Our blogpoll is after the jump, and it's the usual fine mess minus the fine. It was late, as well, and therefore not included in the current tally. We blame repeated viewings of the Big Ten Nutwork video for the delay.
No Penn State? A personal decision we all must make and respect. Or mock. Whatever--a two headed unicorn television-faced offense doesn't inspire, and neither does the cumulative frustration of two years of wondering where in the hell to put a team that can beat Akron but won't even sniff at its serious in-conference rivals. They'll creep in, but they'll have to earn it by beating someone besides a derelict Texas A&M in the Alamo Bowl, and that's unfair, wack ballotish, and done.
Top ten rejiggering elucidated: Refuse to overreact on the Sturdivant injury for Georgia, since they are on balance as complete a team as Oklahoma in identity and personnel. Oklahoma could conceivably be right there at number one without much shame or equivocation.
Ohio State gets this low because, if the game comes down to Boeckman passing versus a quality defense, they lose, and also because their defense has gotten outschemed in their rare but prominent nationally televised debacles. USC's injuries and downgrade to mere offensive "goodness" take them low for the moment, but we're sure we'll get overhyped on either them or Ohio State following the great USC/tOSU shakeout of 2008.
(It's all part of an attempt to actually not just paste the same teams up there for the third year running due to bowl carryover/program mojo/vaguely conceived "buzz" and actually look at the personnel likely to take the field. We'll get over this unfortunate virus soon enough, though.)
Florida's up there because even a marginal improvement in their pass defense takes them to potential top five talent. Bullish on Missouri and most especially Auburn, another team where marginal improvement on one side of the ball would yield a significant swing in the win total. Unbullish on WVU (scheme monkeying, defensive losses,) Clemson (irrational conviction Bowden will blow this, actual rational concerns on their offensive front,) and LSU (quarterback muddles.)
(Missouri will break our hearts, though. It's only a matter of time before they drop a late-night Big 12 shootout that comes down to who scores last.)
The rest is more haphazard. Virginia Tech scares the daylights out of us: defensive losses, no receivers, and a run game threatening to take a second year off in a row to you know, get its head together, think about applying for law school, get its life together. Arizona State looks way high for a team with zero track record of protecting their quarterback. Kansas, Wisconsin, and Tennessee are all essentially the same quantity: good, but we have no idea of their absolute value until seen on the field due to offensive wrinkles for UW and Tenn. and Kansas actually playing a schedule.
Bullish on: Oregon State, who behind Maryland (DAMN SPASMODIC DYSLEXIA) was America's second quietest nine victory team, and Connecticut, who never gets any respect whatsoever and is taking angry notes recording this lack of respect. They're like the mini-Auburn of the Big East, winning games at the margins and doing so without any concern for stats. Oh, and like Auburn, just when you pay them the respect, they then take said credit and board the failboat in embarrassing fashion to a lesser team. As long as you're prepared for this, feel free to endorse them heartily.