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ESPN's College Football Power Poll

Here's how ESPN ranks them.

1 Florida
2 Texas
3 Oklahoma
5 Alabama
6 Ohio State
7 Virginia Tech
8 Mississippi
9 Penn State
10 LSU

11 Oklahoma State
12 California
13 Oregon
14 Georgia
14 Boise State
16 Georgia Tech
17 TCU
18 Notre Dame
19 Nebraska
20 Florida State
20 Iowa
22 North Carolina
23 Brigham Young
24 Miami (FL)
25 Kansas


A power poll suggests that you are rating the overall quality of a team without confounding factors like schedule, road games, bowl tie-ins (and likely conference opponent), homefield advantage, or the basic psychology that tells us that if a team is 7-0, hey, they must be really good.

The psychology is interesting.

If Team X loses three games by a total of 10 points to the top three teams in CFB, they're probably a Top 20 power poll team, irrespective of their 0-3 record.

Similarly, if Team Y beats the three worst teams in CFB by a comfortable margin of victory they haven't necessarily proven anything. Most people accept this intellectually yet are still incapable of filling out a true power poll because "it doesn't look right" to have 0-3 Team X ranked ahead of or even comparably to 3-0 Team Y.

I'm not a person overburdened with this characteristic.

Here's mine:

1. Florida
2. Texas
3. USC
4. OU
5. Ohio State
6. Alabama
7. Ole Miss
8. Georgia
9. California
10. Virginia Tech
11. Oklahoma State
12. LSU
13. Notre Dame
14. Georgia Tech
15. North Carolina
16. Penn State
17. Miami
18. Arkansas
19. Iowa
20. Nebraska
21. Florida State
22. BYU
23. Clemson
24. Oregon
25. Southern Mississippi

I think Florida has a clear separation from the pack. I also believe that spots 2-9 don't have much space between them. I also know that by mid-year, I'll revisit this post and laugh at some of my assumptions.

I'll explain where I have significant divergence.


Georgia is a better team than is being given credit, but their schedule is rugged. They play five of my Power Teams - all ranked #18 or better. Cox will be sufficient at QB and their talent is stashed in places that the media don't readily pick up on.

Arkansas doesn't feel sorry for Georgia. They'll take their lumps early and they have a brutal road slate (@ Florida, @ Alabama, @ LSU, @ Ole Miss - are you kidding me?), but you'll see them acquit themselves pretty well in most of those tough games. No one will want a piece of a 7-5/8-4 Arkansas team in a bowl if the Hogs can stay healthy. The risk here is that they simply get physically abused by the SEC West and injuries don't allow them to hit their late season stride.

Miami. See Arkansas. My primary concern is that they fold mentally if they start 1-3. A 7-1/8-0 finish down the stretch is more than plausible if they'll keep up their effort level.

My Southern Mississippi pick is contingent on the health of WR DeAndre Brown. In addition to the pleasure of antagonizing all of you. If he can get out of his protective boot before the opener, the Southern Miss skill players are top notch and diverse. Their non-con in Lawrence will be interesting.

Notre Dame. I know. I know. It's real simple: Clausen emerges, he has elite talent at WR/TE, the entire OL is back and better. As for the defense, some of the younger guys can actually run a little. This team will be comparable to the 2005 Irish and I think Weis has realized that college kids require actual development.


Boise St. ESPN has them rated #14. I have them unlisted. I could care less if they beat San Jose St. Oh, how I pray that UC-Davis or Utah St will test them. Look deeper: one of the most inexperienced OLs in CFB, an undersized QB playing behind them, a front 7 devastated by graduation. Folks are making lazy assumptions here. No thanks.

TCU. I didn't rank them, though they'd probably come in between 25-30. They're significantly down from last year. They'll do OK against a weak slate and earn a reputation ranking, but that's not what power polls are about.

Oregon. No defense, minimal returning OL, great skill position talent. Oklahoma State lite. A lot of people are penciling automatic victories in for them against middle of the pack Pac 10 teams - UCLA, Stanford, Oregon St - but it won't be so. Their game with Boise will be an interesting battle of inflated perceptions with the winner emerging perceptually - and falsely - as "legit."

Penn State. They return two OL starters, lose all of their dynamic receivers, and lose their entire secondary. I understand it's the Big 10 and that they have an incredibly favorable schedule, but that doesn't change the baseline quality of this team. Pollsters see recognizable quality names at QB, RB, LB and assume that all will be well. I need convincing.

Virginia Tech. I'm only three spots off from the ESPN poll, but Virginia Tech has incredible flame out potential. Tyrod Taylor could be one of the Vick brothers - in every sense - and elevating last year's bad offense is on his shoulders.

Where am I off?

Where am I right?