The Doc, Holly Anderson and Doug Gillett wrap up the week with our
written equivalent of tossing a beach ball around the office. This
week's topic: The Coaches' Poll cometh.
Holly: The coaches' poll was released today. Wanna pick it apart?
Doc: No issues from my end. It's status quo. No surprises or qualms until the 'also receiving votes' category. There's some weird stuff down there, but not up top. It's the same as the magazines.
Which begs a question in itself: What does it say about the coaches' poll that the coaches' votes are in such lockstep with the pundits'? I think it says "Assistant athletic directors read the magazines before filling out the ballots."
Doug: I was honestly kind of shocked that Florida wasn't a consensus No. 1. [Out of 58 first place votes, Texas received three and Southern Cal and Oklahoma one apiece.] I really expected this to be a season of USC-in-2005-nearing hype for them.
Holly: Along with the hype, though, comes the contrarians. Coaches are ornery old coots.
Doug: That, or their assistants screwed up their ballots.
Holly: Yeah, I take that back. I'm blaming the lack of a true consensus on Steve Spurrier. Clearly The Shunning Of The Tebow Child had exactly the far-reaching implications we all feared.
Doc: I think the consensus for Florida exists. Compared to the last three years -- especially 2006 and 2008, when there was no consensus favorite -- Florida is about as obvious and hyped a preseason No. 1 as I remember. And it deserves to be.
But just wait until November: If the Gators run the table, they'll put the '05 USC hype to shame. ESPN will begin boiling down metals to dip Tebow in bronze. They'll be compared to the greatest teams ever -- and if they fulfill their potential, that will be justified. But only after the bowl games this time, please.
Holly: Who's egregiously overranked, in your esteemed opinions?
Doug: I still have trouble with Alabama at No. 5. That defense will be top-notch, but I still don't think people realize just how much offense they've lost compared to 2008. If you're putting a team in the top five, I think you kind of have to be able to peg them as a sure-fire BCS contender, even if it's just for an at-large berth -- and I can just as easily, if not more easily, picture Bama in the Cotton or Outback Bowl as I can in a second straight Sugar.
Holly: I'm similarly down on LSU this season. I know as totally famous erudite pundits we have to follow the "rank the last three national champs in your poll no matter what" directive, but I honestly think that's the only thing keeping them in the top ten. Give them another year.
Doc: As a believer in both the Tide and Tigers -- how you can bet against the talent on those rosters under coaching staffs with proven track records, I don't know -- I'll still go ahead and round out the SEC West hate with my standing doubt re: Ole Miss, just because the Rebels are still at least a half-notch below the best teams in the SEC athletically. 2008 was a perfect storm for a slightly above average team to make a move, with LSU and Auburn falling on their faces and Florida fumbling the ball all over the place, and Ole Miss still managed to lose to Wake Forest, South Carolina and Vanderbilt. The last four/five games is not enough to wipe out everything that came before with the entire program.
So I guess we solved that division. They're all overrated!
Doug: At this point I think you could almost throw a blanket over Alabama, LSU, and Ole Miss. If you put a gun to my head, I'd say Bama wins the SEC West, but only because they get LSU in Tuscaloosa; again, that's not a very convincing argument for a team that's supposed to be top-5 caliber.
Holly: And speaking of Ole Miss, what happened to that bubble? They're ranked below both Alabama and LSU (I'm not emotionally prepared to talk about the SEC West being the division to beat, so stow it) -- is this a matter of "Nice job in the Cotton Bowl, but we just realized you're still coached by Houston Nutt," or am I missing something?
Doug: That's exactly what I've assumed it was. Same deal with Oklahoma State: People realized that, as much talent as they might have on paper, they're still only playing for third place in the Big XII South.
Holly: And yet they beat out the nowhere-to-be-seen Texas Tech! Baby steps.
Doug: And I'm shocked to see any votes at all for Auburn. They do know Gene Chizik is the coach, right? And have they seen the Tigers' quarterbacks?
Holly: Switching up: Who pulled a disappearing act from the top of the polls that you'd like to see get more love?
Doc: N/A. Tennessee is being dissed at the bottom of the "Also Receiving Votes" section, but only in relative terms. They don't belong in the top 25, although they probably deserved more than two points when Kentucky and South Carolina both have about five times that many.
Doug: Looking through the "Others Receiving Votes" list, nobody leaps out at me as a team that was cruelly robbed of a well-earned Top 25 spot, but part of me is a little surprised to see Texas Tech drop as far as it did. And yeah, I know I just got done grousing about how much offensive talent Alabama has lost, and TTU has lost just as much if not more, but even without Graham Harrell, can you honestly see Mike Leach presiding over a team, any team, that doesn't light up the scoreboard? I'm not saying I expected to see them in the top 10, or even the top 20, but I don't think a 20-25 spot would've been out of line.
Holly: Agree with you there. I mean, have you seen the beard on that new quarterback of his? Moving west, I think UCLA's ranked disproportionately low given the amount of positive attention they've garnered the past couple months.
Doc: Would that be "Kevin Craft is no longer the starting quarterback"? I can't think of anything else.
Doug: The Bruins do have a ton of starters coming back (and, let's not forget, the effervescent Rick Neuheisel as coach). Phil Steele picked them to finish third in the Pac-10.
Doc: I'm beginning to regard Phil Steele as fairly crazy. He also picked Notre Dame in the top 10 and Kansas State -- the program in perhaps the greatest state of disarray at the start of the season, besides having very little talent -- ahead of Kansas and Missouri in the Big 12 North.
Holly: Crazy like a fox. Or like a supercomputer oracle. But we'll all have a good laugh in December when the Irish run the table.
Doc: A laugh. Yes. I'm sure that will be the spontaneous national reaction.