College Football Preseason Rankings 2013: Analyzing AP and Coaches Polls

Randy ChambersAnalyst IAugust 17, 2013

College Football Preseason Rankings 2013: Analyzing AP and Coaches Polls

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    With Saturday's release of the AP Top 25 poll, both polls are now available for college football fans to examine, express frustration and then get excited that the season is just days away.

    Breaking down both the AP poll and USA Today coaches poll can occupy your time while you patiently wait for college football to kick off. Seeing the differences and similarities of the polls can help you gauge what most think about your favorite team.

    If a team is No. 1 in both rankings, it's a pretty good bet most believe it is the team to beat. If another is ranked in the Top 10 of the AP poll but ranked outside the Top 15 in the coaches' poll, the truth is probably somewhere in the middle.

    Unfortunately, there weren't many differences in this year's preseason polls.

Notre Dame Is Slipping

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    One of the biggest differences in the polls is where Notre Dame ended up. The Irish sit No. 11 in the coaches poll but rank a few spots lower in the AP poll at No. 14.

    Why?

    Are the coaches overrating Notre Dame like usual, or are there real concerns for last year's national title runner-up? The Irish did lose starting quarterback Everett Golson during the offseason and watched Manti Te'o graduate.

    Two players can't possibly cripple a team that managed to finish the regular season undefeated. However, it seems the media approached the team from South Bend with a little more caution than the coaches did.

No Love for the Hyped Programs

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    The SEC's dominance forces fans to go out on a limb to look for teams that can surprise. Last year it was Notre Dame; who will it be this year?

    Baylor is mentioned as a dark horse thanks to star running back Lache Seastrunk. Some are beginning to fall in love with Miami again due to an offense that can outscore any team in the country. Arizona State continues to be mentioned as a Pac-12 contender and a long shot to win the national title.

    Those three teams have more buzz around them than usual and could have cracked the Top 25.

    However, they were unranked in both polls.

    Michigan State was the top unranked vote-getter (95 points) in the AP poll, and Kansas State received the most votes (113) in the USA Today coaches poll.

    It looks like many talented teams will enter the season with a chip on their shoulder.

Georgia the Best Team in the Country?

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    There's no argument that Georgia is a legit SEC contender, which means there's a chance it could win the national title.

    But nobody in their right mind would think the Bulldogs are better than Alabama, Ohio State, Oregon or even Stanford, right?

    Wrong.

    Seth Emerson of the Macon Telegraph called out the voter who gave Georgia his first-place vote. LSU beat reporter Glenn Guilbeau's vote solidified Georgia as the No. 5 team in the AP poll by 95 points over South Carolina. Georgia sits only 35 points ahead of Texas A&M in the coaches poll.

    There's always an oddball in the bunch who enjoys throwing a monkey wrench in the equation.

Alabama Isn't a Unanimous Selection

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    Most college football fans would tell you Alabama is the best team in the country. Even Auburn fans might give the Crimson Tide credit.

    In both the AP poll and coaches' poll, Alabama received 58 first-place votes. Ohio State and Georgia each received one vote as the top team in the AP poll, while Ohio State earned three first-place votes and Texas A&M got one in the coaches poll.

    Add them all up, and there are four teams that voters think should be at the top. Of course, the majority believe that Alabama is the best, but not everybody is willing to hand Nick Saban his third straight crystal football just yet.

    There may actually be parity in college football.

The Polls Are Nearly Identical

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    Besides the few obvious differences, the two polls look eerily similar. In fact, as Brett McMurphy of ESPN pointed out, the polls rank the same 25 teams, and only six have different placement.

    This is hardly ever the case.

    Fans usually favor whichever poll is convenient that week.

    If a Notre Dame fan sees his Irish ranked higher in the AP poll, he's certainly not going to be a fan of the coaches for at least seven days. But don't worry—he'll change his mind when the media drops Notre Dame after an overtime nail-biter against an unranked opponent.

    This year's preseason polls take away a lot of the fun.

    Good thing college football is right around the corner.