Here we go:
1. Florida Well, sure. 11 returning defensive starters, HeismanChrist at qb, and the reigning national title holders returning.
Relevant Youtube commenter: Captain Fag, as in "LOL G8rz suck. youre a FAG" (Please note: indistinguishable from UGA fans.)
2. Texas Another DERR pick. You could say that most every preseason guy has carefully combed their rosters, weeded out the depth charts, and evaluated their personnel appropriately, examining the unique mesh of personnel, experience, and schedule. Or you could assume most blasted through this endeavor and just did what people do by condensing this to shorthand and constructing the following math:
"Colt McCoy + allegedly improved run game/Muschamp defense x Sergio Kindle + weaker Oklahoma = TEXAS WOOOO!!!"
It's not a bad equation, but we really think this sort of semantic shorthand underlies most of how people actually cobble these together.
Relevant Youtube Commenter: The big brand buyer, or the guy who says "This song aint bad but Kanye ain't shit talkin bout FIDDY MY BOY 4eva knock this skinny jean punk out."
3. Oklahoma The highest ranking oversight in anyone's consistent top 25, since OU returns one starter on their offensive line, loses both starting safeties, and plays in a league with three teams (OSU, Texas Tech, and Texas) who can go point-for-point with them in a shootout. But they were there last year, and schedule and roster realities be damned. They're probably more like a 10-2 or 9-3 team, which isn't sniffyweepsad, but it isn't three.
Relevant Youtube commenter: Like someone who votes the runner-up in the title game at three no matter what happens, the single-issue commenter. "Oklahoma is in American and Americans are the dummest this way and Oklahoma is the dummest. TIBET IS NOT CHINA!
4. Southern California. Another flub in the dark, but a reliable one year in and year out. They've won the Pac-10 seven years in a row, which just like Florida State's run in the ACC in the 90s means the rest of the conference must suck RULE.
Relevant Youtube Commenter: East Coast Bias Conspiracy Theorist. " The Pac-10 always gets the shaft and the moon landing was faked you are all so gullible you can see strings on the models GET YOUR FACTS STRAIGHT. Free your mind, sheeple."
5. Virginia Tech We honestly believe some pollsters just reserve a spot for the ACC out of courtesy, and usually plug Virginia Tech in here because they play defense and special teams and, on special occasions and federal holidays, decide to score. There's really very little need to do this, as it's patronizing both to the ACC, who gets to claim a BCS bowl berth and inflate their rep by beating up on a perpetually overmatched Big East team not named West Virginia. And yet here they are, somewhere between 3-5 slots too high, a very good Frank Beamer team who will probably finish 9-3 and "disappoint" because of an inflated preseason ranking.
Youtube commenter: Like the one vote reserved for the ACC in the top ten, the cut and pasted chain emailer appearing in all Youtube comment threads: "A woman was killed the night before her wedding! Post this on 5 youtubes and your dreams will come true."
6. Alabama. Another common polling foible: take the third year major coach of a major uni. Not a bad bet at all, but probably understates the losses on the offensive line and in the backfield. (Glen Coffee was a lovely hammer to use to stake opposing defenses to the wall in the second half. He'll be missed.) More of a brand/coach pick than one based on any real.
Relevant Youtube Comment: The one-liner. "Nick Saben is good LOL." Succinct. Pointless. An unassailable argument, because it is not an argument.
7. Ohio State. In an alternate dimension unclouded by the scorching memories of Ohio State's three year losing streak in bowl games, Ohio State would be sitting somewhere north of five. Sadly, pollsters start Ohio State at seven--regardless of any considerations about their losses in the NFL draft, or Terrelle Pryor's potential growing pains as only a sophomore qb, or their lack of field-stretching wideouts--because they've reeked in bowl games and because the Big Ten is down in national Q rating.
Relevant Youtube Commenter: The Paultard, who can justify the glue-huffingest fantasy through their repeated citations of one trend explaining all others. "Because Ohio State lost three bowl games in a row I'll put them at seven don't bring up other arguments that is misleading and because the currency isnt based on gold you debase value and if Ron Paul were president people would wake up none of this would happen exclamation point!!!!!!"
8. Ole Miss. The opposite of Ohio State's case, the Rebels are buoyed primarily by a strong stretch run last year, their defeat of Florida, and the bowl win over Texas Tech. Please discount losing to Vandy, Wake Forest, and South Carolina, because HOUSTON NUTT WILL FIX IT ALL.
Relevant Youtube Commenter: The Paultard again. "Total public debt in this country at $9 Trillion, nice present to pass on to our children and grandchildren, and never mind the departure of Greg Hardy*/ballooning inflation or the other teams in the division/encroaching Chinese power because if you'd just listened to Houston Nutt/Ron Paul, Arkansas/our country wouldn't be in the world of hurt we're in now!!!"
9. Oklahoma State Um...Okay, we have no problem with this one aside from OSU's complete inability to field a consistent defense ever.
Relevant Youtube Commenter: MR. ALLCAPS. "IM A MAN AND IM FORTY AND EL DEBARGE SUCKS." (Eight hundred comments and going!)
10. Penn State Another brand pick despite roster losses and the carryover of being the pick of a very disparaged Big Ten. (Also deceptive that their schedule is extremely friendly with eight home games.) If someone questions this pick, just say "Don't ever bet against Joe Paterno" fifteen to twenty times until they inquisitor gives up.
Relevant Youtube Commenters: The ALLCAPS OLD MAN, of course. Cut and pasted directly from the Debarge thread:
WHOH! WATCH THE LANGUAGE! HOLY COW YOU PEOPLE ARE SO RACIST! IF YOU DON't LiKe iT DON'T WATCH IT! OMGOSH! WHAT IS WITH YOU PEOPLE?! HONESTLY! LITTLE KIDS GO ON YOUTUBE!
*Seriously, there is no excuse to be this inept. Greg Hardy is returning for his senior season, where he will try to actually exert effort in all 12 games of the regular season.