Save your “the Coaches Poll doesn’t matter” arguments for another time. Yes, that’s true. They won’t decide a single thing in the college football world in 2016.

But call me crazy, I find it interesting to gauge the perception of programs from those on the inside. Whether or not it’s coaches voting or their SIDs is another subject.

But just for the sake of discussion, here’s what was worth noting about the preseason Coaches Poll that came out on Thursday.

1. Michigan is getting the “wait and see” treatment

Given the talent Michigan returns, given all the offseason attention on the program, given the favorable schedule, I thought the Wolverines would be higher than No. 8. They’ve been one of the national title favorites in the betting world all offseason.

So why only No. 8? Well, in a voting system where program generalizations come into play, Michigan has a few not working in its favor. The Wolverines obviously haven’t won a conference title since 2004. The last time they started in the top 10, they finished unranked, with last year being the first time they finished in the top 25 since 2011. And despite how impressive Michigan was in some of its wins last year, it didn’t beat a single team that finished inside the top 20.

Michigan will dominate All-America teams and betting lines all August. But until they get that truly elite win — that can’t happen until the last week in October at East Lansing — a lot of coaches aren’t fully buying into the national title hype.

2. Coaches bet on great coaches, which Urban Meyer is

If you put Ohio State’s roster with any other coach in the country not named or “Meyer” or “Saban,” it would be outside of the top 10. It’s not that the Buckeyes lack talent, but they have the least experience of any Power Five team. Mainly because of Meyer, the Buckeyes got a better initial ranking from the coaches than some might’ve expected.

Having a household name at starting quarterback helps, too. But rarely — if ever — do you see a team with six returning starters start the season ranked in the top five. Speaking of program generalizations, the No. 5 ranking could be based on the belief that the 2016 group will follow the path of the young 2014 squad that won a national title.

Whatever the case, that No. 5 ranking will hinge on the showdown in Norman.


3. If there was any doubt, Mark Dantonio is elite among coaches 

Like Meyer, Dantonio’s team got a higher preseason ranking (No. 11) than some might’ve expected. Unlike OSU, however, MSU’s major personnel turnover doesn’t involve a bunch of former four and five-star recruits stepping in.

MSU has one household name nationally (Malik McDowell), The Spartans don’t have a starting quarterback, they lost All-American linemen across the board, yet they find themselves just three spots behind Michigan. Considering all the Wolverines appear to have going for them, that’s somewhat amazing. That’s a credit to the respect that Dantonio has earned among his peers.

Avoiding a step back won’t be easy for MSU, but there are plenty of coaches who believe Dantonio will keep the Spartans nationally relevant no matter how much talent they lost to the NFL.

4. No disrespect card for Iowa

Iowa didn’t get a single vote in last year’s preseason Coaches Poll. The Hawkeyes didn’t even crack the top 25 until Week 6. The climb from unranked team to College Football Playoff contender was unlike any we saw last year.

That won’t be the case this time around. As expected, Iowa got the nod to start the season inside the top 25 of the Coaches Poll. To be honest, No. 15 was an even better starting spot than I expected for the Hawkeyes. Nobody is doubting if the Hawkeyes are legitimate. Having an All-American like Desmond King return certainly boosted the national impression of Iowa entering 2016.

Once again, Iowa will have a prime position to dominate a favorable schedule. We could be sitting in November talking about a battle of unbeatens between Iowa and Michigan. This time, however, it wouldn’t be preceded by some out-of-nowhere undefeated start.

5. The B1G teams getting votes were…interesting

Not surprising was the fact that Wisconsin just missed the top 25. There might be a few too many concerns about the Badgers’ gauntlet of a schedule coupled the departure of Dave Aranda.

Also not surprising was that Northwestern, despite returning a ton of talent from a 10-win team, won’t start in the top 25. The Wildcats’ blowout losses last year still could’ve played into the decision to not rank them among the nation’s best.

Oh, and when Nebraska doesn’t get at least a handful of preseason top 25 votes, let me know. Until then, don’t assume anything else.

But it got weird after that.

Indiana got a preseason Coaches Poll vote. In football. I was only able to go back to 2002, but that’s the first time that’s happened during that stretch. Coming off IU’s first bowl appearance in eight years, the narrative of the program could be changing. Ok, ok. It’s only one vote. Let’s not look too far into it.

But you know who didn’t get a single vote? Penn State. One of college football’s traditional powers, which has one of the top skill players in the country in Saquon Barkley, didn’t get a vote. Until James Franklin can beat a ranked team, it’s clear that the Lions won’t be treated as such by anyone.

Also noteworthy was that Minnesota didn’t get one vote. Sure, the Gophers were a six-win team that only got to a bowl game because of APR. But there are a lot of people expecting the Gophers to make a run in the B1G West this year. You already know that I think there are comparison’s to last year’s Iowa squad. But just like the 2015 Hawkeyes, Minnesota’s rise will have to start without a single top-25 vote from the coaches.