In the biggest sign yet that football is right around the corner, the preseason coaches poll was released yesterday, with Alabama again atop the rankings after receiving 58 of the 62 first place votes. Ohio State (3 first place votes), Oregon, Stanford, and Georgia round out the top 5. Texas A&M garnered the last first place vote and sits in 6th. Because of Penn State’s post season ban, and the coaches poll’s inclusion in the BCS standings, the Lions are of course ineligible for the rankings. But that won’t stop us from having a little fun and speculating.
Preseason rankings are always an interesting mix of recognition for a team’s previous season, while at the same time, trying to account for how they will perform in the year to come. I doubt there is any right thinking coach that wouldn’t have put Penn State in their top 25 at the end of last season had they been eligible. But heading into 2013, their are questions about how a new quarterback will adjust, how you replace Gerald Hodges and Michael Mauti at linebacker, and how PSU responds after an emotional 2012 season and the departure of a legendary senior class. To put it bluntly, we are just guessing here.
With that said, when I see a USC ranked 24th coming off of a 7-6 season, with Lane Kiffin still on the sidelines, and needing to replace a quarterback themselves, or Wisconsin at 23rd after an 8-6 campaign, Montee Ball’s graduation, the arrival of a new coaching staff, and a quarterback competition with roughly 13 options, I find myself thinking PSU is right there with those schools. Heck, USC even has some depth concerns as the result of sanctions, albeit not as severe as what Penn State faces.
I doubt that Penn State would have found the 135 points necessary to sneak in at 25, but when the Badgers or Trojans are picking up enough votes to find their way in, I don’t doubt that Penn State at leastshould be on the doorstep had they been able to receive votes.
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