BlogPoll Ballot Week Three: Nebraska, My Darling

This weekend wasn’t so much about results as much as it was about how the teams looked.

Yes, we got an upset — Arizona over Iowa — but even that one was a home game for the underdog, so really nothing too fantastical.

What we saw, instead was skill tests around the country, and some took advantage.

Like my new No. 3 Nebraska putting the beat down on Washington, or Arkansas making sure Georgia wouldn’t make that comeback.

Others, like Michigan and Oklahoma, just didn’t look as good as advertised in victories.

Changes ahead:

*****

What I’m Thinking:

  • So a week after not changing my top six, I put it into full spin cycle, yes my darling 1-2 combo of Ohio State and Alabama remains, but Nebraska takes over the three spot from Boise State. The Cornhuskers looked awesome against Washington, while it seems to me like Boise State’s strength of schedule is plummeting. Wonder why?
  • TCU and Oregon may just be the most impressive teams thus far in the season. The Ducks have 189 points in 180 minutes of football, while the Horned Frogs just keep rolling along with Andy Dalton and wacky jerseys.
  • Oh, Florida and Texas squeak by with conference victories. Again, I ask, why do people put so much faith in these two untested teams?
  • Utah rounds out a top ten of three non-AQ conference schools! Really quite something. The Utes looked quite good again this weekend, I eagerly await the Utah-TCU battle ahead.
  • LSU and Auburn show that my faith in the SEC was not complete idiocy, topping in-conference foes with stellar performances. That Auburn-Clemson game was the game of the night, better than that whole Michigan State “Little Giants” thing, although that was cool too.
  • On that note, Spartan coach Mark Dantonio suffered a heart attack after the game last night, I wish him a speedy recovery and hope returns to the sideline as soon as he feels ready. He’s a damn good coach and last night only further proves it.
  • Ugh, Wisconsin, nearly losing to Arizona State, but escapes because the Sun Devils couldn’t kick the game-tying extra point… not pretty.
  • West Virginia, Arkansas and Stanford, bravo, I liked what you brought to your respective games yesterday, and for that, we salute you.
  • Oregon State and Michigan? Not so much. The Beavers got lucky and got by a much weaker Louisville team, while Michigan nearly had a deja vu Appalachian State moment on Saturday. Not impressive.
  • Our newcomers: Arizona for taking out Iowa in a big way and Nevada for showing up the Pac-10 on a Friday night.
  • Our dropouts: Connecticut for losing a miserable game to Temple, and Houston, sorry but without Case Keenum, you’re in trouble.
  • A smart man once told me not to trust Iowa and “Ricky Pick-Six”. He was probably right…
  • USC Watch: A little better on Saturday against Minnesota, although until they made a run jump started by speedy Robert Woods (and yes he’s a beast), it looked like bad news for the Trojans. The defense looked slightly improved, but that might just be because Minnesota is not exactly at the same caliber of the cream of the Pac-10. Penalties continue to be a nuisance, as the Trojans rank among the worst in the FBS when it comes to yellow hankies. I cringe at the thought of Pac-10 play, although the first opponent is Washington State… so maybe we can work out some kinks before having to really turn it on.
  • Conference Breakdown: SEC (6), Pac-10 (5), Big Ten (4), Big 12 (3), ACC (2), MWC (2), WAC (2), Big East (1).

So what do you think? Missing anyone? Giving anyone too much/too little credit? Let me know!

BlogPoll Week Two: Upon Further Review…

So my preseason poll is looking a little disheveled, but I’m certainly not alone in that regard.

Losses by ranked teams around the country will do that to you. Plus, some unlikely teams get big, big boosts from weeks like this, in this case Utah is my rankings eater, gobbling up 12 spots to move to hit No. 12.

Plus we have some new debut teams, read on to find out more.

SB Nation BlogPoll Top 25 College Football Rankings

BCS Know How Ballot – Week 3

Rank Team Delta
1 Ohio St. Buckeyes
2 Alabama Crimson Tide
3 Boise St. Broncos
4 Nebraska Cornhuskers
5 Texas Longhorns
6 TCU Horned Frogs
7 Oklahoma Sooners Arrow_up 1
8 Oregon Ducks Arrow_up 4
9 Iowa Hawkeyes Arrow_down -2
10 Florida Gators Arrow_down -1
11 Wisconsin Badgers Arrow_up 3
12 Utah Utes Arrow_up 12
13 LSU Tigers
14 Oregon St. Beavers Arrow_up 2
15 Miami Hurricanes
16 Michigan Wolverines Arrow_up 5
17 West Virginia Mountaineers Arrow_up 5
18 Arkansas Razorbacks
19 Auburn Tigers
20 Stanford Cardinal
21 Connecticut Huskies Arrow_up 4
22 Houston Cougars
23 Florida St. Seminoles Arrow_down -10
24 USC Trojans Arrow_down -1
25 South Carolina Gamecocks
Dropouts: Georgia Bulldogs, Virginia Tech Hokies, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, Penn St. Nittany Lions

SB Nation BlogPoll College Football Top 25 Rankings »

*****

What I’m Thinking:

  • I saw nothing this weekend to change any of my top six. All six did a good job against their opponents, and Ohio State looked every bit the national title contender I think they are.
  • Oklahoma finally played to their level, dismantling Florida State and take a one spot jump.
  • Oregon continues its offensive dominance, and jumps some good teams along the way.
  • Then mayhem ensues. Along with four new teams we drop four big names, including my preseason ACC favorite Virginia Tech and my preseason favorite to win the SEC East, Georgia.
  • Our debuts — Arkansas, Houston, LSU and South Carolina. Look at that, three more SEC teams. And yes, I’ve finally cracked on the Razorbacks. They look good. As do the LSU Tigers — upon further review their 2-0 start is more impressive than I thought.
  • Utah gets a ton of love basically for having the good sense to be ranked in last week’s poll and not lose this week. Same goes for Michigan, Connecticut, and West Virginia. All three looked sharp, although it did take OT for the Mountaineers to top Marshall on Thursday… hmm.
  • Yes, Miami is where you found them last week, at No. 15. Why? Because I think Ohio State is the best team in the country. I also think Miami is the 15th best team in the country. So they should lose. By about a touchdown, plus three points for the home field advantage. Final score, 36-24 Ohio State.
  • Florida State is your lone survivor of losers, bowing at No. 23.
  • USC Watch: Again, not pretty, but a win. The first at home in the Lane Kiffin era. Marred with penalties and nearly a loss too. Still no homer love from me. I’ll need to see more from the young guns in Los Angeles if they’re going to move up. This week, they’re down a spot despite the victory, just edging South Carolina for that last spot on the list.
  • Conference Breakdown: SEC (6), Big Ten (4), Pac-10 (4), Big 12 (3), ACC (2), Big East (2), MWC (2), WAC (1), C-USA (1)

So what do you think? Missing anyone? Giving anyone too much/too little credit? Let me know!

Projected BCS Standings Week Two: Ohio State Makes Strong Statement

Its a debate that has caused much controversy throughout the reign of the Bowl Championship Series — which is better, winning or not playing?

During week two, the former seemed the stronger choice, especially when you can beat a top-flight team, which is exactly what the Buckeyes of Ohio State managed to do.

Just six days removed from seeing themselves bumped from the top two spots in the first projected BCS standings, the Buckeye’s victory over Miami should be enough to get them back to their expected No. 2 ranking, especially seeing as though Boise State was inactive for this week of play.

Oddly enough James Madison’s shocking victory over Virginia Tech will also be to blame, as Boise State will see a hard hit to their strength of schedule for beating a now 0-2 Hokie team which was supposed to be among the best in the country.

The computer and human poll bump will likely be substantial in the light of a pretty convincing victory over the previously top-15 ranked Hurricanes.

However, the Buckeyes will still be chasing Alabama, who had a convincing victory over their own — over Penn State, 24-3.

The Crimson Tide will remain a very solid No. 1, and probably get a nice boost in the computers for their victory over the top-20 ranked Nittany Lions.

The Tide and Buckeyes looked strong against strong opponents on Saturday, but they were the only teams in last week’s projected BCS to even be put to a real test.

TCU, Texas, Florida, Oregon and Iowa all cruised to easy non-conference victories, which will do little to alter the new projected BCS rankings.

Nebraska, who was on the outside looking in on the top-eight last week, would probably climb a little closer to breaching the top-eight — and passing Iowa, but since Iowa did its job and beat in-state rival Iowa State, there probably wouldn’t be any change.

So, here’s what the BCS standings would look like if they were going to be released tomorrow, without any polling information.

Projected BCS Standings September 12

Rank Team
1 Alabama
2 Ohio State
3 Boise State
4 TCU
5 Texas
6 Florida
7 Oregon
8 Iowa

USA Today Coaches Poll Week One: Boise State Creeps Closer

Ladies and gentlemen, Boise State is for real.

That, at least, is what today’s first-week edition of the USA Today Coaches’ Poll tells any close follower of college football.

Enough voters in the poll — which is one-third of the BCS formula — moved the Broncos up that it seems that the Broncos can easily make their way to the top of the BCS when all is said and done in the 2010 season.

Although they did not receive any first-place votes, the Broncos recieved six second-place votes and were no lower than tenth on any of the 59 ballots — enough to leapfrog the underwhelming performance of Texas on Saturday.

Alabama and Ohio State remain a convincing 1-2.

USA Today Coaches’ Poll

Rank Team Votes Share of Vote
1 Alabama 1470 .997
2 Ohio State 1397 .947
3 Boise State 1304 .884
4 Texas 1264 .857
5 TCU 1144 .776
6 Florida 1130 .766
7 Nebraska 1085 .736
8 Oregon 1054 .715
9 Iowa 1027 .696
10 Oklahoma 969 .657

BlogPoll Ballot Week One Draft

One week in the books — now the real prognostication and debate can begin.

Teams finally got a chance to hit the field this Labor Day weekend, and we got a shot to see exactly what each team can bring to the table this season.

Some of it was high quality — Boise State topping Virginia Tech in a classic game. Some of it wasn’t — Oregon laying 59 points on New Mexico in the first half. But it was college football all the same, the kind that we’ve been waiting eight long months for.

So here’s the first crack at a top 25 after week one with actual knowledge of what the 2010 version of each team mostly looks like:

*****

What I’m Thinking:

  • I am NOT a pure resume voter, these rankings are a mix of what happened in week one and what I thought coming into the season, so there are definitely changes, but the general feel remains the same, especially since not many teams lost this weekend.
  • Ohio State and Alabama stay 1-2 for now, both handily dropping their opponents, still think OSU is slightly better.
  • After showing so much enthusiasm for Virginia Tech I was disappointed by their performance on Monday night, especially coming out of the gate. Tyrod Taylor and Ryan Williams had to do some special things just to keep them in the game — and they almost won — but they’re going to have to get it really together to restore my faith in them.
  • On the other end of that game, Boise State moves into the Hokies vacated No. 3 spot, after they submit the best win of the week.
  • I was impressed with Nebraska’s offense. I knew they had a defense, but if they can also bring a high quality offensive attack to a game, watch out. Yes, I know it was against Western Kentucky, but impressive all the same.
  • Although not awesome, Texas looked a better than Florida as both are trying to replace legends. I think they’ll come around eventually, but they don’t look quite there yet.
  • TCU looked resilient in dropping Oregon State which I like a lot in a team. If Boise falls somewhere down the road, the Horned Frogs could make some noise as a BCS buster extraordinaire.
  • Oregon, Penn State, Stanford, Auburn and Wisconsin all looked good in victories over lesser opponents.
  • New this week, Michigan, Georgia Tech and Utah all deserve recognition for victories over the weekend.
  • Lots of disappointment in UConn, hope that it was Michigan’s resurgence rather than over hype for the Huskies (including from me).
  • USC Watch: As one of three BlogPoll voters who affiliate themselves with the Trojans — Conquest Chronicles and TrojanWire are the other two — I’ll be keeping an eye out for the Trojans this season. Color me unimpressed with the victory in Hawaii, especially with the defense. They’ll need to fix that if they want to stay in the poll.
  • Arkansas, still missing!
  • Conference Breakdown: Big Ten (5), Pac-10 (4), SEC (4), ACC (4), Big 12 (3), Big East (2), MWC (2), WAC (1)

So what do you think? Missing anyone? Giving anyone too much/too little credit? Let me know!

2010 Heisman Hopeful Countdown: No. 2 Ohio State QB Terrelle Pryor

As part of BCS Know How’s 2010 season preview, we will be breaking down our ten favorite Heisman hopefuls to get you ready for this season’s edition of the Heisman Watch.

Here’s our No. 2 selection, Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor.

In a season without a clear-cut Heisman favorite, a Jim Tressell-coached, former PARADE National Player of the Year and second-year starting quarterback is about as good a Heisman candidate as they come.

But for Ohio State’s Terrelle Pryor, the qualifications to be listed among the favorites in 2010 run much deeper than that.

Sure, Pryor hasn’t exactly lived up to the huge hype he had coming out of high school, where his recruitment and school commitment was homepage news around the country. And certainly, his first season as a Buckeye — when he split time behind center — was a little underwhelming for his skill set.

But the latter part of his second season and first year as the full-time starter for Ohio State may have finally revealed the Pryor the nation expected to see from day one, and that’s a thought that should scare the entire country in the 2010 season.

In leading the Buckeyes to another Big Ten championship and a Rose Bowl bid, Pryor began to finally reveal the dual-threat capabilities of his game, something that had been slightly repressed by the offensive style of Tressell’s offense.

Pryor rushed for 779 yards and passed for another 2,094 in 2009 while throwing for 18 touchdowns against 11 interceptions.

While those numbers don’t exactly pop out of the page, in his final six games Pryor began to control his interceptions (throwing just three) while also rushing for more than 70 yards per game and leading OSU to six straight wins.

The highlight of the season came in the Rose Bowl, where Pryor went head to head with another dual-threat QB in Jeremiah Masoli, coming out on top in the Buckeyes’ victory.

In 2010, Pryor sees the return of most of his offense, including four offensive lineman and his top two receivers from last season, senior Dan Sanzenbacher and junior DeVier Posey, which combined with his continuing maturity, could mean big things for Pryor this year.

Bottom Line: Pryor has seen Heisman talk surrounding his name from the moment he committed to Ohio State, and although he has yet to truly fulfill that potential, 2010 is lining up to be the season that it all finally comes together for the junior quarterback.

Consistency in the system and a slew of returners will help Pryor continue improving, and with an increased freedom granted from coach Jim Tressell, Pryor can finally run the offense the way he feels capable of doing.

Just like any other Heisman hopeful, Pryor will need a nationally relevant Buckeye squad to compete for the trophy, and Ohio State looks ready to do just that as many believe them to be a legitimate national title contender.

The key of course to the Buckeyes success will be Pryor, and there is simply no reason to believe the Buckeyes can’t make another run at a national title.

Pryor is a changed quarterback, in charge of the offense and finally showing the skill we all expected from day one. Put it all together, and he is without a doubt one of the favorites for the trophy this season.

2010 Preseason BlogPoll Ballot

For the 2010 season, BCS Know How has been selected to take part in the bloggers’ equivalent of the AP or Coaches’ Poll and be a voting member of the SB Nation College Football BlogPoll.

Just like in the other polls you see on a weekly basis, the BlogPoll asks its voters to rank teams 1-25 after each weeks’ games have been completed.

However, the BlogPoll is different because the voters are encouraged to ask their readers for feedback on their ballots, and make changes accordingly. Each blog reader should have a say, so this is your opportunity. Ballot drafts are due Monday and finalized ballots aren’t due until Wednesday, giving us bloggers a longer evaluation and sink-in period in which to make informed and well-discussed choices.

Each week, I’ll be posting a draft of my ballot, followed by some justifications and asking for your advice. I’ll make sure to set out why I made the decisions I made, and then ask for your feedback.

Normally, I’ll post a draft on Sunday night/Monday morning asking for critiques and feedback, and then a finalized ballot on Wednesday afternoon so you can take a look. However, there’s only one preseason ballot and its right here.

Feel free to say anything you want about my rankings, I won’t take it personally I promise. Critique away, and the input will be valuable.

To learn more about the BlogPoll, read about it on the BlogPoll administrator Brian Cook’s website MGoBlog.

Here’s my preseason ballot:

*****

What I’m Thinking:

  • So this is my first ballot in the BlogPoll, I’m pretty excited to be a part of it, so I’m going to try to do my best to justify everything I do here, starting with this preseason poll.
  • I tried to stick pretty well to the thoughts I laid out in the conference profile series, however just because I chose a team to win a conference/division, does not mean I stuck to that in these rankings. Most notably, I chose UConn to win the Big East, but that was partly on the ease of its schedule, so I’m putting Pittsburgh slightly in front of the Huskies for now.
  • Same thing with Georgia and Florida.
  • However, really like the fight in the Beaver at Oregon State.
  • I’m not a big fan of Arkansas this season. Yes I know and like Ryan Mallett, however I see shades of Ole Miss ’09 painted all over the Razorbacks. They are omitted intentionally.
  • Alabama is still the nation’s favorite for the championship this year. However, they lost a ton on defense, which opens up the top spot for Ohio State — who looked awesome in the Rose Bowl at the end of last year.
  • On the same train, I really like the Big Ten this year, so Wisconsin and Iowa get support from me.
  • Va. Tech and Boise State play each other, I know, I think these are two of the best teams in the nation, and whoever losses is likely to make their way back to the top of the rankings.
  • Not very high on Florida and Texas after losing quarterbacks. However, loving Landry Jones and Oklahoma.
  • And yes… my C-USA winner, SMU is ranked here.
  • Conference breakdown: Pac-10 (5), Big Ten (4), SEC (4), ACC (3), Big 12 (3), Big East (3), C-USA (1), MWC (1), WAC (1).

So what do you think? Let me know what you love, what you hate, or more likely, that you have no opinion because preseason ballots are completely and utterly perfect.

Road to Glendale 2011: Big Ten Tussle Tops Week 12 Slate

As part of BCS Know How’s 2010 college football season preview, we will be breaking down each week’s most important games that could have BCS and postseason implications in the “Road to Glendale 2011”.

Let’s move on to Week 12, where Big Ten and ACC titles could be on the line.

Ohio State at Iowa: Saturday Nov. 20, TBA

Preseason hype and expectations will mean very little when Ohio State takes the treacherous trek to Iowa City in this late-season Big Ten matchup that seems destined to be an elimination game for the Big Ten crown.

Terrelle Pryor and the Buckeyes will hope to have the Big Ten title all sewn up by the time this game rolls around, but, like in year’s past, that’s not going to be an easy task.

The Buckeyes will have to deal with tough opponents all season, not to mention the strong possibility of three or even four teams vying for the Big Ten title all the way throughout the season. All that skill spread around the country could spell a very muddled picture in the Big Ten in 2010, making this game of the utmost importance to two of the teams that seem primed to make a run at the title.

Last season these two teams met up on this same weekend with the Big Ten title on the line in Columbus. The Hawkeyes were able to comeback from a 14-point fourth quarter deficit, but they were beaten in OT by the Buckeyes, 27-24.

Hawkeye quarterback Ricky Stanzi and the Iowa defense will be fired up to welcome the Buckeyes into town and will look for some revenge, especially if the Big Ten title is up for grabs once again.

Virginia Tech at Miami (FL): Saturday Nov. 20, TBA

Two of the three teams that jumped the Big East ship in 2004 have made the ACC a comfortable fit for themselves, and 2010 looks to be no different, as both the Hokies and Hurricanes are among the favorites for the ACC title.

Both could use this game as a springboard to the ACC Coastal Division crown and to secure a berth in the ACC Championship Game. Once again, Tyrod Taylor and Jacory Harris will be tested against tough defenses and will measure against one another. Both are capable of doing damage with both their feet and their arms—in fact the teams could benefit from playing against a similar-style quarterback in the practices leading up to the game, as the two have similar styles.

A key for both teams will be to stay healthy down the stretch of the ACC schedule. Injuries riddled the 2009 campaign for the Hurricanes and prevented them from continuing their hot start to last season.

Virginia Tech was uncharacteristically weak during the middle of last season, dropping games to eventual ACC Champion Georgia Tech and to ACC foe North Carolina.

The Hokies will have to avoid those kinds of losses, especially at home, in order for this game to mean something to them when late November rolls around.

Miami will have the home field advantage in this one, which could prove more important than any other factor in this game, as the Hurricanes were 5-1 at home in 2009.

USC at Oregon State: Saturday Nov. 20, 8:00 p.m. ET

The state of Oregon has been quite unkind to the Trojans these past couple of years, delivering crushing loss after loss in four consecutive seasons and hampering the Trojans’ attempts at BCS National Championship Game berths.

This season the Trojans will be unable to compete in any postseason bowls, but they will still have to take the treacherous trip up the Pacific coastline to the state of Oregon, this year to face the Oregon State Beavers.

The Beavers have been underdogs in the two team’s meetings during the Trojans’ dominating Pac-10 run, but this year Oregon State might find itself in an unusual situation—favored against a USC team.

The Beavers are among the favorites for the Pac-10 title, and they have a chance to make their way to the top of the conference if they can overcome the growing pains of a new quarterback.

Oregon State will feature running back Jacquizz Rodgers extensively in this one—as they have the past few years against the Trojans—and will hope for a similar result to that of 2008—when the Beavers shocked the country by beating Mark Sanchez and the then-No. 1 Trojans.

Although the Trojans are ineligible for the postseason, don’t expect Lane Kiffin and USC to go quietly. Quarterback Matt Barkley and a group of talented returners will do their best to play spoiler to the entire conference and claim a Pac-10 title despite their inability to play in the Rose Bowl.

This game might be a perfect opportunity for the Trojans to do just that.

Other Games of Note: Wisconsin at Michigan, Arkansas at Mississippi State.

Road to Glendale 2011: Conference Favorites Face Make or Break Week 11

As part of BCS Know How’s 2010 college football season preview, we will be breaking down each week’s most important games that could have BCS and postseason implications in the “Road to Glendale 2011”.

Let’s move on to Week 11 where every game is make or break for conference contenders.

Pittsburgh at Connecticut: Thursday Nov. 11, 7:30 p.m. ET

Down the stretch of the Big East race in 2009, Connecticut nearly pulled upsets against Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, West Virginia, and Rutgers. Not one of those losses came by more than four points.

Finally, after nearly knocking off the eventual Big East champ Bearcats, the Huskies ended the season on a four-game winning streak—including a PapaJohns.com Bowl victory over South Carolina.

That kind of end to a season would make any team excited about its future prospects, and Connecticut is no exception. 2010 holds unprecedented expectations in Storrs, and when Pittsburgh comes to campus in this late-season matchup, things could get very interesting.

The Panthers themselves are considered among the favorites in the Big East, but this year Connecticut could be in position to actually complete the upsets it nearly pulled off in ’09, and this might be a key game in the Huskies’ drive for a possible Big East championship.

If the Huskies defense can contain Pittsburgh’s Heisman-hopeful running back Dion Lewis for four full quarters, there’s no reason to think an upset isn’t possible.

Combine this visit from the Panthers with a visit from West Virginia to Storrs the week before, and it’s not too much of a stretch to think the Huskies could win the conference if they can protect home field.

Miami (FL) at Georgia Tech: Saturday Nov. 13, TBA

Two of the ACC’s most dynamic quarterbacks and Heisman hopefuls—Georgia Tech’s Josh Nesbitt and Miami’s Jacory Harris—will feature prominently in this marquee matchup of ACC Championship hopefuls in 2010.

Georgia Tech will be coming off an extended break following a matchup with ACC favorite Virginia Tech, giving it enough time to prepare for an on-the-rise Hurricanes squad led by Harris and coach Randy Shannon.

Miami’s schedule to this point is not daunting, and after a fast start brought some of that swagger back to Miami last season, it wouldn’t be too surprising to see Miami back near the top of the rankings when November 13 comes around.

Injuries and small mistakes kept the Hurricanes from being more than a nine-win team in 2009, but a year of experience—and hopefully for the ‘Canes a less injury-riddled season—could spell some real success in Shannon’s fourth season.

Tech will once again be testing the ACC with its spread-option offense, which Nesbitt has become a master of orchestrating, something that the Hurricanes will need to prepare for if they hope to top Georgia Tech on the road.

South Carolina at Florida: Saturday Nov. 13, TBA

Forget for a moment that this will be another Steve Spurrier return trip to the Swamp and that emotions will likely run high—this game is likely to be great on its own merits.

Spurrier, who will call all of the Gamecocks’ offensive plays this season, will be looking to put a scare into the Gators on the road. And if the Gamecocks can get a couple of the finer points ironed out earlier in the season, just a scare would be a disappointment.

South Carolina quarterback Stephen Garcia had transformed into the SEC’s most prolific passer and will need to bring an even better effort if the Gamecocks want to improve on a 7-6 record in 2009 that ended in a disappointing loss in a January 2nd bowl to Connecticut.

Florida’s quarterback situation is also a key point to this potentially important game, as by Week 11 we’ll probably know whether John Brantley is an adequate replacement for Tim Tebow or if he has struggled to adapt to his new role in the Gator offense.

The Gamecock defense should be an especially tough test for the new Gator quarterback—one that was able to rank highly in many statistical categories despite youth and injuries in 2009.

Penn State at Ohio State: Saturday Nov. 13, TBA

Perennial Big Ten contenders Ohio State and Penn State will do battle once again in Columbus in a game that could help decide—once again—the Big Ten champion.

Ohio State might have higher aspirations than a Big Ten championship this season, but it’ll have to get past a visit from the Nittany Lions if it wants to make a run at the championship game.

You know the major players here: coaches Paterno and Tressel, OSU QB Terrelle Pryor and Penn State RB Evan Royster, and just like any high quality Big Ten matchup this one will likely include some classic Big Ten rough, physical play.

Defenses and offenses will be tested all game and the winner will have a great shot at the conference title.

Expect both teams to come out fired up, and for the Buckeyes’ home field advantage to play a huge role in this one.

Georgia at Auburn: Saturday Nov. 13, TBA

This is another SEC matchup that could be a matchup of undefeated squads or one where both teams have taken a beating in early SEC action.

But despite the unpredictability of the SEC, most believe that both teams are serious contenders for their respective SEC division crowns, and this game will be key if either wants to meet that goal.

Both teams look stocked with talent all around the field, including Georgia wide receiver A.J. Green, a Heisman candidate, and an Auburn offensive line that is loaded with experienced players.

In the “Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry” Auburn holds the slightest of edges over the Bulldogs, 53–52–8, and will look to extend the lead after Georgia has done a great deal of catching up in the past couple of years.

Alabama Overwhelming No. 1 in Coaches’ Preseason Poll

bighumanpoll

Let the debate begin.

The first of the major media preseason polls was released this morning, and not surprisingly, the defending national champions are at the top by a convincing margin.

Alabama, who won the BCS National Championship Game in January and topped every postseason ranking, starts the 2010 season just where they left off, at No. 1 in the USA Today Coaches Poll — looking down at the rest of the 119 FBS schools.

The Crimson Tide’s immediate company should also be pretty familiar to the boys from Tuscaloosa, as all of the preseason top five in the Coaches ended the 2009 season among the top five, although in a different order.

Ohio State enters the season with big hopes, and sees that reflected in the Coaches’ Poll, coming in at No. 2.

Usual suspects Florida (No. 3) and Texas (No. 4) are right near the top once again, followed by No. 5 Boise State. The Broncos have never received such high preseason praise, and have some people thinking a national championship run could be in the works.

ACC favorite Virginia Tech and another BCS-buster TCU come in at No. 6 and No. 7 respectively — separated by a mere point.

Two Big 12 teams — Oklahoma and Nebraska — take the next two spots, forecasting another strong year out of the Big 12 in its final year of existence.

The Iowa Hawkeyes round out the top ten, as part of four Big Ten schools in the top-14 of the rankings (No. 12 Wisconsin and No. 14 Penn State)

Other items of note:

  • The Pac-10 does not have a team ranked in the Top 10 in the preseason poll for the first time in years. As a reminder, USC will not be ranked by the Coaches’ Poll in 2010 because of NCAA sanctions against the school.
  • The SEC contributes six of the polls first top-25 teams.
  • Pittsburgh (No. 15) is your highest ranked Big East team.
  • Utah (t-No. 24) is your only other non-BCS school in the preseason top-25. Houston comes in at No. 27.

The coaches poll is one-third of the BCS formula, along with the Harris Interactive poll and the computer polls.

USA Today Coaches’ 2010 Preseason Poll

Rank Team Votes Share of Vote
1 Alabama 1469 .996
2 Ohio State 1392 .944
3 Florida 1245 .844
4 Texas 1240 .841
5 Boise State 1215 .824
6 Virginia Tech 1052 .713
7 TCU 1051 .712
8 Oklahoama 1035 .702
9 Nebraska 1001 .679
10 Iowa 952 .645