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USA Today Coaches Poll: What They Got Right and What They Didn't

Matt ZvolanekCorrespondent IIAugust 4, 2011

USA Today Coaches Poll: What They Got Right and What They Didn't

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    Today, USA Today's first coaches poll came out.  A lot of people say preseason polls don't matter.  They are more important than one thinks. 

    If a team starts out high in the polls, they don't have to go as far as teams that are lower in the polls or not ranked. 

    Is it unfair? Yes.  Will it change? Probably not.  Now after accepting that reality, you can realize why coaches need to get it right when they vote.  This is what the coaches got right (and wrong) this year.

No. 24: Texas

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    WRONG

    Texas was awful last year.  After gutting a majority of the coaching staff in the offseason, Texas looks to improve this year. 

    That's easier said than done, especially in a new-look Big XII. 

    Another big question is the quarterback situation.  Do you start Garrett Gilbert or Case McCoy?  There are some major questions and the biggest one I can think of is, "How did the coaches vote them into the top 25?"

No. 23: Florida

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    WRONG

    Exit Urban Meyer and enter Will Muschamp.  Muschamp made a good hire in Charlie Weis, who can't be a head coach but certainly knows offense. 

    Regardless, Florida struggled at times last season under Meyer.  Now, UF's new head coach has never had any experience being a head coach and just 10 returning starters. 

    Florida should be with Texas; that is not ranked.

No. 21: Missouri

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    RIGHT

    Mizzou burst onto the scene last year, posting a 10-3 record. 

    Now after losing stud QB, Blaine Gabbert, to the NFL and his brother, Tyler, to who knows where, Missouri is left to look for a new starter. 

    Missouri also faces a tough schedule.  So why did the coaches get this one right?  Because Mizzou is a lower tier top 25 team and should hover around the No. 21 mark unless something extraordinary happens.

No. 18: Notre Dame

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    WRONG

    Brian Kelly enters his second year at Notre Dame.  The Fighting Irish return 17 starters, including QB Dayne Crist. 

    Despite all of this, this is a Notre Dame team that underachieved last year.

    Some are jumping on the bandwagon, but not I.  While the Fighting Irish are a top 25 team, they should be ranked about seven spots lower.

No. 14: Arkansas

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    WRONG

    Ryan Mallett led Arkansas to a 10-3 record last year.  Now it's time for junior quarterback, Tyler Wilson, to show what he can do. 

    Arkansas must go on the road to face Bama and LSU, in addition to hosting South Carolina and Mississippi State.  The coaches are wrong on this one.  Arkansas should start around the 23 spot.

No. 12: South Carolina

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    WRONG

    The Ol' Ball Coach is looking to have a hell of a team this year.

    With his starting QB Stephen Garcia, starting running back, Marcus Lattimore, and dynamic receiver, Alshon Jeffery, all coming back, Spurrier's Gamecocks look to be a serious threat in the SEC. 

    The Gamecocks are a top 10 team and will prove it this year.

No. 11: Nebraska

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    RIGHT

    Nebraska is playing its first season in the Big Ten.  The schedule is tough but continues to look more doable. 

    Taylor Martinez is supposedly healthy and Rex Burkhead is ready to take over the No. 1 RB spot.  The coaches got this one perfect. 

    Nebraska will be improved, but it depends how the offense develops.  Not too high and not too low. 

No. 9: Texas A&M

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    WRONG

    Ryan Tannehill stepped up to play for a troubled Jerrod Johnson last year.  And what he did was nothing short of miraculous. 

    Can Tannehill duplicate those results?  I'm gonna say no.  And that is why A&M is overrated by the coaches.

No. 8: Oklahoma State

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    RIGHT

    Let the fireworks begin.  Star QB, Brandon Weeden, teams up with Justin Blackmon to create an offense that should be explosive. 

    They should be considered serious contenders for the Big XII title and possibly a BCS berth. 

No. 6: Stanford

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    WRONG

    Everyone seems to be hopping on the Stanford bandwagon these days.  Why? They have Andrew Luck. 

    But one player does not make a team. 

    Stanford lost their head coach and a good chunk of their personnel, both on the field and the sidelines.  Stanford is overrated and will not come close to last year's win total.

No. 3: Oregon

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    RIGHT

    Oregon has been crowned the new king of the Pac-12, ever since Chip Kelly took over as head coach.  Oregon has its QB and RB back that led them to the national title. 

    In fact, LaMichael James should be considered a front runner for the Heisman.  The coaches got it right this time.

No. 1: OU

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    RIGHT

    Boomer Sooner.  Although I don't see the Sooners in the national championship game,  they do deserve the number one ranking. 

    Quarterback Landry Jones is back from leading the Sooners to a Fiesta Bowl victory.  Wide receiver, Ryan Broyles, returns to give Jones a great target. 

    The Sooners look to be the first team to win the Huskerless Big XII and they hope the national championship.  They should be in contention, but will come up short.  Regardless, the coaches got this one right.

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