College football fans hoping to secure BCS tickets at the end of the season can take solace in the fact that the first college football polls of the season have recently been released, meaning that the start of the season is just around the corner. There are no real surprises at the top of the polls, as Alabama, LSU, USC, Oklahoma and Oregon are in the top five of both the Associated Press and USA Today Coaches polls.
LSU, ranked No. 1 by the coaches, fell to third in the AP after star defensive back Tyrann Mathieu was dismissed from the team for violation of team rules. The USC Trojans replaced the Tigers at the top of the AP Poll, with the Crimson Tide at No. 2, the Sooners sitting at No. 4 and the Ducks in fifth.
The Trojans, again eligible for the postseason after a two-year ban, return to the top of the rankings based largely on the return of Heisman-hopeful quarterback Matt Barkley. Defending national champion Alabama returns several key starters, including QB A.J. McCarron and OL Barrett Jones, and head coach Nick Saban should construct another potent defense. Despite the loss of Mathieu, the Tigers should field another feisty defense, led by defensive end Sam Montgomery and safety Eric Reid. Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops has another BCS-worthy squad at his hands, and quarterback Landry Jones also put off his NFL ambitions for one last shot at a championship. The Oregon Ducks have one of college football’s most exciting and dangerous offenses, and coach Chip Kelly has a couple explosive playmakers in RBs Kenjon Barner and De’Anthony Thomas.
Georgia, Florida St., Michigan, South Carolina and Arkansas make up the rest of the top 10, and each is capable of challenging for the BCS Championship as well. With the start of the season fast approaching, these teams will now need to earn their rankings on the field.