Whoo-hoo! FSU is ranked #21.
1. Southern California (11-2) 1,481 (45 first-place votes). 2. LSU (11-2) 1,372 (4) 3. Florida (13-1) 1,278 (9) 4. Texas (10-3) 1,231 5. Michigan (11-2) 1,218 (2) 6. West Virginia (11-2) 1,205 7. Wisconsin (12-1) 1,114 8. Oklahoma (11-3) 1,026 9. Virginia Tech (10-3) 1,005 10. Ohio State (12-1) 919 11. Louisville (12-1) 836 12. California (10-3) 763 13. Georgia (9-4) 604 14. Auburn (11-2) 595 15. Tennessee (9-4) 583 16. Rutgers (11-2) 466 17. UCLA (7-6) 454 18. Penn State (9-4) 44019. Nebraska (9-5) 388 20. Arkansas (10-4) 360 21. Florida State (7-6) 301 22. TCU (11-2) 233 23. Boise State (13-0) 222 24. Hawaii (11-3) 214 25. Texas A&M (9-4) 209
Not too many surprises here. I'm shocked that Notre Dame didn't get a sympathy nod...but that's about it. Sportswriters love the Fightin' Irish, much to my chagrin. Maybe this year this get that Notre Dame is King of the Bowl Choke...or maybe they just miss Brady Quinn too much. Either way, HA!
FSU plays a tough, tough schedule this year. I'm very excited about our coaching changes, but I think we will probably lose to VT (ugh) and Alabama (ugh), and my thoughts on the UF game are still up in the air (gotta love the uncertainty of the preseason). Something tells me that if we show up against Clemson Labor Day weekend, we'll take that game pretty easily. But we'll see. I see us losing a couple this year, and coming out strong in 2008 - while I am a huge Noles fan, I am not so much a zealot that I can't divorce myself from the rabid nature of the average college football fan.
I am a LITTLE surprised that Miami isn't ranked, because I've been hearing good things about Randy Shannon, but then again, Miami, like so many other teams in the era of recruiting parity, is a big question mark. I think Virginia Tech will be brutally good this year, and I would not be surprised if NC State was a dark horse candidate for winning the ACC - Tom O'Brien inherits Chuck Amato's great recruiting classes. Amato might not have worked out as a head coach, but he's a tremendously good recruiter, and I expect that FSU's 2008 recruiting class will reflect that, now that he's back under the Nole umbrella.
In the SEC west, I think LSU and Auburn will battle it out. Arkansas has had so much strife over the past year, I think team cohesiveness will be low. Houston Nutt will likely have difficulty keeping the resentment of his players reined in. Les Miles, LSU's head coach, has publicly lambasted the Pac-10, which includes highly touted USC and Cal. LSU lost a LOT of talent in this year's draft, but they are returning some interesting talent, including Early Doucet and moronic QB Ryan Perrilloux. In the eastern half of the SEC, I suspect that Florida will lose at least two games this season - Tim Tebow is not the second coming of the messiah, Gator fans. He's capable of some amazing plays, but he still needs time to develop consistency. Until then, he's a big variable. Tennessee and Georgia should be fun to watch...and Lord knows I'm hoping for some more tasty Booster smackdowns between Alabama and Tennessee.
(Have I mentioned how much I detest Nick Saban? ::involuntary shudder of distaste::
The one thing I am definitely gratified to see in the poll is Hawaii - I expect another great season from former Colorado problem-child Colt Brennan. June Jones's Warriors have a relatively easy schedule which should allow Brennan to rack up some mighty fine highlight video, and assuming he does that, pencil him in as a Heisman finalist.
Another team to watch this year is Texas A&M - do NOT be surprised if they beat the Longhorns this year. (And let's see what Prince can do against a tough Big 12 schedule and a lot of staffing changes for K-State. See, D.? I'm giving your Wildcats some love!)
In the Big Tenleven, watch out for Penn State. As long as Joe Paterno and Bobby Bowden are both still alive, both will continue coaching with fervor - they both want that coaching record. It's nice to see that competitive nature return in both coaches - both will leave their programs on the upswing when they depart the college football arena. And that's just GREAT for the sport - we need good stories like that. Ohio State and Michigan are both strong this year, but...I'm not sold on either yet.
I still hate preseason polls, because I think that it's so difficult to be a dark horse with them. LSU and Auburn fans, I'm sure, can both agree with this...!
Anyhow, we'll see...just over three weeks to go, folks. I, for one, can't wait...after all, the BCS Title Game is here in NOLA this year!
(Source: USA Today - http://www.usatoday.com/sports/college/football/2007-08-02-usc-poll-cover_N.htm)