SEC's most underrated, overrated teams from Coaches Poll
It’s football season, which means we all have an opinion.
Polls are not only released to generate reaction and buzz before openers, but they provide a baseline in which teams are judged based on performance in the early going.
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Voted heavily on perception, momentum means everything — perhaps too much for some and not enough for others.
Glancing at Thursday’s preseason Coaches Poll, there’s a couple noticeable issues I had with the way coaches slotted teams heading into August.
Here are the findings:
Teams ranked too low
- Ole Miss
- Georgia Tech
Notes: Of the eight SEC teams ranked, LSU and Ole Miss should be flip-flopped and Tennessee placed in the lows 20s range. The Tigers get the benefit of the doubt at No. 13 thanks to Les Miles and Heisman candidate Leonard Fournette, but this team has ongoing issues heading into camp at quarterback and defensive end — two primary impact positions in the SEC … In terms of talent alone, there aren’t 24 teams in the country better than the Vols this season … Reigning Pac 12 South Division champion Arizona coming in at No. 22 is a major problem considering the Wildcats were placed behind three teams in their own division and Stanford as the league’s fifth-best team. Arizona welcomes back playmaking quarterback Anu Solomon and arguably the best defensive player in college football, Scooby Wright … Few teams nationally ended the 2014 campaign hotter than Georgia Tech, who nearly knocked off Florida State in the ACC title game sandwiched between Top 10 wins over Georgia and Mississippi State. Paul Johnson’s club should wear the Playoff darkhorse cloak throughout the season and at least be placed in the Top 15 entering August … Despite heavy personnel losses defensively, Clemson is a Top 10 team based on its talent on the offensive side of the ball in a top-heavy league, notably standout sophomore quarterback Deshaun Watson. The Tigers are the media’s preseason ACC champ pick, but come in ranked four spots behind conference rival Florida State in the initial poll. I’m sure Dabo Swinney will use this as motivation, if he even looks at rankings at all.
Teams ranked too high
- Florida State
Notes: LSU certainly has a roster capable of competing for a Western Division title down the stretch this season, but a preseason Top 15 ranking following the Tigers’ worst season in six years is rather lofty. There’s no doubt LSU belongs in the Top 20, but not at 13 … Jimbo Fisher and the Seminoles replace eleven players off last season’s Playoff team, including No. 1 pick Jameis Winston. Not only will Florida State take a step back up front with a new-look offensive line, but the Seminoles may be without primary weapon Dalvin Cook (indefinitely suspended) as well, at least early on. Coaches are obviously putting a heavy emphasis on a favorable schedule and the acquisition of Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson to energize this football team, but that could be fool’s gold.