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College Football: USA Today Coaches' Poll Analysis

The preseason USA Today Coaches' Poll was released today, giving us our first whiff of the preamble leading up to the 2010 season. There aren't any absolute shockers, but that won't stop us from taking a look at the season's first major poll release.

*USC is not eligible to be listed in the Coaches' Poll due to sanctions levied against the program.

Right off the bat, I'm a bit surprised to see Boise State at number five. I figured Alabama and Ohio State would make up the top two spots, but I was sure Boise State would come in at number three, or at the lowest four. Five isn't insurmountable in terms of getting a shot at the national title, but it would have been nice to see the undefeated Broncos, who return just about everybody, get a little more recognition going into the season. Any of the top four could very well go undefeated (although either Alabama or Florida are guaranteed to lose at least one when they play on October 2 and possibly again in the SEC title game), so wouldn't it be something if the Broncos again win all of their games only to be on the outside looking in on an undefeated Alabama and Ohio State, or Florida and Texas, or Ohio State and Florida, or... you get the picture.

I think Florida at three is a little presumptuous. I like John Brantley and think the Gators will field a great team, but for a program that lost arguably its best player at every level of the defense (Carlos Dunlap/Jermaine Cunningham, Brandon Spikes and Joe Haden) and at most positions on the offense (Tim Tebow, Maurkice Pouncey, Aaron Hernandez and Riley Cooper) I'd like to see them continue playing at their ultra-high level before I warrant ranking them third. Of course, the Gators reload every single year and are never short of talent, so it may not take long before they prove their doubters wrong. I'd put them six, seven or eight to start.

Had Jeremiah Masoli not run into trouble and remained a member of the Ducks, Oregon could be a top five team, or come in just outside the top five. With Nate Costa the assumed starter with Darron Thomas pushing him every inch of the way, the Ducks will not come out flat offensively. Their 11th ranking suits them well for a team with a fairly prominent question mark at the most important position on the field.

Miami is another team placed where they belong in the preseason poll. This is a team that could rise, and rise fast, in the first few weeks with matchups against #2 Ohio State and #15 Pittsburgh in their first three games. Win and they're an instant top ten team; lose and they'll round out the bottom of the polls, or worse, going into conference play.

Speaking of Pittsburgh, I love Dion Lewis on my Heisman Watch List. With defensive end Jabaal Sheard recently allowed back on the team and assuming nothing comes of the NCAA's talk with Greg Romeus, his buddy on the other end, and a host of talent on both side of the ball, the Panthers are primed for a run at the Big East title.

North Carolina at #18 isn't a huge stretch, and I think they'll do well this season with such a strong defense, but anywhere from 22 to 25 would seem more appropriate until they show their offense is at least a little better than it was last season. I can't wait to see what Ryan Mallet and the Razorbacks can do this season. It would be nice to see Arizona, Cincinnati, Washington and Houston somewhere in the top 25, but alas there are only 25 spots available. If I could justify booting anybody at this very early stage before any games are played, it would be Auburn and West Virginia, but I'm still not sure about that...

If you're angry that your team wasn't ranked high enough or was left off the list completely, direct your irritation here, at the fifty nine coaches who get a vote in this year's poll:

Robb Akey, Idaho
David Bailiff, Rice
Frank Beamer, Virginia Tech
Tim Beckman, Toledo
Todd Berry, Louisiana-Monroe
Bret Bielema, Wisconsin
Art Briles, Baylor
Dave Christensen, Wyoming
David Cutcliffe, Duke
Mark Dantonio, Michigan State
Todd Dodge, North Texas
Sonny Dykes, Louisiana Tech
Dan Enos, Central Michigan
Steve Fairchild, Colorado State
Larry Fedora, Southern Miss
Jimbo Fisher, Florida State
Al Golden, Temple
Jim Grobe, Wake Forest
Jim Harbaugh, Stanford
Mike Haywood, Miami (Ohio)
Butch Jones, Cincinnati
Brian Kelly, Notre Dame
Jerry Kill, Northern Illinois
Mike Locksley, New Mexico
Mike London, Virginia
Bill Lynch, Indiana
Mike MacIntyre, San Jose State
Doug Marrone, Syracuse
Urban Meyer, Florida
Dan Mullen, Mississippi State
Ken Niumatalolo, Navy
Tom O'Brien, North Carolina State
George O'Leary, Central Florida
Bo Pelini, Nebraska
Chris Petersen, Boise State
Bobby Petrino, Arkansas
Gary Pinkel, Missouri
Larry Porter, Memphis
Jeff Quinn, Buffalo
Paul Rhoads, Iowa State
Mark Richt, Georgia
Mike Riley, Oregon State
Rich Rodriguez, Michigan
Nick Saban, Alabama
Steve Sarkisian, Washington
Greg Schiano, Rutgers
Howard Schnellenberger, Florida Atlantic
Mike Sherman, Texas A&M
Steve Spurrier, South Carolina
Rick Stockstill, Middle Tennessee
Mike Stoops, Arizona
Charlie Strong, Louisville
Kevin Sumlin, Houston
Bob Toledo, Tulane
Jim Tressel, Ohio State
Tommy Tuberville, Texas Tech
Kyle Whittingham, Utah
Paul Wulff, Washington State
Ron Zook, Illinois - Danny Hobrock

Danny is a sports journalist primarily covering college football and professional baseball. His work for Xtra Point Football has garnered national attention and is critically acclaimed. Danny is the former editor of a political and current events website and the editor of our college football content.

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