Master Coaches Poll Has Tide 16

Editor's Note: A few years ago a Master Coaches Poll was established. Former coaches watch games live and on television and see videotapes of all the top teams. The first vote does not occur until after the third game of the season so that pre-conceived notions are eliminated. Here is the first poll of the year.

Alabama and Nick Saban are mentioned in the first poll story as Bama debuts at number 16. Former Crimson Tide Coach Gene Stallings is one of the Master Coaches participating.

ATLANTA (Sep 16, 2007) -- The Master Coaches Poll opens its third season with a surprising tie at the top between USC and LSU. USC was dominant against No. 25 Nebraska, beating the Huskers 49-31 in Lincoln last night.

"The final score doesn't match how the game was played," said former Alabama coach Gene Stallings. "USC really pounded Nebraska offensively and defensively in a tough environment."

LSU has been equally impressive in the early going, outscoring their opponents 137-7 through their first three games, including a 48-7 pounding over highly rated Virginia Tech. They faced Middle Tennessee on Saturday night without starting quarterback Matt Flynn but still managed a 44-0 shutout. "I think LSU deserves to be No. 1," former Indiana coach Bill Mallory said. "(No. 2) USC is a great team, but LSU has a better body of work thus far. Their (LSU's) defense is truly outstanding. I certainly think this is the best team they've had since Les Miles took over in Baton Rouge."

Florida edged out No. 4 Oklahoma for the No. 3 spot in the Master Coaches Poll, as the Gators continued to roll, defeating SEC rival Tennessee 59-20 in the Swamp. West Virginia rounded out the Top 5 following their victory over Maryland.

Three Big Ten schools made an appearance in the Top 10 of the Master Coaches Poll. Wisconsin came in at No. 7 and Ohio State and Penn State tied for the No. 8 spot. Oregon joined Pac-10 heavyweights No. 1 USC and No. 6 California in the Top 10 at No. 10, following big victories over Michigan and Fresno State respectively.

Nick Saban has energized No. 16 Alabama, leading the Crimson Tide to a surprise victory over No. 20 Arkansas. "Alabama is the one of the toughest places to coach in the country," said Auburn legend Pat Dye. "Saban has done a great job already, and I won't be surprised to see Alabama knock off more teams this year."

South Florida makes its first ever appearance in the Master Coaches Poll at No. 24 after beating Auburn at Jordan-Hare Stadium a week ago. "South Florida has a lot of players returning from last year's team that upset West Virginia," Master Coach Hayden Fry said. "Their biggest problem has been consistency on offense, and they seem to have improved on that."

Master Coaches Poll

1. Southern Cal (tie)

1. LSU (tie)

3. Florida

4. Oklahoma

5. West Virginia

6. California

7. Wisconsin

8. Penn State (tie)

8. Ohio State (tie)

10. Oregon

11. Texas

12. Boston College

13. Rutgers

14. Clemson

15. South Carolina

16. Alabama

17. Virginia Tech

18. Texas A

19. Georgia

20. Arkansas

21. Hawaii

22. Louisville

23. Georgia Tech

24. South Florida

25. Nebraska

Other teams receiving votes ... Missouri, Kentucky, Michigan State, Arizona State, Texas Tech, UCLA, Florida State, Cincinnati, Purdue, and Washington

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