“I think you guys know how I feel about preseason polls. You talk about a waste of time, with all due respect. And that was a coaches’ poll, so I can say that and not offend anybody in the media.”
That was Hawkeyes head coach Kirk Ferentz on Friday. Well, the media has spoken, and Iowa isn’t in the AP Top 25, either.
Despite finishing at No. 23 in both polls last season, the Hawkeyes will start the season outside the Top 25 in the “others receiving votes” category. And Iowa did receive votes in both. In the coaches’ poll, the Hawks are No. 26. In the Associated Press poll released Monday, they are No. 28.
Then there’s the other side of the poll: To whom much is given, much is expected. And tested.
And Alabama has been given the top spot almost more than any other team.
The Crimson Tide is No. 1 in the preseason AP Top 25 for the second consecutive season, seventh time in 15 years and ninth time overall, receiving 54 of 63 first-place votes.
Only Oklahoma has been No. 1 in the initial poll more than Alabama.
Yet, turning that preseason No. 1 into a national championship has proved tricky throughout history, even for Alabama.
The Crimson Tide has gone on to win the national championship after starting No. 1 just once under Nick Saban and twice overall.
Since the AP preseason poll began in 1950, there have been 11 preseason No. 1 teams that also finished the season top ranked. Alabama was the last to do it in 2017.
Ohio State leads the Big Ten contingent at No. 2 with six first-place votes. Michigan sits at No. 8, Michigan State checks in at No. 15, Wisconsin debuts at No. 18 and future B1G member USC lands at No. 14.
Defending national champion Georgia is third with three first-place votes. Clemson is No. 4 and Notre Dame rounds out the top five.
Texas A&M, which finished last season unranked after handing Alabama its only regular-season loss, starts this season No. 6. Defending Pac-12 champion Utah is seventh, the best preseason ranking in school history. No. 9 Oklahoma is the highest-ranked Big 12 school, one spot ahead of defending league champion Baylor.
RARITIES AND STREAKS
— No. 13 North Carolina State is ranked in the preseason for the first time since 2003. The Wolfpack matched their best preseason ranking. They were also 13th in 1975.
— No. 17 Pitt is in the preseason rankings for the first time since 2010.
— No. 20 Kentucky is making its first preseason poll appearance since 1978.
— No. 22 Wake Forest made the preseason rankings for the first time since 2008.
— Ohio State is ranked in the preseason for the 34th straight season, breaking a tie with Nebraska (1970-2002) and Penn State (1968-2000) for the longest such streak in poll history.
— Texas A&M has the second-best preseason ranking for a team that finished the previous season unranked. Ohio State was No. 3 in the 1972 preseason poll after being unranked at the end of the 1971 season and Notre Dame also started No. 6 in 1983 after finishing unranked in 1982.
How did the seasons work out of those teams? Ohio State went 9-2 and finished the season No. 9. The Irish went 7-5 and unranked again.
— LSU with new coach Brian Kelly will start the season unranked for the first time 2000, Saban’s first of five seasons as coach of the Tigers.
— Florida and Florida State are both unranked to start the season, which has not happened since 1974.
Five schools ranked in the preseason poll have head coaches starting their first full seasons leading their teams: Notre Dame (Marcus Freeman), Oklahoma (Brent Venables), No. 11 Oregon (Dan Lanning), No. 14 USC (Lincoln Riley) and No. 16 Miami (Mario Cristobal).
This is the second time in the last five seasons that five teams with new coaches were ranked in the preseason, according to research done by Sportradar. It also happened in 2018, but before that season that type of representation in the preseason poll for teams with new coaches was a rarity.
You have to go all the way back to 1990 when six schools with coaches entering their first full season appeared in the preseason Top 25, according to Sportradar. That list includes some notable names: Gary Moeller, Michigan; Ken Hatfield, Clemson; Gene Stallings, Alabama; Jack Crowe, Arkansas; Paul Hackett, Pittsburgh; and John Jenkins, Houston.
For the fourth straight season, the Southeastern Conference has three teams in the top six.
The Atlantic Coast Conference matched its best showing in the preseason poll with five teams. The ACC has reached that number four previous times.
SEC – 6 (Nos. 1, 3, 6, 19, 20, 21).
ACC – 5 (Nos. 4, 13, 16, 17, 22).
Big Ten – 4 (Nos. 2, 8, 15, 18).
Big 12 – 3 (Nos. 9, 10, 12).
Pac-12 – 3 (Nos. 7, 11, 14).
American – 2 (Nos. 23, 24).
Independents – 2 (Nos. 5, 25)
Ralph D. Russo of The Associated Press contributed to this report.