BlogPoll Preseason Top 25 (Draft)

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

There it is: my best guess at a Preseason Top 25. Leave your suggestions for alterations in the comments, as it’s almost guaranteed that I completely overlooked a team, heinously overrated an undeserving squad, or even ranked Notre Dame. (Wait, I did that? Seriously? Damn.) Some explanation for the picks below, before I get completely blasted in the comments (explanations for my top five and Big Ten rankings can be found here and here, respectively):

  1. The complete omission of Oregon — Yes, the Ducks do not appear on my preseason ballot, despite being the consensus preseason #15 team in the country. However, there’s a whole lot of transition going on in Eugene: Head Coach Mike Bellotti is gone, replaced by Chip Kelly, who has never been a head coach at the Division I level, they lost three starters on each line, and return only nine starters total. Last season they had to eke out an overtime win over Purdue and only beat UCLA and Stanford by seven points each. This season they have to open up at Boise State (a team they lost to last season) and play Utah in the non-conference schedule. I doubt Oregon beats both, and there’s even a chance they start 1-2 before facing Cal on Sept. 26.
  2. Mississippi at #11 — I had no idea what to do with Ole Miss. They have a very favorable schedule, getting Alabama, Arkansas, Tennessee, and LSU all at home, and missing Florida during the regular season (although they, in all likelihood, will have to face the Gators in the SEC title game if they make it). They have Jevan Snead at quarterback surrounded by talented skill players. They have a great defensive line, bolstered by the return of Greg Hardy at DE after an injury-marred 2008 in which he managed to tally 8.5 sacks despite requiring offseason surgery on a bum foot. They were the only team to beat Florida last year. However, they also return only two starters on the offensive line, have a tough early road game at South Carolina, are coached by Houston Nutt, and seem destined to be the trendy preseason pick that falls flat come fall.
  3. Notre Dame is ranked — Before I started plugging in teams, I really didn’t expect to rank the Fighting Irish. However, once I started getting down towards the bottom of the contenders, I ran out of reasons to keep them out of the poll. You can’t argue against their talent, and they return nine offensive starters, including four on an o-line full of blue-chip prospects. The defense has some holes, to be sure, but every team from about #4 on has some major flaws that need addressing.

Again, leave your thoughts in the comments, as I’m sure I’ve made some controversial picks. The bottom of the poll, especially, will be tweaked in the next couple weeks before I submit my final preseason poll. However, bear in mind this is a preseason poll, and likely will be completely overhauled in week one anyway, so tweaks such as “BYU looks more like the #24 team than #25” will probably be completely ignored barring a stirring argument that calls my logic into question.

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6 comments
  1. Mikey said:

    Ace, your poll is very really good. Couldn’t agree more with most of your picks. The only thing I kinda disagree on is your omission of Oregon and that’s to a certain extent. You make a valid point that Oregon only squeaked by some teams they should’ve pounded, lost to Boise State, and lost a figurehead like Mike Belotti. But on the other hand I think they developed over time during the season to develop considering the fact they lost stars like Dennis Dixon and Jonathan Stewart who were pretty much the big tandem of the team. Although Chip Kelly is in his first year as a D-1 head coach, correct me if I’m wrong but I’m pretty sure he’s keeping all of Belotti’s staff so I think the transition won’t seem evident for a first year as head coach(I’m not sure who is replacing him as OC). Also just by last year’s Pacific Life bowl game and how they beat Oklahoma State with a JUCO QB(who played phenomenal and I think only started the whole season in that game), I think says a lot(considering how highly ranked Oklahoma State is now). Losing key starters is probably going to hurt them, but I don’t think it would hurt them to the extent where they wouldn’t be Top 25. NOW, the team I think you should’ve omitted is Oregon State. I didn’t really watch many of their games last season so I may be ignorant in how I view them and I’m not sure how many starters are returning. Only beating a Big East team in a bowl game(which I think is probably the most boring bowl game I have ever watched) by a field goal which was the score of the game is pretty pitiful. Also they got rocked by Penn State in Happy Valley which I think was really sad. Like I know to lose an away game always is not good, but they looked horrendous that game. The only spark I saw that season was obviously the USC game where they played with their backs against the wall but that was about it.

    The Ole Miss pick as well I think is hard. I’m not sure if I’d have them at #11 but Houston Nutt seems to be bringing the program where it used to be and with how they performed in their bowl game and Florida, they should be #14 IMO and bump Georgia Tech back 1.

  2. Mikey said:

    Oh and completely off the record and side question, what do you think of Auburn’s chances of having a good season this year? I’m really surprised about how the top 3 running back recruits for 2010 are actually considering Auburn. I’m trying to figure out what garbage Gene Chizik can sell them considering his record at Iowa State…must be his glory days at Auburn under Tuberville I guess.

  3. Trent said:

    Are you ranking how good the teams are or how many games they’ll win? Sure, Oregon could start the season with a couple losses and Notre Dame could go 10-2 but that doesn’t mean all that much. Oregon was a much better team than Notre Dame last year and my money says they’ll be a much better team this year. And as Mikey says above, the transition to Kelly won’t be huge. Weis is just awful–he can’t do it. I have little doubt Notre Dame will be a ranked team at the end of the season, but I do doubt that they’ll deserve it.

  4. Ace Anbender said:

    Mikey — You make a lot of good points about Oregon and Oregon State … I may have to reconsider. The coaching transition there certainly isn’t remotely as big as, say, Michigan’s was last year. Still, Bellotti had a lot of success at Oregon, and it’s tough to think that there won’t be a little bit of a dip in his absence. The offensive line and defense are what really scare me here: it’s tough to have a high-flying offense with an inexperienced line regardless of the surrounding talent, and the Ducks gave up almost 30 points a game last season and have to replace almost their entire defensive line plus three other starters.

    Oregon State is an interesting case as well. The victory over USC is probably playing a part in my ranking of them (as well as my love for Jacquizz Rodgers). Their defense loses a ton as well, although they weren’t as bad as Oregon last season (23.1 ppg against). I might drop them or even omit them, although I’m not sure if Oregon will be the team replacing them.

    Trent — I’m going by the MGoBlog Blogpoll Philosophy (http://mgoblog.com/content/blogpoll-philosophy), which says that until teams begin building a resume to base my picks off of, I should go by which teams I think are the best. If a couple teams are very close, I may look at the schedule, but otherwise I try to go by pure team strength.

    Like I said, I had no plans of putting ND into my top 25, but I couldn’t ignore the talent on that team … talent-wise, they’re a top ten squad. However, the fact that they haven’t put it together and Charlie Weis is their coach are both huge knocks against them, hence the #21 ranking.

  5. Lance said:

    I got a question for you Ace. Most analysts are predicting that Penn State will end up in the Top 10 at the end of the year because of their schedule but you allude that you did your rankings by which teams you think are the best. I agree with the rest of your poll but I would like to hear your reasoning on the Nittany Lions being 6th overall?

    I’m also in the camp that Georgia is going to fall this year because they couldn’t win the close games when they had Moreno and Stafford. But I even don’t trust my opinion on this as I’m going to school in Atlanta.

    Go Blue!

  6. Ace Anbender said:

    Lance — Pretty much every team besides Florida, Texas, and USC has major flaws to overcome IMO. Penn State brings back potentially the two best offensive players in the Big Ten (Clark and Royster), who should help offset big losses at o-line and receiver. Their defense doesn’t return a lot either, especially in the secondary, but those linebackers are very, very good. Also, besides the Iowa, USC, and Ohio State games, they beat the crap out of every team they played last year.

    Georgia has a ton of talent as well, and having a senior (Joe Cox) penciled in at QB alleviates some of my concern over the loss of Stafford. Looking at the poll again, I may drop them two spots (and maybe just flip them with LSU), but I still think they’ll be a solid, but not spectacular, team.

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