None of what you are about to see will make sense, and some of you will be left saying, "You just don't get it." But that's the fun of preseason polls and picks. They don't actually mean anything and just provide some debate starters.
First, a word on the teams that are notably not in my poll. I don't like ongoing uncertainty, so you won't see Ohio State (among others) on my ballot. LSU gets dinged for its ongoing issues. While Southern Cal's NCAA matters appear to finally be over, it's still going to set the program back. And I selected Pitt as the Big East champ, because the best way to figure out what's going to happen in that league is to go the opposite of what logic tells you -- and there's been a lot of upheaval at Pitt.
With that, let's look at the mess I "assembled" and how it combines with Year2's ballot.
5 Florida State
The first two picks are pretty much what you would expect. I am not that worried about Jim Harbaugh's departure at Stanford, because I think a lot of the things that made Harbaugh successful (like Andrew Luck) are still in place. I go counter some of the conventional wisdom by selecting Nebraska to win the Up North Conference -- just a gut feeling -- and pretty much think Florida State's as great as everyone says they area.
8 Texas A&M
9 Oklahoma State
10 Boise State
Lot of runners-up here, with Oregon and Wisconsin and two runners-up from the Big XIIish. (Enjoy it folks; that's all you're getting.) Boise State should have a very nice season, but I think being in the slightly stronger Mountain West Conference will give them a loss.
11 South Carolina
13 Arizona State
15 Virginia Tech
It scares me to place South Carolina this high in the poll, but there you have it. LSU might have been Top 5 if it weren't for the recent issues. I've got Arizona State winning the Pac-12 South outright -- no help from the Southern Cal sanctions. Georgia has a nice bounceback year for Richt. The problem I had place Virginia Tech is that I don't think they're great -- but they also have a laughably easy schedule.
16 Mississippi State
18 Notre Dame
And State and Arkansas are the last two SEC teams you'll see on this ballot. Notre Dame should experience a bounce in Brian Kelly's second year. Houston is a vogue midmajor pick that I'm signing up for, and PItt gets the obligatory "someone has to win the Big East, right" spot.
As for the fun of the postseason, here's the deal: I know Arkansas fans aren't happy about how I view the Razorbacks this year. So I'll say this. If Arkansas wins 10 games in the regular season, I will change the banner at the top of the page to "Woo Pig Sooie" for the week following the 10th win and sign all of my posts for that week with "Woo Pig Sooie." Again, all preseason picks should be in good fun, so I'll make that fun little wager there. And hope that I don't end up using that phrase very much in November.
23 Michigan State
24 Southern Miss
This an assortment of teams I think might be Top 25-worthy or might not. But if Year2 can put both of his projected Conference USA division winners in his Top 25, so can I!
Combined, that gives us this to start off the 2011 college football season:
Ties broken: Arkansas-Boise State by the SEC homerism tiebreakers; Texas A&M-Stanford by the same thing; Georgia-LSU, I went with Year2's order; Michigan State-Houston-Ohio State, because Ohio State only showed up on one of the ballots, and because it was Year2's ballot I took his order on the other two.