Poll Dancing

The USA Today PreSeason Coaches Poll is out and Penn State has made it to the dance, so to speak, coming in at #25.table.tableizer-table {border: 1px solid #CCC; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12px;} .tableizer-table td {padding: 4px; margin: 3px; border: 1px solid #ccc;} .tableizer-table th {background-color: #104E8B; color: #FFF; font-weight: bold;}

Rank Team (first-place votes) 2010 record Points Final 2010 ranking Delta
1 Oklahoma (42) 12-2 1,454 6 5
2 Alabama (13) 10-3 1,414 11 9
3 Oregon (2) 12-1 1,309 3 0
4 LSU (2) 11-2 1,296 8 4
5 Florida State 10-4 1,116 16 11
6 Stanford 12-1 1,101 4 -2
7 Boise State 12-1 1,065 7 0
8 Oklahoma State 11-2 933 10 2
9 Texas A & M 9-4 885 21 12
10 Wisconsin 11-2 829 8 -2
11 Nebraska 10-4 814 19 8
12 South Carolina 9-5 779 22 10
13 Virginia Tech 11-3 767 15 2
14 Arkansas 10-3 750 12 -2
15 TCU 13-0 687 2 -13
16 Ohio State 12-1 631 5 -11
17 Michigan State 11-2 536 14 -3
18 Notre Dame 8-5 440 NR N/A
19 Auburn 14-0 329 1 -18
20 Mississippi State 9-4 301 17 -3
21 Missouri 10-3 266 18 -3
22 Georgia 6-7 260 NR N/A
23 Florida 8-5 240 NR N/A
24 Texas 5-7 162 NR N/A
25 Penn State 7-6 161 NR N/A

Five teams are ranked that didn’t make the final ranking last season: Notre Dame, Georgia, Florida, Texas and Penn State.  Not bad company, the Irish notwithstanding.

Two teams had losing records last season:  Texas and Georgia.

Number one and two fell significantly, dropping 13-18 spots.  Number three remained the same.

Big movers (+8 or more) include F$U, Texas A&M, South Carolina, Nebraska and Alabama.

Big droppers (-8 or more) include TCU, Ohio State, and Auburn.

As a conference, the Big Ten has 5 teams:  Wisconsin, MSU, Ohio State, Nebraska and Penn State.

The SEC has 8 representatives:  Alabama, LSU, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Arkansas, Auburn, and Mississippi State.

The PAC-12 has 2:  Oregon and Stanford.

The ACC has 2 teams:  Va Tech and F$U.

The Big-XII has 5 teams:  Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M, Missouri and Texas.

The Mountain West Conference has 2 teams:  Boise State and TCU.

The Big East has NONE.

As a Penn State fan, I think just making the rankings is a significant achievement for a 7-6 team that really struggled at times last year.  I think our defense will be able to keep most games close this year, but there are a lot of questions regarding the line and the quarterback position.

To put this in some perspective, the 1986 undefeated Nittany Lions never gave up more than 19 points in any game, averaging 11.1 points given up per game.  They averaged 28.3 points per game scoring.

Last year, our offensive managed 24.5 points per game while the defense gave up 23.6 points per game.

With a margin of 17 points between what your offense can do and what your defense allows, it is easy to see how an undefeated season comes together.  Keep in mind, though, that in 1986, Penn State squeaked by Maryland 17-15.

But with a margin of less than a point per game last year, the result was a believable 7-6.

What I’m trying to say in a roundabout way is that it is just as important to score points as it is to prevent your opponent from scoring.  The defense can’t do it alone.

How enthusiatic are you about our 2011 offense?

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Filed under analysis, college football, Penn State, poll, Pre-season, rankings, USA Today

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