Taking a Closer Look at the AP Top 25
By Tony Gerdeman
The AP Top 25 was released over the weekend, and while it has no impact on the BCS standings, that doesn't mean we should just ignore it.
In fact, I am duty-bound to talk about it.
Never one to shirk my duties, I have decided to take a closer look at the preseason poll and offer up thoughts and perspectives that are probably about as relevant to the actual teams as the AP's poll is to the BCS.
Enjoy. Or don't. It's the AP poll, it doesn't really matter.
1. USC (25 first-place votes)
People love voting for USC. There are concerns about the Trojans' depth, but voters are hopeful that it won't come back to make their vote look foolish. If it does, it's okay because they can just continue to keep USC in the top five even after a loss like they do with SEC teams.
2. Alabama (17)
Until Nick Saban leaves Alabama, a pre-season poll without Alabama in the top five will be as rare as a pre-season poll with Notre Dame in it.
3. LSU (16)
People just expect LSU to keep churning out defensive linemen, cornerbacks and quarterbacks that don't matter. But eventually that formula will fail because one day Les Miles may actually find a quarterback that matters.
4. Oklahoma (1)
The Sooners have one of the more entertaining schedules in the nation, but it won't mean two squirts if they can't defend conference foes better than they did last season. And by "defend conference foes better than they did last season", I mean score more points.
As much as you hate to admit it, Oregon is America's team. That's why you now wear neon yellow shoes with your silver-plated khakis to work. Along with a new quarterback this year, the Ducks will also likely be breaking in a new three-year probation. Unfortunately for Oregon, however, there aren't over 1,000 different combinations for their probation.
We have now reached the part of the poll where everybody is selecting SEC teams. I wonder what the record is for a voter voting SEC teams into the top ten in any one individual ballott. 15? 16?
7. Florida State
The Seminoles are like your down-and-out cousin who asks you for $300 to keep his electric from being shut off, and even though you know he's not going to use the money to pay a bill, you still have to give him the money in the off chance that he is being truthful. But let's be honest here, Florida State isn't going to the BCS National Championship game, they're going to go out and buy meth.
8. Michigan (1)
Speaking of meth. The Wolverines got a first-place vote from Bob Asmussen of the Champaign News-Gazette. Like, not a first-place vote for their state, or their division, or even their conference, but a first-place vote for the entire country. I haven't heard Asmussen's reasoning, but it wouldn't matter because I don't have a "Gibberish to English" app on my phone.
9. South Carolina
When it comes to the top ten, being in the SEC is a lot like having a Kroger card. You get some benefits that aren't available to non-members, but the fuel perks are terrible.
The last time John L. Smith was the head coach of a top ten team was...hold on, let me go check the college football scrolls...in 2003 at Michigan State. The Spartans were a top ten team for exactly one week. Michigan knocked them out with a 27-20 win, then Ohio State pushed them out further with a 33-23 victory. Barry Alvarez then went overboard with a 56-21 obliteration. But I'm sure things will go much better for Smith in the SEC.
11. West Virginia
Everybody keeps saying that the Mountaineers are a sneaky pick to win the Big XII. How can it be sneaky if everybody knows about it? It's like asking people to come to a surprise party that you're throwing in your own honor. "I'll never see it coming. Be there by eight!"
If the Badgers can somehow get by their non-conference schedule of Northern Iowa, Oregon State, Utah State and UTEP, there may be nothing left to stop them.
13. Michigan State
I think the Spartans are my pick to represent the Big Ten in the Rose Bowl, unless they play in the BCS National Championship Game, which would then put Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl and that would mean a Badger loss to either Oregon or USC.
People want so badly for Clemson to be great, but it's just never going to happen. Clemson's greatness left in 1982 in order to live life as it had always dreamed—as a carefree hobo.
I think people feel obliged to include Texas in here because all it takes for the Longhorns to be successful is to have the most physically gifted quarterback in college football history, or one of the guttiest.
16. Virginia Tech
Hey, any poll without Virginia Tech in the top ten can't be all bad.
This is probably a good spot for Nebraska, but their schedule may find them out of the top 25 when the season is over. It's weird to have an overrated Big Ten team that doesn't wear blue.
18. Ohio State
I think there is some backlash here because of Ohio State's inability to participate in the postseason. There may also still be some backlash from last season's Nike Pro Combat uniforms.
19. Oklahoma State
I can't believe T. Boone Pickens got stuck with a true freshman quarterback. But I expect Wes Lunt to be very productive. I also expect him to be an advocate for fracking and natural gas exploration because that's the wave of the future.
TCU gets up in the morning, begins to climb out of the Big XII's king-size bed, but pauses to give Texas a good morning kiss on the neck, and thinks to itself, "This is so much better than the mattress on the floor that the Big East offered me."
Nerd love. Until Stanford regresses back to the mean, or whatever nerd analogy is actually apt here, we'll continue seeing them in the polls. I'm okay with it because at least they can play power football. Nerds that can actually put up a fight end up passing both smart genes and tough genes to their progeny, so that's a good thing.
22. Kansas State
Bill Snyder really is amazing. The Wildcats won eight of their ten games by seven points or less last season. That's freakish. But there is no way they do it again this year. As an aside, I wonder if Snyder will one day fund a junior college, considering all that junior colleges have meant to his success.
It's amazing the depths that Urban Meyer has taken these Florida Gators to. When will his reign of terror be over? Gator fans can only hope that one day his icy grip of death on this program will be released, and somebody else can take over and right the ship.
24. Boise State
Sure, why not. Boise State loses Kellen Moore, Doug Martin and Tyler Shoemaker, as well as nine defensive starters, but what does it matter? Voting somebody 24th is like throwing a quarter in a panhandler's cup. Yeah, you could've done something with that quarter, but it means more to the panhandler than it does to you.
Louisville fans are worried that Charlie Strong could be entering his final year as their head coach. With a good year, it's likely that the SEC will come calling, and Tennessee and Arkansas appear to be the two likeliest destinations. But don't give up hope just yet, Louisville fans. There is a chance that you could be terrible this year and get to keep your coach.
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