The first preseason Top 25 college football poll was released on Thursday, and it reflects the gulf between the game’s haves and have nots.
Only one team outside a Power Five conference – No. 21 South Florida, coming off an 11-2 season – cracked the top 25 in the first Amway Coaches Poll.
Air Force did not receive a point in the poll.
It’s not uncommon for only one Group of Five school to be included in the Top 25, but often there’s at least one team commanding legitimate respect. Last year Houston entered at No. 13. In 2011, Boise State was at No. 7.
It’s not as if the smaller schools didn’t have a voice. Of the 65 coaches casting votes this year, 31 come from outside the Power Five. Included among the voters are Mountain West coaches from Boise State, Hawaii, UNLV, Utah State and Wyoming as well as Army and Navy.
The poll, and its dreary look at the Group of Five, comes a week after College Football Playoff executive director Bill Hancock appeared at Mountain West media day and professed a belief that any FBS program would get a fair shot at being among the four teams included in the semifinals.
Tough to see things playing out that way when coaches, even those within the Group of Five, apparently don’t see their programs worthy even of inclusion in the Top 25.
Other notes from the release of the coaches’ poll:
- Colorado was left out of the Top 25 after a breakout season under coach Mike MacIntyre that included a berth into the Pac-12 championship game. The Buffaloes, with 72 points, were No. 2 among Others Receiving Votes.
- Neither Air Force nor Navy received a vote after going 10-3 and 9-5, respectively, last season. Army, which won eight games, received one point in the poll.
- No. 9 Michigan is the lone team on Air Force’s schedule to appear on the poll. Boise State, San Diego State, Wyoming, Army and Colorado State received votes.
- No surprises in the top five: Alabama, Ohio State, Florida State, Southern California and Clemson.