Hurray, that's the poll hurray. If you're interested, you can see all the individual ballots here.
Cal returns a plethora of talent on offense and the defense should be the best in the Pac-10. This pick is a wild guess, and I'm hesitant to pick a Pac-10 first overall, but the chief weakness on offense appears to be at QB, a position that Jeff Tedford seems to be able to coach pretty well. Ask me again who the best team is after about four games.
I dunno about that defense. They didn't exactly stop any of the good offenses they opposed, and by "didn't exactly stop any" I mean "were massacred by all."
Fallers: Next poll.
Risers: Next poll.
Wack Ballot Watchdog: It's just preseason, so we'll let wacky expectations stand. I could point out my ballot... I've got Iowa #2! I suck!
Now on to the extracurriculars. First up are the teams which spur the most and least disagreement between voters as measured by standard deviation. Note that the standard deviation charts halt at #25 when looking for the lowest, otherwise teams that everyone agreed were terrible (say, Eastern Michigan) would all be at the top.
USC repeats as preseason standard deviation champion, though their margin this year is significantly lower than it was last year when the Trojans got all but one first place vote.
On the other side of the ledger, an unsurprising list of teams no one can figure out:
- Oklahoma: no Bomar.
- Cal: Bad QB or Tedford magic?
- WVU: fluke?
- PSU: Good this year or death by graduating senior? (Also: PSU bloggers going buckwild did not help.)
- Tennessee: good Lord, Phil Fulmer is fat, isn't he?
Ballot math: First up are "Mr. Bold" and "Mr. Numb Existence." The former goes to the voter with the ballot most divergent from the poll at large. The number you see is the average difference between a person's opinion of a team and the poll's opinion.
Mr. Bold is Tulane blogger Frank McGrath, apparently the last person on earth with faith in the state of Florida. He ranks the Florida-Miami-FSU triumverate extremely high (3-6-7, respectively), but that's only the tip of the iceberg. I wonder if the placements of LSU (20) and Michigan (24) have something to do with McGrath's split Tulane(NR)-Notre Dame(1) fandom. Other sources of BOLD: Tennesee and Georgia in the top ten; Penn State and VaTech 12 and 13; Louisville unranked. Let's try to keep the writhing hatred somewhat better cloaked, kids!
Mr. Numb Existence is Tennessee blogger View From Rocky Top. No doubt last year's loss to Vanderbilt was well worth it now tht VFRT has demonstrated his ability to predict the actions of a mass of football bloggers.
Next we have the Coulter/Krugman Award and the Straight Bangin' Award, which are again different sides of the same coin. The CKA and SBA go to the blogs with the highest and lowest bias rating, respectively. Bias rating is calculated by subtracting the blogger's vote for his own team from the poll-wide average. A high number indicates you are shameless homer. A low number indicates that you suffer from an abusive relationship with your football team.
The CK Award for oustanding bias in the name of making the poll look silly has several strong contenders, but none could best new SBNation GT blog Ramblin' Racket's LSD-inspired placement of Georgia Tech at #7. What part of "Chan Gailey always finishes 7-5" equals "#7"?
Two Penn State blogs feature in the irrational exuberance -- 50-Yard Lion ranks PSU #8, Black Shoe Diaries #13 -- as one might expect from the comments found on this very blog whenever things like four new offensive linemen, a new secondary, and Anthony Morelli's potential lead poisoning are brought up. Braves & Birds ranks Georgia #4 but has the decency to try to explain himself:
Why Georgia at #4? Because the defense has been consistently excellent under Mark Richt, because there are worse scenarios than picking between a 5th year senior and a ballyhooed freshman under center, and because the team ought to be able to run the ball well.
Sure, there are worse scenarios. But Tereshinski != Shockley in the realms of long-benched fifth year senior quarterbacks if Tereshinski's lone start last year is any indication.
Straight Bangin' Award for reducing expectations to reduce future pain goes to EDSBS for their reservations about Florida's offensive line and Chris Leak's tendency to squeal and duck when faced with incoming defensive linemen.
(This might be a good opportunity to find a name that doesn't sound like the world's worst Halloween candy and enter the Witness Protection Program.)
Swing is the total change in each ballot from last week to this week (obviously voters who didn't submit a ballot last week are not included). A high number means you are easily distracted by shiny things. A low number means that you're damn sure you're right no matter what reality says.
Mr. Manic Depressive and Mr. Stubborn debut next week.