Sunday, August 22, 2010

Hell if I Know

OK, so here is my preseason top 25, only I had to paste it in a rudimentary way because the Blogpoll embed had a massive space and I'm not technically literate enough to fix the problem:

1 Florida Gators
2 Oklahoma Sooners
3 Alabama Crimson Tide
4 Texas Longhorns
5 Ohio St. Buckeyes
6 TCU Horned Frogs
7 Virginia Tech Hokies
8 Boise St. Broncos
9 Auburn Tigers
10 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
11 Nebraska Cornhuskers
12 Clemson Tigers
13 Oregon Ducks
14 Georgia Bulldogs
15 Iowa Hawkeyes
16 Oregon St. Beavers
17 Arkansas Razorbacks
18 Notre Dame Fighting Irish
19 Wisconsin Badgers
20 USC Trojans
21 Miami Hurricanes
22 LSU Tigers
23 North Carolina Tar Heels
24 Stanford Cardinal
25 Missouri Tigers

As a preliminary thought, I co-sign with Spencer Hall's description of the value of the exercise:

WHY AREN'T WEATHERMEN ALWAYS RIGHT HOW COME ECONOMISTS AREN'T ALL RICH HOW ARE PSYCHICS EVER CAUGHT BY SURPRISE? Inevitably, when someone asks you about your preseason poll, they expect things to make sense, which they don't, since the man who invented the thing to begin with admitted it was purely to start conversation around the old scotch cooler. (America used to be so much cooler in many ways.)

This long list of abject guesses is crap, but so is yours, and so is everyone else's. Know that the advantage of having zero loyalty to your preseason poll is the avoidance of stickiness later on, i.e. "Boise's looked like emu shit on a shingle for the past five games, but I had them at three so DURRR POLL LEVITATION."

I don't know and you don't know either. On with the bullets:

  • Why Florida #1? Because no one else is picking them that high. Because they're the new USC in terms of combination of coaching and recruiting. Because I am working on the assumption that Urban Meyer's brief break with reality in December was a fleeting instance of humanity that the Win-o-tron 9000 pushed out of his psyche. Because his program is a little ahead of Alabama's in terms of depth, solely because he has been at Florida two years longer than Saban has been at Alabama. Because of the sample size of one that is the other Nick Saban team that tried to repeat as national champions and had a shaky 9-3 season.

  • Why Oklahoma #2? Because I'm buying what Phil Steele is selling. Because this is the year in which the Sam Bradford injury pays off for the Sooners, as Oklahoma now has an experienced quarterback, whereas their rivals in Austin do not. And again with the sample size of one, Texas had a hangover the last time they had to replace a star quarterback.

  • Why Auburn #9? Faith in Gene Chizik to put a functional defense opposite Gus Malzahn's offense. I still think that if Bobby Lowder were still alive, he'd make sure that Malzahn's future at Auburn is longer than Chizik's. [Note: Bobby Lowder is not literally dead. This is a joke.]

  • Why Georgia Tech #10? I see Tech and Iowa as two sides of the same coin. They were both lucky to win as many games as they did last year. They both had one superlative unit and one weak unit. The difference is that Paul Johnson fired his defensive coordinator and hired Al Groh. (Make fun of Negative Grohmentum all you want, but the guy does know defense. He may have kept his inept son as offensive coordinator for too long, all while pissing off most of the high school coaches in the Commonwealth, but his UVA defenses were good [until the 2009 crater]. I'm making an assumption that Tech has functional pieces for a 3-4.) Iowa is going to keep on doing the same things that had them at the bottom of the Big Ten in offense because that's how you do things when you have a square jawline and you find the fare at Bob Evans a little racy. Again, when you're swimming in a pond with Danny Hope, Tim Brewster, and Queen Elizabeth, you don't need to swim very fast. And the sad thing is that my alma mater is going to get gashed by the Stanzibone. Hey wait, look over there:

  • Why Georgia #14? To be honest, I was tempted to peg the Dawgs a little higher. I like the offense, the defense can't be worse, and regression to the mean on turnovers, right? Plus, Richt's teams have typically responded well after disappointing seasons. Sample size of two, I know, but that's kind of the point, isn't it?

  • Why Notre Dame at #18? Because Charlie Weis could recruit and Brian Kelly can coach.

  • Why no Penn State? Because it's hard to function without being able to complete a forward pass.


Anonymous said...

Is Bobby Lowder dead? Did I miss that?

Michael said...

Nope, he just lost (at least a chunk of) his fortune. I'm just making a Bill Simmons joke there.

RusDawg said...

Pitt seems like a pretty big omission there....

Anonymous said...

Not one big East team?

Michael said...

Pitt - Significant QB questions, only 11 starters back, and innate distrust of Wannstedt. Also, see the title of the post.

Anonymous said...

MTSU is a good sleeper pick for the #25 slot. Last year they became the first 10 win Sun Belt team and this year I think they do the same

Stephen said...

Unintentional [reality check on previous argument] from [Messi]:

From, your previously espoused news source, Messi spouting off about Mascherano.

The crux of your defense about Barca's behavior regarding Fabregas was: "it's ok for Barca to be jackwagons about Cesc because he's an exception." Apart from that being a bad argument anyways, it's also now empirically false.

I'm always suspicious of translations like this because the media tends to make the worst possible/most inflammatory translation of people's remarks. But still, this is more Barca spout-off-ery, and from La Masiah himself, no less.

Michael said...

Again, Messi is Mascherano's international teammate/friend and Mascherano has stated explicitly that he wants to go. How does one tap up a player who is already on strike? This is pushing on an open door.

Stephen said...

Open according to the player, unopen according to his contractual obligations. Pushing done by a player, not by official channels. How inhumane of Liverpool.

I think this just shows why your arbitrary distinction about who it is ok and not ok to talk about it also not very restrictive. "Any friend/international teammate" now allows pretty much anything.

I'd propose a more meaningful standard that it is not acceptable to (A) not discuss players under contract and (B) do discussions through the team, not players in the media? Is that too inhumane for the Catalan Liberators of England's Oppressed?

I'm also unclear on why you're putting up such a defense of Barca on this. It's understandable that they'd be pretty feeling pretty entitled and oblivious given their awesome runs.

As an aside rant, is there any other sports league that tolerates this kind of behavior? You'd get fined like crazy for this in the US. These transfer sniping sagas are so unbelievably boring to read about, that I don't really see the harm in instituting fines. Although I guess the soccer media would then have to write about, errrmm soccer.