As you may remember, in previous years SB Nation conducted a weekly blogpoll to create its own national Top-25 ranking, and as a member blog for an FBS team (and yes, despite the poor play we are still an FBS team), we happily participated. Well, last year they stopped doing the blogpoll, so we didn't have a weekly post here on the national rankings. Of course, lately Cal hasn't been relevant to any rankings beyond serving as cannon fodder for the myriad Top-25 teams populating our schedule. Hopefully things will be a little different this year, but regardless, we at CGB think it's worthwhile and fun to do a weekly check-in on the national college football scene, and hopefully before too long we'll be discussing where a relevant Golden Bears team fits in.
In the meantime, even though there's no SB Nation blogpoll anymore, we've decided that we still want to do our own in-house poll. Beyond the fun of thinking about and debating the rankings, and seeing how we converge with or digress from the AP, the Coaches Poll, USA Today, and others, it will be a good excuse for folks to get together every week and chat about the comings and goings in the wonderful world of college football that we all love so much.
So without further ado, here's the CGB Top 25!
California Golden Blogs Top 25 - Preseason/Week 1
|1||Florida State Seminoles||--|
|2||Alabama Crimson Tide||--|
|8||Michigan State Spartans||--|
|10||Ohio State Buckeyes||--|
|12||South Carolina Gamecocks||--|
|T-13||Arizona State Sun Devils||--|
|17||Texas A&M Aggies||--|
|T-19||North Carolina Tar Heels||--|
|T-21||Oklahoma State Cowboys||--|
|24||Duke Blue Devils||--|
|25||Kansas State Wildcats||--|
|Others receving votes: Texas Tech Red Raiders, Cincinnati Bearcats, Louisville Cardinals, Texas Longhorns, Virginia Tech Hokies, Northern Illinois Huskies, Syracuse Orange, Marshall Thundering Herd, Fresno State Bulldogs|
atomsareenough: Florida State, as the defending national champs, and with a ridiculous amount of returning talent, was the obvious pick for #1. Alabama and Oklahoma are similarly talented though, and can't be discounted, so they're right behind the Seminoles. Oregon and UCLA round out my top 5. The rest of the top 10 was also pretty easy to identify. I love Baylor's offense, can I just say. Stanford loses a lot of important pieces, but I think at this sadly point we have to expect them to be a top 10 team until we find out otherwise. At least we can take some modicum of pleasure by putting Michigan State ahead of them and thinking fondly of this wonderful Rose Bowl moment:
Looking at my ballot, the next tier are also very solid teams, but they have a little more to prove. Arizona State deserves a mid-tier ranking, but still needs to take that next step. Texas A&M is of course replacing a quarterback and their best receiver, but they have recruited exceedingly well in recent years and I am pretty much expecting them to just reload. I wasn't as generous to some other teams replacing quarterbacks though, like Louisville, LSU (though I still ranked the Tigers), Washington, UCF, Missouri, etc... Ohio State also dropped to #16 for me due to the Braxton Miller news, though I'm sure they'll still be a good team in what I perceive to be a pretty weak Big 10.
Texas Tech wasn't in the press polls, but they're on mine at #18 (though neither of yours, I see). Anyway, I think they're a team on the rise. Kansas State will likely continue to be solid as they've been the past couple of years. I put USC on there at #23 just because of the talent, and Sarkisian is good enough to not screw things up royally at least. The same argument could be made for Texas, and I think Strong is a better coach, but there's more dysfunction to sort out in Austin, so it might take several games to get things settled. I think Cincinnati is probably the best team in the AAC, they have a ton of returning starters, and they're good enough to win double-digit games. I see none of you felt too confident about them, though. Perhaps the loss of Art Kaufman will be significant! I also stuck a couple of under-the-radar ACC teams at the end, including my own Syracuse Orange at #24. Unsurprisingly, neither of you shared my optimism. Nevermind though, it's the preseason, so this is guesswork anyway. Duke was also pretty decent last year and are favored to win their division (the non-Florida State one), so I put them at #25, and I see both of you ranked them as well.
Nick Kranz: If my vote counted in a poll with any significance, I'd be the most misinformed poll voter of all time. Hell, I don't even feel confident in my knowledge of Pac-12 teams this year. Thank Oski we'll have actual games for use as evidence next week.
Berkelium97: I haven't paid close enough attention to the college football landscape to have strong feelings about my poll. I mostly looked at last year's final records and numbers of returning seniors. Unfortunately, this means I don't have much to say about the rankings. I am glad, however, that none of us ranked a Florida team who is coming off a 4-8 season and somehow managed to finish 27th in both preseason polls.
atomsareenough: Before we wrap this up, a couple interesting tidbits I noticed from our first set of rankings:
Berkelium didn't like Georgia or Texas A&M going into this year, but he did fill the back half of his ballot with some under-the-radar selections like Marshall, Fresno State, and Northern Illinois. On the other hand, he did save a spot for Texas. Are you a big believer in Charlie Strong's culture change, Berkelium?
I also see that Nick didn't include Nebraska on his ballot. Do you think Bo Pellini is due for a poor season and ultimately a firing this year, Nick?
Also: You guys both still think Ohio State is a top-10 team without Braxton Miller? That's interesting.
Berkelium97: I believe Georgia and Texas A&M have great head coaches, but they're each replacing a top-tier QB from a team that finished 8-4 in the regular season. Georgia has 5 other starters to replace on offense while Texas A&M has 4 more starters to replace. Georgia and aTm respectively return 10 and 9 starters on defense, but they finished 79th and 96th in scoring defense last year. I'm expecting a down year for both teams.
I don't like ranking "brand name" teams due to their pedigree, but I am indeed a believer in Charlie Strong. I expect big things from him at Texas and their #22 ranking in my ballot is a vote of confidence in Strong.
As for the underdogs, NIU always manages double-digit wins even when replacing coaches, QBs, or coordinators and Tim DeRuyter is a great coach who should have made the jump to the Power 5 ranks this offseason. The main reason I ranked Marshall is because they return QB Rakeem Cato, who passed for nearly 4000 yards last season with a stellar 39-9 TD-to-interception ratio. He also scored 6 TDs on the ground.
It looks like I put a bit more thought into these rankings than I initially thought!
As for Ohio State, you remember what Kenny Guiton did to our defense last season, right? He went out and piled up 6 TDs the following week (against Florida A&M, but I was still impressed). He also performed admirably filling in for Miller in 2012. He's an experienced, senior QB whose accuracy and running abilities rival those of Miller. I don't expect Ohio State to take much of a step back with Kenny G at the helm.
atomsareenough: I, too, would not expect Ohio State to take a major step back with Guiton at the helm... except Guiton is off playing in the AFL, and so Miller's replacement instead looks to be untested redshirt freshman JT Barrett. That was why I found your confidence a little surprising.
Berkelium97: Oh. I see. Well, I'll probably be dropping them several positions in next week's rankings! Now I'm wondering how I missed the fact that he graduated. I was looking forward to seeing him play as the starting QB for Ohio State...
Nick Kranz: My plea as to any odd voting? Pure, unadulterated ignorance.
Although I am vaguely skeptical of Pelini. He strikes me as a guy who will go 7.5 and 4.5 every single year. SCIENCE!