Sunday, August 26, 2007

Blogpoll Preseason Poll Roundtable

A pretty simple one this week: according to the preseason poll, who is overrated and who is underrated?

First, a note about the Badgers: they're fine at #9. A little lower than I voted them (fifth; my ballot can be seen here), but just fine for the time being. They've definitely got top ten talent and top-notch coaching; the question is whether a first-year starter at quarterback is going to be a recipe for disaster. (Camp Lambeau thinks we're in for a year of underthrows, picks, and batted balls) ... I'm not as pessimistic but he's got some pretty solid arguments to back up his thoughts.)

Who's Overrated?

#3 Michigan. I voted them sixth and will be moving them down in this week's poll. Their white-hot offense will be a boon early on in games, but Lloyd Carr's deep-seated conservatism will shelve everything but running up the gut every time the Wolverines have a double-digit lead sometime late in the third quarter. Expect losses to Ohio State (for the fourth straight year) and in their bowl game (for the fifth), plus a loss at Camp Randall. Michigan finishes the season with three losses again. Mark it.

#10 Louisville. Yeah, they won their BCS Bowl last year. (They played Wake Forest, and someone had to win.) Brian Brohm and his offense is going to put up points, but every game will be a footrace as their defense is going to be atrocious. Look for these guys to drop a couple games, but those losses may not come until season's end -- their three November games are at West Virginia, at South Florida, and vs. Rutgers, and all three are potential losses.

#18 Florida State. Last I checked, these guys still had Drew Weatherford starting at quarterback, a guy whose resume conists of cringe-inducing losses. Maybe Bobby Bowden's new brain trust can get the house in order but until I have proof of that I'm not voting for the Seminoles.

Who's Underrated?

#16 UCLA. Their out-of-conference games (at Utah, BYU and Notre Dame at home) keep the Bruins relatively close to home all season long, and each will provide an above-average challenge, keeping them ready to play all season long. If UCLA can get past Cal, that season-ending date against USC might become the PAC-10 title game. I don't really have strong feelings about other teams; UCLA is the only one that stands out as egregiously underrated to me.