Your long college football drought is almost over! The season kicks off in less than two weeks, meaning you can finally stop surfing ESPN Classic for condensed replays of six year-old bowl games to get your pigskin fix on. And, of course, what would college football be without a ranking of the Top 25 teams in the land, compiled by a bevy of internet fanatics who have most likely spent all summer following 1) their team, 2) their team's conference, and 3) the latest installment of the Great Conference Shuffle. In other words, people perfectly suited to have opinions on whether Pittsburgh should be ranked above Miami but below Iowa.
Polls are fun and all, don't get me wrong, but trying to pick the Top 25 teams in August with any authority or degree of accuracy is a daunting task. You'd be almost as well off just tossing darts at a board (I don't know about you, but my dartboard's got a picture of Mack Brown on it, which is great fun, but terrible for deciding which is the 14th-best college football team in America). So, faced with the prospect of certain failure for my efforts, I declined to do what my compatriots (Yellow Fever, Norcalnick and Berkelium97) did (pick some teams in some order) and instead just submitted the exact same ballot I did at the end of last season. A cop-out, you may say, but it yielded results surprisingly consistent with the other CGB voters.
In fact, I think the few differences are worth highlighting:
Ranked much higher on my ballot:
Ranked much lower (or omitted entirely):
The most glaring difference between these two lists is that the second one consists of traditional powers (and Pittsburgh), while the first list does not. Simply put, if you take last year's polls, assume the traditional powers will stay good or return to glory while the upstarts begin to fade away, you'll pretty much have this year's preseason ballot. This isn't necessarily a terrible assumption to make (it actually works pretty well), but only if voters are then willing to tear up their preseason ballots and forget about them entirely once they witness actual games being played. For my own part, I come up with an entirely new ballot every week; I fear, however, that not nearly enough other voters do the same.
And now, here's CGB's official preseason BlogPoll ballot.
One final note: those who saw yesterday's ballot post may notice that this one now omits Stanfurd. First, let me say that their initial inclusion was entirely due to my laziness; no other CGB voter cast a vote for them, and my vote, which I simply copied from my end-of-2009 ballot, was the entire reason for their inclusion. Do I actually think they're a Top 25 team? No, not really, which is why I caved to public pressure and replaced them with Utah. However, I'm highly skeptical of every team at this point in the season, and the 'Furd's inclusion didn't seem any more egregious (at least from a non-partisan standpoint) than most of the other teams at the bottom of the ballot. Toby Gerhart may be gone, but a running back doesn't produce on his own, and Harbaugh brings back most of a very good offensive line.