College Football Preseason Rankings 2013: Underrated Teams That Will Impress

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College Football Preseason Rankings 2013: Underrated Teams That Will Impress
Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

The preseason USA Today Coaches Poll was recently released, sporting some no-brainers and some surprises in the college football national rankings.

Two-time defending champion Alabama was predictably ranked No. 1 in the country, but some programs may have been overlooked a bit, including a team boasting a top coach and a team that hasn't won more than nine games since the 2003-04 campaign.

Here's a look at the most underrated programs in the preseason coaches poll this summer.

 

Boise State (19)

Troy Babbitt-USA TODAY Sports

I'm not completely surprised that Boise State was ranked 19th in the poll, considering the Broncos only bring back 12 starters, but I do believe that the program should have received a bit more credit.

The Broncos returned only six starters last year and still went 11-2. And while they lost six starters on the defensive side of the ball this year, don't forget they allowed just 15.8 points per contest in 2012. They aren't just talented, they are well coached. 

Chris Petersen is still one of the best in the business, and the Broncos have never won fewer than 10 games since he took over in 2006. Boise State may have a tough schedule, but ranking them this low is ignoring the system Petersen has built.

 

Michigan (17)

Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

Michigan did lose some talent in the offseason, including dual-threat quarterback Denard Robinson, receiver Roy Roundtree and defensive end Craig Roh.

On the other hand, quarterback Devin Gardner showed strides late last season, tossing 11 touchdowns to five interceptions in five games when he took over for the injured Robinson. That included averaging 9.7 yards per pass attempt, which would have ranked second in the nation if he had qualified. Gardner also rushed for seven touchdowns in 2012.

Senior receiver Jeremy Gallon also returns (829 yards, four touchdowns in 2012), and the backfield situation may not be as concerning as you think, with several talented youngsters (for example, 2013 recruit Derrick Green) flashing the potential to break out.

The Wolverines will have to weather the temporary loss of linebacker Jake Ryan, who is expected back around October after suffering an ACL injury last season.

 

Miami (FL)

Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

Should the Hurricanes be ranked?

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Given the Hurricanes' recent string of disappointment, I can see why they wouldn't be ranked heading into the 2013 campaign.

That being said, if we rank them as they stand now, without taking into account their history, I believe they should be ranked in the top 25.

There's a lot of promise on this team this year. The Hurricanes return some key players from an explosive offense in 2012, including quarterback Stephen Morris, running back Duke Johnson, tight end Clive Walford and receivers Phillip Dorsett, Rashawn Scott and Allen Hurns.

On top of that, the offensive line returns all five starters, including right tackle Seantrel Henderson.

The defense is still an item of concern, but if the Hurricanes can simply be decent on that side of the ball, they have the offense to catapult themselves into the top 25.

 

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