MGoBlog asked us to take a look at the Blogpoll and answer two simple questions:
1. Who is too high?
2. Who is too low?
The BlogPoll can be located in its entirety, mhere.
No. 3 Michigan - I'll say it. Texas, West Virginia, and Oklahoma could probably beat Michigan straight up right now. Michigan is probably a No. 7 to No. 9 team based on the graduation of last year's defensive stalwarts and the glaring screw ups that occurred in the secondary. There are some apt comparisons to Notre Dame last year. Awesome offense, the defense will come around. Sound familiar? The difference here is Michigan's offense is that good. The injury to Alex Mitchell at guard and the ongoing battle at Right Tackle does scare me, but Henne, Hart, Mario, Long, Kraus, and Boren make this a formidable power. The valid concern is on defense. Extra crispy Morgan Trent, Johnny Sears and Jamar Adams return to the secondary. The Linebacking corps is all but brand new. Only Terrance Taylor returns as a starter on the defensive line. What Michigan proved on defense last year is it can pound on dimensional teams or multi-faceted teams without their talent level. Where they failed is against talented teams who could block and throw. The defense didn't appear particularly adaptable against OSU and USC. Until they prove otherwise, I'd have them down a couple of pegs.
No. 7 Florida - Let me get this straight. Florida losses its entire defense and all of its skill position players and they're No. 7? Bad Voters! Bad! Don't get me wrong, I'm as enamored with the talent Meyer's recruited to the Gator Nation, but seriously, did the Fab 5 teach you people nothing? Even the most talented teams need time to grow and mature. The Gators return their starting offensive line nearly intact, but the QB, RB and WR slots are all almost brand new. On defense, no way this team is as good as last year's. Tebow will make mistakes. The Defense will give up plenty of points. There will be two or three losses before the ship is righted. This will be an excellent team, but it's going to take some lumps early and I've got it as maybe the fourth or fifth best team in the SEC. This team belongs in the teens.
No. 12 California - Cal looked awfully good last year and maybe there's a "man I should've picked them higher" hangover. This year they start three new guys on the defensive line and two new linemen on offense. I think the offense will be good, but the loss of Marshawn Lynch will hamper the offense more than people think. Lynch was a special player you don't just replace. Plus, with USC, UCLA, and Oregon all built around Cal's weaknesses and strong against Cal's strengths, I don't think the Bears are in a position to make a PAC 10 run. Cal will have trouble running the ball, which was UCLA and Oregon's defensive problem last year. Cal will be good at throwing the ball, which USC, UCLA and Oregon all excel at defending. Call won't get much of a pass rush or run stop from its front four. USC, UCLA and Oregon have excellent tailbacks and strong Offensive lines. In another conference I can see Cal making noise. But with their build, their schedule, their talent, there's a reason I picked them fourth in the Pac 10. This team belongs in the bottom of the 20's.
No. 17 Tennessee - This just seemed like a random plug in. Crap. 17. Um... Who's good? Oh Yeah. Tennessee. They fit. Not so much. The Vols have serious defensive issues that will undermine any run at the SEC title. 5 of Tennessee's top 10 tacklers are gone and the line didn't produce anything last year. The secondary is good, but they're going to be overworked by mid season unless Tennessee can improve on the 17 sacks they had last year. On offense the entire receiver corps is gone, two new linemen, and their starting running back is in trouble with the law. 17 seems awful generous, I don't even have them ranked.
No. 16 UCLA - 20 returning starters. 20. One of the country's top secondaries. Bruce Davis at Defensive End. The offense back intact. I know Dorrell's still there, but there is just way too much experienced talent for this team not to finish in the top 10.
No. 18 Florida State - Seriously? Are you kidding? They got rid of Jeff Bowden, they've got the most talent in the conference, a defense that should and will scare the hell out of everyone, and they're 18? Everyone questions the damage Jeff Bowden could possibly be responsible for, but no one who roots for the Noles undervalues that change. The defense will improve with Amato back, Jimbo Fischer coordinating the offense and one of the better home field advantages in the country, 18 is way too low.
No. 22 South Carolina - My top ten pick is starting to look a little shaky with the recent suspension of their starting QB and the spate of nonsense involving their starting safety. Even so, this should be a top 15 team with the returning talent and the OBC in charge. I still think they take the East.
Unranked Alabama - 9 returning starters on offense. A new head coach known for discipline and fashioning a bone grinding defense out of paper towels. Tough schedule, but I see them at the bottom of the top 25.
Unranked Kansas State - I picked them to win the Big XII North, so obviously I think they're underrated when they're not even ranked. On defense the only place they're soft is at linebacker. On Offense the line is solid and the skill position players are among the top 25% in the conference.