The first USA Today 2021 coaches football poll was released today, Tuesday August 10th, and that means a couple of things. First of all, the chatter that has been picking up speed and intensity since SEC Media Days concluded back in the latter part of July will now move the needle toward warp speed. Secondly, this means that the kickoff for the first games of the coming season are within sniffing distance.
That’s right boys and girls! We have college football slated for THIS MONTH! Two of the five games scheduled on Saturday, August 28th involve Power Five squads. There’s Nebraska at Illinois (and its new coach, Bret Bielema) along with Hawaii and UCLA from the Rose Bowl in beautiful Pasadena, CA! Whoa Nellie! How bout dat!
Polls. It’s a love/hate thing. You love to see them hit the sports page (old guy here), but you can get aggravated as all get out when you feel that your team has been slighted. And they truly are useless this time of year other than providing fodder for conversation about the sport we hold so very dearly.
And this game of college football has been changing at a breakneck pace in these dog days of summer. Between NIL, the transfer portal and the addition of Texas and Oklahoma to the SEC, our collective heads are spinning like a top. I am not going to use this space, at this time, to address that three-headed monster. Maybe later. Maybe not. I want to give it all some time to marinate because we ain’t done. There’s news daily on all of it. A great many people have a whole lot of space to fill and I will leave them to it.
And now, the USA Today coaches poll. Here she is…
1. Alabama (Surprise surprise surprise! As Gomer Pyle was wont to blurt out on occasion.)
2. Clemson (Let’s see how a Trevorless Tiger team follows the now Jacksonville Jaguars rookie’s brilliant run.)
3. Oklahoma (OK!)
4. Ohio State (How’s that case of Deja Vu going thus far?)
5. Georgia (On Clemson’s mind.)
6. Texas A&M (Jimbo! Jimbo! Slow down! Lord, I thought I talked with great rapidity.)
7. Notre Dame (Pick a conference, any conference.)
8. Iowa State (Will the new darling maintain her lofty perch?)
9. North Carolina (Can Mack and his boys dethrone Dabo’s gang?)
10. Cincinnati (A new Big Red Machine in the making?)
11. Florida (Dapper Dan! Another fast talking man.)
12. Oregon (A whole heap of NIL money out there in Nikeville.)
13. LSU (Will the Bayou Bengals rebound after following its Natty with a plunge into mediocrity?)
14. USC (Clay Helton remains. We shall see.)
15. Wisconsin (Wisky River take my mind.)
16. Miami (We will find out quite quickly as it opens with Bama in Hotlanta.)
17. Indiana (Tom Allen has done a tremendous job In Bloomington. Can the Hoosiers sustain that momentum?)
18. Iowa (Kurt Ferentz jus keeps on winning at the helm of the Hawkeyes.)
19. Texas (The Horns better enjoy being ranked for as long as they can. Welcome to the SEC.)
20. Penn State (Better put on your big boy britches come September 18th!)
21. Washington (Adams, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, etc.)
22. Oklahoma State (The Cowboys might be searching for a conference along with the seven dwarfs that are in the same boat with them.)
23. UL Lafayette (The Ragin’ Cajuns beat Top Ten Iowa State in 2020. Coach Billy Napier continues to build this program after flirting seriously with Auburn.)
24. Coastal Carolina (Good football team last year and were ranked. Do you think it would beat Auburn head to head?)
25. Ole Miss (I have to keep mentioning Auburn as it was not ranked in this poll. The winner of the game between the Rebels and the Tigers will finish third in the SEC West behind the Crimson Tide and Aggies, according to yours truly.)
Some gut reactions to the coaches 25. Lafayette, Coastal Carolina, Ole Miss? Auburn, Michigan and, yes, Kentucky all say hello. And to be honest, I am sweet on Lane Kiffin’s troops as well. I am also sweet on Kentucky. The Cats could finish second in the East.
I’m sure the AP poll is soon to follow. All the magazines have made their picks. The bottom line is that these polls mean absolutely nothing. They will mean nothing when the regular season concludes. Yes, the polls do give those of us with insatiable appetites for NCAA (soon to be a thing of the past?) football something to talk about, argue about, and cuss about. They can shape perception, possibly, but, they are meaningless. The only poll that counts is the College Football Playoff poll.
Peace, love, football. Be safe out there and love you neighbor. These things matter.