Amway Coaches Poll released: Observations from initial college football rankings

By David Kenyon

We’re officially one step closer to college football season.

The preseason version of the Amway Coaches Poll was released Thursday, expectedly showcasing the reigning champion Ohio State Buckeyes as the No. 1 team in the nation.

USA Today posted the initial rankings—which, for future reference, do not help determine the top four teams in the College Football Playoff—and a few observations are easily taken from the fresh top 25.

No surprises in the top 6

Ohio State, TCU, Alabama, Baylor, Oregon and Michigan State sit atop the rankings. The six programs combined to post a 73-10 record last season, and each team should match its 2014 level of success in the win-loss department.

Varying respect for teams with quarterback changes

Following the 2014 campaign, Jameis Winston departed from Florida State, while Nick Marshall and Hutson Mason ended their respective tenures at Auburn and Georgia. However, the voters trust Marshall’s replacement (Jeremy Johnson) and Bulldogs running back Nick Chubb a little more than Winston’s successor (Sean Maguire).

No love for Georgia Tech

Well that’s not very nice. Despite quarterback Justin Thomas returning to a Georgia Tech squad that finished 11-3 and toppled Mississippi State in the Orange Bowl, the Yellow Jackets are ranked No. 17. Paul Johnson’s team should’ve received more respect.

Something is noticeably missing

It took 17 years, but the coaches finally stopped including the University of Texas when it didn’t deserve a spot in the rankings. While Texas is certainly improving under second-year coach Charlie Strong, the program needs to continue rebuilding before it receives poll-worthy credit.

Lots of love for the SEC

The SEC placed eight teams in the top 25, which isn’t exactly a startling revelation. It is the best conference, after all, so its mid-level programs are routinely placed on the “your guess is good as mine” section of the poll—which begins at approximately No. 15 and extends throughout the remainder of the rankings.

Tying up loose ends

Six Pac-12 squads were included, while three teams from each of the ACC, Big Ten and Big 12 made the list. Excluding Notre Dame at No. 11, the highest-ranked non-power conference team is No. 24 Boise State.

Photo: USA Today Sports