5 takeaways from the first USA TODAY Sports Coaches Poll

Football is near. We are less than three weeks from the start of the season. Oklahoma’s final season in the Big 12 is on the horizon, and anticipation is building for the Sooners to take the field. Everyone wants to wipe the bad taste left by last season’s 6-7 performance.

With football back, it means the USA TODAY Sports Coaches Poll returns. Oklahoma came in at No. 19 to start the season.

With the poll out, we took the liberty of sharing five takeaways from the first iteration of the poll and what it could mean for this 2023 season.

Optimism for the Sooners

Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman
Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman

Coming in at 19 is probably the best spot possible for Oklahoma to start the season. It gives them the ability to rise and surprise people should they be as improved as many around the program believe they are. It also doesn’t overrate them too early, which may have been an issue for the team last year.

Big 12 is well represented

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Oklahoma wasn’t the only Big 12 team to get love in the first Coaches Poll. Joining Oklahoma were Texas (No. 12), TCU (No. 16), Kansas State (No. 17), and Texas Tech (No. 24).

The Big 12 will look different this year, but some of the conference’s most recognizable names still remain as the cream of the crop. With Oklahoma and Texas departing for the SEC following the season, this year will be one for the history books.

LSU vs. FSU is must-watch TV

Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports
Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

In the first must-watch TV matchup of the 2023 season. A top-10 matchup between LSU and Florida State is set for Labor Day weekend. They’ll tussle in the Sunday night slot before the NFL kicks off its season the following week.

Last year’s game was very good. Both teams improved through critical transfer additions. This could be a barn burner.

Both teams have national championship aspirations. A win for either could go a long way to propelling them to the College Football Playoff.

Tulane is the lone Group of Five to make the cut

Nov 17, 2022; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; <a class="link " href="https://sports.yahoo.com/ncaaf/teams/tulane/" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Tulane Green Wave;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Tulane Green Wave</a> running back Iverson Celestine (8) runs the ball against the Southern Methodist Mustangs during the second half at Yulman Stadium. Andrew Wevers-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 17, 2022; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; Tulane Green Wave running back Iverson Celestine (8) runs the ball against the Southern Methodist Mustangs during the second half at Yulman Stadium. Andrew Wevers-USA TODAY Sports

Tulane stands out as the only Group of Five schools to cut. The Green Wave ended last year with an upset win over the USC Trojans in the Cotton Bowl Classic.

Star running back Tyjae Spears and linebacker Dorian Williams are now in the NFL. Still, Tulane returns senior quarterback Michael Pratt who will try to lead this team to another New Year’s Six bowl.

Will Texas A&M breakthrough?

Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports
Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

There is quiet optimism that the Aggies can finally make a push. Texas A&M comes in at No. 25 in the initial poll. Stop us if you’ve heard this story before. However, that’s the reality.

Everyone’s been waiting for Texas A&M’s talented recruiting classes to pay off. Eventually, it just has to, or Jimbo Fisher may not be employed by Texas A&M next summer.

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