I absolutely hate preseason polls. The entire idea of a Top 25 poll is to rank, in order, the best teams in the country. However, when no one has even played a game it is often hard to have a real good idea on whom is better than whom. So, naturally, I am going to make one of my own. During the season, I view this mostly as just a 'power poll' of sorts, so that is how I will handle the preseason one too. I'm not going to predict records or anything and judge my rankings based off that, just going to objectively pick who I think is more talented. Which leads me to the easiest decision of the poll...
1) Southern California -- This is as easy as taking LT #1 in fantasy drafts. And sure, maybe a couple of people will decide to stray from the obvious decision, but at the end of the day it is fairly obvious. USC has the more talent at both running back and linebacker than anyone else in the country, not to mention a Top 10 QB in John David Booty. I actually don't think they will win the National Championship (too many teams gunning for them) but they clearly are the favorite to win it.
2) West Virginia -- We are only at #2 and there is already a tough choice. The common pick is Louisiana State, but Les Miles scares me, not to mention they have a brand new QB in Matt Flynn. West Virginia has the best 1-2 QB-RB pucnh, with juniors Pat White and Steve Slaton, and if you add Noel Devine to that mix you have a dangerous opponent. I know they have some defensive deficiencies but I have always liked the 'Eers so partiality is an issue.
3) Louisiana State -- After being labeled "the best 2 loss team in the history of college football" last season, they lost a ton on offense. JaMarcus Russell, Dwayne Bowe and Craig Davis all were first round picks in the NFL Draft, plus they lost their playmaker on defense in LaRon Landry. However, their defense is still a Top 5 unit (led by monstrous DT Glenn Dorsey) and that should keep the scores low. Matt Flynn will struggle initially, but he is a senior so he should learn quickly.
4) Texas -- I'm still not sold on Oklahoma, and the Big 12 South champion should be in the Top 5. Texas has running back and secondary problems, but Colt McCoy will break out this season leading to a possible invitation to New York. If they get past Texas Christian on September 8th they should be undefeated going into the Red River Shootout, a game that the Longhorns have dominated as of late. I wouldn't be surprised to see an undefeated Texas team in the National Championship game, although I also wouldn't be surprised to see the Longhorns end the year with 2 or even 3 losses.
5) Michigan -- Two names. Chad Henne and Mike Hart. Those two names will led the Maize n' Blue to plenty of W's this year, along with the defense in the first 11 games last season. After shutting down their opponents in the first 11 games, they were torched against both Ohio State and USC. I think their defense will bounce back to form, which may be enough for a Big 10 championship. Wisconsin is still a major contender however, which leads us to...
6) Wisconsin -- This is likely too high for the Badgers, but I don't care. The winner of the November 10 battle between Wisconsin and Michigan in Madison will decide the Big 10 winner and BCS representative. I won't make a prediction until later on, but I wouldn't be surprised to see the P.J. Hill-led Badgers be the ones coming out victorious.
7) Virginia Tech -- Sean Glennon and Brandon Ore are the leaders of the Hokie defense, but the defense will be the reason they win football games. They host LSU on September 8th, and if they win that game they could be a dark horse National Championship contender. Plus, they have the added emotional motivation to play for the lives lost in the horrible shooting tragedy in the spring, not to mention the outpouring of support the football team will no doubt receive from the country.
8) Oklahoma -- Not a big fan of Boomer Sooner, but there aren't a whole lot of other teams left with their talent level. Despite major questions at QB (Sam Bradford has been named the starter) they have numerous options at both running back and wide receiver. Reggie Smith will lead another impressive defense, yet they still sit this low at #8. I'll be honest, I've never particularily liked Bob Stoops as a coach and while Mack Brown isn't exactly a world-beater, I think he is better than Stoops. Which will be a big factor in Texas beating Oklahoma in the RRS, which will hurt Oklahoma's chances of doing anything significant. Plus Boomer Sooner can't be feeling too hot after the ending of their season against Boise State. Speaking of...
9) Boise State -- Following Dawg Sports' example I am officially on the Bronco bandwagon. Sure, Jared Zabransky no longer plays home games on a blue turf, but they still have Ian Johnson and a pretty good defense. I am not expecting another undefeated season or even a trip to a BCS bowl, but it could feasibly happen. A meeting with Hawaii is likely the only considerable hurdle in the way, and while that is quite a large hurdle, I trust Chris Peterson could pull it off. I. Love. Chris. Peterson.
10) Ummmm. Penn State I guess? -- By this point, there are clear flaws in just about every team available. However, Penn State has the least flaws in my book, whether Anthony Morelli is for real or not. Their running game, now Tony Hunt-less, figures to struggle at least some but Morelli will have a great season. Plus, the dan Conner-led defense will be one of the better units in all of division 1, thus the #10 ranking.
15) Ohio State
17) Florida State
24) Texas A&M
My Jayhawk seasonp review should end tonight...