Well, the Blogpoll is officially out now, and though I am not a voter in it, there’s no reason I can’t put out my own top 25. Just like any other preseason poll, mine is largely based on impressions of the previous year, analysis of current rosters, and guessing. It is fraught with bias, and shows little insight that you can’t find elsewhere. Everyone’s in the same boat on this.
Now, if you remember my ratings machine, I did my own run of it and by chance had 7 teams rated as “Excellent” and 18 teams rated as “Very Good.” If you put on your first grade math hat, that comes out to 25 teams. Therefore, the top 7 teams of my poll make up the excellent category, and the rest are in the very good category. Here goes nothing…
- West Virginia
- Virginia Tech
- Ohio State
- Penn State
- Boston College
- Oregon State
- South Florida
- Boise State
USC is number 1, but not because I think they’re invincible. Rather, it’s a safe pick, and moreover the Trojans have a talent factory and the most proven track record since 2002. Michigan comes in second because at the end of last year I thought that the winner of the Rose Bowl would be #1 and the loser #2. Without much more to go on, I just went with that. As long as Michigan rides Mike Hart as far as he’ll take them, the Wolverines could earn this spot.
LSU has just as much talent to make a case for #1 as USC does, but I don’t trust Les Miles. That’s all. Oklahoma may seem a surprise at 4, but the Sooners return most of their team from last year, and everyone seems to forget that Bob Stoops is still a very good coach. West Virginia comes in a 5 for its impressive arsenal of running weapons. If the Mountaineers throw more than 15 times a game, this year’s team will be a waste.
Florida clocks in at 6. The Gators are that high because of their offense, but not higher because of their defense’s inexperience. The chance for greatness is still there thanks to the strength of the defensive coaches led by Charlie Strong and Greg Mattison. I trust Chuck Heater, I trust Chuck Heater, I trust Chuck Heater…
Texas is 7, but mainly because the I see the Big 12 as weaker this year and the ‘Horns will probably run the table except for Oklahoma. Don’t forget, Mack Brown has been disappointing when his quarterback is not named Vince. Virginia Tech comes in at 8 because of its defensive strength. Plus, generally every conference champion finishes in the top 10 and I see VT winning the ACC. Louisville is 9 because of all the people it has coming back. I don’t know much about Steve Kragthorpe, but apparently he runs an offense similar to Bobby Petrino’s, so some consistency should be enough to keep the Cardinals near the top of the polls again.
From here on out, the guessing takes an ever increasing role as we head down the poll. I have Wisconsin next, but only because it’s still mostly Barry Alvarez’s team. Bret Bielema did a great job last year, but since he has no other track record the Badgers are not any higher. Tennessee is probably a little high at 11, but it’s Erik Ainge’s second year under David Cutcliffe and Phil Fulmer needs to win big to keep off of the hit seat. Ohio State is 12 because the Buckeyes will have to play like the 2002 Luckeyes to win, and this is not as talented of a team.
Auburn comes in at 13, a bit higher than some other folks, but Tommy Tuberville seems to do his best when the expectations are off. Penn State is at 14, but honestly I don’t know if this is too high or too low. Boston College is definitely a surprise at 15, but new head coach Jeff Jagodzinski is a good offensive coach, he knows the zone blocking scheme the Denver Broncos use, and the ACC is pathetic enough that a team like BC could end up with a really nice record. Georgia comes in at 16 because of Matt Stafford, Mark Richt, and a depleted offensive line. I’ll let you determine which two are the liabilities.
Cal is at 17 because the second-best Pac-10 team has to show up somewhere above 20, right? Nebraska’s at 18 thanks to Bill Callahan finally having a good quarterback in Sam Keller. Hawaii is at 19, and you can read about it in J.K. Rowling’s new book Colt Brennan and the PlayStation Offense. Rutgers comes in at 20 since Ray Rice is still around, but it is not higher because like Wisconsin’s Bielema, Greg Schiano has only one really good season to his name. Arkansas is 21 because when all else fails, the Pigs still have Darren McFadden and Felix Jones. If Houston Nutt just does what he did last year with the team, only this time keeping Casey Dick as the starter the whole year, then Arkansas won’t fall off too much.
The perennial most underrated team, TCU, comes in at 22. Every year people talk at length about how no one talks about Gary Patterson and the job he does there. Well, here’s to you, Gary. Oregon State comes in at 23 for two reasons: I like Mike Riley as a college coach, and I still have fond memories of the Beavers destroying Notre Dame in the 2001 Fiesta Bowl. The trendy team South Florida is at 24, but only because I decided last January to put them in my preseason poll and I stuck with it. Boise State rounds out the top 25 since the Broncos lost a lot from last year’s team. Still, with Chris Petersen and Ian Johnson still there, anything can happen.
Now, for some of the notable absences, and by that I refer to teams in the other polls that do not appear in mine. FSU is not there because while the coaches are almost all new, it’s still the same old players. I don’t have Texas A&M because I don’t trust Dennis Franchione. I don’t have South Carolina because while the Gamecocks will be dangerous, Blake Mitchell is showing us once again why he can’t be trusted.
Remember, it’s the preseason. None of this has to make sense yet. Have a good weekend, y’all.