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The ATQ BlogPoll, Week 13: Back to the Beginning

With the regular season in the books, and the national title game all but decided, Tako takes a look back at his preseason ballot, and decides that preseason ballots are as dumb as he is.


The national title picture is now crystal clear: undefeated Notre Dame will play a one-loss SEC champion, either Alabama or Georgia. It's a very anticlimactic end to what looked to be, as of a month ago, a potential BCS snafu. Do other teams have a gripe? Sure, teams always do. But Oregon and Florida should have won their conference, and Kansas State shouldn't have lost to Baylor by 28 points. The only complaint teams left out of the BCS title game have now is a complaint about themselves, not doing enough in the regular season. This article isn't about the national title game though.

It's about me, not being very smart.

Now, I think the idea of a preseason poll is silly. The 2012 Oregon football team may have many of the same players as the 2011 team, but those two teams shouldn't have anything to do with each other. But almost every major poll starts before the season starts, and the BlogPoll is no exception. Here's a look back at my preseason ballot, and how those teams finished:

1. LSU - finished 10-2, #13 in my current personal ballot. The vaunted defense was there, but Zach Mettenberger and the offense never fully clicked, and close losses to Florida and Alabama sunk the Tigers' chances at a national title.

2. Oregon - 11-1, #3. A clunker against Stanford is the difference between Glendale and Miami.

3. Alabama - 11-1, #2. AJ McCarron hasn't disappointed, and the retooled defense was up to the task. The Tide are one game away from defending their title.

4. USC - 7-5, unranked. The Lane Kiffin Fan Club now meets in the bathroom of the Crenshaw Blvd. Starbucks. There's plenty of room. At least I didn't have them #1 like Noah did.

5. Arkansas - 4-8, unranked. LOL, my bad ya'll.

6. Michigan - 8-4, unranked. The Wolverines aren't a bad team; they just couldn't win their big games, their best win being an overtime victory over Northwestern. Losses to Alabama, Notre Dame, Nebraska, and Ohio State.

7. Oklahoma - 9-2, #10. Their two losses were to Kansas State and Notre Dame. Either of those two games end differently, and we're talking about the Sooners as a national title possibility.

8. South Carolina - 10-2, #12. Back-to-back losses to LSU and Florida doomed the Gamecocks, who got as high as #3 in ATQ's BlogPoll following their big win over Georgia.

9. West Virginia - 6-5, unranked. Defense wins championships. More importantly for the Mountaineers, having a competent defense wins you more than six games.

10. Wisconsin - 7-5, unranked. BIG TEN LEADERS DIVISION CHAMPS, AMIRITE?

11. Georgia - 11-1, #4. I wasn't buying the hype surrounding the Bulldogs before the season began, but Georgia enters the SEC Championship game on a six-game winning streak, and might be playing the best football in the country right now after destroying rival Georgia Tech.

12. Florida State - 10-2, #14. The Seminoles do their usual Seminole thing, playing well enough to make people think about them, and then losing to North Carolina State and blowing a fourth-quarter lead to Florida.

13. Virginia Tech - 6-6, unranked. Ended the season by beating Boston College in overtime, and beating Virginia by three points. Technically, that's a winning streak. But it sure doesn't feel like one.

14. TCU - 7-4, unranked. TCU's maiden voyage in the Big XII wan't a terrible one, with wins over Texas, West Virginia, and Baylor. But a win next week over Oklahoma would take the Horned Frogs' year to another level.

15. Clemson - 10-2, #15. The only team ranked the same now as they were before they season, and of course it's Clemson. The Tigers' offense was no joke this year, and they managed to go the whole year without losing a game they shouldn't have. I know, I'm as shocked as you are.

16. Stanford, 10-2, #7. If Georgia is the hottest team in football right now, Stanford might be #2, after demolishing UCLA a week after controlling Oregon. The Pac-12 North champs get another crack at the Bruins for a trip to the Rose Bowl on Friday night.

17. Kansas State - 10-1, #5. Bill Snyder's Old Man Magic brings the Wildcats one of their best seasons ever, and has them one win over Texas away from a trip to the Fiesta Bowl, and a potential date with Oregon.

18. washington - 7-5, unranked. Price is gonna go back to throw the ball, sets up, looks, looks, looks, looks, gets hit, falls, tries to throw a backhanded shovel pass over a defensive tackle to a running back, it is...

19. Nebraska - 10-2, #11. After the Cornhuskers' loss to UCLA, Nebraska won nine of their last ten. With losses to the Bruins and to undefeated Ohio State, Nebraska enters the Big Ten championship game with one of the best two-loss resumes in the country.

20. Oklahoma State - 7-4, unranked. The Cowboys have one of the weirder resumes in the country: wins over West Virginia, TCU, and Texas Tech, all of them big wins. An 84-0 win. But a 2-3 record on the road, and an wildly inconsistant defense, leaves Ok State just outside the top 25.

21. Michigan State - 6-6, unranked. It was the offense that sunk the Spartans, scoring 20 points or less eight times this season. For comparison, the eighth-to-last time Oregon scored 20 or less points in a single game was the post-Dennis Dixon injury hangover shutout loss to UCLA. In 2007.

22. Georgia Tech - 6-6, unranked. ACC COASTAL DIVISION CHAMPS! BTW, how sad is it that an 8-5 Wisconsin and a 7-6 Georgia Tech could be playing in BCS bowls. Thanks a lot, NCAA sanctions.

23. Louisville - 9-2, unranked. Three weeks ago, the Cardinals were 9-0. Now, they're coming off a loss to UConn. On the bright side, they're still one game away from a BCS bowl because they play in the Big East.

24. Texas A&M - 10-2, #9. Johnny Manziel scoffs at a #24 ranking as he runs past it into the top ten.

25. Auburn - 3-9, unranked. Did you know: Auburn won the 2010 BCS National Championship. Seriously. Look it up, it happened. It was, like, two years ago. No, I haven't been drinking, it's 11 AM on a Monday!

Teams I left off my preseason ballot: Notre Dame, Florida, and Ohio State. They're only three of the top 8, with a combined 35-1 record. It was an honest mistake.

What have we learned? I am not clairvoyant, and college football is a funny game. And preseason polls are stupid.

Below you'll find Noah and my combined poll. I'd to give special recognition to our new #21 team, and my younger sister's alma mater, the San Jose State Spartans, who finished off a 10-2 regular season with a win over Louisiana Tech.