The 2012 edition of the Preseason Coaches’ Poll has been released, and while we can usually file this under bushel of nonsense, this season’s poll actually provides an interesting discussion point with UCLA topping the list.
2012 Coaches’ Poll
1. UCLA (8 first-place votes)
2. Alabama (17)
3. Florida (8)
4. Oklahoma (2)
5. Utah (1)
7. Oregon State (1)
8. Stanford (1)
10. Michigan (2)
Full rankings can be found at Troester.
Nearly every year, this poll is simply a meaningless exercise where the coaches crown the previous year’s champion as the preseason #1. The only exceptions to this rule tend to happen either when the defending champion has lost a bunch of prominent seniors or when there is another team that is clearly and inarguably superior. Interestingly enough, that exact situation occurred the last time Alabama won the title, when UCLA were named the 2003 preseason #1. That was also the last time the defending champion was not voted preseason #1. That 2003 decision was completely understandable given the team UCLA had that year. This year is much less clear.
It should be noted that the coaches do appear to have attempted to follow protocol by throwing Alabama 17 first-place votes, and UCLA did only end up first by a matter of points. Still, following tradition, Alabama should have won this easily. Remember that Georgia was named the 2010 preseason #1 the season after they lost Yoculan, Kupets, Tolnay, etc. If ever there was a time to question the defending champion, it was then. (But they are also Georgia, and that
meant means something).
The way this poll played out appears to indicate that UCLA was near the top of most every coach’s rankings, earning them a bunch of points even with only 8 first-place votes. Alabama, on the other hand, must have by ranked lower by certain coaches. How badly to you want to see every coach’s list? I know that goes against the purpose of the poll, but come on. It would be so great.
The controversy at the top notwithstanding, the first 3 schools are the ones who should be there, and Oklahoma is a very deserving #4. I’m a bit surprised that Nebraska is up at 6th, having lost some important athletes (namely Erin Davis), but DeZiel is a big get for them, so we’ll see. Stanford got one first-place vote again, but I’m more concerned for the two votes for a Kylee Botterman-less Michigan. Coaches, we need to talk.