The AP released its Top 25 poll last week and they have SC ranked at #6. At first I was a little ticked about where we placed. Then I looked at it again and became amused. I'm still not happy at the #6 rating but the new love for Notre Dame is really picking up steam. Again, as has been discussed until we're all blue in the face, the point of the pre-season poll seems pointless. But I still have questions.
3 of the top six teams have lost key personnel. tOSU, UT and USC have some rebuilding to do. Texas has least work to do in terms of pure numbers but losing VY will have a huge effect. 4 of the six teams have questions on at least one side of the ball.
The four teams that I mentioned above are poised to make either a tremendous run or trip up and lose a game or two. Be cause they all have similar issues to fix and will be watched closely in the upcoming season; in my opinion they should either be listed together high or listed together lower. The USA Today Coaches poll seems much more palatable. They have the four teams I mentioned grouped together in a way that makes sense. Because of these questions I find it difficult to see how the AP ranks the teams the way they do. Don't get me wrong, outside of NOT having a pre-season poll I'm not sure how I would rank them if you put a gun to my head.
I give Scott Wolf credit for having the stones to rank SC 8th. I don't necessarily agree with it but I can see his reasoning, but then he puts tOSU at #2 so there are inconsistencies even within ballots. tOSU has the same issues as SC only on the defense not the offense. You see the same thing in Kirk Bohls' ballot in the Austin American Statesman, HT: Bevo Sports. How does he rate WVU over Texas?? Are you kidding me?
ND is another interesting one. I know that they will get the same special ESPN treatment that SC got last year and Coach Weis has made it exciting to root for ND again but not with the questions that they have on defense. What have they won to rate a #2 rating? This is certainly not a post bashing ND. There will be time for that as the season progresses. I'm teasing Rakes.
Texas has to replace one of the most exciting college football players of all time and they will do it with a freshman, but with most of the offense returning, except for two top linemen, and a little bit of work to do on the defense (losing Griffin and Huff), Coach Brown merely needs to change the playbook a little to adjust for Colt McCoy. The rest is on McCoy to perform and there is nothing like game experience to get you caught up.
Lets look at some of the other teams.
I'm not sold on WVU. I don't care what they did in the Sugar Bowl. I know I know they won their bowl game, some would say convincingly but the Big East just isn't the same since the shake up, are they even the best team in their conference? Petrino will have Louisville ready and he needs to make a big statement with that new contract. What about Oklahoma? With all that has happened of late they have a lot of work to do in breaking in a new QB. I understand that he has the talent but he didn't get the reps in the spring. That's a lot to ask of a new QB so how do they rate a #10 ranking? I'd put Iowa there before I would Oklahoma. Would you rank WVU #1 if they were 12 - 0 and UF, ND, UT or USC had only one loss? I wouldn't, not with that schedule.
The point being is that Pre-season polls are insignificant. Yes, they provide a lot of hype and discussion abounds, but at least they should have some educated position. Based on what I've seen with the BlogPoll most of the voters have taken the time to do some quality thinking and review on the subject. There are a few homer picks but the complete body of work looks a lot more thoughtful.
In their BlogPoll Wrap-Up, the guys at The House Rock Built compiled what they thought were the best responses to the latest BlogPoll Roundtable. This is definitely a great read. There are some great responses that really make you think and some that make you want to scratch your head but this response from SMQ to me says it all:
I really couldn't have said it better myself.
Anyway, those are just my thoughts. Feel free to comment.