Coaches Poll: 5 Things That Matter, Overrated, Underrated, Conference Rankings

Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

Coaches Poll: 5 Things That Matter, Overrated, Underrated, Conference Rankings

Coaches Poll

Coaches Poll: 5 Things That Matter, Overrated, Underrated, Conference Rankings


1. Final Overall Thoughts, Observations

As always, here’s your reminder for this time of year. The Coaches Poll -and the AP to follow in a few weeks – are just fun exercises. They’re still a big deal, and they still help to shape public perception, but the College Football Playoff rankings are it. They’re the ones that matter, and they’re the ones that have to be scrutinized hard.

Before the CFP, the preseason rankings were a gigantic deal – start in the top two, win out, and you were playing for the national title no matter what anyone did. Now, there’s a new generation of fans who recognize these for what they are, however …

– In this time when nothing is normal, it’s August and the preseason Coaches Poll is out. Take a moment and just enjoy the hope that we’ll have a college football season.

– Here’s the deal. You take 21-25 (UCF, Cincinnati, Iowa, Virginia Tech, Iowa State) and I’ll take 26-30 (Tennessee, Boise State, Arizona State, Kentucky, Memphis). To go even crazier, give me Mississippi State (9 votes), Stanford (2 votes), Pitt (1 vote), Kansas State (1 vote), South Carolina (no votes) and I’ll beat your bottom of the top 25.

– It’s not the job of the coaches to be wacky or go against what they believe, but they didn’t go on any real limb here – putting Oklahoma State at 16 doesn’t quite qualify. They moved down LSU from No. 1 in the final 2019 rankings to five, bumped up Clemson, Ohio State and Georgia, and threw Alabama in there at the three. The 2020 preseason top ten all finished in the top 11 last season with Minnesota – finishing at 10 – the lone team not being back up in the lofty status.

– “The most disrespected team in the entire poll, though, is Minnesota.” I wrote that here last year after the Gophers got just one vote, and they ended up tenth in the final polls.

– My most disrespected team in this year’s preseason poll? Pitt is on the top of the list with just one vote, but where’s the love for Washington? It’s at 32, and I defy you to find any investor-type who was deep in love with taking No. 15 Michigan in the opener against the Huskies had the two played.

– Pet peeve when it comes to rankings – they’re not predictive; they’re an indicator. The goal of the preseason rankings isn’t to come up with where the teams will be at the end of the year; it’s to show how good everyone is now. With that in mind …

– Michigan finished 19th in the final rankings. Texas finished 26th. Those were the only two teams in the 2019 preseason top ten that didn’t  the only team in the 2019 preseason top nine that didn’t finish in the top 11 – Minnesota and Penn State crashed the final party. In 2018, five schools in the previous top ten didn’t finish there.

– In this year with conference-only schedules – with the Big 12 playing one extra game – the final records are going to be strange. There aren’t cupcakes like there normally are, so it’s very possible for a great team to be 7-3. Three long-winded blurbs later, the point? Expect the 2020 preseason coaches poll top ten to look a whole lot more like 2018 at the end than 2019.

– Again, and I can’t stress this enough. It’s 80 degrees out where I am, it’s early August, the ACC released a schedule today, and we have a Coaches Poll. Enjoy this.

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