Hey, look at that! We assembled 25 teams in some sort of ranked order! Bow to our superior knowledge, our collective oracle of college football performance, our unparalleled depth of understanding...
Yeah, or something. I find preseason rankings to be good for just one thing, and that's giving me a vague idea of what games might be worth turning the television on for. It has basically no bearing on whether the games will be entertaining, but I can at least have some confidence that most of these teams might be kind good. Maybe.
Flimsy justifications and ramblings after the jump. Away we go!
Norcalnick: Justifications: There are none. It's all guess work. I'm not going to pretend I follow any of these teams closely enough anyway. Alabama is #1 because Saban. Virginia Tech is #10 because I"m pretty sure they've been the 10th best team in the nation for each of the last 10 years. Kansas St. is on the list because they're ranked in the real polls, and then I remembered watching one of their games last year and being impressed. This is the type of thought that goes into your typical pre-season poll, no matter the prefix of blog, AP or Coach's.
Berkelium97: I hate, hate, HATE preseason polls. I have only the faintest idea how good any of these teams are. I have spent the past 8 months trying to figure out how good Cal is this year and I still have no idea. How can I possibly know how good the rest of the nation is?
ragnarok: Heh, I was sorely tempted to just say 'screw it' and submit my year-end ballot from last year. I haven't seen any football games since then, why would my opinion change? As it is, I did stick Alabama back on the top spot.
atomsareenough: As far as I'm concerned, Alabama is going to stay at #1 until proven otherwise. They have their QB back, and of course there's that ridiculously nasty defense. The USC offense is probably going to be epic, but their depth questions also made it a no-brainer that they wouldn't displace Alabama just yet. If LSU didn't lose their best defender a couple of weeks ago, they would be ahead of Oregon. I'm sure the Tiger train will continue to roulez avec beaucoup de bon temps anyway, but for now I switched 'em with the Ducks. Speaking of the Ducks, it's kind of mindboggling that they're breaking in a completely new QB and we still have them in the top 5, but I guess that speaks to the incredible efficacy of the Chip Kelly offense that the QB is essentially plug 'n play.
Berkelium97: Why did I vote Michigan at 6th? There was nowhere else I could put them, but 6th just doesn’t make any sense to me.
Norcalnick: Once I got past #6 I didn't feel like anybody else on the board was a sure-fire, deserves to be in the Top 10 type of team. But somebody goes there, and it's not like this poll matters much anyway.
Berkelium97: I don't understand why Oklahoma (14) is #4 in the national polls. Did anyone watch that team down the stretch last year? That offense was great between the 20s, but they stalled out and were abysmal in the red zone down the stretch. They must have high hopes that Mike Stoops will do something to that offense.
Same with Florida State (16): how many years will they start the season in the top-10 and then end up finishing with 8 or 9 wins? Call me extremely skeptical of this team.
atomsareenough: I think the Seminoles have been steadily collecting an impressive stockpile of talent and I expect them to improve from 9 wins to 11 wins this year. Clemson and Va Tech are the only real challenges on the schedule. The next few are pretty much staples of the top 25 at this point, though I'm highly interested in seeing how West Virginia fares in the Big 12
Berkelium97: Is it wrong that I would have put West Virginia (12) in the top-10 if they were in the Big East?
ragnarok: The Mountaineers would certainly look a lot better beating up on patsies in that league. Has anyone else noticed that the Big East in 2012 resembles all too closely Conference USA circa 2002?
atomsareenough: Clemson had an interesting year last year and should be good again this year. Tajh Boyd is a very compelling player. I'm not quite sure what to expect from Michigan and Michigan State, especially since the Spartans also have a new QB, but based on last year and their histories I guess I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt. Same for OK State.
Norcalnick: I do have a relatively strong opinion that Stanford won't fall nearly as far as I'd like them to fall post Luck, and Texas's defense in the Holiday Bowl was so impressive that I think it's enough for a top 15 spot no matter what kind of QB production they get. Michigan's a tad lower on my poll that most because although they're talented, they got crazy lucky last year and will probably drop an extra game or two when Denard's jump balls find the hands of DBs instead of WRs.
atomsareenough: Utah is going to be a solid team, and a clear #2 in the Pac-12 South. They have the benefit of an easy schedule again this year, and they managed to win 8 games even with Jordan Wynn missing much of the season. I think they probably win 9 or 10 this year. They're my only other Pac-12 team in the preseason Top 25, as I think Stanford takes a big step back this year and Washington still hasn't proven a damn thing yet.... though neither has Cal, for that matter.
Berkelium97: If I’m going to submit a ballot that is meaningless, I might as well be a Pac-12 homer. Cal (22), UW (23), Utah (24), and Stanford (25) all made the cut.
atomsareenough: K-State won 10 games and brings Klein back, Va Tech is the class of the ACC Coastal Division, which is apparently worth a #19 ranking...TCU is not going to win 11 games in the Big 12, and like Utah will have to make some adjustments, but I think the Big 12 is kinda down this year, and Gary Patterson knows what he's doing. They'll win their share of games. Boise State is Boise State, and they may well go undefeated, especially in a depleted Mountain West. Michigan State will be a stiff test, but I'm sure they'll be up for it and will make a game of it.
Texas is up here based on their talent and their scary defense. If they can get a some semblance of an offense going, they could be pretty good. Auburn is in the toughest division, but they hold their own anyway. Cincinnati won 10 games last year. Louisville is here in the wildcard #25 spot based on my impression of Teddy Bridgewater's potential. I suppose I could have done the same for Keith Price and the Huskies, but screw those guys.
Also missing from my poll are Ohio State, Florida, and Notre Dame. I'm not going to put them in my poll just because their names are Ohio State, Florida, and Notre Dame.
ragnarok: So what happens next week?
Norcalnick: The winner of the Bama/Michigan game will be #1 in my ballot next week unless Boise St. really destroys Sparty or something equally crazy happens.
Berkelium97: I can’t wait until next week when I can put together a ballot based on actual results.
ragnarok: One thing I can guarantee is that when I'm filling out my ballot next week, I'll be thoroughly ignoring this week's list of 25 teams. Let's see some action on the field!