With football kicking off in less than a month, I found myself looking over this years team schedules. It is one of the many factors that go into the mad scientist formula of determining who I believe is the best team in the nation. Other elements of the formula include the previous seasons finish, returning starters, new recruits on campus, what conference a team plays in, and then there is the most important piece to the strategic placement of teams in my preseason poll. The eyeball test.
Many simply follow the instruction of the USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll. This would be a great method, if not for the coaches rarely taking part in the voting process. As many of you know, that duty is usually reserved for Sports Information Directors. While I looked at their Top 25, I found myself agreeing with many placements. Nine of the top ten teams belong, but not in the “coaches” order.
As I analyzed The USA Today Poll I found myself getting angry. Texas in the top 15! Then I remembered, it’s just a preseason evaluation. So I went forth and produced the greatest meaningless poll of my sports media career. Here it is.
1) Alabama- You can hate it or love it, but until they are knocked off, The Champs Are Here!
2)LSU- Les Miles will have his boys poised for another run.
3)USC- Coming off of two years of scholarship restrictions and no bowl games, The Trojans will be hungry.
4) Michigan- With a highly touted recruiting class and great quarterback, coach Bielema’s squad is ready for the big time.
5)Oregon- So they have holes to fill. Playing in a weak PAC 12 won’t hurt their chances at a BCS Bowl.
6)Georgia- From hot seat to high hopes, The Bulldogs will make noise in 2012.
7)South Carolina- The Ol’ Ball Coach has a ton of talent on his squad and this could be the season they break through.
8)Oklahoma- Landry Jones will have to have a career year in the Big XII for The Sooners to return to the BCS Championship.
9)West Virginia- The Mountaineers will be playing in a new universe, but they can score with the best of them.
10)Arkansas- The Razorbacks look to make people forget about Petrino while hoping to wreck SEC competition.
11)Michiagan State- One of the best coached teams in the country, The Spartans will compete for the Ledgends Division Crown.
12)Florida State- Still unproven in a weak conference, look for FSU to have a stronger season.
13)Virginia Tech- Most project them at 20, but I get the feeling that the football gods will look kindly upon Blacksburg.
14)Wisconsin- A new transfer quarterback will help, but Monte Ball will be the star for The Badgers in 2012.
15) Clemson- They should be closer to 12, but without Sammy Watkins for their opener, they might start the year 0-1.
16)Oklahoma State- Yes they lose a great quarterback and receiver, but they have become a team that reloads.
17)Boise State- Not going to lie, this is just my Token Non AQ top 25 team.
18)Nebraska- Without LaVonte David, can Nebraska compete in The Big Ten?
19)Stanford-They just lost the best quarterback they have seen in a generation. They will still compete.
20)TCU- Welcome to big boy football. Let’s see how the Horned Frogs do.
21)Florida- The Gators are not quite there yet, but inching closer.
22)Auburn- Two years removed from The BCS Title, look for the Tigers to take a bite out of a few teams this year.
23)Kansas State- Can Coach Snyder continue last years magic?
24)Notre Dame- Coach Kelly has The Irish moving in the right direction, but they will fall short of a major bowl this season.
25)Washington- Good things are happening for The Huskies. Look for them to shatter the dreams of a PAC 12 team before seasons end.