Here’s a good preseason poll overview by LivingCrimson at ibleedcrimsonred.com. As you can see from the comparison, and as you’ve probably heard by now, Bama is ranked #2 in both the Coaches’ Poll and the AP poll that was released today. Philsteele.com has the Tide ranked #1.
As Auburn circa 2004 will tell you, these preseason polls do have some value. Being ranked too low to start the season can definitely leave you with the possibility of being on the outside looking in when all is said and done. But for the most part, as an Alabama fan, I really don’t care too much for the polls. If we take care of business, the polls and the BCS formula will sort itself out just fine.
LivingCrimson points out the discrepancies among the three polls. The most interesting point to me? It’s hard for me to see how Auburn and Florida are included in both the Coaches’ Poll and the AP version. I’ll discuss this more in a future preseason conference preview post, but with six starters returning and a tough schedule, Auburn will have to scrap tooth and nail for six wins. Florida, amid a coaching change, roster rebuilding and a pretty tough schedule will have to scrap for more than seven wins.
Concerning the Tide, though, I’d prefer to open the season around the three and the five spot. That’s just a personal preference with no science attached. I think being the preseason #1 brings “something else to talk about” that coaches would mostly prefer to avoid. Starting #2 means you’ll likely move to #1 at some point early in the season. Starting anywhere from #3 to #5 means you can hopefully move to the #1 or #2 spot at just the right time.
On the other hand, starting #1 does mean you have the opportunity to climb back into the thick of things if you do suffer a loss.