Coaches' Poll Points toward Auburn Snub, Bulldogs Have Faced Six Top-25 Teams

Chris Graythen

The polls are starting to come out, and early returns have the Buckeyes clinging to a slim lead over Auburn. While it is not as slim as some Auburn and Missouri fans hope, it could be jumpable with a big win and an Ohio State struggle against Michigan State. On a note close to home, the Bulldogs faced six teams in the Coaches' Poll top 25 and six in the AP Poll Top 25.

The new polls are starting to roll out, and without a doubt, fans of college football, especially those in Auburn, Columbia, Tuscaloosa and Columbus will read them and try to draw all sorts of conclusions about them.  Closer to Mississippi State fans, the polls show that the Bulldogs have played against quite the schedule in 2013.

In the USA Today Coaches Poll, Florida State and Ohio State claimed the top two positions as expected. From the looks of things, the voters seemed entrenched in the idea that an undefeated team should finish ahead of a one loss team given the fact that Ohio State picked up four first place votes, and Auburn had none. Some how, Auburn will have to convince voters in a fashion that will swing 25 more points to Auburn to move the Tigers ahead of Ohio State for the No. 2 ranking.

What will be interesting to see is if coaches (or their SIDs or their nephew or whomever fills this out) will manipulate their top five a bit to try to get a certain team to No. 2.  Would Auburn supporters move Ohio State out of the top-five?  Would supporters of Ohio State leave Auburn completely off their ballot?

For those looking for conspiracy theories, the SEC has seven coaches with a vote compared to six for the Big Ten.  However, Urban Meyer and Jimbo Fisher have votes while Gus Malzhan and Gary Pinkell do not have votes. In last year's final poll, Vanderbilt's James Franklin voted Alabama, Georgia, and Florida as his top three teams.  He also put LSU, South Carolina, and Texas A&M in the top ten.  It is clear he values the teams in the SEC. Would he go all-in on the SEC to help Auburn reach the title game?

Rank Team Record Votes Previous
1 Florida State (58) 12-0 1,546 2
2 Ohio State (4) 12-0 1,462 3
3 Auburn 11-1 1,437 5
4 Alabama 11-1 1,333 1
5 Missouri 11-1 1,315 6
6 Oklahoma State 10-1 1,248 7
7 South Carolina 10-2 1,100 9
7 Baylor 10-1 1,100 8
9 Michigan State 11-1 1,037 11
10 Stanford 10-2 1,034 10
11 Clemson 10-2 853 4
12 Oregon 10-2 843 12
13 Arizona State 10-2 765 18
14 LSU 9-3 720 15
15 Oklahoma 9-2 660 17
16 Louisville 10-1 625 16
17 UCF 10-1 572 19
18 Northern Illinois 12-0 547 20
19 UCLA 9-3 473 22
20 Duke 10-2 402 24
21 Wisconsin 9-3 266 14
22 Fresno State 10-1 215 13
23 Cincinnati 9-2 167 25
24 Texas 8-3 149 NR
25 Texas A&M 8-4 121 21
Others Receiving Votes: Miami (FL) 47, Georgia 41, Vanderbilt 18, Iowa 13, Marshall 13, USC 10, Washington 6, Virginia Tech 4, Minnesota 4, Notre Dame 3, Ball State 1

In all the conference breakdown looks like this:

AAC (3): Louisville (16), UCF (17), Cincinnati (23)

ACC(3): Florida State (1), Clemson (11), Duke (20)

Big 10 (3): Ohio State (2), Michigan State (9), Wisconsin (21)

Big 12 (4): Oklahoma State (6), Baylor (T-7), Oklahoma (15), Texas (24)

MAC (1): Northern Illinois (18)

Mountain West (1): Fresno State (22)

PAC 12 (4):  Stanford (10), Oregon (12), Arizona State (13), UCLA (19)

SEC (6): Auburn (3), Alabama (4), Missouri (5), South Carolina (T-7), LSU (14), Texas A&M (25)

In all Mississippi State has had a tough schedule against the Coaches' Poll top-25.  The Bulldogs have played four top ten teams, a top-15 team and No. 25 Texas A&M.

In the AP Poll, which is not used in the BCS formula, the voters put Ohio State at No. 2, which means at most, 31 of the 60 voters feel that Ohio State is a better team than Auburn.  In actuality, that number is probably smaller.  Chris Fowler tweeted that his ballot had Auburn at No. 4.  Also of note, two voters gave 1st place votes to the Tigers.  The Buckeyes received no first place votes.

Rank Team Record Votes Previous
1 Florida State (58) 12-0 1,498 2
2 Ohio State 12-0 1,418 3
3 Auburn (2) 11-1 1,387 4
4 Alabama 11-1 1,294 1
5 Missouri 11-1 1,281 5
6 Oklahoma State 10-1 1,197 7
7 Stanford 10-2 1,067 8
8 South Carolina 10-2 1,066 10
9 Baylor 10-1 1,020 9
10 Michigan State 11-1 1,002 11
11 Arizona State 10-2 843 13
12 Oregon 10-2 815 12
13 Clemson 10-2 813 6
14 LSU 9-3 690 15
15 UCF 10-1 621 17
16 Northern Illinois 12-0 596 18
17 UCLA 9-3 510 22
18 Oklahoma 9-2 503 20
19 Louisville 10-1 482 21
20 Duke 10-2 348 24
21 Wisconsin 9-3 299 14
22 Texas A&M 8-4 186 19
23 Texas 8-3 156 NR
24 Fresno State 10-1 124 16
25 Georgia 8-4 111 NR
Others Receiving Votes: Cincinnati 45, USC 28, Miami (FL) 26, Notre Dame 26, Iowa 23, Vanderbilt 16, Washington 6, Minnesota 2, North Dakota State 1

As far as a comparison by conferences:

AAC (2): UCF (15), Louisville (19)

ACC (3) : Florida State (1), Clemson (13), Duke (20)

Big 10 (3): Ohio State (2), Michigan State (10), Wisconsin (21)

Big 12 (4): Oklahoma State (6), Baylor (9), Oklahoma (18), Texas (23)

MAC (1): Northern Illinois (16)

Mountain West (1): Fresno State (24)

PAC 12 (4): Stanford (7), Arizona State (11), Oregon (12), UCLA (17)

SEC (7): Auburn (3), Alabama (4), Missouri (5), South Carolina (8), LSU (14), Texas A&M (22), Georgia (25)

The AP poll proves just how tough a schedule the Bulldogs have played this year. The have faced four teams currently ranked in the top-ten, another team in the top-15, and No. 22 Texas A&M for a total of six ranked foes on their schedule. Additionally, Bowling Green will play for the MAC title, and Ole Miss has spent time in the polls this year.

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