If you're new to CN this season, you're not going to be familiar with the Blogpoll. The blogpoll was originally started a few years ago by Brian Cook at mgoblog. It features a Top 25 college football poll run throughout the season and voted upon by number of prominent bloggers. The idea is that you, the fans, get to see our draft ballots every week and give us your feedback as to whether or not teams should be ranked before we submit our final ballots.
Obviously the first poll of the season is a crapshoot, but it's fun to do and should be fun to discuss!
My first poll is after the jump, along with a rational behind the ranking of each team. Remember, feedback isn't just encouraged - it's required, even if you want to tell me how full of crap I am.
Landry Jones and Ryan Broyles make two of the best QB-WR combinations in the nation on a team whose only weakness may be at linebacker due to the tragic death of Austin Box and a broken foot injury to Travis Lewis. As an added bonus, there's no Big 12 title game to trip them up, and honestly, with Texas still in recovery mode, perhaps an easier schedule than anyone knows at this point.
Best defense in the nation along with the most loophole-using coach in the nation - a dangerous combination. Put it this way - imagine if Bo Pelini could recruit five extra guys every year and replace his bottom five. Then imagine what he'd have for a defense. LSU and Arkansas at home. Plus, Nick Saban and his contract with Satan is always a bonus.
3. Boise St Broncos
The Broncos have a first weekend test against Georgia (much like last year's first week game against Virginia Tech), and if they pass that should have one of the easier paths to the national title game. Kellen Moore is excellent, running back Doug Martin should be great and they have plenty of depth on the offensive line. Hey - it wasn't their fault that BYU and Utah left the Mountain West just as they joined.
4. Oregon Ducks
We'll find out how real the Ducks are the first weekend as they take on LSU at Jerryworld. Darron Thomas and LaMichael James are as fine a part of quarterback and running back in the nation, but the Ducks have to replace an offensive line. They're in Stanford's division this year, and they have a title game, but right now, they're ahead of LSU and could fluctuate rapidly depending upon the outcome at Jerryworld.
5. LSU Tigers
Les Miles went 11-2 last season, despite inconsistent quarterback play. This year Jordan Jefferson will be the clear starter (although he may get suspended due to his alleged part in a brawl), and LSU returns a lot of experience. And then there's Les Miles.
6. Florida St Seminoles
Last season the Seminoles had hopes for a great season - until they played Oklahoma and got their butts handed to them 47-17. The Seminoles meet the Sooners again this season early, so we'll know a lot more about how much they've improved this season, particularly on defense.
7. Texas A&M Aggies
Husker fans might point at the Aggies barely beating us despite our injuries in perhaps what might have been a rigged game, but Texas A&M beat Texas, Oklahoma and Nebraska last season (winning their last six games), largely due to the offensive play after Ryan Tannehill took over at quarterback. Running back Cyrus Gray and receiver Jeff Fuller make a great set of skill players. Plus, someone's going to finish second in the Big 12, and it won't be Okie State.
They have a new starting quarterback and their defense sucked last season (relative to Bud Foster's standard), but they get a soft schedule this season. That, and I'm placing some faith in Bill Connelly's season preview - the Hokies will be good this season.
Russell Wilson! Russell Wilson! Russell Wilson! Blah de blah. Wilson may fill in the blankest spot on the 2011 Badger team, but I wonder if his arrival will bring as many roses as they'd like. Two great running backs, good line, that's about all you need, ain't it? (At least, that's what we used to think with Osborne's teams, right?)
Wow. Look at that. Here I post an article about #10 being too high for Nebraska, and when I really sit down and look at the teams, that's where they end up. That's the thing about rankings - someone has to fill the spots. I'm almost certain we're not a top ten team, I'm just not sure whom else to put here.
Steve Spurrier has his most experienced team, along with running back Marcus Lattimore and receiver Alshon Jeffrey. The Cocks made the SEC title game last year, although this year they get Arkansas, Georgia and Mississippi State on the road.
12. Michigan St Spartans
Quarterback Kirk Cousins, running back Edwin Baker and receivers B.J. Cunningham and Keshawn Martin will make for a decent offense. The defense may have problems replicating last year's success, but Mark Dantonio may finally have this program showing consistency.
13. Georgia Bulldogs
Head coach Mark Richt is on the hot seat, and we should know early (Boise State!) if the Bulldogs have improved over last season. Include in this a schedule that has them avoiding LSU, Alabama, and Arkanas (how does that happen???!!!).
14. Oklahoma St Cowboys
That Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon are returning doesn't do it for me. Dana Holgersen is gone, now head coach at West Virginia, and I don't see the offense being the same without him. Defense - improved, but not Top Ten improved.
Quarterback Andrew Luck returns, but head coach Jim Harbaugh is gone, along with a good portion of the offensive line. Let's just say I don't believe the hype around Luck - at least not with Harbaugh at the helm.
This is a Brian Kelly's second-year based ranking. On top of that, ranking the Irish always leads to discussion. Seriously, though, the Irish have plenty of talent, but they haven't had the right coach - until now.
18. Ohio St Buckeyes
They'll still have plenty of talent this season. A couple years, when sanctions hit them, then they'll be hurting. Until then, they're ranked.
19. Auburn Tigers
They were #1 last year. Normally I'd rank #1 teams from the previous season #1 until they get beat, but not anymore. Cam Newton was Auburn. He's gone and while they'll still be good, they won't be Top Ten good.
20. Arizona St Sun Devils
I'm hesitant to rank these guys because I have no faith in Dennis Erickson's ability to coach them to a ranked position. This is a benefit of the doubt ranking. The Sun Devils are one of most experienced teams in the nation, and that has to count for something, right?
21. Southern Miss Golden Eagles
Experienced team, returning quarterback Austin Davis, an easy schedule (holy cow!) and the idea that someone is going to win Conference USA earn them this ranking.
22. TCU Horned Frogs
TCU should have a good defense, but Andy Dalton is gone and whether Casey Pachall or redshirt freshman Matt Brown, neither is Dalton. SB Nation finally has a TCU blog, btw, Frogs Of War, with one of the weirder logos you'll see.
23. Mississippi St Bulldogs
The Bulldogs won nine games last season. They've never had back-to-back nine-win seasons. I'm ranking them here to give them more juju. Or mojo.
24. Florida Gators
So I'm down on first-year coaches, but I'm ranking Will Muschamp's Gators? Maybe I should go ahead and rank Texas instead.....
Where did Utah go again? Oh... yeah, the Pac-12. Well, how are they going to do playing alla those teams? Unlike Nebraska, the Pac-12 gave the Utes a fairly easy schedule to start. Five conference home games, and no Stanford or Oregon. They're lacking a lot of experience, however. So why did I rank them? Because I'd like you to tell me who else belongs here. Maybe Oregon State?