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Draft Blogpoll Ballot: Preseason

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Hi, I'm LVS.  You may remember me from the days when I used to "write blog posts" and "comment regularly" on this site.  I've been gone for the past two and a half weeks getting married and honeymooning, but happily enough, I'm emerging from my wedding cocoon just in time for FOOTBALL FOOTBALL FOOTBALL WOOOOOOOO.  (!)

As has previously been semi-discussed, this here blog will be participating in the weekly football Blogpoll.  I'll be the primary voter, though Pete may fill in for me from time to time.  Disclosures, details, a preliminary ballot, and some explanations, after the jump.

Bullets:
  • I don't have an overarching voting philosophy, at least not yet.  The idea of ranking teams purely by resume is somewhat appealing, though it seems quite difficult to do early in the season (and impossible for the preseason poll).  So, my ballot will be a rather subjective thing. 
  • I (or Pete) will post our preliminary ballots on Sunday or Monday each week; as with everything else on this site, I welcome your comments, suggestions, and quibbles, and I'll take them into account before submitting the final ballot on Wednesday.
  • I'll take scheduling into account in one way, but not in another.  I won't rank a team higher than they deserve -- especially early in the season -- because they have an easy schedule and will likely have a gaudy record.  For instance: Notre Dame isn't in my preseason ballot, even though they're probably going to have 8 or 9 wins this season; I don't think that ND is one of the top 25 teams in the country, so they're not in my ballot.  End of.  This is different than doing a conference prognostication, where it's perfectly reasonable to say that MSU will finish higher in the Big Ten than Iowa because we play an easier conference schedule than we do.  OTOH, later in the season, I will take schedule strength into account when comparing the merits of individual teams.  A 10-2 team which runs the gauntlet may indeed deserve a higher ranking than an 11-1 or 12-0 school which schedules like Wisconsin.  (zing!)
  • I'll try to keep my homer-ish tendencies in check.  I wouldn't mind for the blogpoll to be taken seriously; if I were to intentionally rank MSU higher than I think they deserve to be ranked, my credibility as a voter is shot, and the credibility of the entire poll suffers.  Besides, the C-K award is a cruel, cruel mistress.
  • I attend almost every MSU home game and some away games; this necessarily means that I won't watch almost every other game played on Saturdays.  I suspect the same is true of most blogpoll voters; it's certainly true of the coaches.  However, nearly every second of my free time during the season is spent following college football.  (sigh.)  I submit that I'll be at least as educated as most of the SIDs casting the Coaches' poll ballots.
  • When casting my ballot, I will pay attention to the AP and Coaches' polls, and more substantially, the blogpoll ballots of blogs I respect.  I'm interested in other opinions, just as I'll be interested in yours.
It seem fairly ridiculous how seriously I'm taking this; however, I care about the credibility of this blog, and of blogs generally.  I think that being as transparent as possible is in the spirit of the blogpoll, so there you have it.

Anyway, voila:

Rank Team
1 Florida
2 Texas
3 Southern Cal
4 Alabama
5 Oklahoma
6 Mississippi
7 Ohio State
8 Oklahoma State
9 LSU
10 Penn State
11 California
12 Virginia Tech
13 Florida State
14 Oregon
15 Georgia
16 Georgia Tech
17 TCU
18 Boise State
19 Iowa
20 North Carolina
21 Nebraska
22 Utah
23 Brigham Young
24 Oregon State
25 Pittsburgh

FWIW, MSU and Notre Dame would probably be the next two teams on my ballot.  The preseason ballot will be the most arbitrary of the season; we don't have any game results, obviously, and I don't claim to know exactly how many starters each one of those teams returns, injury concerns, etc. 

I'm really, really tempted to rank Texas above Florida, but it's impossible to do so before seeing whether Colt McCoy will be as otherworldly as he was last season.  USC's defense is absurdly good, and thus, they have more potential as a team than Florida or Texas, but with the quarterback situation out of whack, I can't rank them higher than third.  I think that Ohio State will be slightly better than advertised, and Penn State will be ever-so-slightly worse, for reasons articulated by The Rivalry, Esq.  They're both head-and-shoulders ahead of the rest of the conference.

Besides that, not too much to say -- at this point, it's essentially a pick 'em; there's no particularly great way of distinguishing between teams ranked near each other.  I'm a little more down on Va. Tech than many others, though I'd love to rank them higher only for having the OOC scheduling cojones to take on Alabama and Nebraska.  (Who, FWIW, I think will be much better.  I like Bo Pelini.)  I love Iowa's defense and the guys at BHGP have more or less sold me on Stanzi.  Oregon State could jump way up these rankings, and I hope they do, because Jacquizz Rodgers rules.  Even without LeSean McCoy, I think Pitt's the best team in the Big East, and so they get #25.

MSU just misses the cut, because quite frankly the running back situation freaks me out.  Your thoughts below, plz.  I've got until Wednesday morning.