The 2009 preseason Coaches' Poll is out, and at least at the top, there's no surprises:
- Florida (53 first place votes), 1,466 points
- Texas (4), 1,386
- Oklahoma (1), 1,358
- USC (1), 1,321
- Alabama, 1,134
There's the Big Four at the top, a big gap, and everyone else. We knew this was coming. Florida is not a unanimous No. 1, which is actually not all that big a surprise either. Given the dissent at the end of last year, plus the returns of Sam Bradford and Colt McCoy, there was bound to be a couple people who disagreed with putting the Gators at the top.
However, at least one person has Florida below No. 2 on his ballot since the Gators would have 1,469 points if they were second on every ballot they didn't get the first place vote on. My guess is that a couple of Big 12 coaches have some combination of Texas and Oklahoma in the top two spots since we've seen in the public final ballots in the past that regional voting is rampant in the poll.
All of the top eight won at least ten games last year. The highest non-Big Six team is Boise State at No. 16, followed immediately by TCU and Utah in that order.
The rest of the SEC teams are as follows:
9. LSU, 917
10. Ole Miss, 889
13. Georgia, 707
37. South Carolina, 18
39. Auburn, 12
42. Kentucky, 9
44. Arkansas, 6
56. Tennessee, 2
As often happens in the preseason poll, a ton of teams received votes. This year, a full half (60) of all I-A teams got at least one vote, which explains why I can report to you that the Vols ended up at No. 56.
It appears at least among coaches that the faith in Tennessee's rebound that is so pervasive among most preseason publications is not there. They also have a lot more faith in South Carolina than the current preseason consensus does, given that only one publication has the Gamecocks third in the East, and that same one (Sporting News) is the only that has them above Tennessee.
I'm also kind of shocked that Auburn and Kentucky made it above Arkansas, but when you're talking that low on the also receiving votes list, there's really not that much difference.
I still think the Coaches' Poll has no place in the BCS since coaches seldom do the actual voting and have no time to watch games even if they did. It's a giant conflict of interest when their votes can affect their salaries (as most have bonuses tied into going to certain bowl games and/or poll placement).
However, since it is unfortunately part of the system that determines the champion, here it is. Let the dissection begin.