The initial Coaches Poll of the 2016 NCAA football season came out this week, and what do you know, your 2015 West Division Champion Iowa Hawkeyes are starting the year in the #15 slot of the rankings. Which, really, isn’t too bad. It’s actually great, considering the last time the Hawks started a season ranked in the preseason Coaches Poll was 2010, when they were coming off that 11-2 season and a fantastic Orange Bowl victory over Georgia Tech.
Elsewhere in the Big Ten, there are three teams ranked in the preseason poll, all from the East Division and all ahead of Iowa: Ohio State is at #5, Michigan is at #8, and Michigan State is ranked #11. Just missing the cut were Wisconsin and Northwestern, who are ranked #27 and #34, respectively.
|RANK||TEAM||RECORD||POINTS||FIRST PLACE VOTES||PREVIOUS RANK|
|1||Alabama Crimson Tide||0-0||1585||55||NR|
|4||Florida State Seminoles||0-0||1351||1||NR|
|5||Ohio State Buckeyes||0-0||1321||0||NR|
|9||Notre Dame Fighting Irish||0-0||1034||0||NR|
|11||Michigan State Spartans||0-0||901||0||NR|
|12||Ole Miss Rebels||0-0||792||0||NR|
|14||TCU Horned Frogs||0-0||649||0||NR|
|19||Oklahoma State Cowboys||0-0||426||0||NR|
|20||North Carolina Tar Heels||0-0||422||0||NR|
|Others Receiving Votes: Miami (Fla.) 120; Wisconsin 82; Utah 73; Boise State 73; Washington State 47; Texas A&M 37; Texas 34; Arkansas 34; Northwestern 31; Navy 30; Mississippi State 19; San Diego State 18; Nebraska 17; Auburn 17; Western Kentucky 11; Pittsburgh 8; Brigham Young 6; Appalachian State 4; Duke 3; Arizona 2; Marshall 2; Toledo 2; South Florida 2; Memphis 1; Indiana 1; Northern Illinois 1.|
Immediate reaction? This feels about right where the Hawkeyes belong going into the 2016 campaign. They ended the previous season ranked #10 in this poll after the brutal Rose Bowl loss to Stanford and bring back 13 starters (five on offense, eight on defense), so while the defense figures to be just as stout as it was in 2015, there will be some question marks on the opposite side of the ball. It’ll be interesting to see if the offense can prove to be just as capable this year as it was last year behind a healthy version of senior C.J. Beathard - it appears as though the coaches believe the Hawkeyes will be more than capable for a second consecutive season.
Of course, this poll means next to nothing in the grand scheme of things, as it’s people guessing on where they believe teams are. It also happens that none of those people are part of the CFB Playoff committee. Last year, nine of the 25 teams that were in the preseason poll finished outside the Top 25 at the season’s end. Essentially, this means that the preseason poll is just a fun gauge for fans to figure out where their team should stand heading into the season. For Hawkeye fans, it says that their team should expect great things for a second consecutive season. Can’t wait.
The next stop? The AP Top 25, which comes out on August 21st.