Coach Poll Top 25 Responses: Notre Dame, Texas A&M Overrated in First Ladder Ahead of 2022 Season

The coach survey 2022 was published on Monday, and there weren’t too many surprises at the top. Alabama took first place, followed by Ohio State, Georgia and Clemson. Notre Dame chimed in at No. 5, with Michigan, Texas A&M, Utah, Oklahoma and Baylor rounding out the top 10.

Where these teams end up in December is unclear, but right now it’s talk season, which means it’s time to yell at the top of your lungs about the rankings that have just been released. Which team is overrated? Which team is underestimated? Here are my thoughts on where the Division I Head Coaching Panel missed the mark in the first edition of the Coaches’ Survey.

Overrated: #5 Notre Dame

Look, I love Marcus Freeman. The Fighting Irish’s first-year coach has put renewed energy into the program and it’s paying off – especially in terms of recruitment. This year, however, a top-five pre-season finish is a bit absurd.

The absences of running back Kyren Williams, safety Kyle Hamilton and quarterback Jack Coan are all issues that must be resolved before the Fighting Irish are named legitimate playoff contenders. Tyler Buchner and Drew Pyne are solid options for quarterback, but neither of them have the experience to put this team in the top five at this point. Having all-American Brandon Joseph take on one of the security roles after a successful stint with Northwestern is a big deal, but we’ve got to see it before we believe it.

Underrated: No. 8 Utah

The negative stigma associated with the Pac-12 seems to have cost the Utes here. They have a great one-two with dual-threat quarterback Cameron Rising and running back Tavion Thomas. They’re also almost always strong up front, and the presence of coach Kyle Whittingham makes them the best-trained team at the conference (yes, USC with Lincoln Riley included). Defensively, despite being wafer-thin in their secondary school, they appear to be battered because of the dramatic Rose Bowl loss to Ohio State.

Not only is Utah the best team in the Pac-12, they should be considered a legitimate contender for the playoffs. Apparently, the rest of the coaches in the country have not yet established themselves.

Overrated: #7 Texas A&M

The Aggies are the SEC darling and a trendy pick to contend with Alabama for the West Division title, but a No. 7 ranking is way too soon. The Aggies have a three-man fight at quarterback with LSU transfer Max Johnson, last year’s opening day starter Haynes King and Hotshot rookie Conner Weigman. Coach Jimbo Fisher demands more of his quarterbacks than virtually any other coach in the SEC, so expecting one of these three to step in and become a difference maker is a bit aggressive.

Additionally, championship caliber nine or ten teams run deep along the defensive line. The Aggies lack experience in this area and will have to rely on three or four true freshmen from the excellent 2022 recruit class to serve in this rotation. They may be talented, but it’s a big challenge for an 18-year-old to compete against juniors and seniors who have grown into their bodies.

The Aggies are not Alabama’s main western threat. This designation belongs to Ole Miss. Speaking of…

Underrated: No. 24 Ole Miss

Too much emphasis was placed on the absence of star quarterback Matt Corral and too little on the offensive skill players brought in by coach Lane Kiffin. Kiffin improved on running backs with TCU transfer Zach Evans and SMU transfer Ulysses Bentley IV. The Rebels also brought in hybrid wide receiver/tight end freak Michael Trigg and versatile receiver Jaylon Robinson from UCF. The quarterback fight between Jaxson Dart and Luke Altmeyer will dominate fall camp, but Kiffin will be fine either way.

If they can just put up a decent defense, this team should be a serious contender for another Sugar Bowl bid and is definitely Alabama’s biggest threat in the SEC West.

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