Some of the insanity that we talked about the last time I did this exercise is gone, but there's still a bit of it here. We're getting closer to the regular season, so I'm playing slightly more attention to teams in the other part of the country and everything, and beginning to try to weigh all the stuff coming out of dubious spring camp reports and the like.
Among the big changes:
- Alabama as No. 1: Call me an SEC homer if you want to, but this actually has more to do with Southern Cal than with the Tide. I am absolutely confident that Lane Kiffin will find some way to screw this up. I just don't trust the guy to take a team as far as they are capable of going, and I think some of this "USC NUMBER ONE AGAIN!!11!" comes from sportswriters who are about to suffer withdrawal from not seeing their favorite team in the race for a national championship in a while.
- TCU, Georgia, Oklahoma: I think TCU and Oklahoma are the favorites in the Big 12ish, even with a slightly low number of returning starters for the Horned Frogs. I'm a bit higher on the Dawgs now than I was in the immediate aftermath of their beat-the-bad-teams-lose-to-the-good 2011 season, but I think we might be doing too far in the other direction here.
- Arkansas: No, you don't lose an offensive mind like Bobby Petrino and just bounce back like nothing happened. Let's be realistic here. BUT THEY HAVE PAUL PETRINO! You mean the same Paul Petrino whose first team at Illinois was ranked 45th in total offense but whose second team was ranked 85th? That's not to say that he can't do better than that at Arkansas, but the idea that Paul Petrino has a track record that guarantees success is a bit ridiculous.
- Oregon: I didn't know what to think of the Ducks the last time we did this. I still don't know what to think of them.
- Wisconsin: They still have Montee Ball, and that's about all I can really think of to justify them moving up.
- Boise State: Kellen Moore is gone and it's a bit harder to have an easy bounce-back year in the new Mountain West than in the old WAC. Remind me again who's in the new Mountain West?
- Nebraska: Meh
- SMU: I picked the Mustangs to be the new Cinderella team now that Boise's about to graduate. I like them better than any of the Big East teams who are going to be playing in that league in 2012.
Now for the fun part: Tell me where I'm completely off my rocker and why I need to make radical changes to all of this.