2013 Preseason Coaches Poll - Analysis
Ohio State QB Braxton Miller
Ohio State QB Braxton Miller
Posted Aug 1, 2013

Breaking down and analyzing the 2013 preseason USA Today Coaches' Poll.

2013 Preseason Coaches' Poll

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- 2013 Preseason Coaches' Poll

By Pete Fiutak 

Preseason Coaches' Top 25
1. Alabama (58)
2. Ohio State (3)
3. Oregon
4. Stanford
5. Georgia
6. Texas A&M (1)
7. South Carolina
8. Clemson
9. Louisville
10. Florida
11. Notre Dame
12. Florida State
13. LSU
14. Oklahoma State
15. Texas
16. Oklahoma
17. Michigan
18. Nebraska
19. Boise State
20. TCU
21. UCLA
22. Northwestern
23. Wisconsin
24. USC
25. Oregon State
Remember, 1) the people voting in your 2013 USA Today Coaches' Poll don't really know any of the teams or any of the players on a national scale, 2) the voters aren't always the coaches, and 3), unlike the AP, it's the poll that actually matters. However, these rankings won't really matter next year when the new playoff format kicks in.

The AP poll is irrelevant in the BCS championship equation and the Harris Poll doesn't come out until October after the first BCS rankings are released. The USA Today Coaches' Poll means almost everything to the national title chase, and while the computers have some say in the formula, the Harris almost always mirrors the Coaches' Poll up top, meaning the humans have the most say.

In theory, college football rankings are supposed to be based on how good the teams are right now. Of course, that's not necessarily the way things work with some voters ranking teams based partially on where they might finish. The problem, though, comes when voters don't adapt and change their rankings and views as the season goes on.

If Alabama is ranked No. 1 to start the season, it's going to play in the BCS championship no matter what if it goes 12-0 and then wins the SEC title game. It won't matter if USC wins every game by four touchdowns and Oklahoma throttles all of its opponents by three scores. The coaches will never, ever, ever drop the Tide out of the No. 1 spot – especially because it plays in the SEC – if the wins keep coming.

The same goes for Ohio State, who joins Alabama as one of two teams that completely and totally controls its own national title destiny. But the real question marks arise when the losses start to come - seasons are rarely as cut and dry as 2009, when Texas and the Alabama/Florida winner - Alabama - rolled through the season on the way to the BCS championship game.

The Big Takeaway: Merry Christmas, Oregon and Stanford. All it takes is one Ohio State loss and one of the stars from the Pac-12 North will move up. SEC rankings don't matter; anyone who wins the SEC title will be in the mix for the national championship. Louisville is in a terrific position at No. 9. Watch how fast the Cardinals move up as the teams up top start picking each other off.

The Big Winners: Ohio State controls its own destiny getting the preseason No. 2 spot. However, it's highly unlikely that both Alabama and Ohio State go unscathed, meaning Oregon and three and Stanford at four are right on the doorstep to jump into the top two. However, everyone needs Ohio State to lose; an unbeaten Georgia, LSU, or anyone from the SEC goes unbeaten, that's one of the top two spots no matter what anyone else does.

The Big Losers: The Pac-12, other than Oregon and Stanford. Things could quickly change as the season goes on, but the poll is showing a wait-and-see attitude towards most of the teams in the South. UCLA isn't all that hot, apparently, ranked 21st to start things off, while USC has to prove it at No. 24. Arizona and Arizona State are coming off excellent rebound seasons, but neither one made the initial cut.

Five Key Overranked Teams
- No. 2 Ohio State
- No. 9 Louisville
- No. 14 Oklahoma State
- No. 19 Boise State
- No. 22 Northwestern

Five Key Underranked Teams
- No. 24 USC
- No. 23 Wisconsin
- No. 21 UCLA
- No. 16 Oklahoma
- No. 15 Texas

What Have You Done For Me Lately?
- No. 26 Kansas State
- No. 27 Miami
- No. 28 Michigan State
- No. 30 Virginia Tech
- No. 38 Northern Illinois

No, Really, What Have You Done For Me Lately?
- No. 31 Fresno State
- No. 35 Utah State
- No. 41 San Jose State
- No. 45(tied) Kent State
- No. 45(tied) UCF

No, REALLY, What Have You Done For Me Lately?
- No votes ... Iowa
- No votes ... Auburn
- No votes ... Missouri
- No votes ... Georgia Tech
- No votes ... West Virginia

Five Teams Outside of the Top 25 That'll Finish In
- Fresno State
- Michigan State
- Virginia Tech
- Arizona State
- Cincinnati