I do not like preseason polls, especially for college football. Most preseason polls are based largely on the team's performance last year and their expected relevance in the coming year.
My goal is to create a poll without pretense. Granted we have only gotten through one game of the season, but you learn a lot about where a team is and where they are going in the near future. I also want to take into account where I assume a team will finish by the end of the season. Given all that, my poll will look a little different than all the others.
First, though a little game I like to play. Which Division I-A team that will score the highest point total this week? Enter your pick in the comment box below.
For the record, last week's winner, Air Force, with 72 points. And they did it without a 100-yard rusher, though they had 474 yards on the ground, and just 102 yards passing.
To the poll
1. Florida* - Consensus #1. No argument here. After a Saturday walk-through where Tim Tebow didn't even play en entire half of football, I won't drop them until I see a reason.
2. Texas* - Another team with a scrimmage Saturday where they could have hung a hundred. Class of the Big 12. With Oklahoma's issues, their only test may come against Oklahoma State.
3. Alabama – Vaunted defense only allowed 155 yards of offense to Virginia Tech. They avoid Florida during the season, but if they get by Ole Miss and LSU, they’ll play the Gators in the SEC Championship. It’s doubtful they’ll escape all three.
4. Oklahoma State* – Solid win over Georgia and an honest assessment of this teams talent puts them where we thought Oklahoma was. If they can get past Texas at home, you’ll see them in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 7.
5. Cal* - Thrashed Maryland in the opener. Lots of returners, one of the best running backs. If they can beat USC, they have the inside track to the Pac-10 BCS berth and perhaps the title. And I think they are better than USC this year.
6. Notre Dame* – The real deal this year. A shutout over Nevada is a good start. Win through the USC game and we may be talking national title contention.
7. USC – Great team but I have to slip them back due to the freshman quarterback. Who knows how he’ll play at Ohio State, but they will lose one of the two back-to-back games at Cal or at Notre Dame. If they survive those, they have a revenge game against Oregon State looming.
8. Mississippi – No problem with Memphis. The rebels are comin’ and they have something to prove. They have to prove they can beat Alabama, Tennessee and Florida. They do that, they’re in the title. They won’t, but it will still be a good season.
9. BYU* – True, they beat a watered down Oklahoma team, but BYU schedule is actually strong enough to make a BCS argument. If they tally wins over Florida State, TCU and Utah, how can you leave them out.
10. Boise State – Impressive domination of Oregon. May be good enough to contend for national title, but schedule will not allow for it.
11. Penn State – The default Big 10 BCS rep if they beat Ohio State. It will be a shame if they play for the title, though because they just aren’t good enough for that.
12. Georgia Tech – Despite five fumbles and mistakes galore, the Jacket beat Jacksonville State by 20. Tech likely to win what looks to be a soft ACC.
13. Utah – Didn’t destroy Utah State, but the country’s longest winning streak can’t be ignored. They aren’t likely to be tested until a November 13 game at TCU.
14. Ohio State – These guys aren’t that good based on Ohio State standards. I’m not sold on Terrelle Pryor. USC is going to win by 20 again.
15. North Carolina – Butch Davis has this team together with an opening win. Schedule sets up well to contend for the ACC title.
16. LSU – Tough win over improved and inspired Washington. Good tune up games before the SEC starts.
17. Virginia Tech – I don’t think they were ready to play Alabama last week. Marshall will be no issue but the Nebraska team coming in on the Sept. 18 has revenge on their minds for a game the Huskers feel they should have won. Miami, BC, Georgia Tech and North Carolina in a five week stretch won’t be easy.
18. Oklahoma – The Sooners are going to fight Sam Bradford’s injury all year, no matter when he actually comes back. They will lose to Texas and likely Oklahoma State, maybe Nebraska.
19. TCU – Easy schedule outside of BYU and Utah. They will likely lose one of those two games, no more.
20. Nebraska – A pedestrian win over FAU doesn’t tell us much about Nebraska. The chances of them beating Virginia Tech and Oklahoma went up but the Missouri game looks more difficult. Two to three losses still look certain.
21. Kansas – Impressive win over Northern Colorado without star receiver Dezmon Briscoe. Soft non-conference yet they will lose at least two of their four big games against Oklahoma, Nebraska, Texas and Missouri.
22. Oregon State – A much better team than their in-state counterpart, with an easier schedule. Two or three losses is all I see.
23. Cincinnati – Ran over favored Rutgers. Questions on defense, returning just one guy. Still, they should win the Big East.
24. Northwestern – Towson, Eastern Michigan, Syracuse to open the season is great. The Cats will likely be ranked heading into their Oct. 30 Meeting with Penn St.
25. Miami (FL) – Fought hard to beat Florida State on the road. Open the season with four ranked opponents. If they can find a way to come out of that 3-1 They may be on their way to a big year.
* Means I believe this team to be a national champion contender.
Notable missing teams:
Georgia - I think when it all shakes out, Georgia will lose three more games and finish the season unranked.
Missouri - Missouri could play their way into my top 25 but I'm not anointing Blaine Gabbert quite yet.
Teams on the cusp:
Michigan State, Pitt, Texas Tech, Tennessee, West Virginia, Baylor.
How does Florida State continue to be ranked at the start of every season. They haven't been good or relevant in a long time.
Upset picks of the week:
Fresno State over Wisconsin; Toledo over Colorado; Buffalo over Pitt
USC big over Ohio State; Texas and TCU to cover whatever spread; Oklahoma State v. Houston over.
For the entire Division 1-A rankings of all 120 teams, E-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please comment below.