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The True Beginning of College Football Hysteria

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The USA Today Coaches Poll has been released this morning, which usually begins a wave of college football fan chatter regarding who's too high, who's too low and who is going to come out on top.  Of course as a Gators fan the first thing I do is scroll down (hopefully not too far) to where the UF football team is coming into the season ranked.  This year the coaches have put the Gators in the #8 spot:

8. Florida (9-3)

Points: 1,054.
Final 2005 rank: 16.
Outlook: Jury still out on whether coach Urban Meyer's spread offense can be effective against the kind of powerhouse defenses Gators face in SEC. Running game has to be more consistent, and QB Chris Leak will have highly regarded freshman Tim Tebow right behind him on depth chart. Defense should be solid behind LBs Brandon Siler and Earl Everett.
Opens: Sept. 2 vs. Southern Mississippi.

Some Notables (Non-schedule):

  • Ohio State comes in at #1 on this poll.  After bringing back several great players, including their star quarterback Troy Smith, the Buckeyes have pretty much been a lock to be number one since the end of last season.  At that's with the loss of guys like A.J. Hawk and Santonio Holmes.
  • The top 5 is rounded out with 3 teams who will be starting fresh faces at quarterback including Texas, USC and Oklahoma (due to the dismissal of Rhett Bomar).  It will be interesting to see how these new signal callers do and if these teams will be the near the top at the end of the season.  Seeing the usual talent levels at these programs, I have a feeling they'll still be great teams.  The Sooners QB will have had consistent experience at the beginning of last season, the only QB to have that on this list.
  • Miami comes in at #11.  Since this is the state of Florida and the fans of the big 3 like to know what is going on at the other 2, I guess this is notable.  The Hurricanes are returning some very good players, especially their up and coming QB Kyle Wright, but lack depth overall.  They will face a tough task in their first game as they have to take on the extremely hungry Seminoles down in Coral Gables.
Scheduled Notables
  • Auburn at #6.  Playing against these guys on the road is perhaps the scariest thing on our schedule.
  • LSU at #9.  Quite a homecoming, eh?
  • FSU at #10.  They'll be trying to avenge their 2 straight losses to UF and will probably be near the top when we face them.  Drew Weatherford was a young, inexperienced quarterback last season but will be ready to go this year.
  • Georgia at #14.  No Shockley, but still a very good squad.
  • Tennessee at #23.  Trying to bounce back after last year's disaster.
  • 'Bama at #24.  No Croyle, but c'mon, it's still the Crimson Tide.  Luckily we'll have them at home as we try to get some sort of revenge for that embarassment last season.
It's going to be a heck of a ride with the competition the Gators are facing.  I just can't fathom how tough it will be to come out of the middle of that schedule ('Bama, Auburn, LSU, Georgia) alive.

For more coverage and opinions on the top 25, check out these other SB Nation sites: Burnt Orange Nation & Tomahawk Nation. Both do great jobs and I would suggest them as daily reads as well if you're a college football fan.