Preseason top 25s are sprouting up like mildew patches in the summer heat. If you're having trouble piecing yours together--and we know we are--use this handy guide to instant punditry we found just lying around the interweb, the EDSBS Pundit-by-Numbers Preseason Top 25 Assembly Kit®.
Make-Your-Own Top 25!
1. Number one. WHEW! Hard one here. Make things easier on yourself by just putting a.) last year's champion here if they've got the same quarterback, or b.) Grab a team that won a BCS game last year and still has the same quarterback. You won't look too crazy by doing either. If last year's champ has lost their quarterback, move to slot 5 AUTOMATICALLY.
"Texas has to be the preseason favorite with Vince Young returning. Wait, we mean...um...they're fifth. Yeah, fifth."
2. Another easy one! Remember number two at the end of the year last year? You got it: just slide 'em in here and keep rolling, rockstar.
3. Okay, tricky one at three, one that might require one or two GOOGLE SEARCHES. The team that won their big BCS bowl game last year by a shocker? Roll 'em right in. SPECIAL NEW YORK TIMES PROVISION: this is where you put Michigan. Because you know a guy who went there, and he was pretty smart and cool and all that, and you didn't really have a good football team where you went to school since lacrosse was really the thing there.
4. Another research one: take a team that's a traditional power in the top ten. Did they go 8-4 last year? Or something like it? Okay, that's your pick!
5. (RESERVED FOR LAST YEAR'S CHAMP MINUS QUARTERBACK. IF ABSENT, INSERT TENNESSEE.)
Fulmer sez: gimme five! Corndogs, that is.
6. A really easy one for the ol' seis-spot: NOTRE DAME. They're on television all the time and they had that movie with the kid from Goonies in it, plus they score like crazy these days. Even if they fall from the top ten you're actually creating content for yourself, since you can then write one of your standard pairs of filler columns, the "wake up the echoes" preseason Notre Dame column/ "what the hell happened to the goddamn echoes" post-season Notre Dame column.
Notre Dame's at 6. They've got Sean Astin on their side, and he was in White Water Summer, for god's sake. You can't deal with that, son.
7. Time to get bold here. Got a program that's won a ton of games but never a big one? An offensive juggernaut whose almost beat significant opponents on a national stage but racks up fifty and sixty points on the midgets of the world? Seven is the place for them. It gives you BOLD pundit points and must be accompanied by a phrase of great certainty, like "This is the year they get it done." If you hedge, just put Michigan in here and move on.
Boise's good for easy BOLD points, especially after they beat lost horribly to Georgia.
8. Find out who the SEC champion was last year. Go ahead and put them here.
9. This is always a good place to put a Larry Coker-era Miami team. If not, have you considered putting Florida State here? They're always a nice place holder, too.
10. Have you put all your Florida teams in the top ten? It's essential to put them all in your to ten, if only to put them lower in your post-season poll, which then--thinking ahead!--gives you still more column filler in the form of "Sunshine State ain't so sunny anymore" piece. If you hesitate to do this, again, just put Michigan here if you havent' used them already.
One. Ten. We're somewhere in there, guys. Where's the friggin's scotch around here...
11-25: A little secret of the trade....no one reads these. No one. The only people who will read them in total are basement-dwelling slobboids who will then write 13 page screeds in response to your critical underestimation of Clemson/Cal/Northwestern/Louisville/Tech/Florida/etc..
Plebe! Your ignorance regarding the worth of the (insert my team here) has forced me to answer at length on my blog. Prepare for a fisking!!!
In reality, you will simply take the next fifteen teams you can name off the top of your head and rattle them off on the page, just listing them in no particular order and tagging each one with the only thing you can remember about them at the time. Example:
#22: Fresno State: Bulldogs' tough schedule will keep Pat Hill twiddling his mustache all year long.
See? No research required. You know Fresno plays a tough schedule every year, and that Pat Hill has a bitchin' mustache. Combine the two and presto! Instant content.