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CaM BlogPoll Ballot: Preseason

Each week, we'll post our ballot for the SB Nation college football BlogPoll. As you might imagine, the BlogPoll ranks teams based on ballots submitted from writers throughout the college football blogosphere. Analysis/explanation will come after the jump. Feel free to praise our genius or tell us how stupid we are in the comments section. Note: These rankings are compiled by Chris Fuhrmeister. The rest of the College and Magnolia staff may think they're stupid, too.



Yes, after submitting the ballot, we felt a bit of buyer's remorse. Southern Cal is loaded on offense, but questions about the Trojans' depth and defense are legitimate. Still, USC plays in the Pac-12 South, and our staunch SEC bias leads us to believe that USC's schedule can't be too difficult. A home date against Oregon on Nov. 3 is the highlight of the schedule, but a Thursday night game at Utah on Oct. 4 may be the biggest test on the schedule. If the Trojans can win those two games, they'll get Oregon at home in the Pac-12 Championship Game. If Lane Kiffin's squad wins that one, it will be playing for a national title.

Alabama is ranked No. 4 because we are Barners and homers.

We know, we're severely underrating the Crimson Tide by dropping them down all the way to the No. 4 spot. Alabama will have Nick Saban as head coach and the best offensive line in the country. We got it. The Tide loses a Heisman Trophy finalist, five All-Americans on defense, has zero proven wide receivers, and is dealing with injury issues at running back. But yeah, we're the homers for having the audacity to drop 'Bama all the way to the second-worst spot in the top five.


Five teams that could boom or bust.

These teams are potentially elite, and it wouldn't be a surprise if any of them were in the national title hunt at the end of the season. But there's ample reason to believe they will all derp it up at some point. Oklahoma is loaded, but the Sooners haven't been able to meet expectations in recent years. South Carolina has a great backfield and plays in a weak division, but playing LSU, Florida and Clemson on the road is no picnic. West Virginia has a high-flying offense, but how will it handle the move to a much tougher conference? Competing with Texas, Oklahoma State and Oklahoma is much different than competing with Rutgers, Louisville and Cincinnati. Wisconsin will have a strong running game, but the defense could disappoint. And breaking in another new QB won't be easy. Georgia may have the easiest schedule of any BCS team, but there are questions at running back and O-line. Plus, the Dawgs will probably deal a couple more suspensions before the year is over.


Let's be honest, this is all a crapshoot.

As George Costanza would say, these teams are right in that meaty part of the curve -- not showing off, not falling behind. It's hard to expect greatness here, but there is potential for 10 win seasons and conference title contention. There's also a good chance this section will produce a couple of five-loss teams playing in mid-December bowl games. We aren't big fans of preseason rankings, and this is the part of the poll that drives the point home. It's easy to pick a few loaded teams that are likely title contenders, but honestly, no one knows what these teams will do.


Where we hand out token rankings, honor previous successes, and attempt to pick dark horses.

Boise State -- Has been good for a while, and the Broncos still have Chris Petersen as head coach. YOU GET A RANKING.

Texas -- Is Texas. Even if the 'Horns went 0-12 last season, they have too much clout. YOU GET A RANKING.

Utah -- Ah, a sleeper emerges. The Utes went 8-5 in their first Pac-12 season last year, and with 16 returning starters and a manageable schedule they could give USC headaches in the South Division. If Utah upsets the Trojans on Oct. 4, the Utes control their title-game destiny. YOU GET A RANKING.

Notre Dame -- Is Notre Dame, which really might be enough to avoid ranking the Irish. If we regret ranking any individual team, it's ND. Nevertheless, YOU GET A RANKING.


Our beloved Tigers have so many question marks going into the season, we can't justifiably raise expectations too high. But even with those questions, Auburn is too talented to go unranked. If the offensive line gels and Kiehl Frazier plays well at quarterback, look out. The Tigers could vault up to a much higher spot in this poll by season's end.