The 2010 season's inaugural edition of the BlogPoll is upon us, so it's only natural that we present to you, the inquisitive readership that make 11W what it is, our thoughts (see: complete guesses) as to just who the Top 25 teams in the land are.
You may also notice that the blogpoll has a sleek new home this year over yonder at the mega-hub that is SBNation. I, for one, welcome our humble little poll's new overlords.
Feel free to let us know how wrong we are. We'll take into account the voice of the people and potentially tweak things before the polls close Wednesday.
|1||One of the more contentious teams in the 11W newsroom, there's a certain respect afforded a national champion of the class of Alabama at the start of the year when everything's still wide open (though the honor isn't awarded without the requisite skepticism). 'Bama turns over 10/11 defensive starters and while they return plenty on the offensive side of the ball, the question remains: is the Saban machine in full enough motion to absorb the losses?||--|
|2||It's almost hard not to put the Buckeyes at the top of the listing. All partisan allegiances aside, virtually no team returns the caliber top-to-bottom Ohio State brings to the table in 2010. Ohio State should be favored going into every contest they enter. At the risk of the mega-hyperbolic cliche, the toughest opponent on the Buckeyes' schedule may be themselves.||--|
|3||We're full on drinking the Phil Steele kool aid. Bradford's injury last season may be prove to be a god send for a year wiser, a year more experienced Landry Jones. While OU has an unusually rigorous out of conference load for one of college football's have's, if the Sooners get past a flawed Texas offense the first weekend in October, it may be tough to curtail the Sooner schooner from riding on into Glendale.||--|
|4||Tough to say what the Gators are exactly (besides thoroughly talented). Florida loses one of the most accomplished leaders in college football history and replaces him with a redshirt junior some think may already be a better passer. Florida's girth of recruiting talent should make them easy favorites in a down SEC East; the question may ultimately be can they get past the champion of the league's West division.||--|
|5||The class of the ACC brings in an elite level rushing attack with Tyrod Taylor and the '100 Proof Backfield' of Darren Evans and Ryan Williams leading the way. The most lingering question mark for the Hokies may be their secondary, but should their defense echo many Bud Foster D's of yesteryear, expect to see VT in Charlotte battling for the ACC title with potentially much more on the line.||--|
|6||Unfortunately for Boise State, their margin for error is between nothing and slightly more than absolutely nothing. In their final season in the WAC, the Broncos' season may be over before it starts if they falter in the opener in D.C. against VT. Boise still may have a very strong shot at yet another BCS bowl (perhaps even a Rose Bowl berth under new rules), but it'll have to win and win impressively if VT holds form as we're expecting.||--|
|7||The Longhorns bring in arguably the nation's best defense but a huge question mark on the offensive side of the ball as any. Losing the best pure passing quarterback in their schools history, the school turns to high profile recruit Garrett Gilbert, who while looked mature beyond his years in the second half of last year's national title game after spelling McCoy, looked every bit the raw youngster that he is in the first. Expect that to be a dichotomy of Texas' season as Gilbert looks brilliant some weeks and hapless the next.||--|
|8||In perhaps a surprise to some, we have USC up here on the strength of talent and (surprising to probably many) coaching acumen. While there's no question Lane Kiffin is as pompous as they come, anyone who saw the miracle job he did with a 1-2 win ceiling Oakland Raiders team and the Florida and Alabama games of last year owes it to themselves to be real about his ability to game plan. If he can manage to keep his Pacific ocean sized mouth shut, USC brings in one of the best staffs and most talented sides in the country. The question, given the exodus of talent in lieu of the NCAA violations from the Carroll-era, will be if they can stay healthy. Given the schedule and the talent they do bring back, it's not out of the question for SC to win 10-12 games but stay home come January due to their probation.||--|
|9||Nebraska is another team that's difficult to know what exactly they bring to the table. The Huskers lose the best defensive player in school history in Ndamukong Suh but do return filthy defensive back Prince Amukamara. Anyone familiar with former Buckeye Bo Pelini also knows the caliber of defensive coaching he brings to the table. Nebraska's offense really has nowhere to go but up, so if the Huskers find a way to just become average offensively, they can afford the defense to slide a few spots and still have a real shot at the final 12-team Big XII conference championship.||--|
|10||MGoBrian's been preaching for some time about the regression to the mean the Hawkeyes seem certain to face. While their defense is world class, Iowa did win a large number of games in seemingly improbable ways coming from behind deficits time and time again last season. Over a longer time line, those kind of events tend to level out on both sides of the ledger. If Iowa finds a way to get past Ohio State in Iowa City, however, Rose Bowl (and mega dark horse BCS title game hopes) may not be unrealistic.||--|