Sunday, August 22, 2010

Pre-Season Blogpoll

First a public service announcement: Paul Johnson thinks our poll is worthless. In fact Paul Johnson thinks all your polls should be used to start fires or wipe someone's butt:

“They don’t know. They haven’t seen the teams play. That’s why you don’t ever know. To me, if you really wanted a better indication of the poll you’d wait until you play four weeks and then you’d have it. A lot of it is on returning players. It’s like our football team. We lost some guys who were really good players. Some guys think we’ll be OK without them, other guys don’t. So we’ll play the games and find out. Nobody knows who is going to be right until you play the games.”

We continue to love our coach, even if he doesn't like our poll......back to regularly scheduled programming. Our pre-season Top 25:

Creating a meaningful preseason top 25 list is a ridiculously Sisyphian exercise. The shear wait of data you don’t have, or at best have no way of understanding, crushes any list like a bad shoulder against a heavy boulder.

This is why we turned to a surrealist approach. We generated a random list of names, and then invented a rational to justify the list. Reacting to these made up arguments we then created counter arguments to justify moving teams into positions more in keeping with popular opinion. We’ve never done a top 25 list before, but we’re pretty sure this is approved method among professional Scribes.

Frank: This year feels much more open than last year, when we all pretty much new the winner of the SEC Title game (Florida or Alabama) would play Texas

Hash: I feel the same way. Every team has questions & there aren't any prohibitive favorites out there.

Top of the Pops
4-Boise State
5-Ohio State

Frank: I think the two most complete teams returning are Boise and Ohio State, but we are kind of counting on Texas and Alabama to reload. Oklahoma played pretty well last year considering they lost a Heisman quarterback for almost the whole season. I think that experience will pay off this year

Hash: It pains me to agree with Phil Steele so I couldn't put Oklahoma #1 but they are up there. Why Texas? Why not? Bama lost a lot on defense & Ohio State just doesn't do it for me. If Boise beats VPISU, they may move to #1 after the first weekend.

Have to Be in the Conversation
8-Virginia Poly

Frank: A good win or bad loss by one of the teams above them (which will happen) will propel one of these teams into the serious national title conversation. For Virginia Polly its Boise State. Iowa and Nebraska will have to make their hay during conference play. TCU can help themselves by stomping AP#25 Oregon State early and then grinding out solid wins for the rest of the season.

Hash: Can Iowa continue to pull out close victories or will they regress to the mean? VPISU has potential & I hope for the ACC's sake they can handle Boise State. If Nebraska gets any offense they can be very, very good because those Pellini boys can coach them some defense.

Can Hardly Call Them Dark Horses
13-Georgia Tech

Frank: These teams are definitely within striking range of the National Championship Game, but its going to require a grind. They are going to have to beat multiple teams in tough conference play and hope for some things to go right for them at the top of the list. The exception is Pitt. Playing in the Big East limits their opportunities to demonstrate their skill to the fullest

Hash: We get into the interesting stuff now. Any of these teams might play in a BCS game or could be out of the Top 25 quickly. All have talent & big question marks. Tech fans will ask: why Georgia so high? They have a great, veteran offensive line, tons of talent everywhere, & any regression to the mean regarding turnovers means a better team.

Starting Too Deep ?
19-Penn State

Frank: All of these teams have a chance to finish in the top ten this year, but there are just too many teams ahead of them to get into the BCS title game. For example, FSU would have to jump Tech, Miami, and Virginia Polly in their own conference alone.

Hash: I am calling this the "upside" bracket. I think all these teams will surprise. They have questions but all have legit shots at conference titles. I particularly like Auburn & FSU and Wisconsin will score a bundle this year. Only Joe PA returns anything defensively. Whomever's defense improves the most here may end up top 10.

Honorary Positions
24-Boston College
25-Oregon State

Frank: I suspect LSU is nearing the cataclysmic end of their own personal Larry Coker. Navy, Boston College and Oregon State are all tough, underrated programs that will finish the year with several quality wins though no one will want to talk about them. Arkansas, what to do with Arkansas?

Hash: We agree fully here. Navy deserves the love based not on nostalgia but on the state of their program. BC can play defense & will feature their usual beastly offensive line. That & the fact that the ACC Atlantic is the JV side of the conference makes them a solid pick.

The most glaring omission is most likely UNC. Until the Spectre of the NCAA goes away we can't rank them; too much variance depending on what happens. The lone team we omitted that keeps coming back to me is UConn. They return 16 starters off a very solid team that beat South Carolina in their bowl game. An early win over Rich Rod & the Wolverines may vault them into the top 20 & make Rodriguez's seat even hotter.

So what do you think?

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