BlogPoll Roundtable: Preseason Poll Edition
For the Preseason BlogPoll Roundtable, Brian from mgoblog asks two simple questions:
Who is overrated?
Who is underrated?
The rankings indicated are from the first preseason BlogPoll.
The Gators strike me as the kind of team that could very well upset LSU in Baton Rouge and then get blown out in their next game at Kentucky. I just don't see where the consistency is going to come from. Tim Tebow is talented but is also Florida's leading returning rusher. The leading returning rusher among the running backs is Kestahn Moore who managed 282 yards a season ago. In other words, despite four returning starters on the offensive line, I think that the running game is going to be bad. According to my Phil Steele preview, the defense plans to start 6 players in their second season (4 So., 2 R-Fr.). There is talent across the board, but I think the lack of experience could well mean a wild ride for the Gators in 2007.
Colt Brennan has really pretty numbers, but is that enough to make Hawaii a top 25 team? The defense wasn't particularly good last season, allowing 24.1 points per game (and that was the best in recent memory). Gone are the top two pass rushers (Purcell and Alama-Francis). Against teams with a credible track record (Alabama, Boise State, Fresno State, Purdue and Oregon State) the defensive points allowed per games jumps to 34.6. Yikes. Hawaii will also need to find a way to replace Nate Ilaoa, their only running threat besides Brennan. All in all, I expect Hawaii will run off a bunch of victories against second rate competition, but they don't belong in the top 25 until they prove that they can beat somebody good.
#8 Virginia Tech
This is probably a quibble, but I really believe that the Hokies are a top 5 team. The offensive line should be improved in front of a backfield that returns all rushers of note from last season (including Branden Ore who was pretty good). On the passing side, QB Sean Glennon is experienced and has his top two wideouts back. The defense is deep and relatively experienced. I think Virginia Tech is poised for a big year.
#22 South Carolina
I think that this is the year that the Gamecocks take a big jump under Steve Spurrier. He has been around long enough for the offense to sink in (third year). Speaking of the offense, they will need to replace Sidney Rice and three starters from the line, but eight lineman return with starting experience and WR Kenny McKinley quietly had a nice season. On defense South Carolina returns 10 starters from a unit that wasn't terrible. South Carolina should take another step forward this season.
I have to admit that I was surprised to see Miami get so few votes in the first BlogPoll. The coaching change gives me some hesitation, but Randy Shannon is coming from within the program, so I can't imagine the learning curve being steep. The offense returns 9 starters (including 4 on the line and QB Kyle Wright who had last season shortened by an injury). I think the offense will be much improved. The defense should be pretty good again, especially in the back seven. Barring another complete meltdown, Miami will be much, much better in 2007.
Texas Christian is my token mid-major. (I figured that since I don't think much of Hawaii, I ought to have at least one.) The Horned Frogs return 9 starters on a defense that allowed only 12.3 points per game last year. The offense may need a bit of work, but top rusher Aaron Brown returns. All told, I think this defense is good enough to warrant a top 25 ranking.