The coaches have spoken, and Dabo Swinney and Jimbo Fisher appear to be in the vast minority.
Much has been said (mostly by ACC coaches and players) about the ferocity of the ACC, but it appears Swinney’s and Fisher’s peers aren’t buying it. The 2014 USA Today/Amway Coaches Poll was released today, with 7 members from the SEC making the list to only 3 from the ACC…the fewest of any conference.
In fact, shed the top 25 and make it the top 20, and the SEC still has 7…to the ACC’s 2.
Entries, by conference:
SEC 7 teams
Big 10 4
Big 12 4
Independents 1 (Notre Dame).
Of note, FSU predictably starts at #1, as most defending national champs do. But there at #2 is a familiar face:
The Alabama Crimson Tide.
The team most know, recognize and accept was the victim of its own past success and others’ blind luck last season begins the 2014 campaign within sniffing distance of familiar territory, but not quite there.
And you can bet Nicholas Saban wouldn’t have it any other way.
An explanation of how the poll works, from USA Today:
“The Amway Coaches Poll is conducted weekly throughout the regular season using a panel of head coaches at FBS schools. The panel is chosen by random draw, conference by conference plus independents, from a pool of coaches who have indicated to the American Football Coaches Association their willingness to participate. Each coach submits a Top 25 with a first-place vote worth 25 points, second place 24, and so on down to one point for 25th.”
The 2014 USA Today/AMWAY Preseason Coach’s Poll, courtesy of USA Today:
It’s interesting too that Alabama begins 2014 ranked ahead of the only two teams that handed the Tide losses in 2013. Is this an indicator of who the better team actually was on those particular game days? Did circumstances play a factor in the outcomes of those games? Those with cognitive activity and a pedestrian understanding of college football know that answer.
This last point has been the subject of much debate this off-season, but come on people, grow up. If the phantom offsides penalty isn’t called in the Auburn game (admitted to be a mistake by the SEC) and Bama keeps the rare made field goal that followed, the Tide rolls Auburn by 14-20 pts., destroys Missouri and goes on to dismantle FSU for its third consecutive national title. Or heck, for that matter, subtract any of a half dozen mysterious happenings during the Iron Bowl for the same result…A.K.A., the only way Auburn ever beats Alabama under Nick Saban.
Here’s hoping this poll is somewhat accurate, and Bama gets a shot at FSU at the end of this season. A quick check of Nick Saban’s record in title games indicates, unlike Auburn, Bama wouldn’t fail at finishing the job under the game’s brightest lights.