And the season inches just a little bit closer.
USA Today released the 2013 preseason Coaches' Poll on Thursday and, to the surprise of no one, two-time defending national champion Alabama sits firmly entrenched at No. 1. This marks the sixth straight season the Crimson Tide have claimed a No. 1 ranking, dating every year back to 2008, officially marking another bullet on an already impressive list of accomplishments for Alabama under Nick Saban.
Before we get to the poll, a few notes:
- This is the fifth time in six seasons an SEC team has sat atop the preseason Coaches' Poll: Georgia in 2008, Florida in 2009, Alabama in 2010, LSU in 2012 and Alabama again this year. Only Oklahoma in 2011 breaks the streak.
- Alabama's Coaches' Poll starting positions, going back to 2009: first, second, second, first, fifth.
- Often times, a successful (or unsuccessful) season boils down to who you play. Two extreme examples: Louisville won't play a single team inside the coaches' preseason top 39, while Tennessee will play five of the coaches' preseason top 10 before the end of October. (via @BFeldmanCBS, @ClayTravisBGID)
- The SEC leads all conferences with six ranked teams, followed by the Big Ten and Pac-12 (five), the Big 12 (four) and the ACC (two). Notre Dame (independent), Louisville (American) and Boise State (Mountain West) round out the rest of the poll. The SEC's sixth-ranked team is LSU at No. 13. The Big 12's top-ranked team is Oklahoma State at No. 14.
- Texas and Oklahoma check in at Nos. 15 and 16, respectively. The last time both Texas and OU started outside the coaches' preseason top 10: 1999.
- If the poll extended to 30, it would go as follows: 26. Kansas State, 27. Miami, 28. Michigan State, 29. Baylor and 30. Virginia Tech. This is the first time the Hokies were left out of the preseason top 25 since 2004; they were voted preseason Top 10 four times from 2005-12.
- As always, never forget that no one really knows anything yet. Last year, six of the top preseason top 13 finished with at least five losses (via @jonsol). On average, half of the preseason top 10 will be gone in the postseason edition.
1. Alabama - (58 first-place votes) 1,545 total points
2. Ohio State - (3) 1,427
3. Oregon - 1,397
4. Stanford - 1,262
5. Georgia - 1,250
6. Texas A&M - (1) 1,215
7. South Carolina - 1,136
8. Clemson - 1,047
9. Louisville - 1,010
10. Florida - 930
11. Notre Dame - 872
12. Florida State - 844
13. LSU - 797
14. Oklahoma State - 726
15. Texas - 622
16. Oklahoma - 620
17. Michigan - 589
18. Nebraska - 426
19. Boise State - 420
20. TCU - 400
21. UCLA - 202
22. Northwestern - 186
23. Wisconsin - 172
24. USC - 165
25. Oregon State - 135
If you've got a gripe, here are the 62 coaches voting this year: David Bailiff, Rice; Frank Beamer, Virginia Tech; Tim Beckman, Illinois; Bret Bielema, Arkansas; Bill Blankenship, Tulsa; Terry Bowden, Akron; Art Briles, Baylor; Troy Calhoun, Air Force; Matt Campbell, Toledo; Rod Carey, Northern Illinois; Dave Christensen, Wyoming; Dave Clawson, Bowling Green; Larry Coker, Texas-San Antonio; David Cutcliffe, Duke; Mark Dantonio, Michigan State; Tim DeRuyter, Fresno State; Ron English, Eastern Michigan; Larry Fedora, North Carolina; Jimbo Fisher, Florida State; Kyle Flood, Rutgers; Dennis Franchione, Texas State; James Franklin, Vanderbilt; Al Golden, Miami; Todd Graham, Arizona State; Jim Grobe, Wake Forest; Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State; Bryan Harsin, Arkansas State; Bobby Hauck, UNLV; Mark Helfrich, Oregon; Brady Hoke, Michigan; Dana Holgorsen, West Virginia; Doc Holliday, Marshall; Mark Hudspeth, Louisiana-Lafayette; Curtis Johnson, Tulane; Joey Jones, South Alabama; June Jones, SMU; Brian Kelly, Notre Dame; Jerry Kill, Minnesota; Kliff Kingsbury, Texas Tech; Mike Leach, Washington State; Rocky Long, San Diego State; Dan McCarney, North Texas; Bronco Mendenhall, Brigham Young; Urban Meyer, Ohio State; Les Miles, LSU; Ken Niumatalolo, Navy; George OLeary, Central Florida; Bo Pelini, Nebraska; Chris Petersen, Boise State; Mark Richt, Georgia; Mike Riley, Oregon State; Rich Rodriguez, Arizona; Nick Saban, Alabama; Steve Spurrier, South Carolina; Rick Stockstill, Middle Tennessee; Bob Stoops, Oklahoma; Charlie Strong, Louisville; Dabo Swinney, Clemson; Kevin Sumlin, Texas A&M; Don Treadwell, Miami (Ohio); Tommy Tuberville, Cincinnati; Kyle Whittingham, Utah.