Land-Grant Holy Land is thrilled to join the BlogPoll this year. Having previously served as the principle ballot arbiter in a season's past at Eleven Warriors, I'm thrilled to get back in the effecting democracy game. I have no idea what voting philosophies we'll adhere to in the long run, but I'll certainly solicit our team's takes to factor in to the final decision (as well as feedback from you, that make this whole thing turn round).
TL;DR. We're just going to make the whole damn thing up as we go along.
So without further adieu, our patchwork blind guesses before the season gets started this Thursday (related: SQUEEEE):
Analysis/justification after the jump:
1-5: A lot of people piled on Bob Asmussen for having the "nerve" to pick Michigan #1 in his preseason top 25 AP ballot. How dare someone think independently. And even more egregious, shame on him for admitting "he had a gut feeling" that Michigan would beat Alabama to open the season. Because that's all polls are mostly based on.
In all seriousness, unless you're our Bill Connelly, maybe Matt Hinton at CBS Sports, Paul Myerberg at Pre-Snap Read, or The Oracle himself, you probably haven't read enough on each team to have a pulse on all 124 of them. The rest is just gut feelings sprinkled with preexisting knowledge masqueraded as a authority. Because someone has the audacity to guess something against the zeitgeist, they're an idiot? Whatever.
I hate that I'm picking Texas. In fact, I hate just about all the teams in the top 10. They're all tragically flawed. But I'm rolling the dice that Bryan Harsin's offense under David Ash is the real deal in season 2. And I'm pretty convinced Manny Diaz is the most original defensive mind in the country. Let the chips fall where they may, and if they stumble egregiously early, I won't hesitate to adjust our ballot to reflect that.
As for Arkansas? Sure the defense could have its fair share of issues, but that offense can win them every single one of their games. Yes, even against the likes of LSU and Alabama. It's pretty reasonable to expect the best SEC team in 2012 to be a one-loss one, and I feel that Arkansas, with that O, might just have what it takes to come out on top of the chaos heap. Besides, short of LSU, few other teams are better equipped in the madness department to navigate such rocky waters than ol' Get Your Piss Hot.
LSU is probably my favorite team on paper, but they went undefeated last regular season (c'mon; law of averages is a kind of law) and I'll be surprised if they can win the West in back-to-back season. I fully expect that offense to fail them at the most inopportune time. Again. I was extremely harsh on Tyrann Mathieu all preseason, going as far as to omit him from my preseason All-America ballot even before his suspension. None the less, I still think he'll be missed on special teams and as awfully cliche as it sounds/is, in the intangible department.
I don't know what the hell Alabama is. I don't think any AL.com beat writers nor Nick Saban does either. They're a jumbled hot mess with a transitory offense and lots of talented warm bodies on D. They haven't done in it at the highest level in back-to-back seasons to point under Saban, so I'm going to go out on a not so much limb and guess this won't be the year they start.
Speaking of chaos, in Loki's year, surely even Lane Kiffin gets a ring, no? As fun as Oregon's going to be, I think USC is the best team in the Pac-12 (and could easily be in the BCS top two when everything's said and done). But they're razor thin sort of across the board and with a little bad luck, their title aspirations could go the way of so many similarly built teams in years prior.
6-10: Oklahoma's wide receiver shortage (pre-Justin Brown transfer) had and still has me worried. They could put it all together and play their way to the top of the heap, but they could also lose plenty of silly Big 12 games they shouldn't. Oregon might be getting a visit from the NCAA at the most inopportune of times. Plus that whole redshirt freshman thing. We'll wait and see with them. Part of me feels like this could be Georgia's year, but Mark Richt tends to lose control of these things (SWISH). Florida State? Welp. See ya later! And of course I think we'll all love where Ohio State is when the season reaches its dramatic conclusion. Whether that's 9-3, 10-2, 11-1, or 12-0, I haven't the foggiest.
11-15: Michigan will lose to Wisconsin in the regular season then beat them in the Big Ten Championship because stupid things happen in football sometimes. That's why. South Carolina will be weird to watch as a run first team primairly (again) and Oklahoma State is pretty raw under center too. Dana Hologorsen will never not entertain, but I question whether or not that defense will be good enough against the high octane offenses of the Big XII (though practicing against that O certainly can't hurt).
16-20: Virginia Tech could win the ACC. And who knows, maybe Sparty or Bill Nebrasky can sneak into a BCS bowl. Don't have a definitive read on any of these teams yet.
21-25: A venerable cornucopia of WUT. Really bummed I couldn't fit Arkansas State in, but if they play Oregon tight, who knows, maybe we'll drink paint and stick them in despite being 0-1 (live to win, y'all).
It's all blind darts anyways and those tips can be dangerous. Throw yours in the comments below and call me a biased idiot repeatedly. Who knows, I might just listen.