Blog Pollin' The Top 25 (11-25)
Time for the second installment of the first Blog Poll Ballot.
But first, a look once more at the rules of the Blog Poll:
1. Don't Talk About Blog Poll.
2. Ignore the schedules.
3. Rank Teams in the Order they would finish head-to-head, neutral site.
4. Last year don't count for sheeeeeeit. (a point Brian kindy reminded me of).
5. Winning Counts.
6. Beat-downs count. Positively if of a good team.
7. Barely escaping crappy teams count, and not in a good way.
8. Don't Talk About Blog Poll.
With that in mind, on to the rankings. I did get some great feedback from a couple of readers on my pre-Top Ten. Specifically on OSU, OU, and Michigan. While I think OSU and Michigan are where they should be, Oklahoma was a tough team to place. They lost a starting guard and their QB to NCAA sanctions. But its not like Bomar set the world on fire as a freshman and OU will simply delve into the pits of Helmsdeep and pull another gigantic lineman out of its larva stage. If I replace them with anyone it would be the first team on the second half of my Top 25 List.
Maize n Brew's Arbitrary Blog Poll Top 11-25
11. California - They're either 8th or 11th because Cal's got Marshawn Lynch and a defense capable of holding the Ardennes Forrest with nothing more than a pair of scissors and a hammer. They've got 15 returning starters and a veteran QB. They've also got a great coach in Telford.
12. Florida - Always has a soft spot in my heart for Urban Meyer since he gave the Irish the finger and took the UF job. Leak's a senior, he's got the best receivers in the SEC to throw to, and a possibly the SEC's best defense front to give him field position. Pass defense is pretty thin though.
13. Florida State - FSU will be breaking in new wideouts this year but they return starters where it matters, O-line. The only question will be at Center where a sophomore takes over. Excellent speed at LB and a bum-rushing D-line (with two new starters). You will not be able to throw on them. Period.
14. Tennessee - Too. Much. Talent. Tennessee has a settled, good QB in Ainge. If things jell, Tennesse could surprise in th SEC after flat out sucking last year. Everybody is "good" on this team. Both sides of the ball are solid. There's no swagger, but there's a chip on their shoulder to prove last year was a fluke. A chip on your shoulder is always better than swagger.
15. Iowa - OMG Drew Tate! I think the wide outs, corners, and linebackers are the question marks that could keep Iowa out of the BSC. Still, 7 returning starters on each side of the ball, inlcuding most of the OL and the entire DL will make this a miserable team to play against. If his receivers step up, Tate will have the time to pick teams apart and the running game in Al Young to keep the blitzes at bay.
16. Virginia Tech - They return 5 starters on each side of the ball. New QB Sean Glennon will have plenty of veteran targets to throw to, provided his brand new line buys him any time. The Defense is all upperclassmen, with the entire 4 set LB corps returning. It's possible this will be the ACC's best defense behind Miami. VT will go as far as they do.
17. Arkansas - If healthy, the Hogs sport one of the best RB's in the SEC in Darren McFadden (he will miss the season opener, FYI). They also sport an excellent O-line and a solid, but not spectatular defense. I am not sold on Houston Nutt as a good head coach though.
18. Georgia - They simply lost too many people. They return only 9 total starters, and replace most of their offensive line and their QB. On defense the Dawgs do have excellent linebackers and a good D-line. Their DB's are a little shakey with only one returning starter.
19. Penn State - Yeah, they lost a lot of people and they're breaking in a new QB but Joe Pa turned the talent spigot back on in Happy Valley and 4/5 star recruits litter the roster. PSU will have a good year, but their defense is suspect past the linebackers and the offense will need a year to jell behind new QB Morelli.
20. West Virginia - Spread offense or not, defense will be the key to Morgantown's success this year. Almost all of both lines return. In fact, 9 of starters on offense that torched Geogia return. Still, they have to beat Louisville and Pitt to make the big dance, and without a defensive backfield to speak of, I think it'll be tough.
21. Oregon - When are people going to realize this IS a good program? Probably when they beat USC. In ten years. Good offense, no so good defense. Uniform alone gets them in the top 25.
22. Clemson - Young. Fast. Scary. Cocky too. Returning 15 starters. Fully capable of turning the ACC on its ear this year. Coaching becomes the question at this point. We'll find out how good Bowden is this year.
23. Northern Illinois - The benefits of doing a preview of a MAC team is you get a look at the conference that everyone seems to play not-so-much to pad their schedule anymore, but to say we beat a non-conference opponent that wasn't Army. NIU's got one of the best tailbacks in the country in Garrett Wolfe and have a good offense and defense to support him. Trips to Iowa and OSU could prove to be dangerous for the hosts. NIU will win the MAC straight out.
24. Texas Tech - Watching their offense is like watching the hyper-hypo run loose in a chocolate factory. With their best QB under center in years, I've got this team down for at least one major upset. Their lack of a defense however will be their undoing.
25. Navy - Triple-option attack! Navy returned just about EVERYONE. While usually Navy's good for a good scare of a quality program, they could legitimately beat Notre Dame this year. There is experience and excellent coaching. And dammit, these boys are disciplined!
I'll post the final list tomorrow. Let me know what you think.