The USA Today (Coaches) Top 25 is out. I am not going to discuss the poll in depth. When the College Football Haven Top 25 comes out August 30, you will be able to see where I agree and disagree with the coaches. However, there is one thing from the coaches poll that does stick out. The SEC is still overrated. In the poll, the SEC is represented as follows:
Six teams is one half of the SEC. Do you really expect anyone to believe that six of the top 25 teams in the country are from one conference? This poll is saying that the top half of the SEC is better than 81% of the teams in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision.
Auburn might have surprised many people with 8 wins last year after the fallout over the Gene Chizik hiring, but I think Auburn still needs to show it is ready to take the next step before being ranked.
Georgia had a down year (8-5) in 2009. However, with a redshirt freshman starting at quarterback, I am skeptical that this year will be better than the last. Guys like Sam Bradford don't grow on trees.
Arkansas is one I agree with. In fact, I think the Hogs will be a surprise team in 2010, and should be ranked higher. Ryan Mallett and Bobby Petrino will have the team racing up and down the field. If they catch a few breaks, they may find themselves in the SEC Championship game.
LSU has been disappointing, to say the least, the last two years (8-5 and 9-4). Les Miles has already lost my faith, and if he doesn’t put up 10 wins or more this year he might lose his job. Sixteen is a little bit of a stretch, I would have them closer to 20.
Florida lost Tim Tebow, the three time Heisman Trophy finalist, Aaron Hernandez, the 2009 Mackey Award winner, at tight end, and Brandon Spikes, a two-time All-American, at linebacker. Yet, Florida is starting 2010 at number 3. Talk about deja-vu. After the 2006 National Championship year, Florida had to replace the starting quarterback and some key personnel on defense. In 2007, the team finished 9-4. Why should we expect much different this year? There was a noticeable drop off from 2008 to 2009 just by Percy Harvin leaving for the NFL. Throw in Urban Meyer’s health, and the number 3 ranking for Florida is the most egregious ranking of all the SEC teams.
Last is Alabama. The 2009 National Champions are starting right where they left off. Except they will have to do so without Rolando McClain, Terrance Cody, and five other NFL draft picks. Throw in the controversial schedule that has six conference opponents given two weeks to prepare for the Crimson Tide, and I don’t think this team even makes the national championship game. Don’t get me wrong. I am starting to become a believer in Nick Saban the coach, and I think ‘Bama will be a top 10 team this year. I just don’t think this number one ranking is merited.
Well, maybe overrating the SEC will stop next year. Until then, there's a lot of great football to play! (Come back Thursday, August 19, 2010, as I make an overview of the 2010 season before getting into previewing each conference.)