UCLA ranked seventh in preseason USA Today coaches’ poll

UCLA’s hype shows no sign of slowing down.

The Bruins are ranked seventh in the preseason USA Today coaches’ poll — matching up with the Vegas odds that came out last week.

That puts the team behind Ohio State and ahead of Michigan State, last season’s respective Orange Bowl runner-up and Rose Bowl winner.

Elsewhere in the Pac-12, Oregon is ranked fourth overall behind — in order — Florida State, Alabama and Oklahoma. Stanford and USC are ranked 11th and 15th, while Arizona State and Washington round out the conference at 18th and 25th.

See the full Amway/USA Today coaches’ poll below: Continue reading

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UCLA falls to No. 14 in polls despite beating UW

Despite a 41-31 win over Washington, UCLA fell a spot to No. 14 in the latest Associated Press poll — switching spots with No. 13 Michigan State.

The Spartans moved up after a 41-28 win at Nebraska that clinched a share of the Big Ten Legends title.

The two teams also made the same switch in the USA Today coaches poll.

USC, still tied with the Bruins for second in the Pac-12 South, moved back into the AP poll to No. 23 after its 20-17 upset of Stanford. It was the Trojans’ first win over the now-No. 10 Cardinal since 2008.

The full rankings after the jump: Continue reading

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UCLA ranked No. 21 in preseason Coaches Poll

For the first time since 2007, UCLA is ranked in the preseason edition of the USA Today Coaches Poll.

Voted by coaches at No. 21 nationally, I think the Bruins are in more or less in right spot. UCLA has the upside to make a BCS bowl, but could also struggle a bit as it faces a brutal road schedule without all-time rushing leader Johnathan Franklin.

The Pac-12 has five teams in the top 25, tied for second with the Big Ten. The SEC, unsurprisingly, leads with six teams, including two-time defending champion Alabama four votes short of a unanimous No. 1.

USC and TCU are the only ranked teams who had 7-6 records last season.

1. Alabama (58)
2. Ohio State (3)
3. Oregon
4. Stanford

5. Georgia
6. Texas A&M (1)
7. South Carolina
8. Clemson
9. Louisville
10. Florida
11. Notre Dame
12. Florida State
13. LSU
14. Oklahoma State
15. Texas
16. Oklahoma
17. Michigan
18. Nebraska
19. Boise State
20. TCU
21. UCLA
22. Northwestern
23. Wisconsin
24. USC
25. Oregon State

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Where did the 59 voting coaches place UCLA?

The Bruins (17th in AP) finished No. 19 in the final USA Today Coaches’ Poll, which USA Today also broke down ballot by ballot in a fascinating interactive graphic. Definitely check it out in its entirety, but here are some of the highlights:

— UCLA’s highest vote was No. 13, which came from Middle Tennessee’s Rick Stockstill. San Jose State coach Mike MacIntyre had the Bruins lowest at No. 25, behind his own Spartans, Fresno State, Kent State and Tulsa.

— Five coaches had UCLA at No. 23, including Baylor’s Art Briles and fired Cal coach Jeff Tedford. Tedford probably didn’t think as much of the Bruins given what he saw in Berkeley, but Mike Riley beat UCLA too and had them at No. 17.

— Seven coaches had UCLA at No. 15, including David Bailiff (Rice), Bo Pelini (Nebraska) and Mike Leach (WSU). Wins over all three probably helped make an impression.

— Standard deviation tends to increase going down the poll, which is expected since distinguishing three- and four-loss teams from each other is more difficult. One exception is No. 8 Stanford, which is as as high as fourth (Todd Graham, ASU) and as low as twelfth. Georgia and Kansas State sparked disagreement as well.

— Other unsurprising regional biases include three southern coaches leaving Notre Dame out of the top spot. Vanderbilt’s James Franklin had three teams ahead of the undefeated Irish: Alabama, Florida and Georgia.

On the other side of that coin, Mike Riley and Fresno State’s Tim DeRuyter both had the Crimson Tide third behind Oregon.

The take-home lesson is probably that coaches should not be involved something that actually affects how the postseason is set up. Hard to blame them for helping themselves if the system allows it.

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