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Instant Debate: Biggest surprises in AP preseason Top 25

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Lenny Ignelzi / Associated Press
Talent such as running back Lache Seastrunk helps make Baylor one of more overlooked teams.

Alabama topped the Associated Press preseason Top 25 poll that was released over the weekend, capturing 58 of the 60 first-place votes. The Crimson Tide's strangehold on the top spot in the poll isn't exactly a revelation. What was the biggest surprise for you?

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  • Texas A&M, Manziel face long odds in matching 2012 success

    Does Texas A&M's season last year merit due consideration for a No. 7 national preseason ranking? Of course. And Johnny Football hype aside, there are enough NFL-to-be talents on the returning team to perhaps back that ranking up with its performance. But the hunch here is that A&M won't finish in the top 10. More could go wrong for this team than right. Ryan Swope and Damontre Moore were one-of-a-kind players, plus the loss of a No. 2 overall NFL pick in Luke Joeckel. Johnny Football might have to play better this year than last for his team to merely match its 2012 level. And Manziel's numbers last year suggest there's little room for improvement.
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  • Voters give little respect to Baylor, Boise State

    Is it a surprise to say there is no surprise? The AP poll is basically identical to its coaching counterpart, aside from flipping Texas A&M and South Carolina and some South Bend skepticism (Notre Dame comes in at No. 14 for the writers, versus No. 11 in the USA Today poll). The knock on the Fighting Irish for years is that they received the benefit of the doubt because of their reputation, a courtesy that seems to have been extended to Wisconsin and USC this year, which each have plenty of question marks. Baylor, stuck in the purgatory of "others receiving votes," and No. 19 Boise State should each outperform voters' expectations, and it wouldn't be a stunner to see them facing off in the Fiesta Bowl at season's end.
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  • Voters are sleeping on Oklahoma State

    I can't believe no team from the Big 12 is in the top 10. I think everyone is sleeping on Oklahoma State (13th in the poll). The offense will be as dynamic as usual, and while the defense won't be sterling, it will be good enough to win a lot of games in the Big 12. I would be surprised if Oklahoma State is not 9-0 when it travels to Texas on Nov. 16.
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  • Sun Devils will surge into Top 25

    There wasn't a single aspect of the AP Top 25 poll that shocked me, but I was a little surprised that Arizona State didn't sneak into the bottom of the list. They have a very talented roster. They return a strong quarterback (Taylor Kelly threw for more than 3,000 yards in 2012), a stable of running backs led by Marion Grice (who posted 11 rushing touchdowns in 2012) and one of the nation's top defensive players (DT Will Sutton, who was tied for third in NCAA with 13 sacks in 2012). I would be surprised if they aren't ranked in the top 25 by the end of the upcoming season.
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  • Innovative Pac-12 rightfully well-represented in poll

    The biggest surprise in the Associated Press preseason Top 25 college football poll is the presence of five Pac-12 teams. The justified hype surrounding the SEC had led many to overlook the quality of football (and star players) on the West Coast. While the SEC is still deeply rooted in old-school football philosophies, the offensive innovations in the Pac-12 are revolutionizing the college football landscape. From Oregon's fast-paced attack to Stanford's multifaceted sledgehammer approach, the conference has a number of teams capable of slugging it out with the heavyweights across the country in a "one-and-done" scenario. With a season full of surprises ahead, I truly believe we might see the final BCS national champion emerge from the Pac-12.
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  • Big 12's best not getting a lot of recognition

    What's the biggest surprise of the AP Top 25 poll? That the top-ranked team in the Big 12 (Oklahoma State) is not a preseason top 10 selection, as is normal for that conference.

    Also, I didn't see Kansas State in the poll. Will we ever learn?


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