Mizzou, Miami ranked too low in first poll
When looking at the first USA Today Coaches' Poll, you have to keep in mind that the people voting in this poll don't really know any of the teams or any of the players (do you think any non-Mountain West coach has a clue who the TCU starting quarterback is?), the voters aren't always the coaches, and it's the poll that actually matters.
Coaches Top 25
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The AP poll is irrelevant and the Harris Poll doesn't come out until October, when the first BCS rankings are released. The USA Today Coaches' Poll means almost everything to the national title chase, so if No. 1 Oklahoma and No. 2 Alabama go unbeaten, they'll be playing for the national championship no matter what anyone else does.
It's a little bit of a surprise that Oklahoma got 42 first place votes and Alabama received only 13, but it doesn't really matter; there's no way, no how an unbeaten SEC champion doesn't play for the national title, and in this race, all that matters is finishing in the top two.
One of the big overall winners is Florida State, who starts out in a terrific No. 5 spot and in a prime position to pounce to move up into a key national title position. No. 2 Alabama and No. 4 LSU have to play each other, and No. 3 Oregon faced LSU on the opening weekend, so the Seminoles will almost certainly move into the top four right out of the gate.
Stanford gets a ton of respect at No. 6, and like Florida State, is set up perfectly to fly up the rankings if and when the top five teams start to fall. However, the new Pac-12 didn't get any respect with Oregon at No. 3 and Stanford at No. 6 the only teams in the top 25. Arizona State is technically 26th under the Others Receiving Votes category, Utah is 28th and Arizona is 32nd.
The opening weekend of the Big Ten season shapes up to be even more special with No. 11 Nebraska at No. 10 Wisconsin, but the big story in the new league is Ohio State, down to No. 16 after all the turmoil and all the craziness.
The SEC, as expected, dominated with Alabama at No. 2, LSU No. 4, South Carolina No. 12, Arkansas at No. 14, Auburn at No. 19, Mississippi State at No. 20, Georgia at No. 22, and Florida at No. 23. Only Tennessee -- No. 40 -- Kentucky, Vanderbilt, and Ole Miss didn't make the top 25.
But overall the big winner might turn out to be Boise State, who gets an extremely respectful No. 7 ranking, while Mountain West newcomer TCU is No. 15. If the Broncos can beat Georgia in the opening weekend, it's smooth sailing with just one game against a preseason top 25 team -- TCU -- the rest of the way. In other words, if you have no interest in another year of talk about whether or not Boise State is worthy of playing in the BCS Championship Game, get your Bulldogs red and black pom-poms out.
Five key overranked teams
No. 4 LSU (Based on how good the team is going into the season and not where it'll likely end up.)
No. 7 Boise State
No. 11 Nebraska
No. 17 Michigan State
No. 19 Auburn
Five key underranked teams
No. 21 Missouri ... (Based on how good the team is going into the season and not where it'll likely end up.)
No. 29 Miami
No. 34 Michigan
No. 40 Clemson
No. 43 BYU
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What have you done for me lately?
Teams that didn't get much respect for a strong 2010
No. 19 Auburn
No. 15 TCU
No. 16 Ohio State
No. 20 Mississippi State
No. 49 Nevada
No, really, what have you done for me lately?
Name programs that got no love whatsoever.
Texas Tech ... no votes
Georgia Tech ... one vote
UCLA ... no votes
Boston College ... no votes
Washington ... three votes
Oregon State ... four votes
Five teams outside Top 25 that'll finish in
No. 27 West Virginia
No. 28 Utah
No. 30 Iowa
No. 34 Michigan
No. 37 Houston