- Edward Aschoff, ESPN Staff Writer
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We're closing in on the month of August, which means that we're closing in on another wonderful season of college football. That also means that preseason rankings will be all the buzz over the next few weeks.
On Thursday, we got our first official one, as the Amway Coaches Poll debuted. Reigning national champion Ohio State was the overwhelming pick for the No. 1 ranking, snatching 62 of a possible 64 first-place votes. Rounding out the top five behind the Buckeyes are TCU (1), Alabama (1), Baylor and Oregon.
The SEC leads all conferences with eight ranked teams, including three -- Alabama, Auburn (No. 7) and Georgia (No. 9) -- ranked in the top 10. At SEC media days this month, Auburn was picked to win the conference, and Alabama and Georgia were picked to win their respective divisions. Oh, the chaos that will ensue this season.
Here's how the SEC teams ranked:
3. Alabama (1)
15. Ole Miss
Mississippi State, which spent five weeks as the No. 1 team in the country last season, didn't make the top 25, but did receive 164 points from votes. Texas A&M was next with 149 points. South Carolina had 18, Florida two and Kentucky one.
Coaches seem to really like the talent LSU has around its quarterbacks. I tend to lean toward this team being a sleeper because it feels like it's a quarterback away from making a legitimate run through the SEC. Running back Leonard Fournette leads a young but solid group of offensive skill players who have the potential to make any quarterback comfortable. The defense has a ton of talent, but it scares me on the edge because there just aren't any proven playmakers who can get to the quarterback.
I think Auburn should be higher. Adding the defensive mind of Will Muschamp automatically upgrades that defense, and Jeremy Johnson will help the Tigers be even more balanced on offense with his arm. I'd put Auburn ahead of Alabama, which still has a quarterback battle, uncertainty in its secondary and a new-look offensive line. I'd swap the two, and then I'd swap Georgia with Alabama, because I think the Bulldogs are a much more complete team, even with their own quarterback questions.
To see how the entire coaches' poll shook out, check out USA Today.