College Football Polls 2013: Analyzing Week 3 AP and Coaches Polls

Brian Leigh@@BLeighDATFeatured ColumnistSeptember 8, 2013

College Football Polls 2013: Analyzing Week 3 AP and Coaches Polls

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    The Week 3 editions of the Associated Press and USA Today coaches polls were both released on Sunday afternoon, and just like any other week of the season, there are some noticeable differences to speak of.

    Only nine teams have the same ranking in both polls, and the discord is particularly evident in the middle. No teams ranked between Nos. 11 and 20 in one poll received the same ranking in the other.

    Alabama still graces the top spot, though, and probably will until a challenger comes up and deposes it. Will Texas A&M prove capable in this week's highly anticipated game?

    Now that would make the Week 4 polls quite interesting.

Nos. 25-21

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    AP PollOle MissTCUNebraskaBaylorNotre Dame
    Coaches PollOle MissTCUWashingtonBaylorNotre Dame


    There's only one difference between the bottom fives this week, where the AP prefers Washington over Nebraska and the coaches prefer the Huskers (to a very large degree). Those two teams are both ranked No. 23 by the poll that prefers them less, but higher by the one that likes them more.

    Baylor continues to rise up the rankings after a dominant beatdown of Buffalo. The Bulls, who gave Ohio State a decent run for its money in Week 1, were no match for Art Briles' offense, which totaled 781 yards despite taking its foot off the gas pedal late.

    If they continue at this pace, the Bears won't be ranked in the 20s for long.

    Notre Dame also checks in 21st in both polls after losing to Michigan on Saturday. The Irish placed 13th and 14th in last week's rankings, respectively.

Nos. 20-16

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    AP PollWisconsinWashingtonFloridaNorthwesternUCLA
    Coaches PollFloridaMiami* Wisconsin*UCLANorthwestern 


    The coaches aren't keen on either of the Florida teams who faced off last week, ranking Florida down at No. 20 (to the AP's No. 18) and Miami tied for 18th with Wisconsin (to the AP's 15th). The Miami vs. Florida game was, admittedly, quite ugly, and apparently opposing coaches weren't impressed with either side.

    The AP and coaches also flip-flopped on UCLA and Northwestern. Media voters prefer the Bruins over the Wildcats, while coaches were more impressed with Northwestern's thorough beatdown of Syracuse. Northwestern ranked two spots behind UCLA in last week's coaches poll, so the jump is hard to ignore.

    That debate should get settled this weekend, when the Bruins travel to Lincoln for a rematch of last year's game with Nebraska. If Brett Hundley & Co. repeat last season's success, they should find themselves not just above Northwestern but many other teams in the top 15.

    *Miami and Wisconsin tied at 18th in the coaches poll

Nos. 15-11

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    AP PollMiamiOklahomaS. CarolinaOklahoma St.Michigan
    Coaches PollNebraskaS. CarolinaOklahomaMichiganOklahoma St.


    First thing of note: The coaches, inexplicably, place Nebraska all the way up at No. 15. They really might not have been watching in Week 1, when Wyoming almost beat the Huskers in Lincoln.

    But that sticks with a common theme (seen last week's rankings) of the AP boll being more merit-based than the coaches, who need to see a team lose before they punish it.

    Past that, the top 15 is marked by a couple of tossups: Oklahoma vs. South Carolina and Michigan vs. Oklahoma State. AP voters prefer the Gamecocks and Wolverines while the coaches prefer the two Oklahoma teams.

    It's a little odd to see Oklahoma ranked so high—especially in the Coaches poll. Teams like Miami (over Florida) and South Carolina (over North Carolina) have scored at least one convincing victory this season, while the Sooners barely scrapped by a down West Virginia team at home.

    The Trevor Knight era has gotten off to a rocky start in Norman, but it's yet to cost them a spot in the rankings. 

Nos. 10-6

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    AP PollFlorida StateGeorgiaLSULouisvilleTexas A&M
    Coaches PollGeorgiaFlorida StateLSULouisvilleTexas A&M


    Both polls agree on Nos. 8-6, ranking LSU, Louisville and Texas A&M in that order. But there's s a little bit of disagreement right behind them. 

    AP voters ranked Georgia No. 9, over Florida State, rewarding it for scoring a big victory over South Carolina in spite of also having one loss. Coaches chose to rank the Seminoles above the Bulldogs, preferring the team that's still undefeated despite lacking a quality win.

    Interesting to still see Louisville ahead of LSU, too. As impressive as Bridgewater & Co. have looked (against inferior competition), the Tigers have looked like a real national title contender and own a signature victory over TCU.

    Who would honestly be favored on a neutral field?

Nos. 5-1

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    AP PollStanfordOhio StateClemsonOregonAlabama
    Coaches PollClemsonStanfordOhio StateOregonAlabama


    Oregon jumped Ohio State in the coaches poll, making the Ducks the consensus No. 2 team in America. Both polls now agree on the the Nos. 1 and 2 teams.

    Beyond that, there is some interesting discord concerning Clemson. AP voters moved the Tigers up one more spot, past Ohio State, and into the No. 3 slot. But coaches are still less impressed, leaving Clemson at No. 5 behind the Buckeyes and Stanford Cardinal.

    AP voters also had Georgia one spot higher than coaches did, so perhaps that's why they value Clemson's Week 1 as more impressive. Or maybe they're just more down on Ohio State.

    The Buckeyes get their first real chance to prove themselves in Week 3, taking their show on the road to play Sonny Dykes and the Cal Bears in Berkeley.

    Clemson is off and Stanford plays Army, so a good showing from OSU might make it a consensus No. 3.