Recently, I applied to join the world-famous BlogPoll, and was accepted for membership in 2008.
Over the next week (the deadline for submission is the 18th), I plan on coming up with my first preseason ballot. It'll be created from scratch, instead of picking and choosing the best of the preseason coaches poll. And I'm going to detail the reasoning behind my selection process. It's not likely an experience that I'll put on my resume if I ever click on that "Bowl Championship Series looking for Assistant V.P. of Shadowy Operations" entry on Craigslist. My general theory of voting is that humans are very biased. When in doubt, I'll defer to Sagarin, and other uncaring computers that hate the game of football and want to send Oklahoma to the title game again.
Step 1 - Paring the list down
Evaluating all 119 teams would be both time-consuming and rather pointless. As far as Duke football's reputation has risen of late, even Steve Spurrier didn't give them a vote this year. I'm going to use a heuristic to speed up my mental search algorithm; intuition. The test is simple - does a team feel like they belong in the top 25? I'll go with the first snap judgment that comes up, even if it's that kittens should be microwaved. Boom - hot feline on rye. I'm far from the only person that uses intuition, in lieu of facts, to make points about sports. Although, I'm just using it as a filtering mechanism, and not as a final arbitrary criterion. There's not a whole lot of interesting content in the rest of this entry.
Read: the following words are probably stupid, uninformed, biased, nonsense and scuttlebutt. It's mere thinking out loud. I don't even put ads on this page, so the only reason for you to go any further is if you're trying to bankrupt Wordpress click by click.
ACC: Clemson and VT are givens. Wake Forest has a lot of experience returning, as does Maryland, so I'll peg them as a sleeper.
Big East: West Virginia and USF are the favorites by any metric. Pitt's inexperience on the OL makes me apprehensive, but the talent is there.
Big Ten: Ohio State lost Gholston, but might be even better this year after Pryor takes over the job. Wisconsin will probably turn in another typical Wisconsin season. MgoBlog just previewed Penn State, and I echo the skepticism for their new offense. Illinois has a talented team returning, but did lose several key players. No one quite knows what to expect from Michigan, and MSU is one of my top sleepers going into this season.
Big XII: Oklahoma is my preliminary #1. I don't really expect Kansas to play as well as they did in 2007, but they deserve a ranking until proven otherwise. Most of Missouri's key starters return. I'll definitely have to look at Oklahoma State more, as they're one of the trendier preseason picks. Texas is trending a little downward, their fans are starting to get restless, and they could be in for a fall if their new DC doesn't tighten things up. Texas Tech's OOC schedule is so poor that I will refuse to vote for them in my first ballot on principle.
Pac 10: After USC, it's kind of a mess in the middle. Arizona State, Oregon; no one quite knows what to expect from Cal or UCLA. I'll probably have to spend a lot of time here.
SEC: Georgia is the consensus preseason #1. At the end of 2007, before bowl season, I thought they and Oklahoma were playing the best football in the country. Florida is another consensus top 5 pick, but they're going to need to find a traditional RB in order to make sure Tebow doesn't disintegrate into Jesus dust. LSU lost a lot; but my god, the stars on Rivals. There's Tennessee and Auburn, and it's hard to get a good read right now on Alabama or the COCKS.
Mid-majors: Fresno State, Boise State, BYU, Utah, and TCU in no particular order.
There. From 119 teams, we're down to less than 40 teams for 25 spots.