Preliminary Preseason BlogPoll Ballot
So the BlogPoll is trying something new this year. All of the voters are going to submit two preseason ballots. The first is due by Wednesday. Then, after a week of discussion, the final preseason ballot is due. Presented below is my first crack at the ballot. Comments, as always, are appreciated. I've added some of my thoughts after the top 25.
I actually feel pretty good about the top 6. USC is the runaway #1, and both LSU and VT should have experienced offenses and ferocious defenses. After that, Michigan has questions in the back 7 seven on defense and Oklahoma needs a QB. 6th feels about right for WVU.
After that, things get a little wonky. The Texas secondary makes me a little nervous and ranking UCLA and South Carolina this high makes me very nervous (although both return a ton of starters and the Gamecocks at least have a proven coach). Louisville also feels a little high, given the coaching change and the upheaval in the running game.
I think that Penn State is about right given the returning talent. Cal might be a bit high (defensive turnover makes me nervous) but that offense is going to be something else. After that, Miami is a wild card. They have the talent to warrant a ranking this high. With a new coach coming from within the program, adjustment should be fairly minimal, but they still could be all over the place.
When I put together this list I tried not to consider a team's schedule (I've always meant for my ballot to be more of a power poll). This has perhaps led me to overrate Texas A&M, who checks in at 14th based largely on returning talent on both sides of the ball.
Florida St. is another team that I'm not sure what to do with. The defense should be above average but I'm not sold on the offense. If Jimbo Fisher lives up to his hype, I could see FSU shooting up my ballot as the season progresses.
Wisconsin will probably be higher in my next ballot. I'm not really sure why I was so down on them on this ballot, except that I think the offense might be too run-heavy. Please consider this an anomaly that will corrected in the next ballot.
Next up is a pack of four SEC teams (Arkansas, Auburn, Georgia and Florida). I'm pretty sure that at least a couple of these teams belong in the top 15, but I couldn't figure out which to move up. Instead, I'm just going to leave them together down here until somebody emerges or I hear a convincing argument for one of the teams.
Ohio St. is 21st, but this is probably also low. The defense and running game should be strengths and they have been successful with that combination in the past. They will probably also receive a bump before the next poll.
Nebraska, Oregon and Missouri all seem to have significant replacements to make on defense but all three should have good offenses. They are all top 25 caliber teams but I struggled to place all three teams. I closed out my ballot with a mid major in TCU (who barely edged out Boise State and Hawaii in my mind).
Tennessee is the most notable omission, but I couldn't find anybody that I would like to replace them with. Any suggestions?
There were a number of sleeper-type teams that I would have liked to find a place for including Vanderbilt, Kentucky, USF and Cincinnati. Ultimately I just couldn't find a team to bump to make room.
The other teams that I seriously considered were Clemson, BC, Oregon St., Rutgers, Virginia, Georgia Tech, Wake Forest, Arizona and Arizona State.