And here we go. While we realize it's not necessarily how you start but how you finish, pre-season polls matter in college football b/c it has ramifications on how far a team can go over the course of a season. After more than a decade of being basically irrelevant (except for brief spurts here and there) UCLA is finally starting a season in the pre-season top-25 and ahead of Southern Cal.
The USA Today Coaches Poll was released this am and the Bruins check in at no. 21 ahead of Southern Cal (at no. 24). I believe that just happened for the first time since 2001. Here is the full poll:
|RANK||TEAM||2012 RECORD||POINTS||PREVIOUS RANK|
|2||Ohio St. (3)||12-0||1427||NR|
|6||Texas A&M (1)||11-2||1215||5|
|Schools Dropped Out|
|No. 11 Kansas State (11-2), No. 17 Utah State (11-2), No. 20 Vanderbilt (9-4), No. 21 San Jose State (11-2), No. 22 Cincinnati (10-3), No. 24 Northern Illinois (12-2), No. 25 Tulsa (11-3).|
|Others Receiving Votes|
|Kansas State (11-2) 113; Miami (Fla.) 101; Michigan State 89; Baylor 80; Virginia Tech 65; Fresno State 62; Arizona State 51; Mississippi 32; Vanderbilt (9-4) 29; Utah State (11-2) 23; Brigham Young 20; North Carolina 19; Northern Illinois (12-2) 19; Tulsa (11-3) 9; Ohio 8; San Jose State (11-2) 8; Arizona 5; Cincinnati (10-3) 3; East Carolina 3; Kent State 3; Mississippi State 3; Washington 3; Central Florida 2; Arkansas 1; Arkansas State 1; Rutgers 1; Tennessee 1; Toledo 1.|
Oregon is no. 3, Stanford is no 4 Oregon State is the 5th Pac-12 team checking in at no. 25. Not surprisingly the SEC has the most teams in the top-25 (6) while the Pac-12 and the Big Ten are tied with 5 each.
Other notes from our SBN mothership:
Oklahoma's out of the preseason top 10 for the first time since 2000, with Oklahoma State outranking the Sooners for what appears to be the first time ever. Virginia Tech is unranked in a preseason Top 25 for the first time since 2004. LSU misses its first top-five showing since 2010 and USC its first since 2004 (since it wasn't eligible in 2011 or 2010). No. 24 is USC's lowest preseason ranking since 2001.
The Coaches Poll, which last year included a voter pool of 62 FBS head coaches*, is a major factor in the determination of who plays in the BCS national championship game -- for one more season at least. The Coaches Poll, the Harris Poll, and a variety of computer polls combine to form the BCS standings, which begin being released weekly around midseason.
Following this season, college football will move to its new four-team playoff format, and the BCS will be no more. The Coaches Poll will still be around, of course; it just won't be as important as it was under the BCS format.
Well this ranking is nice. But it won't matter if the Bruins don't get off to a strong start and put together a big season (winning the Pac-12 South and beating Southern Cal). Let's get this started already.