Yours truly is an AP football poll voter this year, so, in the spirit of transparency, I’ll post my ballot every week. Here is the preseason edition:
1. Ohio State
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6. Michigan State
8. Southern California
10. Florida State
12. Notre Dame
15. Georgia Tech
16. Ole Miss
18. Arizona State
23. Boise State
25. Mississippi State
▪ I’ve heard many coaches complain about the absurdity of preseason polls, and after doing one myself, I completely agree. How do you order teams when you have no hard evidence to back up your thoughts and hunches? Basing opinions off last year, in college football, is not a great proxy for this year’s projections. But those results and this year’s speculation are all that’s available for preseason research.
▪ The teams I have that are more than two spots different from the official poll are Clemson (9th on my ballot, 12th in the poll), Stanford (17 on my ballot, 21 in the poll), Arizona State (18 on my ballot, 15 in the poll), Arizona (19 on my ballot, 22 in the poll) and Arkansas (22 on my ballot, 18 in the poll). The back end of the poll is where this preseason projection really gets silly and will undoubtedly sort itself out once the season begins.
▪ As far as Clemson goes, I must just have more faith than other voters in the idea that DeShaun Watson is healthy, the offense will be great and Brent Venables’s defense will be fine despite returning just three starters. Same idea with Stanford rediscovering its running game with sophomore Christian McCaffrey (younger brother of Duke’s Max McCaffrey) leading the way.
▪ Ballots were due by Aug. 10, so notable injuries that happened after that date (such as the one to Jonathan Williams of Arkansas) weren’t accounted for in the voting process. Though as previously established, apparently I wasn’t as high on the Razorbacks as everyone else anyway.