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What FSU football’s No. 19 preseason Coaches Poll ranking means, historically

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Looking to the past to predict the future.

Capitol One Orange Bowl - Florida State v Michigan Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images

The 2018 preseason Coaches Poll was released a week ago, and Florida State football debuted at No. 19 in the country. Of course, a long road remains before the final poll is released in January, and many twists and turns are sure to come.

While there are always some serious misses, for various reasons — like the Seminoles starting at No. 3 last year and finishing unranked — the question remains: what does this ranking mean for FSU? Here's a glimpse at the history, since 2010, of the teams that began at No. 19.

  • 2017: Kansas State (final ranking: no votes, 8-5 record, including a Cactus Bowl win over UCLA)
  • 2016: Oklahoma State (final ranking: No. 11, 10-3 record, with an Alamo Bowl victory over Colorado)
  • 2015: Oklahoma (final ranking: No. 5, 11-2 record, College Football Playoff Semifinal loss to Clemson)
  • 2014: Ole Miss (final ranking: No. 17, 9-4 record, lost the Peach Bowl to TCU)
  • 2013: Boise State (final ranking: no votes, 8-5 record, topped in the Hawaii Bowl by Oregon State)
  • 2012: Oklahoma State (final ranking: unranked but No. 29, 8-5 record, Heart of Dallas Bowl champs over Purdue)
  • 2011: Auburn (final ranking: unranked but No. 29, 8-5 record, bested Virginia in the Chick-fil-A Bowl)
  • 2010: Arkansas (final ranking: No. 12, 10-3 record, dropped by Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl)

So what does this tell us about those who start in the No. 19 spot of the Coaches Poll? Basically, that a lot of variance accompanies this position. In the eight previous seasons cited, four teams have finished higher than that initial ranking, and four lower. And it’s not just by a few spots. Results stretch from a CFP berth for the Sooners in 2015 to several teams not receiving a single vote in the final poll. However, there is one constant: every squad finished with fewer than 6 losses, which is how many FSU wore in 2017.


But that’s who began in the No. 19 spot; how about those that finished there? Would you consider this FSU team successful if it had a season on par with these teams that wound up 19th, per the country’s coaches?

  • 2017: Stanford (9-5, down from 14th preseason, ending with an Alamo Bowl loss against TCU)
  • 2016: South Florida, under the leadership of some Taggart guy (11-2, up from 45th preseason, punctuated by a Birmingham Bowl win over South Carolina )
  • 2015: Oklahoma State (10-3, an improvement from a preseason 28th ranking and culminating in a Sugar Bowl loss to Ole Miss)
  • 2014: Arizona (10-4, following a rise from a preseason tie for 50th and concluding with a Fiesta Bowl defeat to Boise State)
  • 2013: USC (10-4, improving from 24th preseason and trouncing Fresno State in the Las Vegas Bowl)
  • 2012: Oregon State (9-4 after not receiving a single vote in the preseason poll; the Beavers capped the year by losing to Texas in the Alamo Bowl)
  • 2011: Southern Miss (12-2, advancing from 42nd preseason, with a Hawaii Bowl W over Nevada)
  • 2010: Nebraska (10-4, dropping 10 spots from a preseason No. 9 ranking following a Holiday Bowl defeat to Washington)

Finishing 19th, more often then not, means a double-digit-win campaign. Are you good with that?