AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION FRIDAY: THE PRESEASON COACHES' POLL IS OPEN FOR HECKLING

With just a shade under four weeks left to go before the 2009 season finally, mercifully kicks off, the coaches -- or, rather, their poor, put-upon assistants, with the exception of Steve Spurrier's, who isn't even being allowed to call in the OBC's take-out orders anymore after the Tim Tebow/All-SEC foofaraw -- have issued their preseason Top 25. The rankings are as follows:

1. Florida (53 first-place votes)
2. Texas (4)
3. Oklahoma (1)
4. Southern California (1)
5. Alabama
6. Ohio State
7. Virginia Tech
8. Penn State
9. LSU
10. Ole Miss
11. Oklahoma State
12. California
13. Georgia
14. Oregon
15. Georgia Tech
16. Boise State
17. Texas Christian
18. Utah
19. Florida State
20. North Carolina
21. Iowa
22. Nebraska
23. Notre Dame
24. Brigham Young
25. Oregon State

Others receiving votes: Kansas, Michigan State, Texas Tech, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, West Virginia, Rutgers, Miami (Florida), Missouri, Illinois, Clemson, South Carolina, UCLA, Auburn, Nevada, South Florida, Kentucky, North Carolina State, Arkansas, Wisconsin, Northwestern, Southern Miss, Wake Forest, Arizona, Boston College, Central Michigan, East Carolina, Colorado, Maryland, Navy, Tennessee, Houston, Michigan, Minnesota, Troy.

Curiosities, travesties, and other things that struck me after the jump -- along with y'all's chance to tear this thing up yourselves.

Urban Meyer isn't going to forget this. It's a big deal, and he's going to make it a big deal. Maybe it's just me, but I have to confess to a bit of shock that Florida wasn't a unanimous choice at the #1 spot. Not that Texas, Oklahoma, and USC don't have cases to be made, but with Tebow back this certainly seemed to be heading toward a year of "GREATEST COLLEGE FOOTBALL TEAM EVER?!?!?!?!"-type hype for the Gators, and it looks like at least a few folks aren't buyin' it.

Apparently some coaches are capable of coming to their senses. The rest of the top 10 conforms fairly closely to what we expected it would be based on compilations of the various publications'/sportswriters' spring/summer top 25s from a couple months back, with a few exceptions: LSU has risen from a low-teens/fringey-top-10 pick to #9, eclipsing Oklahoma State and Ole Miss, trendy mid-top-10 picks a month or so ago but themselves languishing on the fringes of the top 10 this morning. (Cue Holly: "Like, 'Hey, the Cotton Bowl was swell, but you're still coached by Houston Nutt, right? Riiiight.' ")

Rebuilding year? You might say that, yes. As befitting any conference projected to have a Wannstache-coached team as its eventual champion, the Big East failed to put a single team in the top 25; you don't find any Big East squads until you dig down into the Others Receiving Votes category and find Cincinnati at a de facto #29, behind Kansas, Javon Ringer-less Michigan State, and Graham-Harrell-and-Michael-Crabtree-less Texas Tech. The Mountain West, by comparison, has three, tying the ACC.

Beano put you up to this, didn't he? Yes, Notre Dame is in the top 25. Fortunately for those dreading another four months of "Are the Irish back?!?!" stories, we won't have to wait long to find out whether they deserve it: After opening the season at home against Nevada, the Irish go on a three-week tussle with the Big 10 (at Michigan, vs. Michigan State, at Purdue), a loss in any one of which would probably be enough to bounce ND into Others Receiving Votes purgatory.

"Hope" is a four-letter word. Speaking of which, the coaches collectively exhibited enough charity to spare votes for: Auburn, 5-7 last year and still playing Death Is Not An Option with Kodi Burns, Neil Caudle, and Chris Todd at the QB spot; and Michigan, coming off their worst season ever and still a long ways off from having figured out Rich Rodriguez's offense. Compared to these, the couple of votes cast for Tennessee almost look justified. (Your projections for what silly-ass comment Lane Kiffin will choose to make about this development, if any, are welcome in the comments.)

The times, they truly are a-changing. Does anybody else feel almost kind of empty inside not seeing Duke there at the end of the ORV category now that Spurrier has been asked to stop casting shits-and-giggles votes for the Blue Devils at #25?

So those are my immediate knee-jerk reactions; let the heckling begin. Audience, what say you?

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