It's BlogPoll ballot time, folks, and the first week did some pretty good shaking to the preseason draft. California takes a huge plunge, Tennessee makes a grand entrance, and Louisville sees their highest aspirations crack in gruesome fashion. Please note that this is a draft: we'll take comments and suggestions on improvement into consideration, though because we're behind, if you want someone to move, speak up loud and fast...
And now notes with each team:
1. Texas 21 in a row now, and while we're not the biggest believers in ranking the defending champs at the top until they lose, there's no clear heir to the throne just yet. In any case, it's all going to be settled by midnight Saturday anyway. The Horns will justify their #1 ranking, or give it up to Ohio State, soon enough. All I'll say is this: Colt McCoy looks awfully developed for a redshirt freshman. I'm optimistic.
2. Southern Cal We've been saying for several months not to write this team off, and they outperformed even our reasonably optimistic projection in the opener. The key is the very real improvements on defense. While the offense won't be gunning at quite the same rate as last year's super squad, the defense won't be falling asleep with nearly the same frequency. They're still uber-dangerous.
3. Auburn Kenny Irons joins Adrian Peterson at the top of the running back Heisman watch list now that Lynch and Bush took such tough week one blows. Meanwhile, SEC is looking tougher and tougher. Even with a 'favorable' schedule, running the table in the SEC may be near impossible this season.
4. Ohio State Buckeye fans needn't complain to us. Again, your team will have its chance to assert its superiority on Saturday. For now, #4 is fine. All I'll say is this: the defense looked penetrable. And your offense hasn't seen a defense like this one in... well... it's been a long time. We're ready.
5. West Virginia Slaton is elite. I believe. With that schedule, and his playmaking abilities, you have to respect this team's chances of running the table. I really, really need to watch this team closely in their two reasonable tests - Maryland and Louisville. It may be our only chance to decide if they're title-game legit.
6. Notre Dame So much for the unstoppable offense, huh? Improvement is certainly on the way, but the nature of the victory has to be a cause for concern. National title teams don't play that poorly - not even in week one. I'm always wary of getting carried away with one week - everyone plays poorly from time to time - but this did nothing to help me believe they can run the table.
7. Iowa I believe in this team, and still think they've got a great shot to take down Ohio State at home. Again, though, too early to say much more. A team I'm watching closely.
8. Louisiana State I may just type the same notes each week: "Dinged Les Miles points." You know a bad loss is coming somewhere.
9. Tennessee We didn't have Tennessee ranked in the preseason, but we're happy to correct that mistake. Cutliffe returns! Again, their revival makes the SEC that much stronger.
10. Florida Struggled a bit early, but got it going. The more and more I think about this team, the more and more I believe that the O-Line is its undoing. That defense, though... yikes.
11. Florida State Drew Weatherford didn't exactly dominate... but they got it done. The ACC looks awfully tough this year, too. No one's running the table here. The top of this conference is meat.
12. Clemson See? Meat.
13. Louisville I threw up watching that video of Bush's leg being snapped. What a shame. That offense was the one to beat. Huge break for West Virginia.
14. Michigan They could make us look silly here and do what we're expecting Iowa to do. All in all, it was a pretty encouraging week one performance from the Wolverines. The defense showed some life, while Hart truly impressed. I'm ready to move this team up. We'll wait for the Notre Dame game as our judgment day.
15. Georgia Mark Richt will do plenty with this team, quarterback situation be damned. Look out for the 2007 Bulldogs, ladies and gentlemen. They're going to be great.
16. Miami Listening to Mike Patrick prematurely knobslob Kyle Wright was painful. This offense may repeat '05 and disappear too often.
17. Nebraska Another team I'm not totally sold on... yet. Still, with the Big 12 North laying down their collective swords already, they're gonna win plenty of games. The offense is just not good enough to beat a Top 10 team, though.
18. TCU It wasn't an awe-inspiring performance, that's for sure. Still, this is a team I see improving. There's real talent here.
19. Virginia Tech Another team that we failed to rank in the preseason. Still, this is the beauty of the BlogPoll. After I ripped on the Hokies, my biases against Beamer and Mike Vick were properly called to task. I'll adjust my ranking accordingly (and, I admit, begrudgingly).
20. Penn State Anyone else thinking that after week one that Notre Dame line on Saturday's gonna be too low? I'm thinking so...
21. Texas Tech This is a team I'm ready to move up. The Red Raider whisperings in my ear have started to make me think this is a Top 10-15 team. Too early to say, but I'm not counting them as trick ponies just yet.
22. Oregon The conference really needs Oregon to handle Fresno State on Saturday. A loss by the Ducks would cement a horrific start for the conference. Southern Cal is Southern Cal, and UCLA looked fine against Utah, but a loss here and/or to Oklahoma would be pretty grim.
23. Oklahoma Paul Thompson did not impress. The defense did not impress. They looked like a B+ team from my angle, and I watched most of the game. That's fine, of course, unless some folks think you're a Top 10 team. Not here.
24. California The good news: it can only get better! The bad news: well, you saw it, didn't you?
25. South Carolina The Bulldog faithful are nervous about this game. One of the more intriguing matchups of this Saturday.