Florida State is No. 1 , Georgia is No. 12 and eight SEC teams are in the top 25 of the Associated Press’s preseason poll. Well, that certainly means . . . nothing.
Preseason college football polls are great for stimulating debate. But they invariably mean little by the end of the season, and their significance has been diminished even more by the four-team playoff beginning this season. Polls are great for feeding perceptions about how good or bad a team may be but those perceptions last only until a highly ranked team loses or a non-ranked team keeps winning.
This was last year’s AP top 10: Alabama, Ohio State, Oregon, Stanford, Georgia, South Carolina, Texas A&M, Clemson, Louisville, Florida.
This is how it looked at the end: Florida State, Auburn, Michigan State, South Carolina, Missouri, Oklahoma, Alabama, Clemson, Oregon, Central Florida.
The Seminoles began the year with a preseason No. 11 ranking.
Auburn, which won the SEC championship and reached the BCS title game, was unranked in the preseason. The Tigers didn’t crack the top 25 until Week 8 (at No. 24).
Florida, the preseason No. 10, lost seven straight games to end the season finished 4-8 (3-5 in the SEC).
So with that in mind, here are a few things that stand out about this year’s preseason top 25:
• Georgia is No. 12 overall and fourth among SEC schools, behind No. 2 Alabama (which received one No. 1 vote), No. 6 Auburn and No. 9 South Carolina. The Bulldogs’ first two opponents are No. 16 Clemson and the Gamecocks.
• Florida State received 57 of the 60 first-place votes, not surprising since they’re coming off a national championship and they return the Heisman Trophy winner at quarterback, Jameis Winston (for at least as long as he can stay out of the court room).
• The top 10 in the AP writers’ poll differed from the USA Today coaches’ poll only slightly, at Nos. 3 to 6. Otherwise the top 17 are identical. The AP top 10: (1) Florida State, (2) Alabama, (3) Oregon, (4) Oklahoma, (5) Ohio State, (6) Auburn, (7) UCLA, (8) Michigan State, (9) South Carolina, (10) Baylor. The USA Today top 10: (1) Florida State, (2) Alabama, (3) Oklahoma, (4) Oregon, (5) Auburn, (6) Ohio State, (7) UCLA, (8) Michigan State, (9) South Carolina, (10) Baylor.
• Georgia Tech, which received two votes in the USA Today poll, did not receive any votes in the AP poll. Yet, Navy (two), Nevada (one), Louisiana-Lafayette (one) and Utah State (one) received votes. Can’t wait to see how that looks at the end of the season.
Here’s the entire top 25:
Others: UCF (94) , Florida (87) , Texas (86) , Duke (71) , Iowa (68) , Louisville (48) , Marshall (41) , Oklahoma State (37) , Virginia Tech (26) , TCU (23) , Mississippi State (22) , Michigan (19) , Texas Tech (19) , Miami (FL) (16) , Cincinnati (15) , Oregon State (10) , Boise State (10) , Northwestern (8) , BYU (8) , Penn State (5) , Vanderbilt (2) , Navy (2) , Nevada (1) , Louisiana (1) , Utah State (1)
•Some recent ramblings (free links)
— MyAJC: Trent Miles trying to change attitudes at Georgia State — Blog: With Braves six back, is ‘Fat Lady’ singing? — MyAJC: B.J. Upton, Braves continue their zombie walk — MyAJC: Cancer didn’t slow Michael Cooper — Blog: Braves’ attendance reflects lack of confidence — MyAJC: Falcons showing humility, lack of comfort — and that’s good — Blog: Braves being hurt by shortage of leaders — MyAJC: Can ‘Power 5′ conferences handle this power? — Blog: Who’s most to blame for Braves’ fall? (vote in poll) — Blog: Roddy White lost Twitter ‘bet’ and paid off in a big way — MyAJC: Paul George’s injury shows risk of NBA players in tournaments — MyAJC: Paul Johnson needs to impress his new boss at Georgia Tech — Blog: Dan Uggla rejects demotion and is out of a job again — MyAJC: Pruitt winning over Georgia in ways Grantham didn’t — MyAJC: We’ll find out how right or wrong Frank Wren is — Blog: It’s trade deadline day…and it’s quiet here — MyAJC: Braves hamstrung by finances at trade deadline — Blog: Urban Meyer gets it wrong on Tim Tebow — MyAJC: Braves’ best postseason hope is starting pitching — MyAJC: Steven Jackson: ‘I kind of believed my own hype’ — Blog: Poll: Falcons open camp, what’s your playoff pick? — MyAJC: Falcons open with more questions than buzz