For the sixth straight season, we are once again honored to be invited to be a voter in the College Football BlogPoll Top 25. This year the poll is sponsored again by our friends over at SB Nation.
The BlogPoll is made up of a collection of 100+ voters (bloggers) who represent schools from across the country from all conferences.
I will be casting the RazorBloggers ballot and posting it here each week throughout the season for discussion. As always, your commentary will impact our weekly rankings.
Our friends over at Hog Database are also voters in the BlogPoll, helping us stuff the ballot box again this year for the Hogs. ;)
Since it’s inception in 2006, the BlogPoll has consistently shown a flexibility the mainstream polls have not. Conventional polls seem to adhere to the idea that if you’re #1, you stay #1. The bloggers have tended to be more responsive, moving teams up or down more quickly based on performance on the field.
While our gut tells us to put LSU at the top, we’d like to get a look at new Tiger quarterback Zach Mettenberger first. Mettenberger was a talented, highly-ranked recruit coming out of high school, but had a multitude of problems at Georgia. We are not sure he has the mettle to lead a team, but then again he’s got to be better than Jordan Jefferson…doesn’t he?
USC is loaded with offensive skill players. Led by Heisman front-runner QB Matt Barkley (3,528 PaYds, 39 TDs in 2011), the Trojans have a super group of wide receivers in Robert Woods (1,292 RecYds, 15 TDs) and Marquise Lee (1,143 RecYds, 11 TDs). Running backs Curtis McNeil (1,005 RuYds, 6 TDs) and recent Penn State transfer Silas Redd (1,262 RuYds, 7 TDs) give Lane Kiffin the balance he missed most of last season.
Like the USA Today Coaches Poll, we put five SEC schools in the top 10. We think Georgia could be much improved with super freshman running back Keith Marshall. Head Coach Mark Richt has been stockpiling talent for the last few seasons, especially on defense where nine starters return.
We love what head coach Brady Hoke is doing at Michigan…re-establishing the hard-nosed, tough brand of football Wolverine fans love. Despite the fact that Oklahoma State lost stars QB Brandon Weeden and WR Justin Blackmon to the NFL, we like how Mike Gundy has reloaded with true frosh quarterback Wes Lunt (6-4, 211). The ‘Pokes should be better on defense too boot.
Two other SEC schools made our ballot – Florida and Tennessee. The Gators might have the best defense in the East, while the Vol trio of wide receivers Justin Hunter, Da’Rick Rogers and Cordarelle Patterson give QB Tyler Bray more weapons than he can count.
While the preseason BlogPoll doesn’t come out for another week or so, we thought we would share the first draft of our ballot and see what you guys think. Don’t pull any punches…
|1||USC||10-2||6||Trojans, Kiffin loaded with skill players; Defense improved.|
|2||LSU||13-1||2||New QB and the Honey Badger’s dismissal, lands LSU here.|
|3||Alabama||12-1||1||Despite losing high NFL picks in 2011, NC Tide still elite.|
|4||Florida St.||9-4||23||Seminoles, Manuel look to rebound from injury plagued 2011.|
|5||Oregon||12-2||4||With new QB and improved D, Ducks will keep it rolling.|
|6||Oklahoma||10-3||16||So who will become QB Landry Jones new favorite target?|
|7||Arkansas||11-2||5||With Knile back, Hogs offense should be top 5 in 2012.|
|8||Georgia||10-4||19||Dawgs have been stockpiling talent; closing the gap vs. West.|
|9||South Carolina||11-2||9||Gamecocks coming off first 11-win season in school history.|
|10||Michigan||11-2||12||HC Hoke slowly building Michigan back. Defense still lagging.|
|11||Oklahoma St.||12-1||3||New frosh QB Wes Lunt is Gundy’s new trigger man for 2012.|
|12||Clemson||10-4||22||Tigers could be higher, but rebuilt O-Line lands them here.|
|13||Michigan St.||11-3||11||Sparty will be elite on D, but must replace QB Cousins, WRs.|
|14||Virginia Tech||11-3||21||QB LoganThomas (30 Total TDs) isn’t Cam Newton, but close.|
|15||Wisconsin||11-3||10||With loss of QB Wilson, OC Chryst, UW make take step back.|
|16||Texas||8-5||NR||Can the Longhorns get out of their own way on offense?|
|17||Florida||7-6||NR||HC Muschamp’s defense could be championship caliber.|
|18||West Virginia||10-3||17||QB Geno Smith (4,385 PaYds in ’11) will feel at home in Big 12.|
|19||Ohio St.||6-7||NR||Buckeyes, HC Meyer can’t go bowling, but still have players.|
|20||Central Florida||5-7||NR||RB Storm Johnson leads improved O. Favorites to win CUSA.|
|21||Nebraska||9-4||24||Cornhuskers, QB Taylor Martinez could win Legends Division.|
|22||Kansas St.||10-3||15||As long as KSU has QB Colin Klein (40 TDs), they have a shot.|
|23||Stanford||11-2||7||RB Stepfan Taylor, improved D leads “Luck-less” Cardinal.|
|24||TCU||11-2||14||Frogs find a new home in Big 12. QB Pachal is underrated.|
|25||Tennessee||5-7||NR||Vols, QB Bray have best WR corps in the nation.|
|Others considered: Houston, Boise St., South Florida, Utah, Notre Dame, Louisville, Florida International, UCLA, Texas A&M, Auburn, Mississippi St., BYU, Georgia Tech, Western Michigan, California, North Carolina, North Carolina St., Northern Illinois, Ohio, Iowa, Tulsa.|