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2010 Blog Poll first draft ballot

My Blog Poll ballot is not yet due, but before it is too late I thought it would be best to get my first draft out of the way and let the wise comments from the TDG Faithful guide what will be my final week 1 submission. I do take the comments seriously and they do guide any changes I may make or at the very least they will be on my radar for the following weeks.

Before I dig into my first draft ballot I looked back at last year's preseason ballot and compared it to the AP final rankings. I was surprised to find that of the 25 ranked teams I accurately ranked 8 teams within 3 spots of their final ranking. In fact when comparing the AP preseason to the AP final I bested the AP within 3, within 5, within 10 and ranked at all.

within 3 of final rank
8 6
within 5 10 8
within 10 14 11
ranked (with 25)
17 15

Not that this means a whole heck of a lot. Guessing the final standings is really, really hard to do in August. But I wasn't completely out of line with some of my preseason picks and if I am slightly better than that AP then my ballot couldn't have been too bad. OK, I was totally out of line on some, but pretty accurate on others.

The big whiffs were Oklahoma and USC, but their preseason top 5 ranking was nearly universal. I did not have Cincinnati, Wisconsin or Oregon ranked preseason and they both finished 8th, 16th and 11th respectively. I did comment that Oregon was most likely to move into the rankings but to start with I did not include them. So with that quick little exercise to make me feel better about myself out of the way we can get to the 2010 Blog Poll, first draft.

The BlogPoll v1

BLogPoll Team
1 Ohio State
2 Alabama
3 Boise State
4 Florida
5 Texas
7 Nebraska
8 Wisconsin
9 Oklahoma
10 Virginia Tech
11 Oregon
12 Iowa
13 North Carolina
14 Georgia Tech
15 Penn State
16 USC
17 Florida State
18 Oregon State
19 Miami (FL)
20 Georgia
21 Arkansas
22 LSU
23 Missouri
24 Stanford
25 Houston
radar West Virginia
radar Pittsburgh
radar South Carolina
radar Utah
radar Auburn
radar Michigan State
radar Virginia Tech

The Justification...

1- Ohio State - Big Ten homer alert, but the Buckeyes return so much. They must replace 5 defensive starters but they are returning guys like Cameron Heyward and Ross Homan. Offensively basically everyone is back and if Pryor plays like he did in the Rose Bowl this team will not lose in the regular season.

2 - Alabama - I'm not yet ready to start picking a different #1 just to be different. There is reason to believe Bama should repeat. Bama has two significant issues facing them this fall. 1 - replacing 9 starters on defense. 2 - six conference opponents have been given a bye the weekend before facing Alabama.

3 - Boise State - their season success (like every other season it seems) will be determined by their first and their last games. OK, so their week 3 game against Oregon State is pretty huge as well but they open at Virgina Tech and if they are able to get by that game, they very well could go 12-0. If they do, they'll have 2 BCS wins (both over likely ranked teams) and a shot at the BCS title game. They return 21 starters so this team should be ready to face anybody.

4,5 - Florida, Texas - this is right in line with what the experts are predicting, I don't have a real strong opinion surrounding these teams. They'll be good, they'll likely be BCS teams and possibly a BCS title game team.

6 - TCU - no real opinion

7 - Nebraska - 17 returning starters, but they do have to replace a boy named Suh. Schedule wise they get Texas at home, Mizz at home and they avoid Oklahoma. BCS game isn't out of the question for the Skurs.

8 - Wisconsin - Great rushing game, great offensive line and a veteran QB returning. The Badgers also boast a good receiving corp and defense. This team is well rounded, deep and potent on offense. They must replace plenty along the DL but the rest of the defense returns. It pains me, but the Badgers are rather good this year.

9 - Oklahoma - I was burned by Oklahoma last year, but they return 4/5 of their OL, DeMarco Murray, Ryan Broyles, and three or four studs on the defense. This team is talented and look for them to rebound from last year's five loss season. It should also be noted that four of their losses were very close. 1 point to BYU, 1 point to Miami, 3 points to Texas and 7 points to Nebraska. The difference between winning and losing is sometimes razor thin.

10 - Virginia Tech - truth be told I'm not all that sold on VTech. They are returning Ryan Williams who rushed for 1,600 yards last year as a freshman, but only 4 on defense and missing a couple offensive linemen makes me nervous. Their first test is against Boise State, if they win that then I'll be a believer. Later in the year they host Georgia Tech then travel to North Carolina and Miami. Those three consecutive games will be huge for the Hokies.

11-15 - I could see an argument to move Iowa or Oregon up into the top 10 and I'm sure they'll spend some time there this year but I'm going to hold off for now. Oregon lost Masoli so who knows how that will affect them. The good news is they return the rest of the offense. Iowa is going to be very good but they have some OL and LB questions. UNC's defense is great but offense is shaky. Georgia Tech runs their system well but I'm not willing to move them up any higher yet. And Penn State has to replace a very good QB, I can't move them up until I see them play.

16-25 - I find it so hard to order these teams. USC, Miami, FSU, Georgia, they could all move into the top 10 within a few weeks. I'm sure this entire group will get re-ranked after the first couple weeks. There are a few teams I really like however. Houston, Missouri and Oregon State are a few of my favorite teams this year.

Houston is not an offensive fluke, they can really move the ball on ANYBODY. They get three BCS teams on this year's schedule so it will be interesting to see how they fare at UCLA, home to Miss State and at Texas Tech. Their defense is an issue and they won't stop anybody but they expect to have more speed and some experience back there to slow down their opponent just enough to win a lot of games.

Missouri, I'm surprised there isn't more hype out there for the Tigers. They won 8 games last year and return a lot on both sides of the ball. Blaine Gabbert was a 5-star recruit who may be the best QB in the Big 12. Their pass defense killed them last year but the secondary returns and should be better, right?

Oregon State is fast and a threat to score on any play. They get USC and Oregon at home so I wouldn't be at all shocked to see the Beavers sneak out a Pac10 title. They did choose to run the non-BCS gauntlet by scheduling Boise State and TCU, good luck!

There you have it. That is my first draft BlogPoll ballot. There is plenty of time to change my mind on any teams, but you have to comment and convince me!