The first regular-season Amway Coaches Poll of 2020 reflects more turnover than usual from the preseason rankings, even though there haven’t yet been many upsets in the reduced schedule. Conferences and teams currently not scheduled to play a fall schedule are not eligible to receive votes via American Football Coaches Association guidelines, so all Big Ten and Pac-12 schools that were ranked in the preseason will drop out this week.
With that out of the way, Clemson easily retained its No. 1 position. The Tigers, who took charge early at Wake Forest in their season opener, were picked first on 37 of 41 ballots submitted this week.
The rest of the top 10 is dominated by the SEC, though we’re still a couple weeks away from actually seeing those squads take the field. Alabama inherits the No. 2 position, claiming a single first-place vote this week. Oklahoma, which opened with what amounted to a scrimmage against Missouri State, checks in at No. 3. Georgia, LSU and Florida claim the next three positions, with the defending champion Bayou Bengals getting the remaining three top votes. Notre Dame is No. 7 after pulling away from a pesky Duke team in its first official game as a temporary ACC member. Texas, Auburn and Texas A&M round out the top 10.
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North Carolina climbed to No. 11 after pulling away from Syracuse in its season debut. Oklahoma State, which had its opener against Tulsa pushed back a week, is No. 12. A trio of American teams hold down the next three spots.
Among the new entries to the poll are a pair of Sun Belt members. The Ragin’ Cajuns of Louisiana-Lafayette are ranked No. 21 after upending then-No. 25 Iowa State on the road. Defending Sun Belt champ Appalachian State also enters at No. 23 after staving off a tough challenge from Charlotte.
No. 22 BYU and No. 25 Army also move in. Unfortunately, their scheduled Saturday meeting at West Point had to be postponed due to some positive COVID-19 tests among BYU players.