No preseason poll got it right last year, and no preseason poll ever will. Doing so is more or less impossible. But in the battle between AP and USA Today Coaches, the latter poll's preseason forecast came much, much closer.
USC was No. 1 in the last year's AP preseason poll, but the coaches ranked LSU and Alabama ahead of it. They also ranked Stanford three spots higher, Virginia Tech four spots lower and Notre Dame more than the AP pollsters.
This year's version, just like any year's, will be covered in red ink by midseason. That's just the way of the world. Michigan State was No. 13 in both preseason polls last season; soon-to-be eight-loss Arkansas was the consensus 10th-best team.
But with USA Today set to publish the poll on Thursday, it never hurts to look ahead.
*Note: These rankings are NOT the subjective rankings of the author. They are his prediction on how the first USA Today Coaches Poll will look, not necessarily how it should look.