Monday, August 8, 2005

Blogpoll Question #5

Just my luck, I finally get to vote in a college football Top 25 and it's the worst season to try and pick a preseason one since everyone has serious, serious question marks.

Now the current Blogpoll Roundtable comes up:

Tell the world where the teams you know the most about should be ranked and why.

And now I have to start putting my Top 25 together. OK here's my response to this week's roundtable:

My Top 5

1. USC: Yeah, I know Norm Chow has gone to the NFL, but it's basically the same cast of core players. I wouldn't expect a whole lot of drop-off.

2. Georgia: Shocked? You shouldn't be. It's a tough SEC East, but I give Georgia a slight edge over Tennessee because of their schedule and overall talent. Plus, Mark Richt is the better strategist than Phil Fullmer.

3. Virginia Tech: They will be in the mix. They always have a strong defense, plus Miami could potentially be starting a Sophomore QB, FSU isn't the same FSU we're used to seeing, and the other ACC teams will make life miserable for FSU and Miami.

4. LSU: I don't think it really matters who LSU is starting at QB, there's enough talent to go around. Plus, Les Miles in the past has gotten the most out of less talented Oklahoma State teams, I think he'll do well now that he has great talent.

5. Oklahoma: It pains me to admit this, but this is probably the weakest the Big XII has looked in some time. I know most people are picking Texas to win the Big XII. Even OU looks vulnerable. Despite the fact that Paul Thompson will be a serious question mark at quarterback, as will anyone who attempts to replace them, Adrian Peterson is still there, and there's still good talent at wide reciever. The defense will still be among the country's best. Plus, all the other Big XII South contenders, Texas, Texas A&M, and Texas Tech, all still have to prove they can beat OU.

Teams 6-10

6. Michigan: As usual, the winner of the Michigan-Ohio State game will determine the Big 10, assuming Iowa doesn't spoil the party. Michigan's just better talent vs. talent.

7. Texas: Their defense will be solid. I'm still not sold on Vince Young as a starter, however. A good Rose Bowl does not make up for not beating OU and I'm not sold on the guys he's going to be throwing the ball to. And the depth at running back is a huge question mark.

8. Lousiville: They have been one of the best collegiate programs among the non-BCS conferences for some time. They recruit well, they are always well-coached no matter who's doing the coaching, and they win. Now they have graduated to the Big East and they should be a force in the conference for some time to come.

9. Ohio State: Yeah, Ted Ginn's good and A.J. Hawk's a defensive anchor, but I don't think the running back situation's settled. Plus, the leg of Mike Nugent has covered for a drop in Buckeye talent over the last few years and he's gone.

10. Tennessee: I'm not entirely sold on Erik Ainge as a starter, regardless of his sports pedigree, or anyone behind him for that matter. They will give Georgia a close game and ultimately lose, but will get killed by road trips to The Swamp, Death Valley West, and South Bend.

The rest of the Big XII and other Texas Schools.

11. Texas A&M: This team is going to shock a lot of people. They won't beat the Red Raiders in Lubbock, but they have the talent on both sides of the ball to hang with Texas and OU. Plus, they have the next Mike Nugent in Todd Pegram, so that could win them a lot of close games.

17. UTEP: I like what Mike Price is doing in El Paso, Jordan Palmer is a solid QB, they have an underrated defense and the rest of the new Conference USA isn't going to know what hit them. They will definitely win CUSA and could be this year's BCS buster.

20. Texas Tech: I want to believe this is their year, especially since everyone else in the Big XII South has question marks, and a good season would really help recruiting following the laying of the smackdown on should-have-been-BCS-bound Cal in the Holiday Bowl. But I think their cupcake non-conference schedule is going to hurt them in the long run. Plus, while they can beat A&M, if the Red Raiders have any aspirations of winning the South, they would have to beat Texas in Austin and OU period. And they haven't done either under Mike Leach.

22. TCU: They are going to surprise a lot of people in the Mountain West, and probably win it because the other MWC teams aren't used to facing a ball-control attack like TCU's.

23. Colorado: Only because someone has to win the Big XII North, and they have key starting players returning.

25. North Texas: Straight shot to the New Orleans Bowl behind Jamario Thomas (the best back you've never heard of)

29. Kansas: They have probably the biggest defensive star in the North, safety Charles Gordon, who leads an underrated defense.

32. Nebraska: Yeah, they're starting a freshman QB, but they've got just as good a shot at the North as anyone. The talent level has gone way up with their last recruiting class, and the defense will be back to what people expect from a Nebraska defense.

37. Kansas State: I think Bill Snyder's magic of recruiting the strong Kansas and Midwestern JC leagues is wearing off, but he's still a good enough X's And O's coach to pull a few rabbits out of his hat. I don't think there's a replacement for Darren Sproales on the roster currently, though.

40. Missouri: You know Gary Pinkel should be fired for not recruiting enough talent to surround Brad Smith with decent players.

55. Iowa State: Iowa State will play spoiler at best, but that's it. They average one bowl season every four years, and they had it last year.

74. Houston: UH may never return to their Andre Ware glory days, but this program could surprise Oregon or Mississippi State if either one isn't careful.

85. Oklahoma State: This team is due for a huge fall because of a dropoff in talent.

95. Baylor: Considering they are usually ranked in the 100s, this is an improvement. Unfortunately, you could get the ghost of Knute Rockne or Bear Bryant to coach this team and they would never do better than last in the Big XII South.

97. Rice: It's sad that I have to rate them this low because I love teams that steadfastly cling to the triple option in this era of spread offenses. Also, I like Ken Hatfield as a coach and a person. Unfortunately, Rice is an academic institution first and foremost, and their talent reflects that.

100. SMU: The fall of SMU from the "Pony Express" days to one of the worst programs ever is why the NCAA will never use the Death Penalty ever again, even though some teams deserve it (cough *SEC* cough).

Someday I will get around to my conspiracy theory involving the reason why SMU's Death Penalty led to the death of the Southwest Conference, but that will have to wait for another slow news day.

Dead Last

117. New Mexico State: They never should have fired Tony Samuel, the only coach in their history that has gotten them 7 wins a year.

Tomorrow: Offensive Mascots
Next Week: Big XII Preview (I'm working on something special)
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