2022 Preseason Coaches Poll

2022 Preseason Coaches Poll
1. Michigan (37 first-place votes) – 2405 points
2. Florida (16 first-place votes) – 2319 points
3. Oklahoma (6 first-place votes) – 2317 points
4. Utah (8 first-place votes) – 2306 points
5. LSU (1 first-place vote) – 2179 points
6. Alabama – 2027 points
7. Cal (1 first-place vote) – 2020 points
8. UCLA – 1887 points
9. Minnesota – 1803 points
10. Denver – 1763 points
11. Arkansas – 1700 points
12. Kentucky – 773 points
13. Arizona State – 1666 points
14. Auburn – 1460 points
15. Georgia – 1384 points
16. Missouri – 1334 points
17. Oregon State – 1316 points
18. Iowa – 1308 points
19. BYU – 1208 points
20. Iowa State – 1005 points
21. NC State – 981 points
22. Ohio State – 957 points
23. Illinois – 919 points
24. Boise State – 908 points
25. Southern Utah – 864 points
26. Utah State – 607 points
27. Arizona – 593 points
28. Central Michigan – 517 points
29. Penn State – 432 points
30. West Virginia – 428 points
31. Maryland – 425 points
32. Nebraska – 383 points
33. Stanford – 381 points
34. Washington – 367 points
35. North Carolina – 336 points
36. Michigan State – 305 points

The WCGA has released its annual list of last season’s final rankings preseason coaches poll, and defending champion Michigan has been bestowed the very important and definitely real honor of the top spot. Bev Plocki now joins Jenny Rowland, KJ Kindler, and Jay Clark as the only active head coaches to have seen their teams ranked #1.

It’s basically tradition, though definitely not always the case, that the defending champion is given the #1 ranking in the next year’s poll, and here we see a return to the traditions of yore. Last season, Florida snatched the #1 ranking rather than defending champion Oklahoma in a year when very few ballots were submitted and things got a little funky.

This year, far more ballots were submitted (69, which is on the high side historically), which I’d say influenced the rankings’ similarity to last year’s results. My theory is that the more people you have voting who don’t always submit their assignments, the more likely these newly incorporated C- students are going to just look at RTN and copy their homework.

The four teams that made the championship last year are all included in the top four here, followed by a semi-large gap before the next tier of teams. Considering Florida’s second-place ranking compared to last year’s fourth-place finish, that could mean an acknowledgement of the quality of the new athletes. Or not, because Florida was ranked first in the poll last year, so this is technically a downgrade from the WCGA.

The coaches poll is never exactly known to be nimble and reflective of the nuances of the various first-year classes coming in. Utah is actually ranked lower here than last year’s final placement, and even though UCLA is ranked higher here than last year’s finish, 8th is the lowest preseason ranking UCLA has received since I’ve been writing about these (there’s no surviving archive of these polls, which is fun).

There’s not a lot of first-year-elite glow reflected in this poll, is what I’m saying. Auburn and Oregon State are about where they always are. Thankfully, the WCGA did do their research with regard to the quality of L10s coming in at schools like Ohio State and Michigan Sta…and I’m just kidding obviously. Ohio State is ranked 4 spots lower than the team finished last year.

Interestingly, Utah got more first-place votes that Oklahoma yet came in one spot below, which is not an uncommon situation for Utah specifically and no other team. There was a year not too long ago when Utah got 14 first-place votes to rank behind Alabama with 4 first-place votes, which was part of a three year-streak of Utah getting more first-place votes than teams who ranked higher. I don’t know why that’s a Utah-specific phenomenon, but it must indicate that the votes are more erratic. Some very high and some very low.  

Cal received the Boise State Commemorative Random First-Place Vote this season, which is kind of an upset since that vote had gone to Denver each the last two seasons. I really hope it’s the same person every time. Of note, Cal came in ahead of UCLA in the national poll but behind UCLA in the Pac-12 poll.