Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Guru's BlogPoll (2011 Preseason)

The Guru is back for a third season as a BlogPoll voter. Here's my 2011 preseason ballot, with a few notes below:

* I anointed Oklahoma as the top team for 2011 as soon as the 2010 season was over, and so far, have been given no reason to change that view. OU's schedule is very favorable for a title run, with only a road game at Florida State as a test among nonconference games and a weak and downsized Big 12 to slog through. And oh, no conference title game to serve as a last-gasp obstacle.

* LSU is moved down only slightly on my ballot after Jordan Jefferson's arrest. I believe the Tigers would not beat Oregon in Arlington even with Jefferson, so this essentially made no difference. Oregon had been my No. 2 team all along.

* South Carolina is my dark horse to play for the BCS title. The Gamecocks have a favorable schedule (no Alabma, no LSU) and get Florida at home. Of all the top teams in the SEC, the 'Cocks have by far the most negotiable path to the conference title game.

* Nebraska may well win the Big Ten in its first year in the league, but mostly because of the turmoil at Ohio State. But the Buckeyes should still have enough talent to make it to the inaugural Big Ten championship game.

* Utah, likewise, will win at least its division in the first year of the Pac-12. The Utes don't play either Oregon or Stanford, the two teams expected to dominate the Pac-12 North, in the regular season. So look for a title game matchup between the Utes and the Oregon-Stanford winner.

* Notre Dame will not be in a BCS bowl. You can take that to the bank. The Irish could be out of the BCS picture before the end of the September. The best-case scenario for ND is a 9-3 season, which won't be enough to get into a BCS bowl.

* Conference-by-conference tally: SEC (6, including 3 in top 10), Big Ten (5), Pac-12 (4), Big 12 (3), ACC (2), Mountain West (2), Big East (1), Conference USA (1) and one independent (Notre Dame).

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