- Andrea Adelson, ESPN Staff Writer
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Let's take a closer look at the newly released preseason coaches' Top 25:
Biggest snub: Boise State at No. 5. How does a team that finished the season with a Fiesta Bowl win and a No. 4 ranking with 21 starters returning drop a spot in the preseason poll? Not only that, how does it start the year ranked behind Florida and Texas? Both the Gators and Longhorns had great 2009 seasons obviously, but both are missing several of their key players. Florida is without Tim Tebow and much of its defense; Texas is without Colt McCoy and many of its top defensive players.
Yes, starting No. 5 is huge for Boise St., because it means the Broncos will not have to climb as far if they are in the national championship hunt later in the season. Alabama and Florida play each other Oct. 2 as well (there also is the possibility of another SEC championship game). But Boise St. should have been at least No. 3 based on its accomplishments last season and the players returning. That would have made it easier to stay in the top 3. Now much more is going to have to happen for Boise St. to have any real shot of becoming the first non-AQ team to play for a BCS title. Of course, this could all be a moot point if it loses to Virginia Tech to open the season.
Overrated: Florida, Texas, Virginia Tech. We listed reasons for the over-ranking of Florida and Texas. Now to the Hokies, who are at No. 6. It seems expectations are too high for the Hokies every season. Yes, they return a very talented RB duo and Tyrod Taylor at QB, but the defense only returns four starters and the schedule is brutal. This seems a bit high for a team that has averaged three losses over the past six seasons.
Overrated, Part II: Penn St. at No. 14 and LSU at No. 16. Penn St. lost lots of defense and has uncertainty at QB; LSU has a great defense, but everybody is waiting on Jordan Jefferson to step up. This was also a team picked to finish fourth in the SEC West in the preseason media poll.
Underrated: Boise St. (see above); Iowa (No. 10). The Hawkeyes made an impressive run last season and beat Georgia Tech in the Orange Bowl. They return 14 starters, including eight on defense. Perhaps coaches took into account all the close games Iowa won last season.
Non-AQs: Only three ranked in the preseason this year after five finished last season ranked in the final coaches' Top 25. Notably absent: Houston.
Breakdown: The SEC led the way with six teams; the ACC has five; Big Ten has four; Big 12 has three; Big East and Pac-10 each have two.
Who would be in your Top 25 poll? Check out this poll generator, and leave your comments below.
10hSam Khan Jr. and Derek Tyson