My friends, our long journey across the barren desert known as the college football offseason is almost over. It's time to start going over preseason polls and picking them apart. Once again your humble blogger has been asked to participate in the blogpoll which is run by MGoBlog.
Many of you already know of the blogpoll, but those of you who just stumbled out of the message boards and onto the college football blog scene this summer have probably never heard of it. The blogpoll is a poll run by fans who blog about college football. It's not run by coaches with a conflict of interest. It's not run by writers who just read the Sunday morning headlines and rush to get their vote in before the deadline. This poll is run by fans who watch more football than any writer or coach. When there isn't football on television, they talk about football. They put their ballots out for everyone to see. They take criticism and suggestions. They aren't afraid to make drastic changes in their ballots. When they submit an odd ballot they are publicly ridiculed and required to defend their choices to keep everyone in line. It's not a perfect poll, but I'm convinced it's the best one out there. That's why, like Orson and Kyle before me, I pledge to use the blogpoll when I refer to a team's ranking, and I encourage everyone to do the same.
Having said that, it's time for me to start putting together a top 25 list. Here is my first attempt. Analysis to follow.
Let's get the obvious knock out of the way first. I'm going to take some heat for ranking Penn State at #10. I'm prepared for it. I genuinely think the Nittany Lions are that good. I think they can beat all of the teams ranked lower than them and would probably lose to all of the teams ranked above them. However I am prepared to drop them fast if the offense comes out flat like last year.
I cannot bring myself to give any love to the Big East. West Virginia makes the Big East debut at #11 and it pains me to rank them that high. The only other Big East team I deemed worthy of ranking was Louisville. Expect these two to remain pretty much where they are all season regardless of who they beat. Rutgers will not be on any of my ballots unless they beat the Mountaineers or Cardinals. If a Big East team beats a major ranked opponent in a bowl game they will be ranked accordingly in my final poll. That includes jumping them all the way to number one if they play in the BCS Championship game.
I think the SEC is the best conference in the country right now, and as a Big Ten fan it pains me to say it. But that's why they have three SEC teams in the top 10 and five teams in the top 15. I'm still not convinced Florida is going to be anywhere near as good as last year. And the voters in the Coaches' Poll are idiots for ranking Tennessee higher than Penn State. Did they not watch the Outback Bowl or are they completely in denial?
Anyway, there is my first attempt to put together a ballot. Please offer some feedback. My final ballot isn't due until August 22nd. I'll probably make several changes between now and then.