Alabama not surprisingly is No. 1 in the 2013 preseason USA Today Coaches Poll, released Thursday. The Crimson Tide are coming off a dominant victory in the BCS national championship game, which was their third title in the last four seasons. The rest of the SEC places four more teams in the top 10.
Here's the Top 25 poll in full:
|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.|
#CoachesPoll breakdown by conference: SEC (6) Big Ten (5) Pac-12 (5) Big 12 (4) ACC (2) Full poll coming at noon ET.— USA TODAY Sports (@USATODAYsports) August 1, 2013
Alabama finished last season the unanimous No. 1 choice. Oregon, Notre Dame, Georgia and Texas A&M rounded out the final top five, and they're all back this year.
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).
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.
Which is probably a good thing given its inherent flaws -- namely, the issues of potential bias on the part of the coaches* and the question of whether or not they get to see enough of other teams to make accurate assessments.
* By "coaches," we mean the athletic department employees who do the voting for the coaches.