It's time for another BlogPoll Roundtable, hosted this go-round by Duluth, Minnesota radio man Bruce Ciskie. On to the questions.
Which preseason college football magazine is your favorite?
With so many to choose from, this could be a daunting task...
The panapoly of preview mags can be dizzying. Photo via MountainLair.
But not this year. Matt Hinton's incomparable SMQ has spared me the trouble with his absurdly good absurdly early previews. You can read the previews online, of course, but I went with the paper edition as well.
The best pre-preview magazine in the bizness: SMQ.
Matt dazzles the readers with an impressive array of knowledge, both micro and macro, while writing colorfully to keep your interest when the team may not. It takes a special writing talent to pull me all the way through an Arkansas State preview. Matt dun did it.
SMQ previews don't just have colorful pictures; the content is first-rate, too.
What team is being supremely overrated in the preseason rankings?
How could it be anyone other than Oklahoma? No fewer than three national previews have the Sooners at the top. The argument tends to go: Adrian Peterson is healthy, Rhett Bomar is not a freshman, the defense should be solid, and the schedule isn't too daunting.
Folks, that's a hedge; not a pick. The offensive line is inexperienced at best, depleted at worst. Even Reggie Bush needs good blocking, though less than most. As for Bomar: what, precisely, gives anyone confidence that he's a national title quarterback? With a subpar offensive line, he's going to have to be better than a game manager, and he's shown no ability to do so yet.
I'm certain the Sooners will be a strong team, perhaps even a Top 10 team, but a #1 team? I'd bet my bottom dollar that won't happen.
Turn the tables. Who is underrated?
You gotta love Kyle's answer, Texas, of course. His analysis is exactly in line with my own: the Horns are going to field perhaps the best defense in the country; look out.
But I'll be a little more adventurous here. How about Notre Dame? Hear me out on this one.
They return the best junior quarterback in the country (with apologies to Troy Smith) a dynamic and diverse offensive attack, the best coach... okay, I can't go on. I'm as sick of their hype as you are.
I'll cast my real vote for Boston College. TOB has quietly built a strong, stable program, and things look pretty good for this year - perhaps even ACC title good. I won't be shocked if this team finishes with just 2 losses. (Addendum: I also just wanted to pimp ATL EAGLE, one of the more underrated college blogs out there.)
Which conference will be best in 2006?
The Big 10 and SEC both look awfully strong to me, followed by the ACC, Pac 10 and Big 12, in no particular order. I'm not getting sucked into this one again.
Which non-BCS conference will be the best?
I guess the WAC, though the bottom of the conference is pretty miserable. Boise State and Fresno State should once again be solid, if not spectacular. Conference USA won't be awful, and I like UTEP to be a surprise team this year, perhaps last year's TCU.
Let's get your first read on this one...who will win the H*i*m*n? Oh, by the way, players whose last names begin with the letter "Q" are ineligible.
Lobbing us a softball here, Bruce? Fine, we'll swing away:
The best part about the `Pologist's interview with TSN's Tom Dienhart came when HP asked, "At HP, I have 10 guidelines--the Heismandments--that act to whittle down the potential Heisman winner to just a few candidates. Do you think voters follow something along those lines, conciously [sic] or not?"
Dienhart's reply is priceless: "No. I think you give voters too much credit. I think many guys get their ballot and vote on the player they've heard the most about. I just don't see most voters spending deep thought and analysis on the subject."
I think that pretty much answers this question.