Monday, August 23, 2010

BlogPoll Mondays: Preseason Ugh

Although I will usually submit the first iteration of my weekly BlogPoll Top 25 ballot on Sundays, I will have a post on Monday highlighting the ballot and encouraging your feedback.

Let's dig into my preseason ballot. A few notes:

*Based on your comments, I have already made some changes:

(1) I have vaulted Ohio State ahead of Oregon (great points made, obviously) AND VA Tech, but still outside the Top 5.

(2) I have bumped out Arizona in favor of Washington. After being tipped by a commenter, I went back and revisited 'Zona -- yes, overheated. I'm inclined to wish for a UW revival anyway.

*The preseason ballot sucks, on lots of levels. For starters, there's no standard (as if the weekly ballot has one, among the AP or Coaches or even BlogPollsters). Are you picking the best team? The team that will win the title?

How about No. 2: Is that really the 2nd-best team... or are pollsters picking Ohio State at No. 2 because they figure OSU will go unbeaten, not because OSU would actually beat Florida if they played head-to-head.

Here's how I net out: For this week -- this week -- I am picking what I think is the best team: Boise State. I think if Boise played Texas in the national title game, Boise would win. Same if they played Alabama/Florida or Ohio State. This is NOT a "protest" vote against the BCS; you can go back to January and see that I've been high on Boise State for this season.

Once we have some actual game data, I mostly -- mostly -- use a "resume" system: What have you done this season? Not what you did last season or what you might do the rest of this season. Obviously, this involves a bit of nuance, primarily early in the season. But I felt very good putting BYU at No. 1 after they beat Oklahoma last year in early September. I felt very good putting Houston high after they won at Oklahoma State. And I will feel great keeping Boise State at No. 1 after they beat VA Tech at FedEx Field in a few weeks.

What else about this year's preseason ballot?

Well, I'm big on TCU -- just like I was last year. (This is a stretch, but one of the reasons I like Boise over Texas is because Boise has learned a lot of defensive scheming from TCU, which I think is the best-coached defense in the country... even better than Will Muschamp's coaching at Texas. And I think TCU's D would have smothered Texas a year ago; I think Boise's D could do enough to stop Texas this year.)

I'm also big on Cincinnati -- I believe in the new coach, Butch Jones, coming off a great career at Central Michigan, and new QB Zac Collaros, who was arguably better than Tony Pike when Pike was injured last season.

And as always, I'm big on Utah, which -- as I said earlier this summer -- could enter the Pac-10 next season as the best non-probationary team in the league.

Check out the complete ballot here, and please continue to leave your feedback. I believe the updated version is due to BlogPoll HQ by Wednesday morning, but I'm going to try to lock in any changes by Tuesday afternoon.

As always, thanks for the help and input -- and keeping me honest!

-- D.S.

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