BlogPoll Ballot: Week One

By David Sokol on August 27, 2012 at 12:00p

College Football is finally back this week and with that, so is another year of the Eleven Warriors BlogPoll.

Each week I'll be bringing you the 11W submission for the BlogPoll Top 25, a compilation of the ballots of the top college football blogs around the nation. You can also check out our ballot, as well as all of the others, on the BlogPoll site, while also following on Twitter at @BlogPollTop25.

It's always the most difficult to come up with the first poll of the season, as no teams have touched the field for games yet and judgments are made based on what's on paper. It is always a topic of discussion if there should even be pre-season polls, and while we all at 11W have differing opinions, the bottom line is our hand is kind of forced, so below is our first stab at "who's the best" as we kick off the new season.

We know everyone is excited for the weekend, so this should get you even more pumped up. Let us know what you think about our rankings in the comments below.

Only a few more days...

1 Southern Cal Trojans QB Matt Barkley turns down first round fame and returns for his senior season, which could include a trip to the BCS National Championship. The Trojans get Hawaii in the Coliseum week one, which shouldn't be anything short of a laugher. --
2 Alabama Crimson Tide Alabama will spend yet another season defending their national championship. They face a very tough test against Michigan in Dallas on Saturday. Everyone's got to love a big time matchup week one. --
3 LSU Tigers Many believe LSU is the preseason #1, including the coaches in the USA Today poll. After last year's title game performance and the Tyrann Mathieu debacle, it is appropriate to bump them down a few notches, but the Tigers have enough talent to end the year at the top. North Texas will be lucky to score any points in Death Valley. --
4 Oregon Ducks The Ducks will start redshirt freshman QB Marcus Mariota from the start, so there are still some questions to be answered. However, playmakers De'Anthony Thomas and Kenjon Barner make Oregon an elite team. Arkansas State won't touch the Ducks. --
5 Oklahoma Sooners Another year of super high expectations in Norman, but senior QB Landry Jones is expected to compete for the Heisman (again). --
6 Georgia Bulldogs QB Aaron Murray has been poised to have a breakout season and this is his year to shine. The Dawgs welcome the Buffalo Bulls "Between the Hedges" on Saturday. --
7 South Carolina Gamecocks South Carolina is a top ten squad because of RB Marcus Lattimore. He could easily be the best running back in the nation. The Cocks open up at SEC foe Vandy to kick off the season, which isn't exactly an easy first game. --
8 Arkansas Razorbacks Despite the offseason turmoil, Arkansas has premier talent and with Knile Davis returning, they could compete for the SEC crown. They Razors get Jacksonville State to start. --
9 Michigan Wolverines The Wolverines are poised to have a big season and make a run at a Big Ten Title and potentially a national championship. The whole season's trajectory could be in jeopardy against Alabama in this weekend's premier game. This could be Michigan's year before Ohio State is back to full strength. --
10 Florida State Seminoles Another year, another high preseason ranking for the Seminoles. Maybe this will be the season they stick around the top ten. --
11 West Virginia Mountaineers What was once the Big East's pride and joy is now the Big 12's second best team. In-state rival Marshall could be an interesting week one matchup for the Mountaineers. --
12 Clemson Tigers Tajh Boyd is back for the Tigers, who hope to win the ACC. Clemson has two tough tests in the first four weeks at Auburn this Saturday and at Florida State week four. --
13 Michigan State Spartans Sparty is ready to defend their Legends division title against the likes of Michigan and Nebraska. A very intriguing Friday night battle with Boise State kicks off the season for Michigan State. --
14 Ohio State Buckeyes There are very few teams in the rankings (from 10-25) that have more talent than Ohio State. Now, it's just meshing it all together. The Buckeyes have Miami-OH at the 'Shoe in week one which should have the Scarlet and Gray faithful ooing and ahhing—especially after last year's yawners—at the quick-paced, high-octane offense led by Braxton Miller.  --
15 Virginia Tech Hokies Tech has a tough first matchup with ACC rival Georgia Tech, which should be a good game. --
16 Wisconsin Badgers The Badgers are putting all their eggs in the RB Montee Ball basket, hoping he'll have the same type of season as last. The O-line should be stout as well. Maryland transfer QB Danny O'Brien isn't Russell Wilson, but he should be better than what they have on their bench. Wisconsin gets pushover Northern Iowa at home to start. --
17 Texas Longhorns Texas has come off of a few bad seasons, but how could they not be better this year? Cincy native and former OSU target LB Jordan Hicks should anchor their defense and Wyoming doesn't stand a chance in week one. --
18 Nebraska Cornhuskers Nebraska had a somewhat difficult transition to the Big Ten last season. Taylor Martinez has another year under his belt and is poised to do great things. C-USA's Southern Miss shouldn't be much of a test for the Huskers. --
19 Oklahoma State Cowboys No Blackmon, No Weeden, what to do? The Cowboys return a veteran core of wide-outs and offensive linemen that should help them stay towards the top of the Big 12. They'll get to test things out against Savannah State week one. --
20 Stanford Cardinal Just like Oklahoma State, Stanford has to start over after losing a plethora of stars to the NFL (remember Andrew Luck?). San Jose State on Friday night should allow the Cardinal to feel things out before playing USC week three. --
21 Florida Gators Florida has the talent. Now it's about executing, unlike last year. The Gators get to destroy Bowling Green in week one (if things work out the way they should). --
22 TCU Horned Frogs Welcome to the Big 12. You're all grown up, Horned Frogs. Grambling State in week one should be a cupcake. --
23 Kansas State Wildcats Kansas State is truly a veteran team with 12 seniors at the top of the depth chart. --
24 Notre Dame Fighting Irish Notre Dame has so much talent that this could be the year they put it to use. LB Manti Te'o will anchor the Irish defense and QB Everett Golson should be a good fit for Brian Kelly's spread. Navy in week one is never an easy game, especially defending the triple option (refer to: Brian Rolle's game-saving INT a few years back). --
25 Auburn Tigers Auburn has as much talent as anyone in the SEC. Clemson at home will definitely be on the remote control channel flip for those watching Alabama and Michigan on Saturday night. --
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beserkr29's picture

No way is Michigan poised for another title run.  That D is going to get mauled by Bama's OL.  Denard is not nearly a good enough passer to torch the Bama defense, even with his speed on the edged.  Saban has had all summer to prepare for this.  I feel like this will be a bone-crushing game for all involved, but Bama should win.  Comfortably.

TheHumbleBuckeye's picture

Denard doesn't have to be great, just effective. Also, this defense is quite inexperienced. Sure, Saban has had all summer to prepare, but so has Hoke. I imagine Hoke has upwards of 10 plays designed specifically for Bama. If this game were played midseason, Michigan would have no shot. But since it's the first game of the year, I'm going to say they have a chance to catch a young and inexperienced defense off guard. I still think Bama wins, but a Michigan upset would not surprise me in the least, especially if Mattison's defense can get some turnovers (I think McCarron throws at least 1 pick... Bama threw the ball a ton in the BCS title game and they probably showed Michigan a little too much of what AJ McCarron can and can't do).

slippy's picture

I don't think Alabama will have to throw the ball if they don't want to.  UM's two best defensive players last year were on the d line and they're both gone.  They better have one hell of an offensive game plan.

Bukirob's picture

Nope, not buying it at all.  Michigan is going to get run right out of the stadium.  The Alabama offensive line is so superior to the UM front 7 that its not even funny.  You dont get better by losing guys like Mike Martin, Van Bergen and Heninger on the DL.  IMO the only way that Michigan is going to be able to slow down the ground game is to take risks by loading the box... this will open up the secondary to man on man coverage and McCarron will pick them apart...
McCarron was 23/34 for 234 with 0 picks against a defense that was substancially better than Michigan will feild this season so I dont get the condecending view of McCarron's passing ability.
I simply dont see any way that the UM defense is going to be able to stop the Alabama offense and the Alabama front seven will take away the running game from Michigan.... IMO this game wont even be close... 
Alabama 35
Michigan 10

You WIN with people.



WW Hayes

TheHumbleBuckeye's picture

I'm not disagreeing that Alabama has a huge talent advantage, as well as a huge advantage in the trenches. But Mattison is a hell of a defensive coordinator, and Michigan has had another offseason to undue the Rich Rod years and "re-teach" power football to its players. Couple that with some new talent (Hoke has been loading up in the trenches in his first two recruiting classes), and I anticipate Michigan will play Alabama tougher in the trenches than we might expect them too. It really all comes down to Denard Robinson. If he can make some throws early and keep the defense honest, Michigan is in a good position. Alabama wasn't challenged much through the air last year outside of Arkansas (Wilson had decent numbers, but the Arkansas defense wasn't very good and they couldn't get the ground game rolling) and they showed they were also susceptible to speedy QBs int he option attack (see: Georgia Southern). Like I said, I still think Alabama wins, but I think it's closer than people think. I think it's 34-24 Bama, but a few turnovers and Michigan could pull off the upset.

hodge's picture

UM's only downfall will be in their D-Line.  They lost starters there, and I couldn't think of a more hellish baptism-by-fire for a freshman than going up against the defending national champions' stout O-Line.  That said, I do think UM has a legit chance to score the upset.  'Bama's never faced anything like Denard; if the Wolverines can score early, they might swing momentum and make 'Bama play catch up--something they really aren't used to doing.

luckynewman13's picture

i'm thinkin' the same thing. Michigan can win this thing if they can score on their first two drives and get a stop. I think if Michigan ends the first quarter up 10-0 or 14-3 they got the personnel to hold off bama. If it's closer than that after 1 quarter bama will win.

Nutbuck1959's picture

They may not get 10 pts.

NC_Buckeye's picture

Last year's Nittany Lions got 11 pts.
So is 2011 PSU > 2012 UM?

OhioBornMichiganBred's picture

Short answer: No. Not even close.
Long answer: McGloin and Bolden are about as explosive as ketchup. Denard is a senior in his second year in the offense. Last year, the only game in which Michigan was outscored by PSU given a common opponent was Eastern Michigan. Iowa: M -16, PSU - 13. Northwestern: M - 42, PSU - 34. Purdue: M - 36, PSU - 23. Illinois: M - 31, PSU - 10. OSU: M - 40, PSU - 20. Nebraska: M - 45, PSU - 14. It's not a close battle.

Crimson's picture

Michigan will regress, and Alabama will toss them around.  Look, even the best coach couldn't clean up RichRod's mess this quickly, and Hoke isn't the best.

TheHannimal's picture

This Bama/Mich game is one of those situations where I say I want the B1G to win it.  Pretty dang sick of the SEC and their bragging rights.  I can not stand this whole singular Univeristy of SEC and the fact that they are handling the rest of the country right now...
On the other hand not sure I could listen to Mich fans all season if they pull this one out.
So I guess go B1G BUT if Mich is going to lose to Bama, I hope they get worked by 92485942385493258 points.

ccollins0325's picture

Curious, why does Land-Grant Holyland get two votes?

NC_Buckeye's picture

Maybe Luke gets a personal vote because he's an sbnation employee?

Luke's picture

If only. Not sure where you guys were/are seeing that, but it's inaccurate. This is a more up to date list of participating sites.

Johnny Ginter's picture

gonna laugh real hard when malzahn upsets oregon in week 1

BuckeyeSki's picture

It's great to see there are some games worth watching at just about every time slot week 1. That is a nice change of pace for once

Banned from BlackShoeDiaries since 2008. Crime: Slander/Defamation of Character Judgement: Guilty

Ahh Saturday's picture

So, the best team in the B10 would be 6th in the SEC?  The SEC is good, and they've certainly earned my respect after the title run their top teams have put together, but is it possible we've gone just a little too far?

btalbert25's picture

Look at the amount of talent those teams are bringing back though man.  The one team I question is Arkansas.  They are loaded with talent, but I don't think people realize  how good of a coach Petrino really is.  BUT, you have to assume pre season they are going to be pretty good just based on the talent coming back.
LSU and Bama are loaded still, Georgia's whole team is basically back(and I think they could be really good) and South Carolina won what 11 games last year with probably the best RB in the nation missing most of the season.  So, honestly, if any of those 5 teams were in other conferences they'd be a top tier team.

William's picture

I'm not buying into South Carolina or Georgia. South Carolina like their in-state rival Clemson always finds a way to lose 2-4 games, and Aaron Murray at UGA instills no confidence in me. I think he's way overrated at this point. 

btalbert25's picture

Typically I'd agree but, last year South Carolina had more wins than they'd ever had under Spurrier.  They get probably the best RB in America back in their lineup after he missed most of last year.  Their returning a ton on D, which was damn good last year. 
If everyone raves about MSU's D coming back this year why not Georgia's too?  The return a lot of young talent on that D-line that much of the year looked pretty good, and their playmakers on offense are coming back.  
If people are saying MSU is the best team in the B1G this year, why wouldn't South Carolina and Georgia who are returning as much talent if not more on the D side of the ball plus their best play makers on offense not be better than any of the B1G teams? I don't neccessarily think they are legit national title contenders, but I think they certainly could or should be ahead of any of the teams the B1G has to offer as we're looking at things preseason. 

William's picture

Oh I don't buy into the MSU hype either. They'll have a really good D-line, but I'm not sold on their linebackers or their offense being competent at all. Le'veon Bell is a good back, but he's not a Montee Ball game changer, also Maxwell has never started a game. I'd also argue that Ball is better than Lattimore, dude tied Barry Sanders's TD record, let me know when Lattimore gets close to that. I also follow UGA pretty closely seeing as my mother is an UGA grad, and I have no faith in Murray. I thought he would be really solid last year, but he was on and off even though he had one of the top tight ends in the nation in Orson Charles and a stud frosh RB in Crowell, who is now gone. They have no WRs and will be depending on another true freshman RB in Marshall. They will have a solid D just like MSU, but their offense could be abysmal. South Carolina will have an awesome D-line like MSU, but I'm just not a big fan of Connor Shaw, although it's not like Stephen Garcia was good at all. I don't know as much about South Carolina, but I don't know if they have anyone that can come close to replacing Jeffrey at the WR position. 

Arizona_Buckeye's picture

Sorry, I can NEVER bring myself to ever be happy if AACC wins a game.

The best thing about Pastafarianism? It is not only acceptable, but advisable, to be heavily sauced

NoVA Buckeye's picture

i dont know, i was pretty happy in 2008 when they won the Citrus Bowl againts Jesus's first cousin twice removed

The offseason begins when your season ends. Even then there are no days off.

klfeck's picture

I'm gonna have to agree with you on that one.



Proud parent of a Senior at The Ohio State University

MuraliPatel's picture

As much as I want Michigan to be ranked highly, they're not worthy of that top-10 rank by a long shot. The offense is good, but their defense is awful. They gave up 34 points to us last year while we were working out the mechanics of the forward pass, and they lost their top two sack guys up front.

pug's picture

What does giving up 34 to OSU last year have to do with anything? If UM won that game 38-3 would your prediciton be different? Let me answer that for you--NO--you would be saying "congrats, you just beat the worst OSU team in _____ years. One that is still working out the mechanics of the forward pass." Last season, let alone 1 game from last season, has no bearing on the outcome of this game.

cwglee's picture

I'm gonna call it now and say Arkansas St gives Oregon a better game than most think. Oregon starting a Frosh QB and Arky st. has a senior Obrien Watch list player in Aplin back. He can run the ball too which is a great option for a team looking to pull off an upset. You can bet Malzahn will throw the playbook at Oregon which is exactly what you want from a 35 point dog. Just my 2 cents for the week.