So, the USA Today 2009 College Football Preseason Coaches Poll came out late last week, and while I must say it gives me great pause to give any credence whatsoever to a body who places a Houston Nutt-led team in its preseason Top 10, I feel the need to acknowledge this meaningless ritual for another reason.
AUBURN GOT MORE VOTES THAN ARKANSAS. WHAT. THE. HELL.
Actually, 43 teams got more votes than Arkansas, including eight SEC teams. The SEC, by the way, accounted for 40% of both the top five and top ten teams, but I won't harp on that point any further due to my distaste with the placement of the Rebels. My solace comes with the knowledge that this will only make their fall even more spectacular.
The nerdiest of sports nerds like to count down past the 25th ranked team into the "Others Receiving Votes" section of the poll, and see where their team is "ranked". I would like to note that I am not this type of sports nerd and would never talk about my team being ranked at any position other than 1-25...excepting the title of this post, of course. No, I am not upset that my Razorbacks are ranked 44th while Auburn is ranked 39th. Because we aren't. And they aren't. Neither team is ranked at all.
I AM, however, outraged at the fact that the Auburn Tigers secured 12 votes from coaches against six for my Razorbacks. That's, like, twice as many. How in tarnation is this possible? HOW???
Being fairly certain that it was not last year's 25-22 Razorback victory down on the plains, I decided to delve deeper. There has to be some good reason, right? The coaches wouldn't just screw it up, would they? I mean, they take this responsibility seriously. Without the proper research and weight of consideration, the respectability of the poll would be diminished. No, there has to be a solid reason for this.
Returning talent has to be the factor. There must be something about the 14 returning Tiger starters on offense and defense that makes them more valuable than the 17 that the Razorbacks return. That's not counting Ryan Mallett, the much-heralded transfer from the University of Michigan, by the way, although he was undefeated in three starts as a Wolverine in 2007.
If not returning talent, new talent must be the determining factor. Something must have come out over the summer to point toward Auburn's incoming freshmen being more of an immediate impact than the Razorback newcomers. Or at least since both incoming classes were ranked in relatively the same position following National Signing Day in Februrary. Rivals had Arkansas' 2009 class ranked 16th and Auburn's 19th, while Scout had the Razorbacks at 20th and the Tigers 16th.
Or maybe it's not the players at all. Auburn does have a new coach, after all. I suppose it's not too much of a stretch to make a case for Gene Chizik as a better head coach than Bobby Petrino. Petrino won only five games in his rookie season as an SEC coach (one of those a victory over 2009 Preseason #9 LSU), while Chizik notched five wins in only two seasons at Iowa State. Wait. What I meant to say was that Bobby Petrino was 41-9 in four seasons at Louisville while Chizik coached Iowa State to a 2-0 start in 2008 with wins against South Dakota State and Kent State before dropping their final ten games. Hmm. Okay. Well, Bobby Petrino may have coached Louisville to an Orange Bowl victory to cap their 2006 campaign, but Chizik led ISU to the much coveted Cy-Hawk Trophy with a 13-10 victory over Iowa in 2007. Yeah.
Forget it. There's no good reason. No deeper insight. The coaches just bungled it. Just as you knew they would. I should have quit when I got to #10.
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