BlogPoll Preseason Ballot -- Grasping at Straws

With the start of college football in three days, it's time for another season of the BlogPoll. For the uninitiated, the BlogPoll is a top-25 college football poll voted on by about 100 or so bloggers from different teams. I post my ballot here on The Only Colors each week (probably Mondays during the season), you give your input, and I make changes based on that input.

When making my vote for the first few weeks, it's partially predictive and partially based on results. What that means is that I'll base my ballot partially on results and partially on how strong I perceive said team to be. Around the time conference play starts, I'll base the ballot solely on results.

That said, since no games have been played yet, this ballot is based purely on whimsy and conjecture, and therefore is terrible. Here it is:

Explanations after the jump.

You have questions, I have answers.

  • Why 'Bama at the top spot? Process of elimination: LSU was one of the top teams in turnover margin last season and I don't think they'll have that help this season. Also needs: offense. USC returns almost all of their offense, but Arizona State and Arizona scored a combined a 84 points against them last year. Granted that was early in the season, but the defense is still a bit iffy for my taste. Oklahoma will lose one game they shouldn't this season because they are Oklahoma. That leaves Alabama by default, and while I don't necessarily like the pick, it's what I feel most comfortable with at this point. Also, I am a hack.
  • Who do you think the polls of note are generally underrating? Obviously Georgia. The Bulldogs return 16 starters, and if they avoid offensive line issues they should be able to win the SEC East fairly easily. I like Clemson? Well, someone's gotta win the ACC, and it sure as heck won't be Florida State. I actually think I might be a bit high on Virginia Tech since they had to replace most of their offense, but the Hokies have never been juggernauts on that side of the ball anyway.
  • Conversely, who do you think is overrated? Florida State pulls this trick every year: They bring in a top recruiting class, they're ranked in the top 10 to start the season, and they promptly go 8-4. DO NOT FALL FOR THIS TRICK, DEAR READER. Arkansas is one of five SEC teams in the top 10, and they're all not going to be there to end the season. If one of those teams is going to underachieve, it's going to be the one who had the unplanned coaching change. Lastly, Michigan. The offensive line is a couple injuries away from disaster, the schedule is much tougher, and the defense gave up a lot of yards but not a lot of points; a regression to the mean is inevitable.
  • Why Louisville? By law, I must have one Big East team on my preseason ballot. Otherwise I'm deported to Storrs.
  • Why Northern Illinois? Just to highlight the capriciousness of having preseason polls, and because I'm living in Northern Illinois now and couldn't bring myself to pick Northwestern.
  • What'll be your biggest regret? Now that Texas has figured out its quarterback, they could be primed to finish in the Top 10 at season's end.
  • Can you wait for the season to start so you can talk about actual football? Please let it be Friday already.
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