College Football: Breaking Down the Coaches and Associated Press Polls
This morning, the Associated Press released their top 25 poll and although there were some difference in both this poll and the Coaches Poll, the difference between the two in comparison to the BCS poll were night and day.
However, we're here to break down the differences between the AP and Coaches poll and to give you my thoughts on how the two should be or could be different.
So, without further ado. Let's get started.
When I got my first look at the AP poll this morning, my first reaction was to be in favor of AP's side of things.
Sure there's a human element on both sides; but there are certain coaches that can be biased to not only their own teams but their own conferences. Where one writer will rank a team according to what he's seen from last year and on paper for this upcoming season, a coach of a different conference won't vote another quite as high for no other reason than the conference they play in.
You can disagree with me all you want, but you can't sit here and tell me that there's absolutely no bias involved in either poll. I'm not at all saying that some of these writers aren't biased towards certain conferences; but, by the look of the AP poll, it makes more sense to me than the coaches poll.
Associated Press 1-5: Alabama, Ohio State, Boise State, Florida, Texas
Coaches 1-5: Alabama, Ohio State, Florida, Texas, Boise State
Who got it right? Associated Press
Both polls seem to agree on the first two spots and for good reason. It's the next three that make me scratch my head a little bit.
Boise State deserves to have the number three spot. They're one of the most talented, and deep teams in the country going into this season. Without beating around the bush, since I know I'm going to hear this from a lot of the SEC fans, Boise State deserves more credit than a lot of people give them.
I'm tired of hearing the same old, "They'd never be able to win half the games they've won if they were in the SEC." That's all well and good, but come up with something that interests me and gets me into a debate. When I hear that tired line, I roll my eyes and move on to someone that can give me some facts to back up their bias, hatred, or dislike for Boise State.
I like the way SI.com's Andy Staples summed it up.
"It's easy to say they wouldn't go undefeated in a better conference, but when Boise State has played teams from better conferences in the past few years, the Broncos have won. So to all the teams that think Boise State shouldn't be ranked this high, you have one way to prove it: beat the Broncos."
They went undefeated last season, won the games they had scheduled, went to a BCS game, and won there too. They're not in the SEC, they're not in the Big Ten, they're not in the Big 12, so let's give that argument a rest.
The players play the schedule that's been set before them. The players have no control over who they play. They beat the teams their school put in front of them and did so, for the most part, with little to no drama with exception to a few along the way.
As for Florida and Texas, they each have a quarterback that a lot of fans are looking forward to. Their seniors, Tim Tebow and Colt McCoy, are moving on to the NFL and are being replaced by brand new quarterbacks who barely have gotten their feet wet, though one of them has already played in a national championship game through no choice of his own.
John Brantley of Florida and Garrett Gilbert of Texas will each take the reigns of their respective teams and each will have their share of pressure on their shoulders as the 2010 season opens.
Brantley is taking over for arguably the most famous quarterback in Florida history and you might say the same for Gilbert as well.
While I'm sure both teams will have their share of wins this season, I'm not one to buy into their hype just yet nor am I buying in to either one being ranked in the top five.
Associated Press 6-10: TCU, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Iowa, Virginia Tech
Coaches 6-10: Virginia Tech, TCU, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Iowa
Who got it right? Associated Press
For one reason only. Virginia Tech. The season opening opponent for Boise State will get to prove themselves right off the bat at FedEx Field. It's a game that a lot of college football fans will have their eyes on whether they choose to admit it or not.
They want to know if Boise State is for real and be able to ridicule them if they happen to lose that game. Ok, enough with the Boise State talk.
There's no question Virginia Tech's offense will be tough especially with quarterback Tyrod Taylor and running back Ryan Williams coming back. What will be interesting is to see how they replace linebacker Cody Grimm and his seven forced fumbles last season not to mention defensive end Jason Worilds.
We'll have to see how the Hokies do after losing three of their four starting lineman and one of their tackles from last year.
Honestly, I'd move Virginia Tech back to 10th or lower and move Iowa up.
Associated Press 11-15: Oregon, Wisconsin, Miami, USC, Pittsburgh
Coaches 11-15: Oregon, Wisconsin, Miami, Penn State, Pittsburgh
Who got it right? Coaches
Yeah, I'm taking the coaches on this one. And, just like the last five, I'm taking them for one reason. USC.
USC lost a few of their recruits, including their very top recruit, because of the NCAA sanctions. Make no mistake, that's going to hurt them.
I'm not sold on USC being as good as the Associated Press thinks they are, though I'm never sold on any preseason poll, but I digress.
I like the Penn State pick by the coaches. Joe Paterno has a good squad coming into this season and I think they're going to be a good team to watch this season.
Associated Press 16-20: Georgia Tech, Arkansas, North Carolina, Penn State, Florida State
Coaches 16-20: LSU, Georgia Tech, North Carolina, Arkansas, Florida State
Who got it right? Push
I'm not sold on either of these five picks, from either poll, being right. I'm not saying that there aren't a few that I agree with; because I do think Georgia Tech, Arkansas, and Florida State belong where they are. But, I'm not sure why the Coaches Poll has LSU at 16 or why the Associated Press has Penn State at number 19.
Penn State needs to be a lot higher than that and I think North Carolina should be higher than LSU, but remember that this is just my opinion. You can disagree with me, that's fine.
North Carolina has a solid defense and I like what Arkansas brings at quarterback.
Associated Press 21-25: LSU, Auburn, Georgia, Oregon State, West Virginia
Coaches 21-25: Georgia, Oregon State, Auburn, Utah, West Virginia
Who got it right? Associated Press
I like LSU at 21 instead of 16 and I think the Associated Press has this one right. However, I'm intrigued at Utah being at 24 by the Coaches Poll. I'm not ready to say that's the wrong place to have them, especially since SI.com agrees with that selection in their Top 25 preview.
The other team that I question, as far as whether or not they should be in the top 25 at this point, is Oregon State. I will say that SI.com ranking them number 17 in their preview is a tad too high. They are another team that will break in a new quarterback with the exit of Sean Canfield who threw for almost 3,300 yards last season.
Overall winner: Associated Press
I know that there will be several people that won't agree with the analysis that I've given or the opinions that I have, but that's fine. I'm not here to say what everyone wants to hear or place a team where other people expect them to be.
If you want my honest opinion, I've always thought preseason polls were overrated and unnecessary. You're putting a team in a position to fail right off the bat. A top 10 team losing in the first few weeks is called a disappointment only because writers or coaches expected them to be better than they actually were.
At some point, maybe they'll wise up and wait for the first five weeks of the season before we start expecting these teams to do anything at all. Or not.
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