On Thursday, 62 head coaches of Bowl Subdivision schools revealed their collective thoughts regarding the 2014 NCAA preseason rankings, revealing the top 25 teams of the Amway Coaches Poll.
Here's how the scoring works: Each coach submits a top 25, voting for a first-place team through a 25th-place team. A vote for first place gives a team 25 points, a second-place vote gives a team 24 points, and that trend continues down to one point for a 25th-place vote.
Last year, preseason voting wasn't exactly accurate, with a bevy of shifts ongoing throughout the season. So let's take a glance at this year's voting and see if the coaches got it right.
Florida State's No. 1 ranking shouldn't come as a surprise. After all, the Seminoles are the reigning national champions, and Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Jameis Winston will be taking the reins of the offense again this year.
While wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin has departed to the NFL, this high-octane offense should continue to pose a severe threat with Rashad Greene still in the mix. This team should be expected to remain atop—or at least near the top—of the rankings throughout the season.
Although, Jon Solomon of CBS Sports tweeted a fair warning:
Beware, Florida State: 5 of past 6 coaches preseason No. 1s finished No. 8 or lower. http://t.co/5cURZO8SpM— Jon Solomon (@JonSolomonCBS) July 31, 2014
Despite the loss of quarterback A.J. McCarron, the Alabama Crimson Tide will begin the season ranked No. 2. Obviously, coaches seem to have plenty of faith in the team regardless of its ongoing quarterback competition between Jacob Coker and Blake Sims.
Perhaps that quarterback controversy is a reason why the team didn't record a single first-place vote. After all, Michael Carvell of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution tweeted an interesting fact involving the competition:
Heard #Bama QB battle is dividing team. Many players support Blake Sims, while Jacob Coker is superior talent— Michael Carvell (@Carvell_AJC) July 30, 2014
Rounding out the top three is Oklahoma—the only team aside from Florida State that received multiple first-place votes.
It could be speculated that the return of Trevor Knight under center is a big reason for the team's preseason ranking. Knight had a breakout performance in the Sugar Bowl against Alabama, completing 32 of his 44 passing attempts for 348 yards and four touchdowns for a 164.6 rating.
Also, according to a tweet from Eric Bailey of the Tulsa World, this ranking isn't anything new for a Bob Stoops-coached team:
This is 11th time in Bob Stoops' 16 seasons that the Sooners start in the top 5 of the coaches preseason poll. Oklahoma checks in at No. 3.— Eric Bailey (@EricBaileyTW) July 31, 2014
Oregon, Ohio State and South Carolina were the three other teams to receive a first-place vote.
Which team is most deserving of the top seed?
The No. 4-ranked Ducks will be relying heavily on its fast-paced offense with the experienced Marcus Mariota under center and the speedy Thomas Tyner in the backfield. No. 6 Ohio State was a win away from a BCS championship berth last season and will aim for the big dance again with Braxton Miller at the helm. South Carolina comes in at No. 9 but will be without quarterback Connor Shaw and defensive end Jadeveon Clowney.
Teams that just missed out on the rankings are Missouri with 126 votes, Florida with 122 and Central Florida with 102 among others, via USA Today.
Of course, arguments over these rankings will rage on until the first games of the season reach their conclusions.
Did the coaches get it right? Let the debate commence.