Preseason Coaches Poll Released; Five Iowa Opponents Ranked

Like I need an explanation to use this picture. - Jamie Sabau

Is it poll time already? Yes, it is poll time already.

Football season must be getting close because the first USA Today/Coaches Poll is out now. In a shocking move that we're sure is just a grievous mistake on the part of the pollsters, Iowa is not among the teams listed in this preseason top 25. They're not even in the good ol' "Others Receiving Votes" category. I know, I'm still amazed, too. Turns out going 4-8 and ending the season on a 6-game losing streak isn't the best way to impress voters -- who knew?!

Here's the poll.

RANK TEAM RECORD POINTS PREVIOUS RANK
1 Alabama (58) 13-1 1545 1
2 Ohio St. (3) 12-0 1427 NR
3 Oregon 12-1 1397 2
4 Stanford 12-2 1262 6
5 Georgia 12-2 1250 4
6 Texas A&M (1) 11-2 1215 5
7 South Carolina 11-2 1136 7
8 Clemson 11-2 1047 9
9 Louisville 11-2 1010 13
10 Florida 11-2 930 10
11 Notre Dame 12-1 872 3
12 Florida St. 12-2 844 8
13 LSU 10-3 797 12
14 Oklahoma St. 8-5 726 NR
15 Texas 9-4 622 18
16 Oklahoma 10-3 620 15
17 Michigan 8-5 589 NR
18 Nebraska 10-4 426 23
19 Boise St. 11-2 420 14
20 TCU 7-6 400 NR
21 UCLA 9-5 202 NR
22 Northwestern 10-3 186 16
23 Wisconsin 8-0 172 NR
24 USC 7-6 165 NR
25 Oregon St. 9-4 135 19
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.

While Iowa isn't among the teams ranked in the poll, several teams on Iowa's schedule do find themselves ranked, including:

#2 Ohio State
#17 Michigan
#18 Nebraska
#22 Northwestern
#23 Wisconsin

A pair of Iowa's 2013 opponents are also in the "Others Receiving Votes" ranks:

Michigan State
Northern Illinois

Worth noting? All five of the ranked teams on Iowa's schedule play the Hawkeyes in the back half of the season, beginning with Ohio State on October 19 and concluding with Nebraska on November 29. The only unranked team Iowa plays in that stretch is Purdue on November 9. Obviously, these rankings aren't etched in stone and some of these teams will likely not be ranked when they play Iowa, but the general point seems clear: if Iowa is going to rebound in 2013 from 2012's vomit-inducing results, Ferentz & Co. had better make hay with the early part of the schedule because the competition should get much fiercer in the closing stretch.

Other poll thoughts:

  • It's still the SEC's world and we just live in it: they have two of the top five (Alabama and Georgia), five of the top ten (adding Texas A&M, South Carolina, and Florida to the aforementioned pair), and six of the top 25 (including LSU). Four SEC teams also received votes, including Vanderbilt (OK), Mississippi State (sure), Tennessee (eh), and Arkansas (WTF).
  • A 4-8 record in 2012 might have prevented Iowa from being voted into the Top 25 by anyone, but not so Arkansas, proud owner of a matching 4-8 record in 2012. The power of adding this man to the sideline, I guess. Also, in news that I'm sure is completely and utterly coincidental, Bret Bielema is a voting member for the USA Today/Coaches Poll. ("The card said vote for myself.")
  • Six teams crack the preseason top 25 despite ending the season unranked, led by Oklahoma State at #14. Voters believe strongly in Mike Gundy's manhood, apparently.
  • TCU and USC are the joint owners of the Biggest Expected Turnaround award, as the voters peg them among the nation's 25 best teams despite both teams finishing 7-6 last year. Voters have considerable faith in the coaching acumen of Gary Patterson and Lane Kiff, er, in USC's prodigious talent level.
  • It's hard out of there for a mid-major: while five mid-major teams ended the 2012 season ranked in the top 25 (led by Boise State at #14), only one mid-major finds itself among the hallowed ranks of the preseason top 25: good ol' dependable Boise, checking in at #19. Several mid-major teams are listed among the "others receiving votes" ranks, though. (One reason why several of those mid-major teams went from ranked at the end of 2012 to unranked in the 2013 preseason poll? Three of those five teams ranked at the end of the season lost their head coach after the season: Utah State, San Jose State, and Northern Illinois.)
  • Also: how bad is the Big East American Athletic Conference? Louisville, the overwhelming favorite in the league, doesn't have a single team ranked in the top 39 (according to voting points) on their 2013 schedule. The top "ranked" team on their schedule? That would be Ohio. The only other AAC teams aside from Louisville to even receive votes were Cincinnati (3) and Rutgers (1).
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