The Associated Press (AP) Top 25 preseason poll was officially released on Saturday, and now is the time for college football fans to go absolutely nuts over the rankings. It never fails. There are those who will argue the order of the top five and those who will cry into their jerseys because their team wasn't even mentioned.
There's a long season for every team to prove itself.
Here are the preseason AP poll rankings, via ESPN, and a look at some of the biggest surprises and snubs.
|2||Ohio State (1)||0-0||1365|
Georgia has a nice starting point, and it was expected with 10 starters returning on offense.
What wasn't expected was them earning a first-place vote. Yup. You read that right. Ohio State and Georgia are the only teams besides Alabama to be mentioned at least once as the top team.
Sure, the Bulldogs could make another run for the SEC title and possibly compete in the BCS National Championship Game. However, right now, looking at the depleted defense and inconsistency in big games, Georgia shouldn't even be mentioned as the top team in the country.
This is worse than picking Carmelo Anthony for the MVP Award over LeBron James.
The buzz is building around Miami, and a valid argument can be made that it should be ranked. But, much like the USA Today college football coaches poll, the Hurricanes will be forced to begin the season unranked.
Miami returns 19 starters, including 10 from an offense that averaged 31.4 points per game. The defense is also expected to improve with only two starters no longer on the team and a ton of young talent emerging during fall camp.
The Hurricanes must prove themselves before being rewarded with a spot in the preseason poll. That shouldn't take long with a game against Florida on tap early in the season.
Just outside the top five is about where most expected Texas A&M to begin the season. However, the only reason that is the case is because of their reigning Heisman quarterback. At least a slight fall was expected with the possibility of him missing playing time (of course, if the NCAA can prove those allegations).
So far, everything is looking good in College Station.
Sure, No. 12 is a one-spot improvement from the USA Today coaches poll.
In all seriousness, LSU is being slept on, and it's sickening. The team has won at least 10 games the last three seasons and has more than enough talent to remain one of the premier teams in the SEC. Although head coach Les Miles has been awkward at times, he's proven to be a consistent coach and finds ways to win.
LSU hasn't given a real reason for such a downfall in the polls.
What was quarterback Everett Golson worth?
Apparently, a lot more than most people thought.
Notre Dame begins the season just inside the top 15 and three spots below where the coaches poll set up shop. That's a steep drop for a team that returns most of its key defensive players and seems to have upgraded on offense.
Sure, Tommy Rees is no safe bet, but he does have more weapons around him than last season.
The Irish were snubbed to the point where their ranking is actually a slight surprise.
Arizona State is going to be the biggest surprise in college football. The bandwagon has gained a little momentum during the offseason, but it clearly wasn't enough movement for voters to jump on board.
The Sun Devils did receive 53 votes, but even that was behind other teams that weren't ranked such as Virginia Tech, Miami, Michigan State and Baylor.
Arizona State has a balanced offensive attack led by quarterback Taylor Kelly and running back Marion Grice, while the defense gets after it physically and rushes the passer extremely well.
This team will make a run like last year's Notre Dame squad.
USC is lucky to be ranked after last season's failures, but that's not the biggest surprise here. What should baffle your mind is that USC is ranked toward the bottom of the poll. Yes, there is no argument that can be made for USC being an elite team heading into the season.
But how many times are the Trojans at the bottom of the barrel?
Not counting this year, USC has begun the season nine of the last 10 times ranked inside the top 15 of the preseason AP poll.
Enjoy it while it lasts folks, this doesn't happen very often.
There's only so much a team can accomplish after winning back-to-back national championships and three in the last four years.
How about becoming the first team to unanimously begin a season No. 1?
Uh, maybe next time.
Ohio State and Georgia were able to steal one of those first-place votes each. The good news is that Alabama did tie the 2009 Florida team for the highest percentage of first-place votes in a preseason poll.
Still, this isn't good enough judging by Nick Saban's standards.
The bright side is that there is at least one goal the Crimson Tide can continue to chase.