The preseason BlogPoll is due on Monday, so it's time to get drafty around here. I'm still writing up my SEC picks (it's taking forever), but you'll get a preview of them to a degree here. This ranking list is partially a power poll and partially about where I think teams can end up based on schedule. That's reflected in the comments.
I'm not feeling relatively good about this list, though there are some parts I'm working out still. Anyhow, here we go...
1. Ohio State
I think Ohio State has the fewest questions of any major conference team, so they get the top spot. I like TCU second, because they've got nearly everyone back. So does Boise State, but why the Frogs above the Broncos? Because for one more year TCU is in the MWC and Boise State is not, and that counts. Plus, I think TCU will run the table and Boise State will lose in DC.
I'm pretty high on Oklahoma because I think they'll beat Texas and Miami, but I don't know if the Sooners will go unbeaten. I've got the two SEC schools at four and five because I think they're great, but I also think each has a pair of losses out there. Right now, I think the SEC's national championship streak will end this year.
6. Virginia Tech
8. Boise State
I really like the Hokies this year. They're in kind of the same boat as Alabama, but while I think Tyrod Taylor's ceiling is higher than Greg McElroy's, I think Alabama's defense will be better than VT's. I have Oregon winning the Pac-10 again because even without Masoli, I think it's the best team in that conference. Texas should still be good, but I think it's Oklahoma's turn. Nebraska will be pretty good too, but I think the offense will prevent the Huskers from being elite.
13. Georgia Tech
The Hawkeyes should be pretty good again. I don't think 11-2 good again, but 10-3 is doable and that could get them this high. I fail to see why Cincinnati will fall off that far; Butch Jones has already proven that he can keep Brian Kelly's good thing going. Plus, Zach Collaros and an incredible receiving corps is enough in the Big East.
Georgia Tech getting Al Groh to run the defense was a coup, and GT should be top 15 as long as Paul Johnson is there. Arkansas's defense will improve enough that it won't drag the offense down anymore, and they'll be this good as long as Ryan Mallett's feet don't give out and get injured again. Pittsburgh is finally in Dave Wannstedt's image, which means it'll be good but not great consistently.
18. Miami (FL)
There's a lot to like about this Utah team. Last year was a rebuilding year, and the Utes won 10 games anyway. They're going to challenge for the MWC title, so I may have them too low. I know everything about Wisconsin's offense and whatnot, but Bret Bielema hasn't been great at beating the Big Ten's best after Barry Alvarez's players left.
Miami will be a tough team to beat, but I don't see them winning more than nine or 10 games while Randy Shannon is head coach. LSU isn't in as bad a shape as most seem to think, as Jordan Jefferson was a first year starter last year and John Chavis is a great DC. I think Georgia will be pretty good, but the schedule conspires against it early.
24. Oregon State
I'll pick Gene Chizik to go over .500 in conference play after I see it. I'm also not as high on Gus Malzahn as most people are, because I rewatched a lot of '09 Auburn games recently and saw a lot of slow developing plays. That's not a good sign. USC has a great starting lineup, but there's just no depth after all of the transfers this off season.
Houston will give us more of the same as last year. Oregon State is stylistically the Alabama of the Pac-10, but it doesn't quite have the same roster. Navy is here because of a sugary sweet schedule and an outstanding quarterback in Ricky Dobbs.