My tentative submission to SB Nation's BlogPoll after the jump. Look at the shameless homer!
Feel free to slice and dice it as you please. You won't hurt my feelings. It's all fiction and won't stand up under much scrutiny, much like Sailor Ripley's expense reports. You can also see how i compare to the AP Top 25.
USC and FSU are a pure probability guess - it's not really about "best." They both have the clearest paths to undefeated seasons in a year where the SEC has a reasonable chance of beating up on itself and crowning a two loss conference champion. Knowing that the media will try to jump any 1 (or possibly 2) loss SEC team over comparable resume foes will be an interesting development to monitor.
I'm probably unjustifiably bullish on Texas and Ohio State. But I may just be a year early.
My dark horses are Utah and Louisville. I like at least one of the two to string together a big year. As with my Texas and Ohio State picks, I seem to be putting a lot of hopes on developing offenses improving enough to complement good defenses.
I don't rank the following preseason AP Top 25 teams at all: Boise State, TCU, Oklahoma State. All three are capable of successful seasons, but they've got more question marks than answers.
Though I have three SEC teams in my Top 10, and 6 ranked overall; I'm relatively bearish on Arkansas, South Carolina, and to a much lesser extent, Alabama compared to the AP. Arkansas and South Carolina have implodey vibes. Speaking of predictable implosion, Georgia is a beneficiary of incredibly favorable scheduling and I was actually ready to rank Tennessee too, but offseason incidents convinced me that things are still rotten in Knoxville.
Say a Hail Mary for the Fighting Irish, who face a brutal schedule, but I still like Brian Kelly and I worked them in against my better judgement.
This was the most troubling preseason ballot I've ever filled out. It just doesn't look or feel right. When that's the case, it's often a year ripe for an unexpected champion like a 2000 OU or 2010 Auburn.
Love to hear your thoughts...not my final ballot and plenty of time to talk me out of a particularly bad choice.