Teams such as Nebraska and Wisconsin are also still ranked according to the coaches.

    The only team with a loss that is still ranked in the AP Poll is Michigan, but there are a total of four teams with a loss in the Coaches Poll.

    Maybe it is hard to believe that some of the teams that were conference favorites really aren't as good as we all thought. And it appears that it is harder for the coaches to let go than the writers in this situation.

SEC Is Deeper Than Last Year

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    With the Arkansas loss, there are now a total of four SEC teams that are in the top 10 of the polls. And even with the Razorbacks no longer in the AP Poll, Tennessee is now a team that is considered a top 25 squad by the writers.

    The Volunteers beat down Georgia State on Saturday, after squeaking by in Week 1 with a victory over North Carolina State. We will learn more about this team when they take on Florida this weekend, but this is certainly a better Tennessee team than in years past.

    With the usual top SEC teams remaining high in the rankings, improved Florida and Tennessee teams and an up and coming Mississippi State squad, the SEC may be deeper than it was last season.

    Scary thought, huh?

Alabama Is by Far the Best Team in the Country

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    And speaking of the SEC, Alabama is by far the best team in the country right now. But don't just listen to me, both polls tell you the exact same thing. 

    The Crimson Tide are not only considered No. 1 in both polls, they are the overwhelming top team in the country. In the AP Poll, Alabama has 48 first-place votes, with USC only receiving eight and LSU earning four. The coaches have given Nick Saban's club 42 first-place votes, while three other teams have combined for 17 others.

    Alabama has the most impressive victory of the year so far with the win over Michigan and will likely earn another with a game against Arkansas this weekend. We could soon be witnessing a dynasty, as there aren't many teams that look as sharp as the Crimson Tide this early on.

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