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Arizona Wildcats get some mention in USA Today preseason coaches poll

We'll see if Rich Rodriguez wants to talk this year about who he voted No. 1. Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

We’ll see if Rich Rodriguez wants to talk this year about who he voted No. 1. Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Wildcats received five points in the USA Today preseason coaches poll, released Thursday morning.

If you’re counting that far, that puts Arizona 42nd in the nation.

It’s impossible to know if the Cats received all their points from one coach putting them at No. 21, or if Arizona appeared on multiple ballots. The individual voting of the 62 head coaches — and UA’s Rich Rodriguez is one of them — are not released until the final poll after the BCS title game.

Alabama is No. 1 in the coaches poll (shocking, I know), followed by Ohio State, Oregon and Stanford. Three more Pac-12 teams are in the Top 25 — UCLA at No. 21, USC at No. 24 and Oregon State at 25. The Crimson Tide received 58 first-place votes.

Arizona State received 51 points, good for 32nd.

Rodriguez is a long-time voter in the USA Today poll, from his time at West Virginia and Michigan.

He told me last August that he was “somebody who helps” him put together his Top 25 each week, but that he has final say before sending it off to be counted.

“I don’t just say, ‘OK, turn it in,’” he said.

“I look at it and make an adjustment or two. I won’t spend a lot of time deciphering it, but I will pay attention to it.”

When I asked RichRod last year which team he voted No. 1, it began a series of events that landed USC coach Lane Kiffin in hot water (shocking, I know).

Rodriguez said that he, very logically at the time, voted the Trojans for preseason No. 1. After I wrote that, a reporter covering USC asked Kiffin to comment on Rodriguez’s vote. Kiffin laughed.

“I would not vote USC No. 1, I can tell you that much,” Kiffin said.

Well, it turns out he had done exactly that, and USA Today called him out on his lie. Although the voting is supposed to be confidential, USA Today’s stance was that if a “voter volunteers false or misleading information about his vote in public, then USA TODAY Sports, in its oversight role as administrator of the poll, will correct the record to protect the poll’s integrity.”

Kiffin gave up his vote in the poll last August soon after all this kerfuffle.

The Associated Press preseason poll will be released Aug. 17.

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