Final Preseason BlogPoll Ballot
Well, here's the final version of my preseason ballot. I took into account the responses to the latest roundtable and adjusted some flaws that I was aware of (like Wisconsin). A couple of quick comments follow the rankings.
Mostly I slid teams around to where I felt most comfortable. The only rankings I'm not happy with are Texas at #6 and Cal at #7. Only I like the teams behind them even less.
The biggest change was dropping Georgia from the poll in favor of Oregon State. I started my first poll this year by putting together a list of about 50 teams that I thought deserved further scrutiny. I then went through and considered coaching situations, returning contributors and the positions that the returning starters played. When I did this, Georgia wasn't anywhere near the top 25. Somewhere along the way I convinced myself to put them back in, but I'm returning to my original take after some strong arguments from around the blogosphere. (The question marks on the offensive line finally won me back over.) I also slid Auburn down a bit.
Cal is the biggest mover, but for no better reason than that I couldn't find a team in the next three or four to put in that seventh spot. Of course, I have something of a history for gloriously overrating Cal. I think that I paid my penance for last year's preseason #1 as I sat through the second half of the Holiday Bowl though. If Cal lays another turd against Tennessee on Saturday, I promise to banish them from my rankings until they beat USC.
Texas A&M drops a bit because I hate being a blatant homer and I may have talked myself into thinking the defense is a lot better than it is. We'll see how they look on Saturday.