Sunday, August 3, 2008

We're #9...and #15...and #23

So I saw that the Preseason USA Today Coaches' Poll was released the other day. #1 is a mild surprise, but not entirely off the wall. The ACC placed just three teams in the poll, as you can see below:

1. Georgia
2. USC
3. Ohio State
4. Oklahoma
5. Florida
6. LSU
7. Missouri
8. West Virginia
9. Clemson
10. Texas
11. Auburn
12. Wisconsin
13. Kansas
14. Texas Tech
15. Virginia Tech
16. Arizona State
17. Brigham Young
18. Tennessee
19. Illinois
20. Oregon
21. South Florida
22. Penn State
23. Wake Forest
24. Michigan
25. Fresno State

Others Receiving Votes: Alabama 83, South Carolina 64, Utah 60, Rutgers 53, Florida State 53, Boston College 47, California 41, Pittsburgh 34, Boise State 25, Oregon State 23, Nebraska 17, Cincinnati 13, Virginia 12, Connecticut 9, Michigan State 9, Mississippi State 6, Notre Dame 5, TCU 5, Kentucky 5, Maryland 4, North Carolina 3, UCLA 3, Texas A&M 3, Georgia Tech 2, UCF 2, Louisville 2, Colorado 1, Tulsa 1, Oklahoma State 1, Arizona 1

Three ACC clubs in the poll, six in the "others receiving" category, and Miami isn't among them. Weird.

Clemson and Virginia Tech are ranked about where I expected, based on their showings in the plethora of preseason publications. Wake makes a welcome appearance in the poll, and it is gratifiying to see the Deacs getting that level of looks like people really are paying attention to the machine Jim Grobe has built. I'm surprised Virginia and Georgia Tech got any votes. Florida State, Boston College, Maryland, and North Carolina's number of votes look about right to me.

Nationally, Georgia at #1 is a reach. On the one hand it's nice to see someone other than USC at the top of a preseason poll, but the Trojans, Oklahoma, Ohio State, Florida and LSU all have valid cases for that top spot heading into 2008 and - unlike the Dawgs - those schools have proven they can finish at #1 with their current coaching staffs. UGA's getting a little too much love from beating the poi out of Hawaii in the Sugar Bowl and for beating Florida for just the third time since 1990.

As for conference comparisons among the BCS leagues, this is what we have:

-SEC (12 teams)- 5 ranked (42%), 4 also getting votes (33%)
-Big XII (12 teams)- 5 ranked (42%), 4 also getting votes (33%)
-Big Ten (11 teams)- 5 ranked (45%), 1 also getting votes (9%)
-ACC (12 teams)- 3 ranked (25%), 6 also getting votes (50%)
-Pac 10 (10 teams)- 3 ranked (30%), 4 also getting votes (40%)
-Big East (8 teams)- 2 ranked (25%), 5 also getting votes (63%)

For all the self-inflicted damage the ACC has wrought upon itself the last few years - along with the generally dismissive coverage the league gets in the blogosphere and national media - I'm a tad surprised to see 75% of the ACC either ranked or getting votes. The SEC and Big XII deservedly garner the most respect in the preseason poll. The Big East actually has the best percentage of ranked-or-getting-votes with 7 out of 8 clubs showing up, but the quick collapse of Louisville and Rich Rod's departure from Morgantown last season showed just how fragile the league's football rep really is and this season might just begin the Big East's fall out of the BCS orbit in terms of overall quality, stability, and depth.

Getting back to the ACC, I think Clemson is Georgia-lite...they're getting too much love for too little reason. Virginia Tech is garnering a few legacy votes...#15 is a reach considering the offseason personnel losses. Wake should probably be where the Hokies are in terms of ranking. Florida State and Boston College are in decent shape to vault into the poll with a few early wins. Maryland and/or North Carolina are primed to jump into the rankings with fast starts, and deservedly so. Virginia and Georgia Tech may not see another vote again after the season kicks off. And Miami....O Brother, Where Art Thou?


Brian said...

I agree. Georgia is a stretch, especially considering their difficult 08 schedule. Ohio State will breeze through a weak Big 11 and will be #1 or #2 for most of the season if they can get past USC.

Agree with your assessment of Clemson too. Wake should be a little higher as the #2 team from the ACC. VTech is getting too many legacy votes given all the players they lost.

Not sure what the media sees in Florida State. I'm willing to bet they don't get past Wake with a suspension-depleted roster.

Keep up the good work.

Marcus said...

Great minds think alike!

I think FSU probably loses to Wake as well. The Noles aren't getting any real love from the media, IMO...they're effectively 30th. Who below them would you rate higher? In fact, I'd put them and BC ahead of South Carolina.

Brian said...

Well, being a BC blogger, I'm biased and think BC should have snuck into the Top 25. But we all know sex sells, but Boston College doesn't. Not really sure how South Carolina, Rutgers, Alabama and Michigan were above the Eagles or the Noles.

Florida State is a bit of an enigma this year, but they have a pretty tough sched. I see 5 losses with a cursory glance over the schedule.

Brian said...

Thanks Marcus. Keep up the good work over here. I look forward to your Boston College preview, however unsexy my Eagles may be to the mainstream media ...

Marcus said...

You're right in that the media doesn't view BC as "sexy". Nonetheless, the loss of Matt Ryan, every running back of note, and the heart of the secondary is likely going to land the Eagles just outside of my preseason Top 25 as well. Right or wrong, I think a lot of people aren't yet sold on Jags as well.

We'll see. BC Interruption is a damn fine blog, BTW.