3. Coaches Poll 2022: It might be crazy, but it’s a fun top 25
There will be plenty of massive fan bases out there who’ll look at the preseason USA TODAY Top 25 Coaches Poll and be peeved.
If you’re an Iowa fan, where’s your respect? Sort of like Wisconsin basketball, you know that Iowa football will be a top 25 team and contender for the conference title all season long even if it doesn’t quite look that way on paper, but 26th?
If you’re a Tennessee fan, you see what’s happening. You see just how good that offense is going to be and the improvements made on D, and yet you have the 28th best team in America behind at least five teams in the top 25 you know you’d beat?
LSU isn’t in the top 25, Auburn didn’t make the cut, and Florida and UCLA aren’t, either, even though they’re all going to be interesting – and all would probably favored to win the Group of Five conference of your choice.
Miami is the 17th-ranked team in America based on a coaching change, and Florida State – who won last year’s meeting 31-28 – and should be better got just one lonely single point.
SMU got two points. Army got 3. Utah State received 12, and FSU was one 25th spot on some coach’s ballot away from being shut out.
And it’s all awesome.
Was Indiana the 17th best team going into the 2021 season? Of course not. Was Iowa State the eighth-best team, and were Coastal Carolina and Louisiana worthy of being on the preseason top 25 list over, say, Utah or Michigan – and yeah, blind squirrel finds nut, I’m thumping on that one as I screamed at the time that Michigan was a top 15 team – of course not, but those fan bases got to enjoy the speculation.
It’s great for college football in this superpower, expansion era sport with an utterly predictable preseason top four that a slew of slightly outside the norm teams get to be jacked by the rankings going into a season.
I rail on Wake Forest not being the 19th best team in America, but it might be – and yay for the fans that their smallish private school is ranked ahead of a slew of big-name ACC football programs.
Good for Cincinnati and Houston to continue to get more attention as they both enter into the Power Five next season. Great for Baylor to be preseason top ten, and for big names like Miami and Texas and USC to be thought of as legitimate top 20 programs again.
And great for Utah, who worked its butt off to earn the respect of the coaches to get the preseason No. 8 slot.
I hope we do get a Michigan-like scenario and someone outside of the top 25 ends up in the College Football Playoff. I hope this preseason ranking fires up the bases of some of the bluebloods, and provides bulletin board material for others.
To set the schmaltz dial up to ten, I hope college football fans get fired up over these rankings and use them as fuel in one way or another as a silly diversion from everything else.
It all starts now, and it’s still two tons of fun.
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