Poll Position - Part Two

The Associated Press poll is out, meaning college football fans can compare and see the differences in opinion between the media, and the coaches thoughts on how things stand at the start of the 2008 season.

Georgia sits number one in both, with exactly 22 first place votes in each. The last SEC squad to open as the AP's top team and finish the year the same way was Alabama 30 years ago, so this may be a bit of a curse for the Bulldogs. Five teams received first place AP votes, with none of them differing from ones some coaches selected as the best this season.

Interestingly, despite several programs suffering key injuries over the first weeks of fall workouts, there does not seem to be much indication those were taken into account by AP voters. Florida's loss of all-SEC tight end Cornelius Ingram for the season didn't seem to bother them. The Gators were ranked No. 5 by the coaches prior to Ingram's ACL tear, and the AP agreed with that. Georgia lost its top offensive lineman Trinton Sturdivant for the year and saw the margin between them and the second place spot be substantially bigger than the coaches had it.

One team might have been affected by a high profile injury, as Southern Cal sits at third behind Ohio State in the AP. The coaches had them second and just eight points out of first in their poll, which was taken before projected starting quarterback Mark Sanchez dislocated his kneecap. If that cost the Trojans in the poll, it could have been an overreaction as reports from Los Angeles say Sanchez might still be able to play in the Trojans opener with Virginia.

As always, the two polls feature largely the same teams - 23 matched, with the only differences coming at the final two spots. The AP puts Alabama and Pittsburgh in their last two positions, while the coaches had Michigan and Fresno State. The SEC has four of the top ten and six teams in the poll, which was the most of any conference.

There were few substantial differences of opinion between the two polls. No team is more than two spots off of its spot in the other poll, and eight are in the identical place in both. Just three of the schools on Florida's schedule open the year in the rankings - Georgia, LSU and Tennessee. Four other squads got mentioned on at least one voter's ballot, including opening game opponent Hawaii. As in the coaches poll, Miami did not receive a single vote.


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